Easy, Breezy Preggo Chic: Bump It Up Approved Summer Dresses

The grass is always more alluring on the other side.

Many women say that a summer pregnancy is worse than a winter one. I disagree. While it’s true that you can “hide” in mountains of wool and cashmere, these layers actually add extra pounds to your already expansive frame. Factor in a coat and you’ve got bulk. While it’s true that the heat of the summer months can cause additional swelling, warm weather dresses offer an element of sultriness that is tough to pull off in tundra like conditions. Why? Well, summery, light-as-air dresses celebrate a pregnant woman’s body. They play up décolletage, bare arms, neck and the slope of the shoulders, sexy hot spots where pregnancy weight does not manifest. The drape ‘n cling of the lightweight fabrics prove that the bump (and boobs) are, in fact, showstopping accessories. The best part? Fashion longevity. Because they are inherently drapey, most of these dresses will look great during your pregnancy and afterwards.

Here are some of my favorite summer dresses:

1. Nuka Maternity Sharnee maxi dress/skirt in Coral $96.99

2. Isabella Oliver striped ruched dress $159

3. Hatch soiree dress $348

4. Ella Moss rio maxi dress $268

5. Calypso St. Barth bloussant full maxi dress $250

6. Rachel Pally long fortuna dress $251

7. Destination Maternity A Pea in the Pod tiered dress $129.50

8. Ingrid & Isabel maxi tank dress $128

9.  More of Me Maternity favorite shirtdress $170

10. Ingrid & Isabel waterfall dress $88

From Left to Right: Calypso St.Barth gold disc necklace $110 // Stella & Dot rebel pendant $79 // Stella & Dot cameron pendant $79 // Stella & Dot camilla ring $49 // Sequin NYC petra horn earrings $28 // Hive & Honey arrow drop earrings $22 // Sequin NYC tatijana cuff $178 // Tinley Road enamel bangles $26 each

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This May marked the fifth anniversary of Alisa Donner and Anna Getty’s Pregnancy Awareness Month; an organization committed to inspiring and educating women about every aspect of pregnancy. As one who celebrates maternity moxie in print, tv and my book BUMP IT UP: TRANSFORM YOUR PREGNANCY INTO THE ULTIMATE STYLE STATEMENT, I was delighted to, once again, take part in the PAM kick- off event in Los Angeles. From pre-natal exercise and nutrition to eco-chic products for the nursery, this event draws all type of organizations devoted to a healthy, happy pregnancy. I, of course, focus on style. My mission is to make women look and feel their best during one of the most fashion challenged time in their lives.

This year, I joined forces with Viacord to present the VIACORD BUMP IT UP STYLE LOUNGE, a chill out area (complete with sofa and snacks) where women could score one on one style sessions with me. Topics du jour? How to look like a long, lean baby making machine and strategically lengthen one’s silhouette with accessories. Women swarmed the lounge to learn how to “bump up” their wardrobes and transform nine months of potential frump and dump to jaw dropping fabulosity. Of course, you cannot have fabulosity without flattering fashion. On hand was the maternity brand Ingrid & Isabel, a celebrity favorite known for perfect dress-them up/dress- them- down basics. I styled our mannequins with two of my favorite dresses-the Athena and the Waterfall – to illustrate the concepts of silhouette “elongation”, “garment rotation” and “layering.”

Our lounge was a celebrity magnet. We had visits from Lisa Loeb (clad in a gorge Ingrid & Isabel dress), Ali Landry, Disney Channel’s Tiffany Thornton and Catherine McCord. Once they gleaned style tips, women headed over to Viacord to learn about a topic that I am passionate about: cord blood banking.

Fashion is fun but being educated about the health of your baby is critical. Viacord collects and stores the stem cells found in your newborn’s umbilical cord, which are used in the treatment of nearly 80 life-threatening diseases including a wide range of cancers, genetic diseases, immune system deficiencies and blood disorders. Essentially, storing your baby’s cord blood gives new parents peace of mind. It is an awful thought. But, should there be a need, your baby will have a source of stem cells that is an exact match, with no risk of rejection. There is also a strong possibility that his/her siblings will be a match as well. I did it with my children and strongly recommend that moms to be do too. Viacord offered valuable information and a copy of my style bible BUMP IT UP. Book in hand, guests then plopped down in our welcoming sofa to read and nibble on Sprinkle cupcakes and Godiva chocolate.

