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New Mum? Don’t Know What to Wear? Stylist Liv Brown Can Help

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Parenthood often comes with a realignment of values. This was true for Liv Brown, stylist and creator of Rattle, a personal styling service that uniquely offers mums the opportunity to rediscover themselves through building a new wardrobe and knowing how to use it. “I had a fashion brand, but after I had my first son Gus in 2021, I felt a massive shift in identity and just cared less about what I had been previously doing. Instead, I had a real urge to help other mums.” There were several business ideas, all centred around building community and support for new mums, but it was the influx of friends, met in parent groups and on Instagram, who talked about not knowing who they were anymore or how to dress for this new role in the same breath, and then begged Liv to take them shopping which helped her settle on Rattle.

The connection between how we dress and who we are can be criticised as superficial, or superfluous but what we put on our bodies has always represented our stage in life. At school, we wear a uniform, on days off we don’t, as teenagers we dress to conform or rebel, in the workforce we dress to a uniform, corporate attire or whatever dress code set by your workplace. On the days off, we wear what we like. Even at night, we wear pyjamas. Your clothes reflect your role or activity, and changes represent the shifts in those mindsets. “Not for everyone, but for many, and certainly for me, what you wear reflects your personality, how you want to be understood. Dressing in a way that makes you feel good can give you confidence, comfort and contentment,” says Liv. When you become a mum, time, boundaries and activities blur. You’re not off-duty at night, you sometimes work harder. Your day doesn’t start or end, it’s one long continuum of feeding, cleaning, caring, sleeping, eating, getting up, getting down… how do you dress for that? And more importantly, how do you dress for that and still feel like yourself? It’s also a time when you’re particularly sensitive to sensations: light, sound, the feel of a fabric, and your body is in flux, something you’re acutely aware of. “I look at some of the things I wore in postpartum and it’s so confused, I don’t know what I was thinking, and I know I didn’t feel good at the time, but it’s like my brain wasn’t working how it normally would. Which, ofcourse, it doesn’t because it’s being rewired to learn how to parent and operating on much less sleep as well as trying to heal my body from pregnancy and birth.”

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Liv, someone who had never previously had a problem finding outfits that expressed who she was, she’d go to her closet and feel defeated. Her pre-baby work wardrobe was all fine fabrics and heels, while her weekend clothes were mostly gym clothes, the stuff you feel like wearing when you’ve been “dressed” all week. Neither was right for her new mum gig. This is exactly when the majority of Rattle clients get in touch. Rattle offers styling services for pregnancy and events (you know, when a black tie wedding pops up and you’re 5 weeks off giving birth), but most of Liv’s work comes from new mums at the 4 or 5 month postpartum stage, when they are over the tracksuits, leggings and PJs, their body is different and still changing and they want to know WTF you wear to mum and feel good.

While physically, pregnancy offers the biggest challenge to getting dressed, it’s not surprising that postpartum is when mums are finding it hardest to feel good about themselves. There’s been a real cultural shift to the celebration of pregnant bodies in recent years, “Rihanna showed her bump and it feels like it got everyone showing their bump. Bumps are seen as so much more beautiful and joyous than they have been previously when it was almost a bit vulgar to show it and pregnant women tended to cover up,” says Liv, 37 weeks pregnant herself at the time of our interview. “I wouldn’t normally show my stomach either but this pregnancy it’s out all the time and I love it. So much so that I’ll miss it.” In 2024, a baby bump feels like a fun accessory, something to make the most of, not hide. That sense of societal celebration is not afforded to postpartum bodies. “We’re also at home a lot postpartum, which means what we wear and how we feel is a bigger part of our life because we’re doing and seeing less. We’re vulnerable and feeling crappy.”

The first step is changing how you think about your wardrobe. “It’s almost a flip,” says Liv, “You need comfortable, practical clothes to parent in — as much as I tried to fight ‘practical’. They become the main things you wear, and the heeled boots are the occasional wear, and by ‘occasional’, I mean, a couple times a year. It takes a while to make that change in your head, and understand what you should be buying more of or better quality of.” Looking for inspiration can be tough as the biggest fashion influencers are dressing for events and parties not playgrounds and 3am feeds, but Liv has a system. “I advise my clients to start by not looking around but within, as woo-woo as that sounds, for how they want to dress. How do you want to present, preppy? Chic? Colourful? I know that’s not easy to do, but it’s something I help my clients discover, and then I advise they look to Pinterest over Instagram and type in that style, for example, ‘colourful, oversized streetwear’. You get more diverse results and can really curate to your own taste. The first part should always be knowing your style.” Something, amazingly, Liv can help you do.

