Pregnancy is not usually something one equates with fashion or style readers, am I right? Usually it conjures up images of ghastly maternity pants with the huge belly band or the problem of shirts getting too short to cover your ever expanding self seemingly overnight. During my first pregnancy I gave up at about seven months and spent the remainder of my pregnancy in black yoga pants. I wore them with EVERYTHING to pretty much everywhere, I didn't care. I couldn't find maternity jeans that were both wearable and affordable (I wasn't about to shell out $175 for designer maternity jeans for two months of wear) so I just accepted the fact that my stylish self was going to have to wait until post baby to re-emerge. My second pregnancy was somewhat different since I had my daughter in a different season but it pretty much had the same style outcome. I gave up on trying to look or feel stylish pretty early, and I even did the unthinkable, I cut my hair! Short! Something they say to never do when pregnant. It did not turn out well. This time around I am committed to staying stylish and chic throughout the entire pregnancy. Buoyed by a seemingly endless supply of pregnant celebrity pictures I am going to attempt what I once thought was impossible. Although I'm not armed with a stylist or celebrity size paychecks in order to accomplish this goal, I do have a strong desire to avoid the frump which usually hits me big time around now, six months in. First, let me share with you some of the tips I have gathered mostly through trial and error. My number one tip of pieces to buy, even at the beginning of your pregnancy-maxi dresses. You can buy these for any season since you can wear them alone during the warmer months and then throw a cute cardigan or leather jacket over them in the cooler months with a scarf, and they will look amazing during any stage of pregnancy you're in. If you're in the early stages and haven't broken the news yet they'll hide any evidence of a bump, and when you're feeling huge they'll cover everything more than adequately and you'll feel chic yet comfortable. You can wear them with boots, flats, heels,whatever you want, and they are easy to dress up with bold jewelry and accessories. Best of all, you don't even have to buy these at a maternity shop, you can buy one wherever and wear it before, during and after. One of my all time best purchases of clothing is the first Butter wrap dress I bought at Hunt Ltd. before the awesome shop closed on Broadway. At $315 this floor length jersey dress wasn't cheap, but the amount of wear I've already gotten out of this dress has made it worth every penny ten times over. I've worn it not pregnant and have gotten tons of compliments, and then wore it all this summer, to polo, the track, weddings, and just as a casual dress to parties and the park or lunch downtown and will continue to wear it with a cardigan and a scarf throughout the rest of the pregnancy. It comes in a ton of colors, which is also a nice touch when trying to feel a little more stylish, and you can wear it a million different ways because of the convertible wrap quality of the design. My other style tip for pregnancy chic is to invest in some babydoll dresses. Because of the cut of these dresses they can skim over any size bump, and paired with black tights or leggings they can take you from the warmer months into the cooler months and can also be paired with boots when it gets chilly. There are endless possibilities for baby doll dresses and you can find them in any price range or style, a simple search at Shop Style came up with over ten pages of options and sizes to choose from, from casual to dressy and everything in between. These are also great for before, during and after wear, and can be especially forgiving afterwards when you're still getting back into shape.
My final tip for staying chic while sporting a bump is American Apparel. They have every basic you need in great prices, and they have been a staple of mine, pregnant or not, for years. Their dresses are great, and they have a huge selection of simple jersey dresses with affordable prices in tons of great colors. They have maxi dresses, short dresses and everything in between all in stretchy, washable jersey that have a simple yet chic cut that you can pair with some of their leggings or tights as well. My go to dress is their simple t-shirt dress. At just $27 this dress can't be beat. I have two in black and one in a fun teal color that I bought years ago and they have seen me through my two pregnancies and this one including in between. I wore one to a fancy New Year's Party (not pregnant) one year paired with some fun leather leggings and I also wear it now with fun colored tights and boots. It comes in a huge range of colors and at that price you can afford to buy more than one. At the end of your pregnancy it takes on more of a long t-shirt look, but it snaps right back into its original shape after you toss it in the washing machine. This simple design is also one that can be dressed up with jewelry for a night out, worn with a blazer and over pants for a meeting at work, or with flip flops to watch soccer games at the park.
With all of these affordable yet stylish options I'm hoping to avoid buying any major maternity clothes this time around, and I'll even have some stylish pieces to wear during the transition and post pregnancy time as well. Most importantly, wearing something cute and feeling like you still have some of your own personal style going on can help you get through the difficulties in feeling like a house that is only getting bigger as the days go by. I might be on the girlier side for admitting this but it does cheer me up to slip a cute dress on rather than struggle with ill fitting maternity jeans or maternity tops that make me feel like a circus tent. If you have any tips on how to survive pregnancy with your style intact share them with me here and we'll add them to our pregnant mama page, Preggotoga!