I recently partnered with luxe mom subscription service CITRUS LANE to develop a pregnancy pampering kit featuring my book and some of my favorite products. We raffled one kit off per hour which was a massive hit with the crowd.

What else can I say? It was a bumptastic day.

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With the spate of maternity and new mom gear on the market, it is easy to get overwhelmed. So, I took a swan dive through the marketplace and selected a few must have products to help you-and your new baby-look and feel your best. Believe me, the smallest details make the world of difference.

1. SMART STASH: emergency diapers at the ready
Diaper Buds $5.99 for 8ct.

2. DROOL WORTHY: four chic bibs in one, perfect for busy parents and stylish kids
Bebe Au Lair Quib Bibs $14

3. MATERNITY MOXIE: Must-have pregnancy kit with luxe pampering essentials
Citrus Lane Pregnancy Pampering Kit curated by Amy Tara Koch $65

4. NEW RULES!: Dr. Laura Jana’s comprehensive guide for new parents
Heading Home With Your Newborn by Laura A. Jana & Jennifer Shu

5. SLEEP SAVVY: Guru Dr. Marc Weissbluth shows you how to get baby to stack Zs
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth

6. HEAVEN SCENT: The safest lavender-spiked cleanser for pregnancy
Belli Skincare Pregnancy Body Wash $15

7. BOOBY TRAP: Is it a bottle? A breast? Tough to tell and that’s a good thing
Mimijumi Not So Hungry bottle $13.99

8. AU COURANT CAR SEAT: The most adorable, safe, easy to carry  infant car seat
Britax Chaperone Carseat

9. GREAT CHOICE: Cord blood banking equals parental peace of mind
Viacord Cord Blood Banking

10. NURSING NIRVANA: Where (breastfeeding) fashion meets function
Leading Lady Nursing Lace Bra $31

11. PREGGO PANTIES: Sexy. Sexy. Sexy.
Belabumbum Maternity Lace Boyshorts $29

12. STROLL IN STYLE: Super stylish, lightweight stroller
Baby Cargo Stroller $150

13. HEDGE ON THE WEDGE: Get out of the preggo dumps in these sustainably sourced kitten heel wedges that come with seven ribbons to transform your look
Mohop Shoes Mid Cherry Peep toe $164

14. MOLTO MAXI: A smooth-as-silk maternity dress that can be dressed up or down in a snap
Ingrid & Isabel Athena Maxi Dress $148

15. FLIRTY & FABULOUS: The genius “Momshell” dress is perfect for pregnancy and beyond
More of Me Maternity Momshell Dress $170

16. SWELL STYLE: Jumpers are on trend. Hatch’s version accommodates a burgeoning bump and can be worn-belted-after baby
Hatch Maternity Jumper $258

17. SLEEK & CHIC: A black stretch camisole bodysuit perfectly flatters a pregnant body
Bashful Bump Maternity Camisole Bodysuit $44

18. SPACE SAVER: Rollable bibs are great for the on-the-go mom
Tommee Tipee Easy Roll Bibs $6.99 2pk

19. PURE RELEIF: Cootie free skin cream to naturally relieve baby’s eczema and assorted skin irritations
Episencial Soothing Cream $10.99

20. THE SKINNY: Destination Maternity translates the colored denim trend seamlessly into maternity with their secret fit belly.
Joe’s Jeans for Destination Maternity Chelsea Secret Belly Fit in Lollipop $185

