Post-Partum

A Style Maker on Empowering Mothers after Baby

Jen Brister @storyandgoldphoto

 

As someone who worked in fashion for many years, I was shocked when I was pregnant with my oldest and found myself stumped style-wise. I had always romanticized what sorts of clothes I would wear when I was finally sporting my baby bump. I planned to be one of those stylish pregnant women who look good in everything. Then reality set in. The maternity clothes seemed too pricey, and the pieces I did invest in lasted only so long. I found myself living in long tees and leggings. Post-baby, it got worse. I had trouble accepting my new body and now limited on time I was wearing the wrong pieces.

I did finally get my step back, and then a few years later, I adopted my youngest son. Although I did not have post body issues, I found myself again stumped. New baby stress, fatigue – I did not have to give birth to have post-baby struggles. Thankfully I had started to follow Jenny Greenstein of Your Soul Style on Instagram. Jenny’s tips help me to understand that life changes after a baby. I learned to embrace where my body and life were at the present moment.

Thankfully Jenny is sharing her wisdom with us today on post-baby style-  and how when it comes to style-  it’s about finding what works for you and getting to your new normal.

How was Your Soul Style born or what is Your Soul Style?

Your Soul Style stands at the intersection of style and mindfulness. I have a long history working in the corporate fashion industry, but always felt called upon to use style as a tool for self-expression, empowerment, and building an authentic self-concept. I didn’t feel that there was space for that in the industry. So in 2012, after 10+ years working as an in-house stylist/visual merchandiser, combined with a semester working towards my Masters in Social Work at NYU (which would have been my other career path had I not chosen fashion), Your Soul Style was born. I fancy myself a ‘stylemaker’ from the inside out, a philosophy guided by style as a vehicle to empower women, and built on a foundation that feeling your best is contingent upon authenticity. Life can be challenging, but how we show up matters and is a litmus test for what is truly going on inside. While I work with women ranging in age and experience, I specialize in the motherhood space, supporting mamas and mamas-to-be navigate their personal style during this beautiful (and complicated) time. With the endless adjusting in this role, self-care is imminent. It takes work, a commitment, desire, courage, self-love, and acceptance while moving through the physical, emotional, and mental transitions that occur during pregnancy and beyond. That said, it’s vital to find a “new normal” stylistically to be our best selves from the inside out, the inner reflecting the outer. We owe it to ourselves as women and mothers to live in that empowered space.

 

Photo: Ana Gambuto @anagambuto

What are some of the frustrations mothers have post-baby when it comes to style?

I can’t go into a deep dive style conversation with a new mom without discussing the physical transformation because it’s the most visible and tangible adjustment that women must embrace. No one’s clothes fit post-baby. And they may never fit the same again, so that is cause for frustration. But the truth is that the emotional, mental, and financial shifts are just as profound. And typically a woman’s style doesn’t align in those areas anymore either. My clients look in their closet after the baby arrives and see a woman that doesn’t exist hanging up. Becoming a mother crosses you over into a new realm, and we must accept that who we were is no longer. Everything has changed, including our perspective. Women are eager to get back to their pre-baby selves, but women need to let go of this idea in order to create a new normal. There really isn’t any going back, and really – who wants to go backwards in life anyway? It takes a lot of work, a commitment and dedication for women to release old self-concepts, but when they are ready, so much beauty emerges, and a new level of authenticity rises up that feels way more aligned with current life. It is never easy to evolve and grow, we all have gravitational pulls working against us, we are creatures of habit, and the journey comes with pain and frustration. But with patience, willingness, and mindfulness, together we ride the wave towards establishing a personal sense of style that feels right. And we do get there.

How does style therapy work?

There are many personal stylists in NYC, but my clients are specific and understand emotional health is part of the equation when getting dressed. I support women as we discover the roots of their authenticity. Only once we arrive here, can we work our way outwards to ensure the outer self aligns with the inner one. I educate my clients to understand how personal style is relevant for an overall empowered sense of self. My clients recognize our work is a therapeutic process, one that takes courage, requires vulnerability, and openness to examine one’s experience. Because I am personally committed to a daily practice of emotional and mental evolving, our relationship is typically a natural fit, transference, and countertransference of information, which in psychology terms means that my clients direct their feelings onto me, and I transfer emotions (with guidance) onto them. Women from all different professional backgrounds and experiences seek out my support, but many of them if not all, live mindfully and are committed to emotional, physical, and mental wellness. I believe that a critical part of self-care is ensuring our truest self is the one that’s showing up. None of us walk around naked, and clothing is a key tool in demonstrating who we are. I help my clients get there, providing a road map to authentic representation. Your Soul Style has always been a platform where style meets mindfulness, and my clients live that truth to the fullest.

What is your philosophy when working with a client?

The most important part of my work is meeting my clients where they are and eliminating social/cultural pressure and expectation to look a certain way. We are all unique with our own narrative and thus require developing individual expression. So we always start there. Personal style is the result of understanding our deepest selves first. And once we get there, we can draw that confident sense of self to the surface.

Is detoxing different for every woman – I assume it’s on a case by case basis?

Yes, of course. It’s all contingent upon where a woman is in her process. Life presents very specific transitions such as motherhood, new careers, weight shifts, etc. but each woman has her own agenda and her own individual needs that need to be addressed. I never take a cookie cutter approach because not all women were created equal, and that’s the beauty of it all.

With a postpartum mother, what are a few pieces she should invest in?

During the postpartum period of a woman’s life, she is transitioning, in-process, and has not necessarily landed in a stable place yet. And that is expected and OK. But, because of this, the best piece of advice I give women is that investing during this time is just as vital as when things are even flow. Women should feel beautiful at every life phase, and I always recommend setting aside a budget (no matter how small or big) to dedicate to this time. The investment is more than dollars and cents. It’s an investment into yourself, your emotional health, and well-being. That said, a few key pieces to consider are…

  •  1-2 pairs of non-maternity denim that fit your current shape
  •  A beautiful blazer that elevates a look and works with changing shape
  •  2-3 dresses with less structure to be worn now and later
  • Appropriately fitting undergarments to support feeling sexy
  • Tops with discreet access (for breastfeeding) such as wrap tops or button downs

You are much more than a stylist per se, do you feel that you being a mother helps you to understand where these mothers are coming from?

One hundred percent. In my opinion, motherhood and all of its ebb and flow can only be understood when you’re in the role of. When you’ve been there and can fully grasp and understand how challenging the transitions actually are. Before I had my daughter, I had a birds-eye perspective on the experience and could only offer technical guidance and support. But now that I’m a mom myself, there is a key emotional element that I bring to my work, which creates trust and relatability in the process of supporting women through their own journey. Let’s just say, I get it.

Lastly, can you explain how one can work with you, Do you work with clients remotely?

I do in-person styling/shopping support for women who live in the NYC metropolitan area and work remotely for women that don’t. The services page on my website , breaks down each of my services, including packages for mama’s and mama’s to be. Any service or package can also be customized to meet a woman’s specific needs. All inquiries should be sent to jenny@yoursoulstyle.com. I can also be found on social media @yoursoulstyle, where I provide a lens into my work with clients, the Your Soul Style philosophy and mission, and of course some personal stuff too.

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