Eating for two is glorious. Dressing for two? Not so much. Over the past six months of pregnancy, I've watched the number of wearable items in my closet shrink at an alarming rate. Goodbye, favorite jeans. Farewell, little black dress. Adios, pretty much everything with buttons, zippers or a waistband.
It's been an uphill battle. (Well, more like a sideways-bump battle, if we're being literal here.) But determined to not succumb to muumuus and other shapeless frocks, I've learned a few things about maternity fashion and find myself even enjoying this ever-changing figure. (Curves! I have them! Hurrah!)
Here are my tips for staying stylish with a growing belly, once you're past the hair-tie-across-the-pants stage:
Bold accessories detract from the fact you're now the size of Jupiter. I've been gravitating toward bright, chunky necklaces to help balance out the bump. (Peacock Plume—www.peacockplume.com—has amazing statement jewelry for great prices.) I've also been wearing this hot-pink lipstick that I used to reserve for special nights out. It makes me feel more pulled-together, even when my energy's zapped and all I want to do is eat a Drumstick while watching the Kardashians.
Thank the good Lord for maxi dresses. And luckily in OC, we can wear them for nine months out of the year.
Mini-dresses make awesome maternity tops. This was probably my greatest fashion discovery. Forever 21 has a ton of stretchy, thigh-grazing cotton dresses that sell for, like, 12 bucks each. For preggos, they're the perfect shirt length, offering full belly coverage. Just remember to wear pants.
Sometimes, maternity clothes are better. I was all about avoiding designated maternity clothes—they're more expensive than regular clothes, and I'd only be wearing them for a short period of time. But then—THEN!—I discovered maternity leggings by Jessica Simpson, and my entire outlook changed. The soft-as-buttah pants have a secret belly compartment so your waist isn't constricted by the elastic. Ahhhh. I can breathe again. Best $36 I've ever spent.
It also doesn't hurt to grab a couple of other basics such as long-sleeve tees from GapMaternity (so comfy) and maybe a pair of maternity jeans (I have yet to find a good pair). For deals on designer maternity wear, check flash sale sites such as Gilt (www.gilt.com), Zulily (www.zulily.com) and Totsy (www.totsy.com). And if you have the time and patience to do some foraging, check out local consignment shops such as Mother's Secret in Orange and Newport Kids in Costa Mesa. The latter only accepts and sells top maternity brands, including BCBG, Cosa Bella, Joe's Jeans, Lavish By Heidi Klum, Rachel Pally and Rosie Pope. Mother's Secret, 726 N. Tustin St., Orange, (866) 708-0192; www.motherssecret.net. Newport Kids, 1775 Newport Blvd., Ste. A, Costa Mesa, (949) 548-2849; www.newportkidsconsignment.com.
Need something really nice to wear? Rent, don't buy. I haven't had the need to wear a suit or fancy dress, but if an occasion did arise, I'd check out Rent Maternity Wear (www.rentmaternitywear.com) or Mine for Nine (www.minefornine.com), sites that let you borrow maternity clothes for a fraction of what it would cost to purchase them. Genius. Also, don't hesitate to hit up friends for old maternity items. Think of it as the Sisterhood of the Traveling Fat Pants.
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Don't cover up. Unless you're hiding your bump for whatever reason (boss won't approve, you're a politician's teen daughter, etc.), I say show off that belly. You're growing a tiny human, and that's not something to conceal with baggy sweaters and oversized pants. And, you know, people might let you cut in line for the bathroom or give you their seat. Just an added perk.
This column appeared in print as "Pregnant In Heels."