Thursday, July 1, 2010

What to Expect When You are Expecting: Fashion Edition

A friend of mine recently sent me a barrage of texts of how unhappy she was about her current unfortunate situation. Apparently, the maternity offerings are just not quite up to snuff in her opinion or terribly expensive. She asked me to do a whole post about it, and who am I to turn down a pregnant lady's request?

I did a bit of poking around and unfortunately for the most part time has marched on but maternity fashion has not kept up. I mean take a look at this old pattern piece illustration? Can you tell me the difference between this and some of the items from Destination Maternity or A Pea in the Pod?

I mean yes they do have guest designers like Heidi Klum creating lines like Lavish by Heidi Klum and Loved by Heidi Klum. These, however, are just the best of a bad situation. I knew there had to be something better out there to satisfy those fashion diehards. There just had to be right? I mean after all there are all these pregnant celebrities out there looking fabulous like Amy Poehler, Alicia Keys, and Danielle Lloyds.

So, I began my search and came away almost defeated. 7 for All Mankind Maternity Jeans - expensive/poorly designed. Liz Lange Maternity - boring/stiff designs. It seemed that maternity was plagued with the same issues that bog down plus size offerings - lack of insight. Just because you are pregnant does not mean that you do not want to be fashion forward or overhaul your whole look as you are a mom to be.

Here are a couple of looks that I pulled together for my friend. She is a young school teacher, so what this what I tried to keep in my mind as I was playing virtual stylist. She is also quite thin when not pregnant (it is her second), so I wanted to create looks that were reminiscent what she wears then. Well, improved on a bit by myself of course! The other great thing about the items I pulled is that these items can mixed and matched. Thus, justifying the investment!

Work - Day: This dress from Moody Mamas is something I think anyone would want to wear - pregnant or not. Bright and vibrant this is the perfect dress to wear while working with children! She works in a school that does not allow bare shoulders, so pairing it with this cute sweater makes it work appropriate.

1. Moody Mamas - Sweetheart Dress (Sizes XS - XL; $190.00)

2. Spiegel - Whisper-Weight Cropped Cardigan (Sizes XS: XL; $17.00)

Work - Night: A teacher's work is mostly done during the day, but there is the odd occasion when they have to work the night shift. Namely - Parent/Teacher conferences. This outfit would be perfect for such occasions as it is extremely professional yet fashionable. I absolutely love the color of this top from TopShop and the fit of the pencil skirt by Isabella Oliver. Also, the cropped sweater featured with the day look can be paired with this outfit as well for a more casual look.

2. Spiegel - Whisper-Weight Cropped Cardigan (Sizes XS: XL; $17.00)

3. TopShop - Maternity Boutique Tuck Blouse (US Sizes 4 - 10; $50.00)

4. Isabella Oliver Maternity - Pencil Skirt (Sizes 0 - 14; $100.00)

Date Night - Casual: Being pregnant should prevent you from having a night out on the town! This more casual outfit on the left is still pretty fashion forward and is on trend via the lingerie inspired top. The Garbo Trousers from Isabella Oliver Maternity are also fantastic as they are fitted yet allow for your pregnancy tummy! This trench also from Isabella Oliver is the perfect way to complete the outfit, well that is if it is cold enough for it.

1. TopShop - Maternity Peplum Tunic (US Sizes 4 - 12; $70.00)

2. Isabella Oliver Maternity - Garbo Trousers (Sizes 0 - 14; $126.65)

3. Isabella Oliver Maternity - The Trapeze Trench (Sizes 8 - 14; $223.30)

Date Night - Sexy: Going out on the town with that special someone? This is the dress you should be wearing. It hugs your curves in all the right places and better yet comes in a color that pops! Pair this Isabella Oliver dress with the trench coat featured to avoid making women and men stop in their tracks!

