20 Nursing Friendly Party Outfits That Are Actually Cool

Because it's holiday party season and you've got enough on your plate

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

Closeup of blue sequin dress with two hands showing a nursing friendly bust opening

Nursing Dress from ASOS’s New Maternity-to-Nursing Line ($108)

Fun fact: I’ve spent almost all of the last three years nursing a small human. In fact, I’ve spent so much time nursing, that it’s odd to think that at some point in the not too distant future, I might well never nurse again. (Sniffle.) But having a new baby this summer threw me back to the land of struggling with nursing friendly outfits. Because little babies need to nurse on demand (no matter how good the party is) and your boobs are still leaking milk all over the damn place.

When it came time for my daughter’s baby naming this August, I knew I wanted to look hot. Feeling good in your postpartum body can be hard enough, and the fact that nothing in your wardrobe currently fits (YOUR BOOBS…) really doesn’t help the situation. The first time around I made plenty of mistakes. (Like the time I wore a one piece high necked dress to a wedding without thinking about it, and had to strip down to my underwear to nurse my baby in a cold storage closet… and then shortly thereafter leaked through the light colored dress and wore SHORTS for the remainder of the reception. Good times.) So this time I knew that my outfit had to cover the basics. Meaning, I wanted to be able to nurse my kid without leaving the party. But I also wanted to look good, and on trend. And that is not how I’d describe most outfits marketed for nursing moms.

Who could solve this problem for me fast? The Internet, obviously. So I googled “nursing friendly party dresses,” and I swear to god got APW’s nursing-friendly party dress roundup from last year. I was both pleased that we were producing helpful (to me) content, and pissed nobody else was. Plus the stupid post was out of date. And really? I had to solve my own problems? THANKS INTERNET. After heavy research (and quite a bit of shopping) I came up with the following go-to solutions for putting together a still hip nursing friendly number:

  • Wrap Dresses and Other Low Necklines: But you knew that.
  • Button-Down Tops: Snap up any dress that comes with a button down top.
  • #NursingJumpsuits: I found an awesome vintage looking jumpsuit for our daughter’s baby naming, and loved it so much I proceeded to fill my closet with more of them. Jumpsuits usually have a low neckline. Good ones will be cut in a way that disguise your middle section, and they’re the definition of one and done. Can we make #nursingjumpsuits a thing?
  • Long Crop Tops: I know “crop top” and “postpartum” sounds crazy, but hear me out. A long structured crop top should expose next to none of your skin, and you can also pair one with a support camisole that will pull down for nursing and make you feel better about all the extra tummy… fluff…
  • Also Known As Co-Ords and Twosies: Blessedly, the long crop top with matching skirt (think of it as a dress cut in half) is currently in fashion. Co-ords and twosies are your go-to Google search terms, and they will keep you looking on point (with easy access).
  • Skirts and T-shirts, and Other Separates: 2015 is sadly not the year of the amazing skirt. But if you can find a killer maxi and pair it with a slim fitting v-necked shirt, you’ve set yourself up to win.
  • And Obviously Breast Pads: And fabrics that won’t make it too obvious when you leak. Think prints and sequins. Everything is better and easier with sequins.

Because the holidays are one of the best times to snap up party dresses (and rife with places you really do need to wear something other than your maternity jeans), today, I’ve enlisted Maddie’s help to round up some of the season’s best nursing outfits.

Editor’s Note: We leaned heavily on one-and-done outfits for this roundup because they’re easy. But don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t wear separates from your own closet. For festive attire, we’re particularly digging this sequined tee that is somehow totally flattering while being baggy enough to fit a whole baby up inside it. Or this shirt, which is actually designed specifically for nursing. Add black pants and you’ve got instant party. Also NastyGal is killing it in the glittery separates department this season, even if they often kill it in the “adult woman who needs to wear a bra” department. And with that, onto party outfits:

Blonde girl in blue floral wrap gown

The beauty of this floral wrap dress (other than everything) is that it’s not specifically holiday-themed. So you can wear it to all your important events next year and no one will be any the wiser. Wedding season 2016, here you come. That basically justifies the investment, right? ($348)

brunette in silver sequined wrap jumpsuit

Jumpsuits are the new dresses. And thank God, they’re finally making cute plus size ones too. ($144)

