HadleyStilwell introduces new clothing line
HadleyStilwell, a new Seattle-based designer and online retailer of women's clothing, is pleased to introduce a unique collection of dresses, shirts and jackets that are tailored to meet the needs of working mothers.
Named after Harris's daughter, the HadleyStilwell collection is for mothers seeking well-tailored pieces that integrate with their existing wardrobes. With just a quick change of accessories, women can achieve their professional look for the boardroom, without sacrificing comfort when they're relaxing at home on the weekends. HadleyStilwell clothes are the wardrobe staples women reach for – from the new, nursing mom who needs quick access to breasts for pumping, to the mother of young children who may find herself frequently running from desk to after-school activities each week.
The new collection was designed by mompreneur Holli Harris, who like many mothers before her returned to work after maternity leave shouldering new time constraints, competing priorities and a large dose of sleep deprivation.
Harris ducked out of meetings to pump; pumped in parking garages; and arrived at business dinners carrying the telltale black bag. She quickly understood why a joint study by the National Women's Health Resource Center and Medela breast pump company found that 32 percent of mothers in the U.S. stop breastfeeding 7 weeks after returning to work.
Caught in a constant quest for increased efficiency during work hours, Harris hit on the fact that in addition to the logistical challenge of pumping in cars and planes while in business attire, she was adding precious minutes to pump sessions by having to get undressed.
“If I can minimize the challenge of pumping, or nursing, at work through well-tailored designs that enable quick and discreet access to breasts -- and it helps new mothers to breastfeed that much longer -- then I've accomplished my goal. It's really much larger than the clothes – it's about empowering women to succeed at both career and motherhood,” Harris says.
Harris approaches the design process by creating clothes that women want to wear, and that just happen to accommodate nursing and pumping. Indeed, some early customers have been women who are not breastfeeding at all, but who simply like the design details, coordinating colors and knit fabrics.
“I test drove the Signature Dress and Jacket myself at a board meeting, and no one knew it was anything other than a suit,” Harris says. “When challenged, my female confidantes couldn't locate the hidden zippers. Then a few hours later I was in a plane bathroom pumping away in close quarters with clothes intact – mission accomplished!”
The HadleyStilwell collection is available online. The women modeling the clothes on the home page of the company's website are real mothers involved in various careers. HadleyStilwell profiles their stories, and offers their tips for working moms.
HadleyStilwell's website also is a resource for new moms who are looking for resources about breastfeeding after returning to work. A section called “Milk Notes” provides advice on nursing and pumping, including a chart of the breastfeeding phases; tips on presenting the business case for breastfeeding to your boss; and the art of pumping in a car. Visitors to the site can also sign up for weekly Milk Tweets via Twitter, through which Harris shares vetted sources for new mother information.