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Last week, the gleaming runways of Mercedes Benz fashion week gave birth to a new fashion concept; a show of ?realistic looks? designed by moms for their time challenged tribe. The brainchild of THE MOMS, high wattage mom bloggers Vera Sweeney and Audrey McClelland, social media agency BIG FUEL and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the Director of fashion at Lincoln Center, STRUT: THE FASHIONABLE MOM SHOW was crafted with the premise that moms and a smashing sense of style can live harmoniously in the car pool lane. To this end, the fashions showcased were affordable and attainable. While the traditional catwalk features fashions two seasons ahead, STRUT offered clothing that is in stores right now; a fresh faced version of the mall trend show plugged into a high fashion arena. Minus the haughty, well- heeled editors and retail buyers.  In fact, the show reinforced the power of social media. Influential mom bloggers-not models-walked the runway. The show was live streamed  to Babycenter.com, the number one pregnancy and parenting web destination with a  reach of 10 million moms in the US  and 25 million moms monthly in 22 international markets. Tout.com was on hand to snap and upload 15 second video clips on twitter, facebook and top blogger sites. One sponsor-Clorox-sponsored ?twitterazzi? seating for influential mom bloggers to ?live tweet? from the show. ?All the highly social mom ?models? participating in the show will give us a reach of over 4 million online moms in one day?, explains Audrey McClelland and Vera Sweeney. The result? Gargantuan social media metrics directly targeting moms responsible for the household buying decisionsIn terms of the fashion, there were no 6 foot glamazons teetering on stilettos clad in up- to -there ??city shorts? with sheer tank tops. STRUT models ran the gamut from size 2 to 16, some were pregnant. The looks were super wearable; a marriage of fashion and function for the office, the playground, date and the PTA meeting. The smart use of accessories showed how easy it is to transform a basic garment into a fabulous ensemble. Participating brands included Tory Burch, Tj Maxx, Marshalls, Rebecca Minkoff, Gap, Michael Kors, Macys and Bloomingdales. There were also maternity fashion shown by Ingrid & Isabel, Hatch and Pea in the Pod.

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What do pregnant women want for Christmas? GLAMOUR! With the basketball bulge of a belly, a great holiday gift is something that injects maternity moxie to that nine month fashion challenge called “pregnancy.”  My BUMP IT UP gift guide is filled with stylish gear designed to make her look and feel great.     

1. Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss Trio

2. Spanx Power Mama Tights

3. Belli Pregnancy: Complexion Perfection Duo

4. Destination Maternity: Storksak Jools Diaper Bag

5. Kara Ross Drusy Resin Cuff

6. Ingrid & Isabel BellaBand

7. Hatch by Two Birds Wrap Dress

8. Mr. & Mrs: Labor & Delivery Survival Kit

9. Mama Mio Beat the Heat Bump It Up Pregnancy Style Kit


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10 things to GLAMMIFY your pregnancy

1. Must have info to stay out of the preggo dumps!
BUMP IT UP: Transform your Pregnancy into the Ultimate Style Statement $15

2. Combat stretch marks
MAMA MIO Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil $35

3. Relieve foot pain
BELLI Foot Relief Cream $18

4. Sweet relief for hemorrhoids
TUCK’S cooling hemorrhoid pads $7.99

5. BFF for trimesters 1 & 4: helps keep bottoms up as belly morphs
BELLABAND by Ingrid & Isabel $30

6. Footwear Fabulosity: insoles to make wearing heels a breeze
FOOT PETALS Stiletto Stylist Kit for Moms $44.95

7. A chic stretch belt is essential to create a flattering empire waist silhouette

8.  Seamless support maternity undies
BELEVATION support panty $20

9. Get your glow on
ZOE ORGANICS glowing face and body wash (paraben free) $16

10. Stay high and mighty: all hosiery, bulge-defying bra
SPANX Bra-llelujah all hosiery comfort bra $36

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Behind the scenes at the today show: Showing Moms how to wear swimsuits with dignity!

TODAY SHOW Amy Tara Koch Bump It Up

Maria, Serena, ATK, Grace, Divina and Karen

Getting ready for the TODAY show segment

Moms detest bathing suit season. And, for good reason! 20 something size two women have no issue wriggling into a teeny, weeny bikini. But for real women—those with lumps, bumps and other unsightly bulges– there is an inimitable sense of dread attached to swimsuit hunting. I cast real women-size 8-14 –to show  how the right swimsuit and thoughtful styling can make you look thinner, taller and glamorous!


