Q: Marcela asks: Hi Carmen, I'm currently expecting my first baby in April of 2014 and I'm struggling with finding clothes that is flattering and stylish. I know you recently had a baby and wanted to see if you had any tips you could share. Any help is greatly appreciated!
A: Hi Marcela, first of all congratulations! I definitely know what you're talking about. Dressing an ever growing baby bump can definitely be challenging. Not only that, but I could not bring myself to splurge on a temporary wardrobe (like splurging on a pair of $200 jeans from a Pea in a Pod). But with some simple tips, it can easily be done...so not to fret. Here are some helpful tips I picked up along the way while I was dressing my own baby bump.
The Bella Band is uh-mazing. When I was pregnant, the Bella Band was my new best friend. I was able to wear my regular jeans up until I was 8 months pregnant. It basically holds your unbuttoned jeans, letting you get away with not buying maternity jeans. Target also has a similar version called BeBand for $16 bucks. When it did come time to buy maternity jeans, I really loved the ones from Gap and Old Navy. They are stylish and inexpensive (I spent around $30-$40 bucks on each). Make sure you check out the sales rack in the back too.
Tip: The elastic band the goes over the entire belly was a lot more more comfortable than the one the sits below the belly. I was convinced it was squishing my baby's head lol.
Play with Accessories. Accessories are a great way to dress up any outfit (plus they have no size). A statement necklace in a bold color can easily dress up your look. For example, I wore this black dress (as pictured above) with a turquoise statement necklace to give it a pop of color.
Look for Dresses with an Empire Waist. Just because you are pregnant, doesn't mean you are stuck to wearing maternity clothes. Dresses with an empire waist are great non-maternity options. The empire waist highlights the narrowest part of your waist and flows over your baby bump, making it comfortable yet stylish. You can find these at almost any retailer, just look for a larger size.
Sweater Dresses are the Best. When the weather started getting cold, I practically lived in sweater dresses and simply paired them with tights and flat boots. H&M has some really great options at affordable prices. On that note, don't forget to invest in a pair of tights. You can even get away with wearing some of your stretchy dresses with tights. For the summer I loved maxi dresses, which are very stylish and comfy. It's all about being comfy when you're pregnant in my opinion.
Flowy Blouses. I loved wearing flowy blouses while I was pregnant, and again these don't have to be from a maternity line (like that blue one I'm wearing which I bought at Marshalls). Also, don't be afraid to wear fitted tops. Contrary to belief, clothes that are oversized can actually make you look bigger than you really are. So flaunt that belly! Here's an example of a fitted top I like from LOFT.
Shoes: For shoes, I loved wearing my leopard loafers (which I still wear today). Here's an article I wrote on more stylish shoes you can check out.
Last, but not least, here are a few of my favorite places to shop. From where to get clothes on a budget, to my favorite stores that have a maternity line (that's inexpensive).
Maternity lines I love:
GILT (flash sales site that carries maternity lines)
Jessica Simpson Motherhood Maternity (has some cute stuff if you can get it on sale)
Mine for Nine (a cool site that lets you rent maternity clothes...would be good for the holidays)
Non-Maternity on a Budget:
Forever 21 (their maternity line was discontinued, but it's still good for affordable non-maternity clothes)
J.Crew Factory (their maternity line is not part of their outlet, but you can still find some cute tops here)
ps. Don't forget, if you have any style questions send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org