Let’s be honest here: The past two years of back-to-back pregnancies have done no wonders for my girlish figure. And as my second maternity leave—three months of basically sporting the same combination of nursing top, yoga pants, and Birkenstock Gizeh sandals—was winding down recently, I found myself 1) still unable to fit into most of the cute pre-pregnancy dresses in my closet, and 2) majorly in need of a wardrobe-related confidence boost as I headed back into the workforce.
This is where Hatch Collection comes in. Yes, I confess: I’m still wearing “maternity clothing,” but this one-year-old line by downtown New York designer Ariane Goldman truly is meant to be stuff you can wear before, during, and after the bump. The genius thing about the pieces is that they’re super-comfortable and flattering when you’re pregnant, but on a non-pregnant woman they just look effortlessly cool, skimming and draping over all the loose jiggly bits and showing all your skinny parts—shoulders, legs—to their best advantage. My favorites from the summer 2012 collection are the sexy little silk jumper in sandalwood or navy (I wore this out to an all-too-rare dinner date with my husband last night at NoMad) and the silk shirt dress in black. I wore that on my first day back to work, when I stumbled out the door with my pump and ice pack and bottles and a turbulent mix of emotions swirling around in my head. Mentally, I was a bit of a basket case that day. But on the outside? I was back to business. And I didn’t even have to suck my stomach in once.