MUMMY TO BE
Just recently I had a huge wardrobe clean out. I do these on a regular basis as I find it important to remind myself what I own, what I don't wear and what I forget to wear. This one was a bit different because I went deep into my “I’ll save these for later” boxes I have stored in the garage. When deciding what to turf, donate or sell, I realised I’d saved all the clothes I wore back when I was pregnant. This was rather alarming as I’m really not sure why I kept them to be honest! I think there was a little voice in my head telling me I needed them...just in case we decide to have another baby, or as a reminder of being pregnant with my precious little boys.
To be honest, the memory of both of my pregnancies is something I want to block out! I was not one of those soon-to-be mothers who enjoyed the nine months of pregnancy...difficult as it is to admit, but it’s the truth. I suffered from debilitating back pain, which years later I found out was because of an issue with my hips, and probably shouldn't have gone to full term. In addition, I wanted to be a 'super women' and so I kept working, as normal, at a very full-on, stressful job, constantly travelling and lying to myself that I was enjoying it all. However, because I was working in the fashion industry, I needed to remain fashionable and stylish, which somehow made me feel sane. And yes, while I swelled in places I never knew could swell, I did manage to come up with stylish maternity outfits without having to buy anything from the maternity section. It was almost like if I didn't buy maternity clothes, which meant that in my head, I wasn't putting on weight (haha...the things we tell ourselves!).
If you are reading this and you’re pregnant, congratulations! It's pretty amazing to think that you have a little human growing inside you! But if you’re like me, the changes to your body can be very hard to cope with. As although you need to embrace them for the health of your baby, it effected me emotionally, and part of what helped me cope was how I dressed. You see, seven years ago when I was pregnant with our second child Mac, I felt very alone admitting I wasn't enjoying the experience, so I fell back on what I knew, fashion. Nowdays although there’s lots of advice and support, there is also an added pressure on being “instagram worthy” during your pregnancy. If you are having a great pregnancy and can’t relate, that’s fine, but if you feel like I did, here are some lessons I learnt along the way with how to dress and embrace the changes to your body without loosing your sense of style.
1. It's not about buying an entire new wardrobe. If you’re like me, buying new clothes makes me feel instantly great! But when you’re pregnant, this fleeting moment goes away fast when you realise that your new purchases won't work on your new body. I had fantasies I would wear tight clothes to show off my 'bump', or wear a bikini and embrace my new cleavage. However, instead of having just a new bump, everything else on me was enlarged...and not all in a good way! So, I needed to think about how to dress not only for comfort, but also for this new body. I didn't have the money to change everything I owned, so I focused on what I loved wearing. I embraced the 'boho luxe' vibe, denim, basics and anything that covered my arms. I also raided my husband’s wardrobe - his jeans, white business shirts and t-shirts worked perfectly because they were 'slouchy’, which meant they fit!
2. Build a uniform and find shapes that work for you. There are key pieces that will form the basis of your daily outfits. Black pants and skirts, stretchy jeans, long line cardigans and loose style blazers with basic t-shirts will be your core. These need to be monochromatic as you will be wearing them often, so avoid bright colours or prints so no one will notice if you wear them over and over again. Also, you will start to really appreciate anything with a 'stretch' in the fabric - mainly for comfort. And get in the habit of buying up a size...or two! You have an excuse....so don't feel disheartened.
3. Enhance the parts of you that you like. Everyone has parts of their body that they like.... even when pregnant. Mine was legs and shoulders. Off the shoulder styles look really lovely on pregnant women because it looks feminine yet covered up. And dresses suit all pregnant women! The best styles are smock dresses and wrap style dresses. Buy up a few sizes so you can wear them for longer, and try different colours or prints than you are use to wearing.
4. Add some fun with accessories. You may want to wear stretch black pants and a black t-shirt everyday for nine months....and you can! But you can stay on trend and be a fashionable with handbags and jewellery. Use these items to show your personality and inner style. If you spend money on these things, at least you can keep using them after your pregnancy.
5. Embrace the sports trend. It’s totally acceptable to wear sweat pants everyday! Elasticated waists and stretchy fabric have never been more fashionable! Even active wear will be much more comfortable to wear than a pair of tight jeans. There are heaps of great maternity sportswear brands for tights and sports bras at all price points…even H&M has a department.
6. Comfortable footwear is a must! Wearing heels is not fun when pregnant, although if you try (be careful), it can be rather funny seeing your ankles swell up like a puffer fish! Enjoy the trends and wear luxe sneakers and flat sandals or slides.
7. Grooming is important. Maybe each week have a blow dry, ensure you nails are done and wear make up as this will make you feel like yourself.
8. Layering works and embrace that 'HarryHighPants' look! It’s going to sounds weird, but pull up your waistband so it sits over your belly, almost like an empire line. And tuck your shirts and tops in just below your bust - it works really well when wearing skirts. And wearing tighter clothes underneath allows you to wear your shirt, jacket or even dresses (wrap or button front) open at the front...almost like a cape. If you don’t feel comfortable showing off your body in tight fitting clothes, style with longer clothes over the top, such as a shirt dress, lightweight jacket or trench and slouchy denim jackets.
9. You can still wear your favourite jeans. Just wear them open by looping a hair elastic band around the button and buttonhole. Or if you wear jeans all the time, you can buy really great maternity jeans at any price point. Style back with oversized shirts, long basics or wear dresses over them.
10. Stay cool. When you are dressing, just remember your style. Just because you are having a baby doesn’t mean you have to dress differently. Avoid literal ‘mummy to be’ clothing such as logo t-shirts with “baby on board”. The main thing about dressing during this time is how you feel about yourself and not changing everything about how you would normally dress. And do not compare yourself to other pregnant women as everyone’s body changes differently.
I wish you all the most wonderful pregnancy - it is a very special time for you and your family. New babies are pure magic, sparkling hope, fresh beginnings, sweet surprises and an open book, yet to be written.
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Style Guide For A Stylish Pregnancy