Saturday, June 21, 2014

What to Wear When You're Expecting

I've loved watching my belly grow and managed to make it through the first five months of my pregnancy without buying a stitch of maternity clothing. In fact, my strategy so far has been to avoid maternity clothing as much as possible. I have only four more months to go, I have lots of flowy summer options to enjoy, and the majority of maternity clothing is dumpy and expensive.

I'd been wearing my regular pants by simply using a rubber band to extend the waistband- looping it through the buttonhole and attaching the two ends to the button. The trick to hide your exposed fly is a very long top. (I'd heard mixed reviews about the bellaband, have any of you tried it?)  But in the last few weeks, even that extra 3 to 5 inches has started to feel constrictive, so I finally caved and bought some new clothes for my changing shape. Here's what's getting the most play in my closet right now.

1. Maternity Jeans

White jeans are a summertime staple, and these are comfortable and inexpensive.
There is something quite humiliating about the elastic top that reaches just beneath my breasts like an enormous gertle, but I'm choosing to relish the humor of the situation because it's a lot more comfortable than my rubber band hack! I was glad to find an inexpensive pair of maternity jeans in white at Target.

I love white jeans because they have a way of perking up everything you pair with them. They look crisp, cheerful and a little tropical.

2. Anything Striped

Stripes accentuate the new curves of a baby bump. 
Perhaps because this is my first pregnancy, I've wanted to play up my growing bump. I'll probably only look like this twice in my entire life, so I'd better enjoy it!  To this end, my closet is steadily filling up with stripes. I love the way they make my belly look larger- exaggerating it like a Dr. Seuss illustration. So far, I've rounded out my collection of striped shirts at the thrift shop, going a size up from my usual and looking for soft cotton fabrics with a bit of stretch. I also find that I want a bit of extra length in the torso to cover that extra curve of skin. These tops from Boden continue to be in regular rotation.

3. A Breezy Tunic

Tunics are easy and chic for summer, and they have plenty of room for baby!

I became partial to tunics while we lived in Hawaii. They are the perfect beach cover up and in natural materials like silk, linen and cotton, they are loose and breathable. Luckily, they are also great for pregnancy, often hanging almost to mid thigh for a nice amount of coverage with a free waist. I love styles with pretty embroidery, tassel ties or a delicate print like this silk style from Joie. I have a few that were a splurge even at the discount retailer Century 21 on my trip to New York a few summers back. Mine is covered in the sweetest little bunny print, and I always feel extra pretty when I slip it on. I love that it's something I enjoyed wearing before I was pregnant too.

4. A Great Dress

A flattering maternity dress in stretch jersey is a smart buy.

I'm feeling quite lucky to be at the height of my pregnancy in summertime, with our baby due in mid October, because summer clothing is so light, breezy and inexpensive. I've been wearing lots of dresses, especially in fabrics with a bit of stretch, like jersey and cotton. I normally don't do maxi dresses, as I am on the short side and they tend to make one look even smaller. However, I'm enjoying the ease of wearing more body conscious styles- in stripes of course!

Another thing I'm feeling conscious of is not wanting to show as much skin as usual. My breasts seem to have practically quadrupled in size, and I'm not eager to work 5 inches of cleavage. My mum bought me this pretty maternity dress and it is super flattering without feeling bare. I love making it look fresh by pairing it with different accessories.

I once read that on the set of "Funny Face", Audrey Hepburn packed nothing more than a pair of black cigarette pants, a crisp white shirt, ballet flats and an Hermes scarf. Depending on the day, the scarf served as belt, shawl, headband, skirt or top, but she always looked fresh and chic. If only I could be as doggedly minimalist!

5. Amulet Jewelry

Jewelry to remind you only to accept love
and kindness for yourself and baby.
Pregnancy seems almost to make your body a symbolic object. People touch your belly or suddenly start sharing intimate details of their birth stories or parenting experiences. I find that most people have been more warm and open with me, but occasionally their fear and anxieties come tumbling out too. I am doing my best to only accept kind, loving attention for myself and our baby, but sometimes it would be nice to ward off weird energy from other people.

A friend recently told me that in many eastern cultures, women wear the nazar to protect them from the evil eye during pregnancy. Wearing a protective amulet as a reminder to only welcome the positive makes sense to me and I immediately began hunting for something similar.

There are hundreds of options online, but I rather like the delicacy of this bracelet, with a chain that wraps around the wrist twice. (And of course, I love the shimmer and shine of rhinestones too!)

What did you wear during pregnancy? Did you have one or two go to pieces or did you have fun experimenting with different looks throughout?

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