My Personal Guide to Maternity Style

13 Jun

Oh hi, I'm not in a bathroom...

I love looking at cute pregnant women and hearing about how they navigate through the beautiful awkwardness that is the pregnant body so they come out with great style.  Personally, I’m no expert and I wish I had a better eye, but there are a couple guidelines I’ve noticed and tried to follow (key word: tried).

First of all, just to make things easier on yourself in the long run, put away everything that doesn’t fit or that won’t fit for several months (or longer).  Not only is it depressing to see all the cute clothes you can’t wear, the extra clothes getting in the way create clutter and madness.  Get tubs, boxes or bags and just hide everything you can’t wear until your baby is several months old or so and you’re feeling braver.  As long as you don’t mind stretching out your regular clothes, keep out everything that’s long, stretchy and/or loose enough for at least the beginning of your pregnancy and then put those things away as they start to get too small.  There are lots of clothes that will work the whole time, though, like leggings and other things in stretchy materials.

Then, let’s just pretend that you’re already considering comfort.  I don’t need to tell you to keep comfortable because you’ll just do that naturally on your own, I hope!  Beyond that, here are the main points to consider when evolving your regular style into maternity style. 

1)  Fit

This one is pretty obvious, especially since the same goes for everyone, not just pregnant peeps.  The key here is to just make sure you don’t look like a circus tent or a big bell or something.  This is actually pretty simple until you get to the end of your pregnancy and then you (or just me) want to give up and wear whatever will cover the massiveness that is your body and not be uncomfortable.  So, make sure you have at least a handful of very long, very stretchy t-shirts (The best one I have is from Shade and it’s 96% modal, 4% spandex.  They don’t make that one anymore but they do have cotton modal ones here).  You can wear these alone or as undershirts under shorter or less forgiving tops.  If you keep things slim-fitting (but not uber tight – you probably don’t want to look like you’ve been stuffed into sausage casings) then it will highlight your figure and be more flattering.  I had to be more careful this time since I had more chub around the middle and my old low-rise maternity skirts cut into my love handles.  However, if I went up a size or two in bottoms (or used over the belly waistbands instead of under the belly ones) then it was just a smooth line all the way down.  Another aspect of fit to take into consideration is how you’re carrying.  My first two pregnancies I carried pretty low and out front, but not quite as much as this third pregnancy.  After I got to 6 months this time around, I realized that even maternity jeans did not have a low or stretchy enough waistband.  So I wore my regular low-rise jeans and used the old hair tie through the button-hole method.  Of course this meant most of my shirts were too short, so that’s where the really long and stretchy t-shirts came in handy.

2)  Proportion

E from Academichic.com always has great proportion in her outfits

This is pretty similar to fit, but I did want to make a separate section for it since it’s slightly different.  And skinny, all belly types don’t really need to worry about this as much, but remember the circus tent/bell shape principle?  Well you’ll want to make doubly sure to watch for that one if you have a bigger booty, like me.  This happens with most dresses, honestly, but one way to try and avoid this is to use belts or scarves either above or below the belly to highlight your actual shape.  Granted, I just couldn’t be bothered to do this sometimes so I spent more than a few days looking like I was much bigger than I actually was.  And honestly, I was comfortable, so I was willing to let it go (as long as I didn’t see my own reflection!). 

Amanda from chailoveyou.blogspot.com wearing a great scarf

Anyway, the main object of proportion is to help create a longer line.   One way I did this was to make sure that if I had anything like horizontal stripes, I kept the stripes very small.  Same goes with patterns, keep the pattern proportionate to your body or smaller.  Also remember that the pattern might look odd stretched over your belly (especially with non-maternity clothes), so try on any dresses or tops to make sure the pattern doesn’t get warped.  Other ways to create a column-like effect are to wear longer jackets or sweaters (especially with a stronger and more structured shoulder) and leave them open, and to wear things like scarves and long necklaces to draw the eye up to your face.  This leads me to my next section…

3)  Accessories

Melissa from dearbabyblog.com wearing a scarf-belt and a cute hat with her black dress (photo by Cat Wilborne -www.catwilborne.com)

When you’re pregnant, people tend to stare at your belly, and sometimes at your chest.  If you want to keep their eyes moving, draw more attention to your face.  Near the beginning of my pregnancy I bought a bunch of necklaces from Forever 21 and spent less than $10.  Although if you have a bigger chest, watch out for longer necklace chains without pendants because they might go hither and thither without your permission.  Other things like hats, earrings and the afore-mentioned scarves work well, too.  These accessories won’t give you any trouble if you end up swelling from summer heat or edema, as rings, anklets and sometimes bracelets will (although looser things like bangles should be fine).  Anyway, getting a few new accessories will help you keep from getting bored with your ever-shrinking wardrobe.  Oh, one more thing.  You might also need a few pairs of new shoes, since many women’s feet swell or even grow when they get pregnant.  Keep in mind that everyone is different, though, and that your feet might shrink back again after you have the baby.

4)  Keep your own sense of style

Taza from rockstardiaries (taza-and-husband.blogspot.com)

You don’t have to change much to dress a bump.  Yes, it gets more difficult as you grow, but you can still dress in much the same way as you did before, and you should.  Why wear dresses all the time if you preferred jeans before? 

Miss James from bleubirdvintage.typepad.com

And likewise, why only wear things with an empire-waist if you prefer simpler t-shirts with clean lines?  Or if you like vintage dresses, there are hundreds that will work for a pregnant body. 

ohdeardrea.blogspot.com

Whether you want to experiment with your wardrobe options or just buy a few things to get the maternity shopping out of the way, looking good while pregnant doesn’t have to be exponentially more difficult than looking good was before.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve learned through experience and observation.  If you want to see my file of maternity inspiration photos, you can check it out on pinterest.  And now I think I’m going to go have an ice cream soda…

p.s.  Click on photos to be taken directly to their source.

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4 Responses to “My Personal Guide to Maternity Style”

  1. Shannon June 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    Hey this is cool. I’m starring this for a million years from now when I get pregnant 🙂

    • Megan June 16, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      There’s so much I want to tweak about this post, so thanks!

  2. LP June 14, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Great post. I wish these options had been available back in the day. But it Just Wasn’t Done. I coulda been a trailblazer! Oh well. I want an ice cream soda.

    • Megan June 16, 2011 at 11:48 am #

      You could have been! However, I think at this point I just prefer to not be pregnant. So, hooray for that. I should post that I had the baby on this blog, but I think everyone who reads it already knows… lol

      We *have* to make chocolate sodas when you come out! Except Baskin Robbins has been pretty sketchy – Jared tried to get chocolate fudge shakes 2 times in a row and they didn’t have the flavor in. The guy working there said they ‘rotate the flavors’. Hmph. Chocolate fudge has always been there when I’ve been in. Always. Not that I go there more than a handful of times a year, but still.

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