Monday, July 12, 2010

Favorite Wardrobe Items for Early Pregnancy

As my current pregnancy approaches 4 months, I am again faced with the reality of growing out of my favorite 'retro inspired' clothing items. Gone is the possibility of wearing waist cinching dresses or tailored blouses. The most frustrating thing about this particular stage of pregnancy is that so called 'maternity' pieces are still too full and awkward for anything but 'home' use. So following are a few of my current favorite fashion items, the ones that still slip easily over that growing 'bump' without completely abandoning my style tastes.

1. 'Trixie Top' from Heartbreaker Fashion:
Yes, I've mentioned this indispensable fashion item before, but I never anticipated wearing it during pregnancy. The length is ideal for those early months because it covers the belly and doesn't ride up. Plus, the fabric is sturdy and doesn't lose its shape, even after wearing it all day. I wouldn't risk stretching the garment by trying to wear it with TOO large a belly, but as of now it is still working beautifully with skirts or pants. My favorite non-maternity top is now my favorite top to wear during early pregnancy!

Top from Modcloth

2. Baby Doll/Tunic Tops: Even if the 'blousy' look isn't necessarily something that you wear in your day to day life, pregnancy can help you get motivated to try something new. I don't normally wear many baby doll tops, but during the first trimester (and on into the 2nd), they can be a life-saver. Not only are you investing in items that are suitable for wearing after the baby is born (tunics especially are ideal for the first few months post-partum), but they are usually cut to fit you well at the chest and shoulders, thus creating a more flattering image than if you opted to wear a larger size or a maternity piece. I have several 'tunic' style tops that I bought when I was losing my post-pregnancy tummy last time, and they have worked marvelously for these early months as well. It's a great way to maintain a feminine retro style without showing off your waist.

It's also a good idea to purchase items that show off your finer points, at this time. If your bust is growing, your decollete' may be a bit plumper and prettier than before. Scooped necklines will help boost your confidence. If your arms are one of your best features, sleeveless items will draw attention to them.

3.Skirts made of stretchy material or featuring a wide-panel waistband: Even in my regular wardrobe, I have begun to abandon jeans and pants for skirts. I find them easier to wear than I initially thought, and I enjoy wearing them on all occasions. There are a few skirts already in my wardrobe that are still suitable for early pregnancy, due to the nature of the fabric or the waistband. The skirt pictured here from Daddy O's, is a good example. The wide cut of the waistband fits around the hips and can be moved 'up' as pregnancy progresses, especially if there is a little stretch in the fabric (it will sit a little shorter but still be flirty and fun). When the zipper no longer works out, you can extend the life of items like this with a maternity band, like the Bella Band (featured below).

4. Maternity Pencil Skirts: A good quality maternity pencil skirt will serve you well! Ones made like the one above (from Pea in the Pod) are a little pricier than those from lower end maternity shops, but are well worth the money. They feature a straight, banded waist that is elasticized in the back. Not only do these pieces look great for evening or the workplace, but they will easily extend to your 'post pregnancy' wardrobe since they don't include an awkward stretch panel. The downside to these skirts is that they usually can't be worn to the end of pregnancy, when the belly outgrows the elastic, but they are still a worthy investment. I have one of these (in black) and several inexpensive a-line skirts with a full front panel for late pregnancy.

5. The Bella Band: Probably the item I would recommend above anything else, the 'Bella Band' is absolutely a necessity for early pregnancy! It extends the life of anything with a zipper (or other closure). Due to this little item, my jeans can be worn up to six months into my pregnancy and again the day after birth. It also provides great support to the mid-section and a smooth flattering line beneath knit clothing. After the baby comes, use it to hold up pants or skirts that are still a LONG way from buttoning or to simply give your waistline a more 'svelte' appearance.

Pregnancy can be a time that you look back on with pride, instead of a time that you ban all cameras from your presence. Remember, the more attention you pay to maintaining your pre-pregnancy style, the more likely you will be to stay motivated, healthy, and active. Your confidence will also carry over into motherhood and you will feel better equipped to handle the challenges ahead!