Today Show Green room Amy Tara Koch Bump it up

All the hot mamas getting ready to take the stage:
Karen, Maria, Serena, ATK, Divina and Grace


  • THE THREE Cs of swimsuit shopping: Construction , contrast, compression, cover-ups
  • Elongate the neck and emphasize the décolletage

  • Use big baubles for the beach..(say it 5 times fast!) like cuffs, rings and earrings to draw attention to the body parts you like and camouflage what you don’t

  • A cover-up is a layering tool that masks a thousand flaws
  • A subtle heel elongates the silhouette

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch the full segment! Get the Looks!

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9 Maternity Pieces to Spice Up Your Winter Wardrobe


Nuka Maternity Ballet Top, $82


Ingrid & Isabel Ruched Tank, $48


Momzee Joplin Skinny Maternity Jeans, $99


Pouch Versatile Dress, $175


Kensie Sequin Jacket, $128


Kenneth Cole REACTION Blue Ice Ankle Boot, $119


The Charlie bag, $150


Juliet & Company Fishnet Stocking Pearl Necklace, $55, or Kenneth Jay Lane Twist Bangle, $58


Zara Two-Tone Wool Scarf, $60

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Easy, Breezy Summer Staples


For the pregnantista, summer poses a sartorial challenge. How to look cool when

external temps and hormones push your internal thermostat to full throttle? It’s all about pieces that offer you, my fertile friend, easy, breezy style. The best part about these pieces? Fashion longevity. Once you bid adieu to your bump, these garments can be can still be worn in style.



Ingrid and Isabel’s ultra soft knit maxi skirt is a summer staple. It can be dressed up with a flouncy wrap top or worn with a white ribbed tank to the beach. $88 ingridandisabel.com


The Gypsy organic maxi dress embodies the three C’s essential for summer style: comfy, cool and chic. $98



The au courant combination of bold coral color and fluidity which ebbs and flows over expansive boobs, butt and bump make Rosie Pope’s silk knit dress a winner.defines effortless summer style! $198 www.rosie pope.com

The Strapless Dress

There is nothing more alluring on sweltering summer days than Japanese Weekend’s gauzy convertible berry colored skirt/dress!.$72,


This silky, assymetrical MOMSHELL DRESS is the light as a feather fashion choice for weddings, a baby shower, or a night out, $180 www. moreofmematernity.com


This universally flattering empire waist dress underscores the BUMP IT UP philosophy of maximum style, minimal maternity specific investment. The hanging “apron” ties can be worn 7 different ways (strapless, Grecian halter, halter, skirt, knotted halter, one-shoulder, plunge… so it is extremely versatile $150

If you cant spend the big bucks on maternity clothing, fret not. Maternity moxie can be had at every price point. Test drive these shopping tips for high style on a low budget:

  • THE POOR (WO) MANS VERSACE A distant cousin of ready-to-wear, swimwear is home to explosively colored, blouson friendly apparel. Less flashy and far less expensive than ready to wear, these no- name bathing suit “cover ups” can do double duty as pregnancy apparel. Filene’s Basement is filled with tunics that feel like Matthew Williamson and bejeweled linen caftans that smack of Tory Burch. Marshall’s swirly, candy colored Muu-Muu was a dead ringer for Versace.


  • INNERWEAR AS RTW: Underpinnings give major look for minor dough. A bias cut slip layered with a belted cardigan and funky jewelry offers Desperately Seeking Susan meets Mrs. Robinson cache. How to get the look? Make a pit stop at some of your chic septuagenarian relatives’ homes and mine their lingerie drawers. Nab gauzy nightgowns, caftans, “bed jackets” and slips. Flea markets and vintage shops are nightgown nirvana. Roomy black satin slips make comfy chic dresses. Bias cut long nighties, especially those with interesting swirls of color or prints, make glam cocktail frocks. Little Pucci-esque robes can be belted and worn with a heel. Also, combining lingerie with something more structured like a knit or jacket adds polish to the look.

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