I feel like that at 30.5 weeks, I’ve got enough experience dressing my belly that I can finally share what has worked for me. For reference, I work in a corporate environment where the dress code is business casual. Blouses and trousers make the cut, but legging and sweaters don’t. On the weekends, I am much more casual, so this post focuses on finding clothes that suit my entire life needs. Additionally, I didn’t/don’t want to spend that much on maternity clothing since I will only be able to wear it for a relatively short span of time. And finally, my philosophy on looking good while pregnant is that you didn’t look good wearing a sack of a dress or “babydoll” tops before getting pregnant, so why start now. I’m a big fan of showing off that belly and wearing clothes that hug rather than hang on it.
So first, let’s focus on nonmaternity clothing that I have been making work a la Tim Gunn. Next, I’ll talk about what maternity pieces I picked up and have found to be essential.
Non-maternity clothing essentials:
Belly bands. These are stretchy pieces of fabric that you can put over non-maternity pants that are unbuttoned so that they stay up. I actually hated this contraption at first because I felt like my pants never stayed up like they were supposed to. Now that I’m much, much, much larger than I was when first bought the belly band, I have been using it more. In fact, I’m wearing my non-maternity skinny jeans in the post below, just with a belly band that I got at Target. So, I’d recommend picking one up but try it out at a few different phases of belly growth to see when you are most comfortable wearing it.
Lulu Lemon Wunder Under leggings. My weekend uniform is basically leggings and some kind of long top or what used to be a dress on me and is now more of a tunic. I have two pairs of lulu lemon leggings from my pre-preg days that are going strong and I bought one additional pair in a size larger than normal. All pairs have done a great job stretching with my belly and since the wunder unders are basically the gold standard in leggings, I feel pretty confident that they will retain their original shape when I no longer need them to fit over my extra girth.
Rachel Pally. Rachel Pally has been a favorite brand of mine since way before getting pregnant and I’m especially loving her stuff now that I’m expecting. Her jersey pieces are comfortable and easily stretch as needed, and I’m addicted to her maxi dresses. I know her items can be kind of pricey, but I regularly see Rachel Pally sales on HauteLook and Gilt Groupe and there’s no shortage on ebay either. Plus, it’s nice to know that you’re spending money on something that you can wear with or without child. #shoppingjustificationFTW
Michael Stars. Michael Stars is another line that is great for the expecting mama, but also is something that you can wear after popping out the baby. His clothing is “one size fits most” and I especially like some of the longer tunics/tops for preggos. He also has a maternity line, too, and I have one dress that I picked up at a maternity consignment shop, but honestly I still prefer to wear the pieces from the regular Michael Stars line.
Skinny Tee tank tops. I have these in a few colors and wear them under my looser blouses and tops which really helps stretch the mileage on my pre-pregnancy clothes. One of the things about wearing clothes that aren’t made for maternity wear is that as your belly gets larger, everything hangs shorter in the front because it’s got to go around that tummy. Skinny tee tanks are nice and long and not too constricting. They just provide a nice smooth layer and cover up any stomach skin that might otherwise hang out.
Jewelry. Let’s be honest - shopping is not really that fun when you are pregnant. Everything is larger and you notice extra blobs of your body in places you didn’t realize you could. But jewelry is size-independent and I love to wear a fun statement necklace both because it makes me feel a little spunky and also because it detracts attention from the basketball-sized bump below. J Crew (sale section, natch), Anthropologie and Bauble Bar are great resources for fun necklaces.
Maternity clothing essentials:
Most of the actual maternity clothes I have picked up have been so that I can still dress professionally for work. If I didn’t have a job, I could get away with maxi dresses and leggings forever, but such is not my life. Here’s what has been absolutely essential and what I’ve worn to death these days:
Two pairs of maternity trouser and two maternity pencil skirts. Gap has been my saving grace for maternity clothing. They regularly have great sales of 30-40% off and their maternity sizes match up exactly with your pre-preg sizes making it really easy to shop. I bought two pairs of trouser and two skirts - both in black and in gray - which I rotate around with different tops and jewelry for different looks using many of the same pieces.
One pair of nice maternity jeans. Since my office wears jeans on Friday, I picked up a dark wash, trouser style pair of jeans that I wear pretty much every Friday (Mine are by James Jeans and I really like them). I feel like I’m really getting the most out of my cost per wear and the dark wash ensure that the jeans can be worn for a lot of occasions besides just Casual Friday.
