Pregnancy is exhilarating, exhausting and challenging on many fronts. To me- a longtime fashion editor, style expert and author- the key to pregnancy style is having the tools to confront sartorial challenges and step up to the fashion plate
Here are some tips to unleash your inner pregnantista.
CREATE A UNIFORM Neutrals are fashion chameleons which take on the mood of whatever garments they are layered with. Thus, neutral basics can be mixed and matched to “work” for every situation. Must haves? An above the knee shift, black leggings, black bias cut jersey dress, empire waist dress, a black lycra top, a flowy tunic and a black maternity stretch pencil skirt. Then, groovify your wardrobe staples with ADD ONs and WOW FACTOR, the style elements that transform basics into “looks”.
PROPORTION, PROPORTION, PROPORTION! Nothing frumpifies more than oversized clothing and lack of proportion. Some guidelines? If it’s big on top, it should be narrow on bottom. If it is narrow on top, you can add some volume with a skirt or wide legged pant. Skirts and dresses should be above the knee or sweeping the ground to elongate the body. Legs are slimmed and lengthened with black tights and a boot or heels. Big blouses are countered with fitted skirts or tapered trousers.
BACK IN BLACK There is a reason that, each season, editors declare that “black is the new black”. Black is mysterious and chic. Black is basic enough to make a statement. Or not. Black is classic. Black is seasonless. Black matches with everything. Black can be dressed up or down. Most important? Because it absorbs light, black hides imperfections and is, hands down, the most slimming color on the planet.
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK! This genius silhouette gathers (flattering to all shapes) under the breast and falls loosely to the hip, knee or floor covering bulging bellies and butts with cascading fabric. The empire waist also put the focus on the arms and shoulders, places where pregnancy weight does not manifest itself.
TALK TUNIC TO ME The breezy dress me up, dress me down tunic gets an A+ in masking girth. Popularized by style luminaries like Babe Paley and Talitha Getty, this versatile thigh length top is beloved for its ability to showcase boobage and hide bloatage.
SEISMIC SHIFT Channel Gidget. Or, my preggo icon Gwen Stefani, with the flirty old school shift. Cut straight from the shoulders and flowing away from the hips, this above the knee dress is easy to wear and disguises thickening thighs and other forms of bottom heaviness.
LEARN TO LAYER The skillful layering of color, textures and accessories allows the savvy pregnantista to invest in quality basics and “bump them up” into compelling looks. Check this out: pregnancy jeans with a black chiffon tank top is fade- into- the- woodwork nice. But, mix in glitzy kitten heel slides, a Pucci-esque swingy trapeze jacket, a heavy gold pendant and gold earrings and you’ve made a statement.
KNIT WIT Slouchy knits offer the soft silhouette that is chic and cozy for day or evening wear. Get a blast of color with a thin open -at –the- front cashmere knit sweater or a non-structured jacket that is short in the back and long and drapey in the front making it a versatile (and vertical) layering staple. And, because it comes in a variety of colors and fabrications, the look translates to every season.
GET WAISTED! Pregnancy is the optimal time to discover the joys of belting. Designers use belts to express “directionality”, or, mood of their collection. In pregnancy, belts are a functional style element that delivers the illusion of a waistline. A stretchy belt can be used below the bra line to create an empire waist. And, a thin leather belt can be added over a cardigan to add polish. A flashy belt below the belly is a way to draw attention to your sumptuous bump and away from other areas that you may not be so fond of at the moment.
GET HIGH! A heel visually lengthens your silhouette and, in turn balances out your tummy enhanced proportion. You don’t need five inch Carrie Bradshaw stilettos. But, with the watermelon in your belly, height will balance out the bulge, elongate your body and add that soupcon of glamour that transforms dumpy to diva.
TIE ONE ON! Scarves are the Holy Grail to maternity moxie; a colorful style element that can build up a basic. During the first trimester, scarves camouflage a bulging belly. For trimesters 2 and 3, drapey scarves deliver verticality to the somewhat stumpy pregnant silhouette. Colorful, bunch-up-able scarves (think Jennifer Aniston in Malibu) can be looped nonchalantly around the neck to add color and Parisienne chic.
THE HIGH ART OF SUPER-ACCESSORIZING Aside from being decorative, accessories play a major role in creating a long, lean silhouette. Neck grazing earrings, for example, take the focus to the neck and shoulders where pregnancy weight does not manifest. Layered long necklaces rein in excess fabric of tunics and balloon dresses supplying a lean silhouette. Belts give drapey clothing shape and can supply an illusion of a waist while you are camouflaging a burgeoning belly. Scarves add verticality and cover the belly. Larger bags balance out proportion. And heels literally take pregnant women out of the dumps by lengthening the leg. Jewelry should mirror the bravado of your bump. Bold baubles—cuff bracelets, gold chains, chandelier earrings-amplify your style quotient.