On the one hand, the difference between the last style story I shot for Man Repeller back in December and this one is scant: I still enjoy embellished shoes, modish blazers and jaunty wrap dresses. But on the other hand, the contents of my stomach have turned inside out — hi Zadie! — and with it comes a whole new interior dialogue, the pungent base note of which is: Shit, I need to feed the baby.
With 12 weddings this summer (I make a great peripheral friend), I have quickly become invested in ensuring that the recipient of my engorged boob is the baby, not the curious mouth of a guest merely searching for a crab canapé.
A quick note on the very political subject matter of breastfeeding: I am firm believer in “you do you.” That could mean using a modesty muslin, taking yourself off to an entirely different room, or feeding out in the open with your breasts flying free. Whatever your preference, one thing remains certain: You need to be able to release one whole mammary from your outfit without having to shed half of your look. For example, a Gucci suit would look divine at an early-summer wedding, but if you needed to feed your child, you’d essentially have to sit topless in a pair of trousers, grinning sheepishly at passersby. And in my experience, only the most bohemian of weddings are down with that.
Taking a baby to a wedding factors high in the anxiety stakes: Will she cry during the speeches? Will she fart during the vows? (Been there; she literally pepper-farted. They would not stop.) Will I leak? Will I cry? Three weddings down (and with two of these very looks already tried and tested), I have learned that the key is to keep things simple. Attending a wedding with a baby is a physical rigmarole regardless of whether you are breast or bottle-feeding, so keep it easy. Nothing too tight, nothing too complicated and go hard on the accessories, not the silhouette.
A Button-Down Dress
First up, the button-down dress: an obvious solution to the breast-feeding dilemma. This is one for the romance, with a ’90s skew. (Remember the brand Ghost? They ruled the ’90s with their silken slips, and now they’re back.) I wore the dress pictured here on my first night away from the baby, when my husband and I went for dinner in Soho to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I was not feeling my usual self and felt a little self-conscious, but this dress made me feel like a million dollars, particularly when paired with a pearl hair clip.
A note on lingerie: The white lace bralette you see here is by Lonely Lingerie (it unclips to feed) and, more than anything else I own, it’s been a life-saver these past three months. I have it in black, too, and together they enable me to wear all kinds of easy-access dresses and shirts that would have been out of bounds thanks to my much larger boobs. (My boobs have since shrunk, should you be quizzically looking at these pictures.)
A Wrap Dress
The second savior is the wrap dress. Who’d have thunk the wrap dress would have made such a blistering return into hipness? Now, they are my wardrobe mainstay. At last count, I owned six.
My favorite brands for wrap dresses are Realisation Par (I lived in the polkadot Violette for most of my pregnancy), Rouje (I have the Gabin) and Ganni (the Marceau is beautiful). Rixo is a British brand started by two of the nicest women in fashion who met as ASOS buyers and now run what is seemingly becoming the most popular contemporary womenswear brand for women in their 20s and 30s. Where a few years ago, you would spy at least five friends in Reformation dresses at a wedding, Rixo now hold that mantle — in the UK, at least. Take your cue from the Scandis and adorn with kitsch butterfly hair clips.
A One-Shoulder Dress
Lastly, the one-shoulder dress. The boob-removal is literal and at peak ease with this style: Simply yank the dress down. I adore this Caroline Constas dress for this reason — not to mention I feel great in it. You can also lose the sash wear and it as a regal column dress. What’s more, it will work for a 24/7 wedding season — in the winter, just add tights and a velvet coat.