Pea in the Pod tights. It’s winter, so the only way I can get away with skirts and dresses is with tights. I tried to wear my Spanx tights as long as possible, but that got old fast as my stomach continued to grow. The Pea in the Pod brand tights are really opaque, go over your entire stomach, and are extremely comfortable - all three of which are musts in my book.
Hand me downs/consignment stores. I’ve been blessed that my sister-in-law was pregnant before me and also had to work in a corporate environment. She’s let me borrow some of her dresses and tops which have been a real lifesaver. I definitely recommend hitting up any female family members that have already been pregnant to see what they’d be willing to temporarily part with. Just remember, you’re borrowing so make sure to give it back at the end! Consignment shops have also been great. For local ladies, there is a great one called Babiology in Five Points. I picked up the aforementioned Michael Stars dress as well as a new with tags Isabella Oliver dress for $30 (normally almost $300)! If you’re going to spend money on maternity clothes, checking out a consignment store is key to sticking to a low, low budget like I am trying to do.
And that’s about it. Between working with what I have, picking up a few key essentials, and going slightly overboard with accessories, I’ve been able to maximize a lot of what’s in my current closet throughout the duration of this pregnancy.
I’m definitely interested to hear what worked/didn’t work for you, too. Do tell!
(I realize this is a totally lame blog post after days on end of nothing, but I hope to return to my regularly scheduled blogging soon enough. Life has been cray lately - work is busy, I got a new car (!!!), one of my besties is getting married in December and we’ve got some super fun parties for her, and then all the other regular life stuff that just needs to be tended to. I’ll be back soon enough. Until then, I’ll share little gems that catch my eye, like this dress.)
(vest: Trina Turk // dress and belt: Sanctuary // flats: J. Crew // bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs)
Hi friends! Just a quickie post today from the ole Droid (I smell an iPhone in my future… one day) to show you a snap of the outfit I wore to work today. I’ve worn this dress a handful of times, but it’s always been for social functions, like my friend’s bridal brunch.
But throw a structured vest on over this flowy dress and wham-bam, you got yourself an outfit that’s okay for work. If I had client meeting, I would have gone with a khaki blazer, heels and probably a statement necklace (like my orange J Crew one), but for a day of cube life, this works swimmingly.
(top: Vestique // tank (under blouse): Pure and Simple // skirt: J. Crew // shoes: Joie // sunglasses: Fendi)
I took these photos a few Mondays ago and I literally said to Jason as I peeked into my closet and pulled out this skirt that “the only thing that’s going to get me through today is this neon pink skirt.”
I lived through the day, and I have my skirt to thank for that. Speaking of this skirt, I got it at J. Crew for $26. You can’t beat that. It was the last one on the sale rack and is actually probably one size too small, but who’s counting?
(tee: Splendid // skirt: Zara via Dress for Success Sale // necklace: ebay // shoes: Sole Society. Want an invite? Leave me your email address and I’ll shoot you one.)
When I posted my comparison of a real J. Crew bubble necklace versus one you can get from ebay lotsa peeps were like “How do you wear such a necklace?” And this is how…. basically just like any other necklace. Sure, this necklace is a whole lotta plastic around your neck, but don’t let it intimidate you. A statement necklace can and should be worn just like any other necklace, but let it be just that… a statement. Skip the earrings and stacks of bangles.
I wore this to see West Side Story last Friday, so I definitely planned my outfit with a bit of an America vibe to subtley dress in theme. I like to do that when I go to shows. I saw Wicked two weeks ago and wore red shoes on purpuse. Just like Dorothy. Has anyone else seen West Side Story at the DPAC? I guess I had forgotten about the parts where all the people die. sheesh. That was sad.
I’ve been part of the BlogHer Life Well Lived panel for oh… over a year… and I’ve yet to answer a single question they ask me. Well that’s all changing today, my friends! Ironically, this week’s Life Well Lived question is actually the number one question I get from peeps like you that read this blog. So, times? They are a changin’ and I’m gonna answer the ever elusive question:
What are your favorite fashion, style and beauty resources?
