A Retrospective: My Thoughts on Styling a Pregnant Bod
"Don't bother spending money on maternity clothes," seemed to be the consensus, "You'll only fit them for a moment anyway." But at 33 going on 34 and in my umteenth year as a stylist, I was at the point in my life where professionally and personally, presenting myself well was important to me. Clothes are the wrapping we choose the world to see, and they speak about who we are and how we feel about ourselves. And though I was pregnant with a rapidly growing belly, I felt great. So I was determined to dress my changing figure in flattering, comfortable, and pretty garments that conveyed just that. Here are a few things I learned in doing so.
I found that buying a great basic like this body-con, striped, tank maxi-dress made for a versatile separate. I paired it with everything from cardigans (no need to spring for the maternity version since you're going to leave it open anyway) to a shirt pulled overtop which made the dress act as a skirt. This was one of the most inexpensive item in my pregnancy wardrobe-- it's an Old Navy clearance find which rang in under thirty bucks. I loved that it was as casual as I wanted it to be but that I could add a more structured blazer and the dress was elevated to biz class.
I found ballet flats to be a staple in pregnancy when the weather permitted. They slip on, they're roomy if your feet swell a bit, and the lack of heel means you're only as off-balance as your belly makes you. Also, I always feel more put-together when I'm out if my husband, Tyler's outfit doesn't completely clash with mine. I'm sure he wouldn't mind my saying I pick out his tie based on the palette I want to wear that day.
When my mom was pregnant with me, the babydoll cut was the only option and it's still a cute one (in moderation!). For me, the secret was choosing fabrics that were light enough to show my figure underneath so I didn't just feel like I was wearing a tent. This colour-blocked, lace babydoll from ASOS.com (a TOTAL staple for me over the last nine months despite the shipping and duty) hit the mark.
And just in case you're thinking "I've got a babydoll that can be repurposed for maternity wear", remember that your baby bump is going to be BIG and that means the front of every top you currently own is going to appear miles shorter. Juuuust a heads up.
Possibly my best purchase was a fantastic pair of structured leggings. These pleather-stretch babies by Vince were a purchase at Pea In The Pod during my babymoon trip to NYC. You may think you're spending a lot for that extra bit of fabric that goes right over your bump, but when you don't feel like wearing a dress but you've got an event to attend, you will thank me for urging you toward this splurge.
I liked balancing the chic lines of the leggings with tops that were more voluminous. This shift top from ASOS.com had a bit of shirring at the side just so the back wouldn't be bulky but hung in a modern, boxy fit in front. A statement necklace cements this sort of outfit, almost acting with the leggings as solid bookends for the blousy top.
That covers my love for body con basics, ballet flats, matchy-ness, light babydolls, structured leggings, and shift tops. But what about boyfriend style? For me, borrowing from my husband was a YES, and I found that rolling up sleeves and adding some girly decoration made things feel more intentional. I loved this Made In SK T-shirt from Hardpressed with my structured leggings because they added polish to the outfit. (Half of good styling is just in how you mix your pieces.)
So if you're expecting a baby and you're able to create a bit of a temporary wardrobe for yourself, don't think it a waste. Instead, appreciate the luxury of each maternity-specific piece you curate. Check out ASOS, scavenge at Old Navy, and check out Thyme for some great service as well as for the bump-simulator pillow that will give you an idea of what clothing will look like on you in a few months from now. Enjoy this time, and be sure to document it with some photos because trust me, it's precious to look back on. Hard to believe my little Petra was INSIDE me only these short moments ago. Sigh. (I actually cut this photo session pretty close as I gave birth only two weeks after!)
Thanks so much to Karyn Kimberley for these special images and to Lisa Hallam Make-Up Artistry for upping my pregnancy glow with her mad make-up skills. You can click through Lisa's name for her Facebook page, and to book Karyn for your own maternity session (or other life capture), contact her via firstname.lastname@example.org.