Brunette in zebra print calf length button down dress

Buttons for easy access? Check. Busy print to hide stains? Check. Long sleeves for winter, but lightweight enough for summer? Check and check. ($110)

Graphic patterned bodycon two piece on a brunette who holds the edge of the top

This plus size two-piece dress features a longer crop top, but it’s loose, so you can maneuver for feeding. ($44.79)

closeup of long sleeved black wrap dress with sheer sleeves and gold polka dots

The picture doesn’t do this dress justice (click through for the close-up and you’ll get a better idea of it.) Sheer fabric hides stains well, and metallic polka dots distract you from caring. Plus, trust me when I say this will be the most flattering thing on a non-model person. ($158)

Blonde in a short sleeve maroon zip-up jumsuit with side cutouts

A zippered jumpsuit with (non stomach showing) cutouts that you can still wear with a bra? Is this real life? ($89.58)

Black kimono inspired long dress with silver edged collar

With a secret hook and eye closure a the bust, this beaded Kimono-style dress was practically made for nursing. (Just make sure to wear a black bra or cami underneath to camouflage the keyhole. It’ll look intentional, I promise.)  ($79.99)

Brunette with large silver earrings and a long sleeve gold wrap jumpsuit

In addition to having a nursing-friendly stretchy neckline, this metallic jumpsuit from NastyGal also has sleeves. Why do we keep pretending it’s not cold outside? Hell, it’s cold inside. ($98)

Brunette in a bodycon long sleeve dress with a zip along the entire front

Ruching is basically the most flattering thing you could do to a dress. Add a front zipper and we’re in business. Though I’d pair this guy with some opaque black tights, because that crotch looks suspiciously high to me. And I’m still convinced that black on navy is the height of fashion-forward sophistication. ($63)

smiling brunette in a black sequin elbow length sleeve jumpsuit with a high slit

Because sequins are forever (and the baby can’t puke on you that much in one night, right?). And because this kimono dress works with a regular bra and regular underwear. ($153)

Brunette with a small black purse and bright floral yellow long sleeved ankle length wrap dress

Who says holiday dresses can’t be bright and colorful? ($99)

Blonde in a knee length long sleeve sheer black dress

Versatility is the name of the game here. Got a lot of events to go to? Switch up your hair and accessories with this 70s-inspired midi dress and you’ve got a new outfit every time (more or less). ($69)

brunette in a ruched slinky silver knee length dress with draped sleeves

This wrap front metallic maxi dress gets points for bra-friendly design. Plus, lamé tends to have all the stretch, so easy access won’t be a problem. ($54)


Do you see what I see? Because what I see is a jumpsuit with a secret snap that lets you take care of business. ($98)

And if all else fails, the LBJ has you covered (that’s little black jumpsuit, and not the thirty-sixth president of the United States):

Brunette with dark red lipstick in a black wrap jumpsuit

Like this long sleeve plus size wrap jumpsuit ($51)

Brunette in a sleeveless wrap black jumpsuit with ruching, large pant legs, and a big bow

Or this all in one wrap jumpsuit ($75.24)

Brunette in a bun with a full body faux leather jumpsuit, that buttons to a drawstring waist

Or this leather look drawstring jumpsuit ($89.58)

brunette in a V neck black sequin jumpsuit

Or this sequined plus size jumpsuit ($144)

brunette in a sleeveless, v neck black jumpsuit with a small semi-sheer cape

Or this one with the cool cape thing. ($98)

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com. #NASTY

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  • Kayakgirl73

    How do you deal with going to the bathroom in a jumpsuit? My luck I’d drag it on the floor.

    • Meg Keene

      I’ve been asked this before and am legitimately somewhat confused by the question! I just pull down my top instead of my pants, which takes me maybe a millisecond longer? I wore them pretty exclusively when I needed to look decent when my daughter was an infant. They’re like dress PJ’s, and the good ones disguise… what I want disguised, postpartum.