In a nutshell, my favorite resources for all of the above are blogs! I subscribe to over 200 blogs (not exaggerating there) in my Google Reader and I have them categorized as fashion, beauty, interior design or lifestyle. I get 99.3 percent of my fashion inspiration from my fellow blogger and the other 0.7 comes from magazines. I like blogs the best because I know they are written by real people with real budgets sharing their real opinions. Unlike magazines where you’ve got advertisers to please and oodles of free products coming through the door, there’s usually no hidden agenda with a blogger. Plus, I don’t know who these editors think they are sometimes, but a handbag that costs $500 does not belong near the word “steals,” “budget” or “save.” And I hate when I’m reading a magazine and I see this whole outfit that is so great but then it’s like $2,000 just for the pants. What the what? Anywho, back to the bloggers. Here are my favorites:
Kendi Everyday: duh. You probably read this one. I bought those gap ikat shorts after I saw her wearing them. I was going to buy the matching shirt she wore with them from her store but she was dumb and posted it on her blog and it sold out before I got a chance to buy it. Oh well. She still makes the list. Girl is good.
Merci Blah Blah: This lady is the mother of triplets and still manages to look cute and trendy. I don’t know how she does it, but she does and I hope I’m a cool mom like her one day.
Style Within Reach: This girl provides content based on exactly what her blog says. It’s style within reach. And she looks cute in her affordable clothes, even though she is skinny and sometimes I am secretly very jealous of her.
Atlantic/Pacific: BEE’s style ranges on the upper, upper end of affordability and sometimes crosses to the line of “OMG, how are you so young and able to afford a $3,000 handbag.” But she is pretty cute and her outfits are cute even though I think sometimes she probably puts together outfits just for her blog. I mean, I would too if Tory Burch and Tibi were hurling dresses at me left and right.
There are 16 more blogs in my reader under this category, but these are my favorites. In addition to the blogs, I have subscriptions to Lucky and InStyle. Both are worth the subscription price in my opinion. Definitely my favorite fashion and style magazines.
Hairdresser on Fire: If I lived in NYC, I would definitely, definitely, definitely have Reagan do my hair. She is so cute and hair smart.
The Beauty Department – This is Lauren Conrad’s hair and makeup peeps blog, and this post on curling your hair changed my life. Seriously. I had no idea I was doing it so wrong.
Believe it or not, these are actually the only beauty blogs I have in my reader. And they are good. I am actually not really that handy with makeup or hair stuff, but everything I know I learned from these blogs and birchbox. A friend of mine watches YouTube videos to learn how to do makeup and I’ve tried that but I don’t think I have the patience. But maybe I need to give it another shot. Do you know any good vloggers?
(dress: Vestique // vest: Trina Turk // belt: Bebe // shoes: Dolce Vita // earrings: Kendra Scott // purse: Coach // sunglasses: Marc by Marc Jacobs)
I wore this outfit to bee-bop around town on Saturday morning. My first stop was the farmer’s market with the dog where I picked up some free range eggs and locally raised/produced sausage and ham. Then, I went to the flea market where, totally unbeknowst to me, the Got To Be NC festival was going on. It was a mad house, but FOMO (fear of missing out) got the best of me, so I drove around for 20 minutes to find a parking spot, got in a fight with a lady in a jeep as I told her I was waiting for that spot first (I lost the battle… trust me, you would have given up too if you say her mullet-loving boyfriend), and finally found a spot of my own so I could walk around and check out the craziness. I didn’t buy anything, but the window shopping and people watching was fun. As I was leaving, an old man at one of the booths told me that I was wearing an interesting color combination and it made me stand out. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had seen any of the other people at the festival, but okay. Thanks, mister!
In case you didn’t know, this past Sunday was Mother’s Day. In honor of the day, I slept in, woke up to my husband making a fresh pot of coffee and enjoyed some homemade scrambled eggs and bacon. Then, I had a relaxing brunch/lunch with a fab group of girls including a dear friend of mine who was visiting (and just started an awesome new jewelry line. hint: check out my bracelet). I may not be a mother yet, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got this mother’s day thing down pat.
All kidding aside, we did spend some time with my mom who is pretty great, if I do say so myself. We hosted a dinner at our house, and I even made this strawberry-rhubarb pie.
P.S. Make sure to enter my Darphin giveaway which ends next week! $100 of luxe beauty products could be yours. for realz.