Monday, January 31, 2011

How to have a Stylish Pregnancy

I've picked up a few tips and tricks for navigating pregnancy as stylishly as possible over the past 8 months or so and I thought I'd share some of them with you today. Fortunately, there are now plenty of maternity clothes options on the market today so you have no excuse not to look your usual cute self (especially since now you'll have that pregnancy glow to go along with your gorgeous bump).

1. Pants/Jeans. Hands down I'd say Gap is the winner in this category for both style and price. Sure, you can throw down some serious cash for designer maternity denim (much of which is pretty useless once you get into the third trimester anyway as they're often cut too low and with too little support for late term pregnancy), but I honestly don't think any of the designer jeans I tried on compared to Gap's "Always Skinny" maternity jeans, which I've been living in since Thanksgiving. Similarly, Gap's perfect trousers have become my work week staple and are (blessedly) wash and wear.

2. Basic Tops. Basic tees and tank tops are essential during pregnancy. You can wear them alone, under open jackets and cardigans, or layer them under shorter (non-maternity) tops for more coverage. While not inexpensive, Isabella & Oliver's scoopneck ruched tees are lifesavers for me. They're comfortable, long enough (without running the risk of looking like a tunic -- a problem that seems to plague much maternity wear, even for this 6' tall gal), flattering and I wear them constantly. For tank tops, I actually prefer Classiques Entier's camisoles, which come in an array of colors and, while not technically maternity wear, are stretchy enough to look good from the beginning of pregnancy to the end. Even better, you can wear postpartum without feeling like you're still stuck in your maternity clothes.

3. Open Cardigans. Fortunately, open front cardigans are a big trend right now and can be found in abundance at all price points. I'm a big fan of Nordstroms' in-house brand Caslon for inexpensive cardigans in fun colors. Again, these have the added benefit of being wearable postpartum as well.

4. Comfortable Flats. Comfortable shoes are essential. I had to temporarily retire my heels a few months ago once my balance started to become affected by my bump. At first I was worried that my feet would grow so I avoided investing in well-made, comfortable flats. Big mistake. Buying a couple of cute, well designed flats will not only perk up a basic black maternity wardrobe, but it will keep your feet (and therefore your legs and back) happy. For my money, you can't get better than Gentle Souls. Just don't go buying a whole new shoe wardrobe until you're well past postpartum and are sure your feet have permanently spread (or not).

5. Proper Undergarments. Let's talk lingerie for a moment, ladies. The first new clothing you'll need to buy for your pregnancy are a few new bras. Make sure they've got plenty of support (I made sure mine had that third hook-and-eye closure and larger, more supportive straps). I would suggest not buying nursing bras immediately as you can never be sure what size you'll need by the time the baby arrives. My other suggestion is to get yourself a few Spanx maternity shaper and/or tights. Not only do they smooth you out, but they provide invaluable belly support as you grow. As for maternity underwear? Completely unnecessary unless you prefer high-waisted granny panties. I've had no trouble wearing my usual boyshorts/bikini underwear throughout pregnancy.

6. Some Fun Stuff. So now you've got the basics down, but fashion is also supposed to be about having some fun, right? For more playful maternity tops and cute dresses, I'd recommend the brands Olian, Maternity America and Moody Mamas. I've found they all fit well and easily transition from the second to third trimester. [Note: it's unlikely you'll need maternity clothes during your first trimester and, if you're taller or it's your first child, during much of the second either. So, if you're newly pregnant, don't rush out and buy a bunch of stuff just yet!] These brands regularly go on sale at Nordstrom and even on Gilt Group and Ideeli, so keep your eyes peeled for bargains. Still though, you really won't need more than a couple of cute maternity tops and dresses.

7. Accessories. Remember, jewelry and purses are one size fits all (well, except for rings of course!). Invest accordingly. Statement-making necklaces and earrings keep the attention up at your beautiful, glowing face and your enhanced decolletage.

So what about you? Do you have any tips and tricks for staying fashionable (and, of course, comfortable) during pregnancy?


Janell @ Isabella and Max said...

It is amazing how far along maternity wear has come even in the last few years since I was pregnant! These are great examples and tips...I think I had about 4 tops and just sized up on a pair of jeans and a few leggings. Wasn't that fashionable, but worked! Janell

Anonymous said...

When I gave my sister my maternity clothes, she laughed at all the maternity tank tops and camisoles I had. Being tall, I found I needed a long tank top underneath, even with the maternity tops, because as my stomach got bigger and bigger (twins), the front of the shirts rose higher and higher. A nice long Old-Navy maternity tank solved most problems. Also true that they're great to layer under non-maternity cardigans.

Laura@JourneyChic said...

Yes! Gap was a lifesaver during my pregnancy. They were the only place that had good-quality petite clothing for work. Old Navy says their stuff is petite, but it is sooo not. Not that you need petite clothing. :) Belly bands were a must for me - I was able to wear my regular pants for a very long time thanks to those. Target was also my friend at the end, when I was desperate for new stuff but didn't want to spend much money.

Julie said...

I totally agree that jewelry and flats are one size fits all. Also, new handbags are always a plus ;)

I own a few pairs of GAP denim and decided to forego designer denim. I don't like the GAP pants that have an elastic waist, though, I think those are really painful. I got the full panel for more support. I don't know how people wear that tight elastic.

Muffy said...

I had my baby in June & I really enjoyed wearing maxi dresses in the spring & early summer. A few of them were not even maternity as a lot of maxi dresses have an empire waist. They were nice after I had the baby to. You could through an open cardigan on with one for this time of year though.

I totally agree that maternity tights & spanx are a must! I really liked spanx (not maternity) after the baby came to (instead of those support belts that are SO uncomfortable & show through your clothes)

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Great tips....I thought I would hate being pregnant in the summer but I actually loved that I could live in sundresses and flip flops (no office to go to this time around). With my first I managed to survive with a ton of maternity tanks and a couple of nice pairs of maternity black pants and managed to wear my suit tops with just the top button done. My favorite store was Pea in the Pod.

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

I'm definitely tucking away these tips for the future! I have no doubt that you're the cutest pregnant chick ever. :)

naijababelove said...

Great information. I really loved Naturalizer's flats for my pregnancy shoes. I live in Houston, so I was able to get a great deal for them at the Naturalizer outlet stores at Katy Mills and Houston Premium Outlets.

maternity clothes said...

Thank you for the information you have posted about selecting a maternity clothes.

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