    • kate

      it depends on the jumpsuit – some are more complicated than others, but most are pretty easy to unlatch at the back and just pull the top down just like Meg says. then just hang onto the top if it’s longer/you’re closer to the floor to keep it from dragging. and i strongly suggest trying this out when trying on potentials as some styles make it more difficult than others…

  • mimi

    Love this! I have a 3 month old and have a holiday party this week. I remembered your earlier comments about nursing jumpsuits and found a long sleeved black one at old navy that should be perfect! I’ve seen cute maternity/nursing specific jumpsuits by the brands Loyal Hana and Kinwolfe, although they’re more pricy than those in this post. Also I’ve found that Bamboobies pads don’t show leaks. I got mine on Amazon, but I’ve also seen them at target.

  • TeaforTwo

    Oh bless your heart. Every nursing-friendly formalwear google search I have done has produced last year’s APW roundup, and…not much else. These are great, and I like that so many of them are season-flexible.

    Can we please please have another one of these posts for spring/summer wedding season? Say, sometime before my cousin’s wedding at which I expect to be nursing a 3-6 week old baby?

    • JLSeldon7

      4 week old baby at wedding last August. 1 sequin tank top from j. crew, 1 nursing tank, 1 black stretch pencil skirt. Lift sequin tank, unsnap nursing top, latch baby, drop sequin top, DONE! You can even throw on a light scarf if you are worried about possible showing

      • TeaforTwo

        I’m less worried about showing and more worried about still looking pregnant, and highlighting that with a pencil skirt. Does sound like a great and hot nursing outfit, though!

    • Meg Keene

      GOD IT’S SO FRUSTRATING. I just wanted it to be something marketers cater to, like maternity. Just pre sort the clothing for me, for goodness sakes.

  • Emily

    Even without being a nursing mom, these are pretty legit holiday/occasion outfits

  • S

    Also check out the Mom Edit and Corporette Moms. Not quite as extensive a roundup, but I know they routinely do mom-friendly fashion!

  • Meghan

    I love this so much! I just wish it had existed a year ago before I embarked on my nursing voyage; kiddo is in the weaning process now, so it’s not immediately relevant for me sadly. BUT – bookmarking for any future kiddos and sending the link to my pregnant friends.

    More general comment – given the strides that have been made in making the maternity clothing market more robust and non-sucky, why has so little been done for nursing clothes? I think the limited clothing options were actually my second least favorite part of nursing. I am so sick of my nursing camis that I swear I want to have a ceremonial burning of them in a couple weeks…

  • EHenderson

    Thank you for this post!

  • emilyg25

    Ugh, such a dilemma. Every time I go anywhere with my son:

    – what fits my current body
    – and gives easy access to my boobs
    – and actually looks good and makes me feel good?

    I’ve spent way more time with this quandary than necessary.

  • Shortnsweet

    I’m the mom who wrote in requesting last year’s round-up. We lost our daughter to SIDS just a few weeks later, and I didn’t have the opportunity to get any photos of us in the outfits to send as an update. However, I just wanted to say how much of a gift it is to have spent the holiday in things that were comfortable so I could be relaxed and present. It made our season together so much better and I am eternally grateful for that. One thing that I found really helpful even though it isn’t the height of fashion is this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015YFD7HI?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00 and other “criss cross cardigans.” They run about 15-20 dollars, are flattering, and can easily conceal postpartum belly and nursing baby. I’m expecting our second, and I’m currently wearing one at 7 months pregnant just for the drapey quality. I’m literally going to buy five and wear them in the hospital with yoga pants, back to work with dress pants for pumping friendly outfits, and I can add it to some skirts and dresses for dressier occasions. It’s a nursing best buy IMHO.

    • Sheila

      I’m so sorry you lost your baby girl. I hope the rest of this pregnancy goes well and without too much anxiety for you!

  • Caroline

    I don’t have a baby to feed, but I still want most of these outfits. All that awesome jumpsuits? Want’em. You’ve got great taste, Meg!

  • Amanda

    I remember reading about their nursing dresses a few months ago and thought they looked pretty stylish and practical all at once…though I have no actual experience with their line! Looks like they’ll be available next month after originating with a Kickstarter campaign. http://www.harperandbay.com/collections/all