For new mums planning a summer holiday, dressing for the beach can often be a challenge. As body shapes may change during pregnancy, an existing wardrobe may not suit their new shape. Help is at hand from Fairhill Shopping Centre, in Ballymena, thoug, which is hosting a 3D body scanner and shaping event this weekend to help mums find their perfect summer wardrobe without changing their individual shape.
The free Yummy Mummy Summer Style Station will take place this Saturday and Sunday, from 1-5pm. Customers can use the private scanner to get their individual measurements and then get advice on the best summer style to suit their shape. Afterwards the beauty clinic experts will offer bespoke advice on choosing the perfect make-up and skincare to complete the look.
One yummy mummy who knows the pitfalls of trying to find post-pregnancy clothing only too well is mum-of-two Tina Cushnie (41) (above), a part-time tennis coach and model from Lisburn.
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"Before I became a mum I was a size 14/16 and that didn't change after I had children," she says. "It was only a couple of years ago that I lost weight – around three and a half stone through Slimming World.
"Having children and then losing weight does change you. After the kids were born I felt I was in mum-mode. I didn't feel sexy or young and didn't pay a lot of attention to the way I dressed. My husband said I dressed a lot older and more drab that I would normally have done.
"The problem was I didn't have a true picture in my head of what I actually looked like and what I could wear. Friends of mine dressed much better and younger than I did – even though they were older than me.
"A friend of mine who had a very young image started taking me shopping – I didn't buy anything without consulting with her. She was like an image consultant and made me try things I wouldn't normally have tried out. I would say it took a year before I could get my head around what I could wear and what clothes suited me."
And to get you started ahead of this weekend's event, here are a few celebrity mums who fit a range of body shapes, plus a few shoppings ideas.
Body issue: Big thighs
Body shape: Triangle
This is defined as shoulders and torso that are narrower than the hips. Aim to draw attention away from a larger bottom half by detailing your top half and keeping the bottom simple. Choose empire or wrap dresses; separates work better. When it comes to swimwear, triangles like Frankie Sandford from The Saturdays need a bikini that keeps detailing above the waist and pulls attention to the decolletage. Separates work well, but keep the bottom simple and in one colour.
Body issue: Breasts grow/top heavy
Body shape: Inverted triangle
Aim to make your bottom half appear broader to balance out the top half. Keep details, fuss, or anything that creates volume to your lower half, while the top half should be clean and uncluttered. To make your upper part of your body appear smaller, like actress and musician Jessica, wear shirts and tops in colours that are darker or more muted than the bottom half. Your best dresses add some volume at your hips to balance your shoulders — one-strap dresses are great, as are strapless. Wear skirts in bright colours, horizontal stripes and patterns.
Body issue: Lost curves
Body shape: Rectangle
Like pop singer Gwen, the key is to create womanly curves and definition, whether it's with a dress that cinches or a top with a drop waist, trick the eye with details. Wide belts and ruching will give a touch more roundness to your shape. Don't shy away from bold and intricate patterns — florals, stripes, and graphics will give depth and character to a silhouette, but remember not to go overboard.
Body issue: Wobbly tummy
Body shape: Round
If you are of a round figure like singer Adele, aim to slim bust, tummy and hips — solid hues in lights or monochrome will serve you well, but don't avoid brights altogether. Avoid any details, fuss and volume near bust, tummy or hip area and choose skirts above knee length. A halter neck is good for swimwear and wear underwired cups and thick straps to help with bust support.
‘Scanner gave me new ideas’
Lauren Penman (21) is a student and lives in Ballymena. She says:
“Last year I saw lots of adverts for the body scanner around Fairhill Shopping Centre and thought I would call up one Saturday — I do lots of shopping round there anyway.
I'm around a size 12 and 5ft 6 or 7. I did have trouble finding clothes — it wasn't that they didn't fit me it's just they wouldn't fit me perfectly. Something would be too tight in one place or too loose in another. I also had trouble getting jeans to fit me.
I went to the scanner and took my clothes off to go in — the whole thing is completely private and it just takes a couple of minutes.
Then you get a print out of your dimensions and there is a consultant there to take you through your results and they have different looks to show you how you should dress. I turned out to be an hourglass shape — I always thought I was a pear shape. The focus last year was on jeans and I'm supposed to wear high waisted jeans. I also took the research away with me and did a bit more research myself.
I'd like to go back this time to see what out of this season's clothes will suit me and also if I've followed the right lines since last time.
It's all free and a really good experience.”See also: cheap wedding dresses