Mum Dressing, the Rattle Way

Pregnancy Dressing


  • A changing body
  • Dressing with a bump (wanting to conceal before you’re ready to share your news, and embrace after)
  • Feeling yuck

How to Tackle It:

“I’m a fan of an outfit formula, but you almost need one for each trimester because your body changes so much. In your first trimester, although your body isn't really changing that much, you're actually feeling pretty rough. I honestly feel better in my third than I did in my first. So having comfy, easy outfits is best,” says Liv. You can keep to your current clothing, just steer clear of anything tight on your belly, get hot in or feel uncomfortable wearing. No scratchy jumpers, dresses that cling or shirts that don’t always sit right. They’ll only annoy you. Keep it simple and classic with blazers and darker colours that you can rotate easily, you’ll likely need more time in the morning for getting your stomach and head in order. “Second trimester, your body is changing, your bump’s there, but not really there, so you can get away with some jeans and shirts.” You will (hopefully) be feeling much better and maybe ready to get a little more adventurous with your dressing, seeing how things fit with your new accessory. Your third trimester is about embracing the bump, and, well, mechanics. “You need very comfortable clothes for your third trimester. This is when the stretchy stuff really comes into play.” Liv says the growing body is something to keep front-of-mind, “A lot of people think, whoa, last week this fit and now it’s too tight. If you’re already someone who's struggled with body issues it can be very confronting. So try reminding yourself: your body's doing an amazing thing and change is your constant. If you can, plan in advance as much as you can. If you have an event you want to dress for, but know you’ll be 32-weeks-pregnant, don’t leave it ‘til that weekend to find an outfit.” Generally, don’t buy a whole wardrobe to fit you at 20 weeks as it will only get such a short run before it’s too small.

Postpartum Dressing


  • A softer, still changing body
  • Fluctuating, milky boobs
  • Having a baby attached to you most of the time
  • Not having the headspace to find new outfits

How to Tackle It:

“Postpartum is all about logistics. You've got to really think about, and even if you've got the time, write down, okay, I wear my baby all the time, so I'm not going to be buying hoodies that are going to get caught in the carrier. You're going to get really hot, you're going to be buying zip ups. Breastfeeding, again, hot, I felt temperature was a massive thing with me, with postpartum.” You also need to be practical, “I made this mistake with my first, with Gus, I'd be like, ‘oh, that off the shoulder top is cute’, comfy like cotton and stretchy, but I'm talking comfy, comfy. You don't even want anything agitating. The identity shift is the biggest thing that you go through with postpartum. So who are you now? If you feel like you're going through that big change, you might be like, ‘I'm kind of a new person. Let's refine my personal style. Let's really think about who I want to be now I'm a mum and make some tweaks.’ And I guess the challenge would be that there's just so much more to think about. You're not just buying an outfit, that looks cute, you're buying an outfit that looks cute, is breastfeeding-friendly, can be washed over and over, isn’t going to show stains, will fit your postpartum underwear underneath, and will still fit in the future months when your body is different again.” You also need to start shopping for life, not events. “I used to shop for a party, a night out or a holiday, and when I started Rattle and I made all these processes, and that's when I started to do my wardrobe as a unit, and now I just… oh, it's just so much easier to get dressed. Having a mum uniform, something for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, to get you through really takes out the mental load in the morning.”

Parenting Dressing


  • The messy hazards of being with a baby or toddler
  • Needing to be able to move, run, play
  • Having to plan multiple outfits for multiple people
  • Needing outfits that can adapt to all your hats

How to Tackle It:

“As a parent, you need to save time in the morning, so you want really simple, easy outfits that you can put on again and again, you've still got a big mental load and you also have a kid, or kids, to get ready in the morning too.” You're probably rushed in the mornings, you're going to be running around, and probably have several hats you have to wear in a day: a meeting, a daycare pick up, a playground play, a dinner with friends. “I feel like before I was a mum, I would sometimes get changed twice a day. I would have my day outfit on and then I'd go for dinner and I'd have my second outfit on. But I think now it's probably just like I get changed in the morning and that's it for the rest of the day. So whatever I'm doing gets that same outfit. Things that are easy to wash, still really comfortable, and you can run around in and still feel good in. I also don’t abide by the white clothing rule because it’s easy to wash. That might be true, but patterns hide stains.”

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