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The Holding Pattern: The Little Black Dress During Postpartum

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

The Holding Pattern: The Little Black Dress During Postpartum

“Thunder thighs! Thunder Thighs!”

The boys of Mrs. Thornton’s third grade class went wild as they stood in awe of my stout and mighty thighs.

In the era of X-men cartoons and clandestine power ranger marathons that encompassed my childhood, I assumed “Thunder thighs” was another burgeoning super power.

Perhaps the lucky heroine who possessed this ability also controlled mother nature and wielded the roar of thunder from her lower extremities.

I was blessed… or so I thought.

Thunder thighs were not in fact a super power. Far From it.

In the era of In Living Color and “Yo Mama Is So Fat ” anecdotes that encompassed the childhood of this gang of overgrown infants, I should have known better. “Thunder thighs” was coined for someone whose thighs were so fat that once rubbed together, they could cause a loud clap of thunder.


But these boys were mere rubes when it came to matching wits with a middle child.

They were merely regurgitating lines from a TV show. At age 8, my thighs were double that of any girl in my class. They more than just thundered - they were so big that they could channel the end times.

The second and last time this fleet of third grade bumpkins approached me to jeer at my thunder thighs would be their last.

Boys: “ Thunder thighs! Thunder Thighs!”

I shook my bowl cut in disapproval.

Me: “ I don’t have thunder thighs…”

Boys: “Yes, you do. Look at them! I already heard a clap of thunder!”

Me: “These are bigger than thunder. These thighs are so big... they could bring Apocalypse Now!”

Absolute silence.

In one fell swoop I buried their played-out line and crafted an ingenious insult they could never use. Because not even bumpkins have the audacity to steal lines from their victims.

I’d love to tell you that having the last line that day led to a transformation into being a victorious and self-possessed woman in my 30’s. But the words “thunder thighs” cut deep. At age 8, it was the first time I had my body picked apart by boys and opened my eyes to an obvious mar in my form. I spent the rest of my adolescence trying to camouflage my apocalyptic thighs by exclusively wearing black pants. I wore them so often that it became a common descriptor for how people would recognize me.

“Kat - long hair, dark skin and always wears black pants…”

This was the only solution I could find for trying to hide my robust legs. There is no creative way to vary how you might wear black pants, unless you consider unbuttoned and unzipped as viable options. Black pants were a mere holding pattern, a long transitional style staple I held onto until I was ready to celebrate the glory of my full-bodied legs and all that they could accomplish in the world.

Similarly, as a new mother with a changing body, there may be parts of your frame that you want to disguise. In this new season, you may feel that you too are in a holding pattern of your own, looking for a transitional style staple until you are ready to celebrate the glory of all that your new body can accomplish. Fortunately, the little black dress can stealthily cover your wobbly bits while offering infinite and easy styling ensembles.

The little black dress is a style staple that was designed to be durable, versatile and effortlessly chic. Unlike its boring cousin, the black pant, the little black dress can be transformed and reconfigured into a multitude of outfits through the magic of layering and strategic accessorizing. It’s quite possible you could wear the same dress all week in varying configurations and no one would know the difference.

Look 1: Little Black Dress And A Patterned Hoodie

When it comes to motherhood and style, moms long to feel comfortable and chic. Once upon a time in the dark ages of style, the only option afforded to our maternal super beings were velour matching track suits. Fortunately, with the birth of patterned sweatshirts comfort and chic is accessible and you no longer run the risk of looking like you belong to a faux track and field gang. Simply pull a patterned hoodie over a black dress and you have achieved instant and casual day time wear. The pairing of a patterned hoodie with a simple black dress is simultaneously playful and tailored. Choose a semi-fitted patterned hoodie that hits no lower than the hips as this length won’t engulf your leg line and make you appear shorter. The pattern of the sweatshirt offers an optical distraction from your mid-section and the slight roominess offered by the hoodie itself will serve to hide your mid-section. Moms get the comfort of a fun patterned hoodie while the skirt of the black dress celebrates all things ladylike.

Look 2: Little Black Dress And A Draping Cardigan

The draping cardigan is a miracle worker. Its asymmetrical edges add visual interest and luxurious draping to a simple black dress. Additionally, the waterfall effect of the cardigan creates a bit of visual distraction from any untamed body parts you wish to hide. When pairing a black dress with a draping cardigan, choose a dress with a sheath cut that sits closer to the body. With the typical volume that is added from a cascading cardigan, a black dress that sits closer to your frame will offer contrast and proper proportion to your look. Take cover under these waterfalls!

Look 3: Little Black Dress Meets Scarf

No accessory will transform your little black dress better than a rectangular scarf. One simple tie of this magical scarf and your dress becomes an entirely new creation. For this outfit, you will need a rectangular scarf that measures roughly 60 inches long by 40 inches wide. To replicate this look, hold the scarf horizontally and center the scarf against your mid back. Take the two opposing ends that are closest to your waist and tie two tight knots along the center of your waist. This look transforms your little black dress into a body suit and gives you a whimsical and voluminous skirt that lays against the bottom half of your little black dress. In just a few knots, your little black dress is reconfigured into a body suit and provides the ultimate slip for this bohemian ensemble.

Your Guardian Angel: The LBD

As a new mother, I doubt you have a band of third grade boys following you around the playground and jeering at your thunder thighs in unison. But perhaps the jeering and band of nay-saying voices comes from your own worst critic – yourself. As your body is changing and taking on new form, it’s natural to find the process emotionally unraveling to say the least. There are bits that wobble and jiggle, and in the era of body positivity there doesn’t seem to be space to voice even an ounce of discontent. What if you don’t like your thighs and new belly just yet? In the holding pattern, the period where you are transitioning to accept and celebrate all that your body has become, the little black dress can be your go-to item. You can layer and accessorize the LBD to your heart’s content to create as many effortlessly cute outfits that your imagination allows.

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Nov 12, 2018

Hey Patty! Link to the most adorable little dress ever:


Nov 11, 2018

I actually love the little dress you have for the little one, link please?


Nov 08, 2018

Hey there natalie, Why thank you :) and thank you for taking a gander!


Nov 08, 2018

Just wanted to say that i like your hair with that draping cardigan :) so flowy and pretty! trying to grow my hair out now but it takes forever...


Nov 07, 2018

Hey Jessica, I'm so glad to hear you like the scarf and black dress ensemble. I never like to toot my own horn, but in this case, I think I deserve a half toot ;). The pairing of the two honestly feels seamless and it moves as though its one piece :). Love jean + LBD

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