3. Isabella Oliver Maternity - The Trapeze Trench (Sizes 8 - 14; $223.30)

4. Isabella Oliver Maternity - Ruched Tank Dress (Sizes 2 - 10; $148.75)

My friend spends a lot of time at home because 1) she lives down South in a large home and 2) she has 2.5 year old. (Seriously her house is 4 - 5x the size of my apartment at least!) So, I wanted to put together something she could be comfortable running around in as well as fashionable. I looked at tons of jeans for her, but these ones from Isabelle Oliver are the best! They are low cut and the band does not seem intrusive. The fit on the leg is also very fitted, which is very necessary. As I said, she lives in the South and it gets pretty hot down there. No better reason then to wear this adorable tank top! This sweater from Spiegel also does the trick to avoid being frozen when met with ice cold blast from AC indoors.

1. Spiegel - Whisper-Weight Cropped Cardigan (Sizes XS - XL; $17.00)

2. Isabella Oliver Maternity - IO Jeans (Sizes 0 -16; $89.50)

3. Ripe - Twist Tube Top (Size XL; $34.00)

As I was roaming the internet searching for these items for my friend, I came across something quite alarming. The selection of plus size clothes was horrendous. And I thought it was bad just searching for clothes in my size regularly! The maternity clothes in plus sizes should seriously go into the category of Things That Must Not Be Named a la Harry Potter. They are that horrific! Fret not, however, I was able to track down some decent plus size options. It just required a bit of creativity.

This amazing top from the ASOS mama·licious line of maternity clothes goes up to an XL, which according to their size chart is an American size 16. If you are larger than that this item will most likely still fit you as it has an extremely loose fit coupled with enormous armholes. Pair it with a pair of leggings as shown here, and you would not look out of place strolling around the West Village.

1. ASOS mama·licious - Embellished Woven Tunic (UK sizes S - XL; $59.18)

2. duo Maternity - duo 22" Legging (Sizes 2X - 3X; $12.99)

This dress can be worn in a million different ways to accommodate your growing bump. The white/teal combination is truly inspired and will always look fresh! This item also goes upward to a size 3X and due to its dynamic nature can probably be worn on larger frames.

1. Hayley by Hayley Starr Reversible Knit Wrap Dress (Sizes M - 3X; $38.50)

The one thing that my friend stressed to me is that she hated spending money on things she was only going to wear for a limited time. Fact is I am sorry to say that being fashionable takes investment! That does not mean, however, that you have to break the bank to be a pregnant fashionista. There are in fact a couple of options to make this happen!

1. Consignment Shops: Check out the consignment shops in the affluent parts of time. More likely than not you will be able to scoop up some discarded designer maternity duds. Also, there are shops like Belly Bundles that sell their maternity consignment merchandise online.

2. Rent: Yes, believe it or not you can rent maternity clothes by the week.
offers one-week maternity dress rental rates starting at just $35. They carry brands such as: Christian Siriano, Maternal America, and Olian Maternity.

3. Sell Them After You Are Done: Sort of like renting, this options requires you to ditch the clothes after you no longer need them. Ebay is literally teeming with mothers looking for maternity wear, so this may be your best bet to recoup the majority of the cost. Also, this is what will justify you spending more on those transient pieces! The higher the quality - the higher the chance of resale.

Do you have any places or suggestions for my friend? I am also always looking for new ideas for posts. Have any ideas on either - leave them in the comments!


  1. I remember going shopping with a friend who was pregnant. She was able to find some items but a majority of the clothing looked awful and boring. It made me wonder where I would buy maternity clothes since the smallest size was really big on me.

  2. Stephanie Barna OskarJuly 1, 2010 at 9:34 PM

    Thanks Lauren! I love love those jeans and most of the outfits you picked out!!! It was an awesome article and really stressed my/your point! It's crazy that most maternity clothes are so expensive and ugly when you wear them for at most 5 months. This article really explained everything to me!!! I love love loved it!

  3. Also, forever 21 I just found out launched a maternity line. The items are pretty basic - but pretty cheap. You can check it out here:

  4. I adore love those casual sexy and convertible dresses and a large portion of the outfits you chose!!! It was a magnificent article and truly focused on my/your point! It's insane that most maternity garments are so costly and revolting when you wear them for at most 5 months. This article truly disclosed everything to me!!! I adore love cherished it!

    Lovely fashion dresses, really amazing post....