March 24, 2010

Rockin' Maternity Wear in 2010

I’m just about six months pregnant with my second baby girl. It seems like time is simultaneously flying by so fast and so slow. Having just recently grown out of my regular wardrobe, I’ve had to grumble my way into maternity pants. This change could pose as a quandary for a self-professed stylista like me, but I'm taking a stand for the sake of elegance.

When I was younger, my sister would tell me to always dress to impress because I never knew who I would meet or what opportunities would arise that day…so I’ve made it a conscious effort to look the best I can ever since. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I didn’t have a clue about maternity fashion, what was available and how I could make pieces work. It’s true that pregnancy clothes have come a long way from muumuus and aprons, but even with a few more options, I nonetheless felt as if the industry failed to accommodate early twenty-something stylish mommies-to-be. Young women want to look hot…I mean, come on, I admire celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Beyonce for their va-va-voom flair. What young women do not want is to look maternal, even when they are with child. Why else would the acronym MILF be a considered a compliment?

While it’s the most natural process, the pregnancy experience was so alien to me that I was convinced I was ballooning at an exponentially exponential rate. That being said, all my personal notions about elegance basically got kicked to the curb for some months. In the end, I wore whatever fit, even if that meant going out in public in sweat pants. Wearing clothes that I generally wouldn’t dare to, I did not feel like myself and as a result, my confidence was shaken.

When I found out I was expecting again, I vowed that I wouldn’t allow the same style bungle to trap me again. This time around, I’m determined to look and feel the way I envision myself, only with a big ‘ole baby-filled belly. Gathering cues from stylish young moms like Nicole Richie and Angelina Jolie, I’m now sure that I’ve put together a practical, yet chic maternity wardrobe to reflect my age and personal flavor. The following are some maternity wardrobe staples I’ve compiled for others who are trying to stay stylish while preggers:

1. Maternity Skinny Jeans…Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to give up your skinny jeans, especially since it seems like every maternity designer is coming out with their own version these days. They come in a wide price range from about $50 at Motherhood Maternity to $250 for designer brand jeans which can be found at A Pea in the Pod. They are also available in under-the-belly or full-paneled styles, but either way, a good pair in a dark wash and stretch denim can be dressed up or down and will last you the duration of your pregnancy.
2. Wrap Cardigan… In a neutral color, the wrap cardi should be a staple in your maternity wardrobe because it’s a chic and comfy way to cover up. They can be paired with a dress or jeans and a top. And because it doesn’t require buttons, you’ll use it throughout your pregnancy and after!
3. Maternity Leggings…I’m obsessed with leggings, mainly because you can wear them day or night and they’re really easy to throw on. Some expecting moms may find them more comfortable and practical than maternity jeans because of their stretch capacity. You can find a great selection at DestinationMaternity. Just a thought, I’d wear leggings with a long top only, unless you look like a seven months pregnant Gisele Bundchen.
4. Long Tank…Purchasing long tanks in an assortment of colors that work for your wardrobe is definitely a valuable investment. They are versatile, so you can wear them alone but for those of you who know what pregnancy can do to your boobs, tanks can also be worn under a low-cut top or dress to demure-ize out-of-control cleavage.
5. Oversized Accessories…My theory here is that big and bold accessories work as statement pieces, therefore detracting attention from your gigantic belly (for those of you who want this effect). Anyway, oversized jewelry like boyfriend watches, cocktail rings, tribal cuffs, chunky chain and bib necklaces are in now. Big Ray Ban sunglasses are cool not matter what. You can add a perforated leather belt slung low under your belly and carry a large fringed-out bag for a bohemian approach.
6. Maxi Dress…They weren’t originally designed as maternity attire, but maxi dresses looks good on almost everyone, so why not? Celebrities like Gwen Stefani, Angelina Jolie and Amy Adams have been seen rocking these dresses. My sister had a summer pregnancy, and she loved maxis because the flowing material under the bust leaves room for growing bellies. She wore them even after giving birth! Also, for expecting mothers who get overheated quickly, maxi dresses are also a…err…well-ventilated option.
7. Maternity Lingerie…While most maternity lingerie consist of plain, granny-panty style designs, there are a few companies like Belabumbum that make sexy yet sweet bras and panties for pregnant women who need extra support and styles that grow as they do. Girls, what’s under your clothes really does make a difference!
8. V-neck Shirt…Enhanced cleavage that comes with pregnancy can be a huge positive for some—play it up with a basic v-neck top like the super comfortable unisex jersey tees found at American Apparel.
9. Shoulder Embellishments…Tops with embellished shoulders have recently been seen on many celebrities such Rihanna. They can balance the proportions of a bigger belly and hips. You can find tops with puffy or beaded shoulders at TopShop, H&M and UrbanOutfitters.
10. Wedges…I love a high-heel, but pregnancy makes me even more clumsy than normal, so I’ve opted for wedges because they provide height with more balance. Aldo has come out with some neutral color wedges in gladiator styles that could work with almost any outfit.
11. Grecian-style…The draping can camouflage, but the style is just pretty, isn’t it? Pair a Grecian inspired top with your skinny jeans and wedges—there, you have a night-out outfit!
12. Military-style Blazer…We’ve been seeing boyfriend blazers everywhere these days, but the hardware on military-style blazers offers more interest. I was so coveting this white Balmain jacket after seeing it on Beyonce.
13. Ballet Flats…I cannot live without my flats. They are adaptable to practically any ensemble and when you are lugging around an extra few pounds, they are a godsend to your aching and seemingly ever-swelling feet.