Monday, November 23, 2009

Maternity Wrap-Up, Part II: Do's & Don'ts

Tricia Lewis, our Fashion Herald blogger, is out on maternity leave. Below is a post she prepared before leave.

Don't buy maternity clothes in the early months that fit you perfectly.

I did this with my H&M Mama denim leggings (left), and the last couple months they were borderline uncomfortable. I really wish I had gotten the large for a little more breathing room.

Do treat yourself to stylish maternity.

Nothing is going to make you happier than having some trendy pieces in your maternity repertoire, and it doesn't have to cost much! H&M Mama (dresses, right), JCPenney, Gap, and Liz Lange Target clearance online have all proven to me over and over that you can maintain stylish standards while pregnant.

Do look at non-maternity empire cuts and flowing dresses.

Forever 21 will be a great resource for those of you who don't carry big, and to get us big girls through a good 6-7 months. I wore the orange maxi dress (below left) through the summer, and I wore the long black (below right) to a summer wedding. I wish I'd gotten the blue print, too, for hot summer weekends.

Don't go cheap on underpinnings.

You're going to need a good maternity bra with solid support, and great underwear. I bought one maternity and one comfortable nursing/sleep bra. Opt for generous on size. Maternity sizes are supposed to be comparable to your non-maternity size, but this was not always the case with me. Also, if you've got a tight budget, keep in mind you'll need more nursing bras later and may go up again in size once nursing begins.

Underwear gave me the most trouble. I had a difficult time finding the right size, as I carried large and grew significantly bigger every month. Don't spend a lot of money early on: most likely you're going to grow out of those bits fast, and it's the final months that you're really going to need to invest in some huge, comfortable, quality underpinnings. Yes, prepare yourself for the granny panty. And go to JCPenney, they've always got good deals and a big selection. You'll definitely find the style you need (I had great success with Bali's Skimp Skamp briefs, which look nothing like they sound).

Don't forget maternity support hosiery.

Sounds awful, but your circulation is going to be compromised, and this can help prevent veins if your body is so physiologically inclined.

Don't spend $$ on shoes.

I know, the idea of a shoe buying moratorium for 9+ months is like torture. But the chances of your shoe size changing are big. Ok, don't freak yet, your feet may go back to pre-pregnancy size. But I wouldn't gamble, because at 8+ months my feet went from 9 to 10.5, and I couldn't get my foot into that alice+olivia boot for Payless (left). Instead, save your shoe allowance for a fabulous, post-delivery shoe splurge.

Do spend $ on shoes.

You'll need something with support that ideally slips on so you don't have to bend over and lace or buckle. Bending over is extremely challenging in later months. Buy practical and get a neutral color. Be prepared to compromise your shoe standards. Someone once commented "I don't know how pregnant celebrities wear heels all the time," but remember, celebrities have limos, drivers, and personal assistants who carry bags. If you don't have a car at your beck and call, buy one pair of shoes that you can walk everywhere in.

Do get a great pair of jeans.

This may sound crazy, but I had a stubborn mental block with maternity jeans. I refused to spend money on jeans that I'd wear for a limited time. But now I wish I'd gotten a pair months ago, because it's getting colder, I'm going to need them post-delivery, and I love jeans. I think I was convinced I needed to spend a lot of $ for designer jeans to get the right look, but I learned on 34th Street that H&M Mama, JCPenney, and Gap (very comfortable 1969 maternity jeans, left) all had modern styles for under $80.

Don't be scared of form-fitting clothes.

You're going to be amazed at how much better you'll look in tighter clothing. I don't mean tight as in uncomfortably tight; I mean clothes that hug your body. If I wore leggings and a t-shirt that was fitted, co-workers would always say "You don't look so big today." And this brings me to...

Do come over to the pro-leggings side.

I don't care if you're passionately anti-leggings, they will be your best friend. I had two pairs of Liz Lange 3/4 length leggings in black and grey for the summer and I wore them almost daily under dresses and skirts. Late summer I bought my long H&M Mama black leggings (right) that I'm a little embarrassed to say I wear almost daily. You'll feel comfortable and covered in leggings, and you can pair them with long shirts and tunics. Also, if you grow a lot, your upper thighs might be doing horrid things like touching where they formerly never met before. To be frank, leggings (and hosiery) under skirts and dresses will prevent chafing.

Don't be scared of looking too pregnant.

I have this big Liz Lange tent dress in which I look huge. I wear it on days I need to swim in something. This enormous waddling-woman look can get you good things: priority seating on subways and buses, the ability to cut lines at fashion week, and random congratulations from guys on the street and girls at your local Jamba Juice. Don't underestimate the advantages of looking really pregnant.

Do invest in trendy seasonal items

Splurge a little on these if you can. Although my black Old Navy one-piece suit was fine for the pool, I wish I'd invested in a more hip, mood-lifting two-piece for the beach. I feel even more strongly about the winter coat, as you'll wear it a lot more than a swimsuit.

Do allow yourself to freak out, call a girlfriend, and go eat lots of ice cream.

This may happen: one day you're going to look in the mirror, your body is suddenly no longer your own, nothing in your closet fits, and you'll call into work late, hormonal, and outfit-challenged (and you may, ahem, have a little cry while trying to catch the bus). Now is the time to speed dial a girlfriend/sister who will immediately recommend maternity shopping therapy and lots of high-fat dairy products.

H&M Mama located in H&M Herald Square, 34th & 6th Ave.
JCPenney Manhattan Mall, lower levels 1 & 2, 33rd & Broadway
Gap Herald Square, 60 W. 34th at Broadway
Forever 21, 50 W. 34th between 5th & 6th


Lizzie said...

Those forever 21 dresses look so cute on you!

Elizabeth said...

I think EVERYTHING looks cute on you!

Nicole said...

Omgah, I want those Alice + Olivia Biker Wedge Boots sooooo bad! I hope I can find them at a store out here. I REALLY want them! But I never knew that women's shoe sizes also change during pregnancy. That scares me.

WendyB said...

Making pregnancy look fabulous!

tricia of said...

good suggestions!

to this i would add (learnt during my own pregnancy): wear your "regular" clothes as long as you can, if you can. by this i mean, if it still fits and it works, wear it. this is especially true for sweaters, jackets, stretchy tees, and the like. sure, it won't help you make it through that late final stretch, but in the early months, depending on your size and clothing preferences, stuff you already have can work. no need to run out and buy a whole bunch of stuff, imo, until you really need it. also, some consignment stores and thrift stores have maternity sections, you can sometimes find some pretty, gently used items that will get you through when you might need them.

Tricia said...

Tricia - great suggestions, and I forgot about secondhand stores - I bought a lot of my first stuff at a second hand store and wore it tons.