Maternity Wear

21 February 2009

Look fab, not fat

Just because you're a mum-to-be doesn't mean you have a right to look like a sack potato. But shopping as an expectant mum can be tough. JILL LEE lists 10 rules to stick by so your baby bump won't steal your sense of style.

Rule #1: Don't hide it.
Even Hollywood is baby-crazy nowadays, so there's no reason to try to hide your baby bump when you're shopping for maternity wear. It's much more flattering to show off your condition instead. So forget frumpy, oversized tees or piling on the layers in a misguided attempt to look slimmer. When sifting through the racks of clothes, look for sleeker numbers that will let your curvy figure show. We guarantee you will look more womanly than ever.

Rule #2: Maternity jeans are a must.
You don't just have to wear frilly flared dresses when you're expecting. Jeans are a much trendier option. And since they're great for any occasion, a good pair of maternity jeans that can last you through your pregnancy is a worthy investment. Look for a flattering pair with a good fit. Besides the obvious style factor, the stretchy panels on maternity jeans offer great support for your growing belly. So don't just buy bigger sizes of your usual Levi's. Some denim designers like Seven for All Mankind, Earl Jeans and Citizen of Humanity have maternity lines that you can check out.

Rule #3: Forget underwires.
As the breasts prepare for lactation, you will find yourself outgrowing your bra size very quickly. For some mums-to-be, wearing a bra with underwires can be extremely uncomfortable because of the changing shapes of their breasts. Also, the pressure can lead to blocked milk ducts or mastitis. Instead, go for a thick shelf bra or sports bra. These can offer similarly strong support while allowing for more room for your bust to fill in. A good time to be fitted for a bra is around the fourth month (16 weeks gestation), as most of the changes of the breasts would have occurred by then.

Rule #4: Stretch is key
Stretchy tops, skirts and pants, dresses (you name it) can do wonders to silhouette your baby body. Think a simple stretchy top that you can wear through your first two trimesters. Or a pair of comfy yoga pants for resting at home in. Besides these, an elegant wrap dress will also show off your pregnancy beautifully.

Rule #5: Stay in the black
Do get a number of key pieces - wrap dress, casual top, LBD, skirt - in black. The colour does a great job of making you look slim when you're all boobs and belly. And of course, black is always stylish and goes with just about everything. Just jazz up your outfit with different accessories and it'll look like you're wearing something new everyday.

Rule #6: Embrace colour
While you get plenty of mileage out of your black pieces, don't forget about adding colour to your wardrobe or you'd end up looking drab. That pregnancy glow fuss is completely true - so accentuate that by going for brighter colours when you can. If you're unsure, go monochromatic. This means sticking to just one colour or tonings of colour for a look that's pleasing to the eye.

Rule #7: Accessorise
This seems like a golden rule, whether you're expecting or not. But for most mums-to-be, the maternity wardrobe is a limited one. Unless you're Angelina Jolie, you probably will be looking to get the most out of your few sets of maternity wear. So go wild with the accessories (you won't grow out of them anyway). For most women, the neck and arms will look the same even if the rest of the body grows bigger. This means bold accessories will accentuate the neckline and look really flattering.

Rule #8: Ditch those heels
We're not trying play mother-in-law here, but you won't want to topple over when you're out shopping. Besides, it's a fact that your foot size can increase during pregnancy. To avoid swollen feet, it's better to shop for more comfortable alternatives like lower heels, flats or sandals. But don't go for straps and buckles as you don't want to be bending over them when your belly is in the way. Go for slip-ons whenever you can.

Rule #9: Maternity support belts can help
By the time you're in your third trimester, you will feel some pressure in your pelvis. You can buy a maternity support belt to alleviate some of this pressure and eliminate back, leg and abdominal pain. Granted, it looks really unglamourous. But it can be worn discreetly under most clothes. The best bit is that the support belt can usually be folded down to help to hold up pants. It also has the wonderful ability to look like a camisole should your shirt rises up.

Rule #10: Don't bare too much skin
You're not Britney Spears, so the whole world doesn't need to bear witness to your growing belly. Pregnancy is supposed to be the most beautiful period of your life, so don't go for skimpy clothes like tube-tops that are two sizes smaller - you'd just look tacky. As a rule of thumb, your belly should not be peeking out of your choice of clothes.


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