Several of you awesome readers have begged for some advice on how to stay stylish when you’re expecting. And the thing is, you guys, I’ve never been pregnant … and have learned the hard way to be wary of giving advice about things I haven’t personally experienced.
So I recruited the superawesome Allie of Wardrobe Oxygen and My Wardrobe Today, who brought her gorgeous daughter Emerson into the world quite recently. I followed Allie’s blogs throughout her pregnancy and she was far and away the most stylish pregnant woman I’ve ever had the good fortune to behold. So I was simply delighted when she agreed to guest post for me, because I knew she’d impart some solid style wisdom for all you moms-t0-be. So without further ado …
I stayed stylish all throughout my pregnancy.
I know so many women who give up. When you’re pregnant, you don’t just get a bigger belly. Your whole body changes – you get larger breasts, wider hips, fleshier arms, rounder face, fatter feet. You may have been a stiletto diva but the idea of kitten heels in the second trimester makes you cringe. You waddle, you sweat, you ache, and you’re in desperate need of some sound sleep. However it is possible to make pregnancy fashion simple as well as stylish.
Keep it simple. It’s tempting to mask your body with funky prints and trendy silhouettes. However maternity fashion works the same way as regular fashion – looking good comes with style, not with trend. Solid colors, classic silhouettes, and simple pieces will get you the most wear and the most compliments. For me, I found dresses and knits with feminine necklines (surplice, scoop, wrap) to fit my personality and figure. When I found a top that worked, I bought it in two colors. As your pregnancy progresses, you will have less desire to get creative with the wardrobe. You will be thankful that you invested in simple pieces that mix and match. Show your personality in color choices and accessories.
Keep it cheap. Remember, these clothes will only be worn a handful of times before they no longer fit. There’s no point in purchasing designer jeans or brand name dresses. Purchase quality pieces from reasonably-priced retailers and you can still look quite chic. Retailers like Gap and Old Navy carry extensive maternity lines online that are modified versions of their regular styles. Liz Lange has a line at Target that is full of fabulous basics and some great interpretations of current trends.
Keep it comfortable. Knits, knits, knits! The further along in your pregnancy, the less tolerance you will have for binding waistbands, stiff cotton shirts and itchy sweaters. Be kind to yourself and go with stretchy, soft fabrics. Matte jersey, ponte de roma knit, silk and cotton jersey can all look refined and elegant while feeling as cozy as your sweats. You will feel less steady on your feet (and your feet most likely will swell) as your pregnancy progresses, so investing in a pair or two of comfy, low-heeled shoes is a good idea. I recommend one pair that can dress up (simple leather pump) and one that can dress down (a pair of boots or loafers). This way you are ready for a wedding, a shower, work, or the weekend. This is one time in your life where I feel that Crocs are permissible – stick with a dark color, steer clear of the jibbitz, and wear them only around the house and for errands in your last trimester.
Keep a strong foundation. One place where it doesn’t pay to cut costs is with foundation garments. Your breasts will grow during your pregnancy, and may change sizes a couple of times. This doesn’t mean it is acceptable to purchase cheapo bras to get by. If you don’t have a good bra, you will look heavier, and feel more uncomfortable. If you purchase a skin colored bra that is free of lace and decoration, it can get through most any situation. Trust me – skimp on the jeans but invest in the bra.
Keep it classic. Dark denim, preferably with a crease down the front (elongates the leg), a black dress that can work for work or play, two pairs of black trousers with stretch, a twinset in your favorite color, a few high quality knits with interesting necklines and in cheerful colors, a pashmina or wrap (so wonderful when your lightweight sweaters and jackets don’t fit), a proper winter coat (when applicable – wool is a nice choice to dress up or down and if you can find it, go with a color instead of basic black), black leather pumps, black leather boots, and a couple of fun dresses (many mothers agree with me that dresses are far more comfortable than pants or skirts when in your second or third trimester).
Keep your personal style. You can still be a prep/rocker/glamazon/artist/hippie when pregnant. It’s all in the choice of silhouette, color and accessory. A simple black wrap dress can fit any look with a switch to tall boots, a long scarf, a delicate necklace, a pair of big hoops. Google maternity shops, hit up eBay and thrift stores, purchase a size or two larger in non-maternity clothes – it is possible to retain your self even if your body is changing on a daily basis.
Keep yourself in mind. Get regular haircuts and color touchups (if applicable) – it will be your armor on the days when you feel like a beach ball. If you wear makeup, make it a habit every morning, no matter how you feel to at least put on some concealer, blush and mascara (waterproof if you are having morning sickness) Indulge in the occasional prenatal massage or pedicure. If you are up to it, fit in some prenatal yoga or walks. I know all you will want to do is sleep, but a bit of stretching and light exercise does wonders for the pregnancy aches and pains, as well as the pregnancy doldrums. Drink lots of water – you’ll feel better and your skin will thank you.
You are doing the most amazing and difficult thing – creating a human being. You need to take care of yourself and pamper yourself for you and your baby. It’s not selfish or stupid to care about your appearance during this time – feeling good about how you look improves mood, helps one sleep better, reduces stress and does all sorts of fabulous things to ensure you and the little one are healthy and happy.