Style secrets of the chic and pregnant
Start with neutrals. Your (mostly black) basics can be mixed and matched to work for anything from a cocktail party to a trip to the mall. Must haves? A super-long black tank top is a must-have layering piece for jeans and skirts. The longer bump-enhancing tanks are chic on their own and allow you to wear cropped sweaters and jackets. Add black leggings for the perfect slimming foil for a voluminous top or dress.
Dark denim pregnancy jeans are key. Dress them up with heels and boots or slip on ballet flats. Soft, jewel-neck, to-the-thigh tees in white and black can be worn alone or layered. The empire dress—the shape accentuates the rib cage and disguises bottom heaviness. And don’t forget a basic black jersey bias-cut dress; a stretchy, black, maternity pencil skirt; and above-the knee shifts are cute, comfy, and au courant.
Baubles make a basic outfit pop. Eclectic accents—Indian bangles, a chain belt, cool Tibetan pendants—add a provocative element to your look. A chocolate wrap dress becomes an It-girl ensemble with onyx beads, a knuckle duster of a cocktail ring, fish nets over opaque tights, and black boots. Jewelry should mirror the bravado of your bump. Bold baubles—cuff bracelets, chandelier earrings—amplify your style quotient.
Nothing “frumpifies” more than lack of proportion. Some guidelines: 1) If it’s big on top, it should be narrow on bottom. 2) If it’s narrow on top, add some volume with a skirt or wide-legged pant. 3) Dresses should be above-the-knee or sweeping the ground to elongate the body. 4) Legs are slimmed with black tights and a boot or heels. 5) Big blouses are countered with fitted skirts or tapered trousers. 6) Tailoring is critical.
A heel visually lengthens your silhouette and, in turn, balances out your tummy-enhanced proportion. You don’t need 5-inch Victoria Beckham stilettos. But, with the watermelon in your belly, a little height will balance out the bulge, elongate your body, and add that soupçon of glamour that transforms dumpy into diva. You will have the most stability with mid-range stacked heels, wedges, and kitten heels.
Nothing says “wow!” like an unidentifiable retro accent. Accessories are an inexpensive entry point to vintage. A quirky woven leather and gold belt gives shape to drapey silhouettes. A huge tribal medallion adds panache to a dark caftan. Sleek old school logo belts—think Dior and Gucci from the 70s—are a whimsical under-the-bump flourish. Ethnic touches—Indian bangles, wooden cuffs—are unadulterated global glitz.
Aside from being decorative, belts are a functional style element that deliver the illusion of a waistline. A flashy belt below the belly is a way to draw attention to your bump and away from other areas that you may not be so fond of at the moment. 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.
6 tips for a stylish pregnancy
According to Jody Kozlow Gardner, co-author of Pregnancy Chic: The Fashion Survival Guide (Villard), the key to dressing modern and sexy during pregnancy is to pick out the trends you like and adapt them to your new body. Check out these tips to up your pregnancy style quotient.
Show some skin
If you’re normally small-chested, pregnancy offers the best chance you’ll ever have to forego the padded bras and flaunt cleavage, so take advantage of this fortuitous occasion and wear scoop-neck T-shirts or sweaters.
If you enjoyed wearing skinny jeans before you were an expecting mama, don’t be afraid to don tight-fitting pants now just because you’re pregnant. Many maternity lines are now making stretchy, super-comfy (and chic!) skinny jeans and leather leggings that will fit and flaunt your new curves.
Choose snug over bulky
Reaching for bigger clothes to hide your size sounds like a good idea, but it only contributes to a bulky look. Instead, slim down your silhouette and emphasize the features that aren’t expanding with snug-sleeved tops, skinnier pants, and button-down shirts or blazers (from your prepregnancy wardrobe) left unbuttoned. Try knits that stretch to fit your form -- they’re sexy and feminine. If all else fails, break out a crisp men’s dress shirt and pair it with leggings or jeans and a fitted T-shirt or tank underneath. This look is the perfect mix of sexy, modern, and classic style.
Perk up a staid wardrobe with just a few decorative elements, such as ruffled trims or embroidered or beaded accents. Just be sure to stick with things that you’ll be able to wear more than once without feeling too conspicuous.
Try some trimmings
One of the easiest ways to add dimension and flare to an otherwise simple ensemble is to put on your favourite accessories and jewelry. Try long, dangling earrings and lariat necklaces to de-emphasize fullness in your face.
Wear a patterned scarf in your hair, put a jeweled cuff on your wrist, or carry a chic handbag. Better yet, if you’re not going to be on your feet all day, throw on some fun open-toe sandals or sling-backs. Sexy shoes can instantly perk up practically any outfit.