I should start by noting that this is purely indulgent fashion-related blog entry. Happy Friday!
It’s the end of August—that time of year when work picks up, we go back to school, attend conferences, and MOST notably for the fashionista crowd, the September issue of Vogue gets released marking the start of the Fall 2012 fashion season.
Now I’m far from the relentless shopper, obsessed, fashionista type that many are. But I have to admit that since the age of at least 12 I have lived for New York fashion weeks and the Fall issue of Vogue. I’ve gone from being that teenager who made funky collages of her favorite clothes and saved her babysitting money to double what her parents gave her for back-to-school shopping to that adult that loves shopping for a new fall wardrobe each year. That back-to-school shopping excitement has never died. Until this year…
This year the Fall issue of Vogue got released. The fashion blogs all talked about the Fall must-haves, and I looked with a sense of doubt on what I’d shop for and wear. Welcome Pregnancy. In the last one month my stomach has outgrown my jeans, and my work wardrobe has gone out the window. This being my first pregnancy I felt doomed as I started to at websites donning maternity clothes.
Destination Maternity? Not my destination! Let me say, this conglomerate of Motherhood and a Pea in the Pod stores certainly disappoints. Clothes made from inexpensive materials (at sometimes very expensive prices @ the Pea) was the first recommended spot. The clothes were frumpy and not well tailored. Not to mention the sometimes downright tacky and overly cute designs….eek! I started searching for DC area boutiques and other online stores—at first without much success.
Then I stumbled on some noteworthy websites, starting with the Pregnant Fashionista blog (http://www.pregnantfashionista.com/). This was the first site to give this closet fashionista some hope that you can feel sexy and look great throughout your pregnancy! Aside from the, what-will-I-wear dilemma, I’ve been really enjoying my pregnancy and feeling great. My waist size hasn’t changed. My body looks great and sexy without clothes. The dilemma has been where to find form-fitting clothes to accentuate those curves.
I next discovered perhaps my greatest find yet—Isabelle Oliver (www.isabellaoliver.com). I learned that Nordstrom Maternity has a fabulous line of maternity clothes. And then, I discovered, much to my surprise, that Old Navy has a great line of 100% cotton tops and tanks that work well for both lounge wear and undershirts. Of all finds, I have to say that Isabelle Oliver restored my confidence in the ability to look great while pregnant. Her catalogue offers a great style guide for what to wear during pregnancy, and how to wear different clothes (http://www.isabellaoliver.com/world/maternity-style-tips-one/#). I placed an order and received my clothes within two days. They were all well tailored and appropriately sized. While a number of sites have their Fall 2012 Must Have Lists, and it seems a bit cliché, I’m going to do it anyway.
What I’ve learned…so far is that key to looking super sexy during pregnancy has everything to do with the fabrics and cuts one chooses. If you can highlight parts of the body that your more flattering—a long neckline, a nice back, legs, etc—this will naturally make you look all the more sexy during pregnancy.
Fabrics matter. Cheap fabrics and materials, look, well cheap. The doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune, however, on that cashmere pregnancy cardigan. Just invest in good quality material—100% cotton, for instance. Vicose is another great option that stretches with pregnancy and can be very flattering. Invest in good quality wool and cashmere pieces that you can continue to wear post-pregnancy. The fall Eileen Fisher line-up (http://www.eileenfisher.com/EileenFisher.jsp) has a number of great cardigans and tunics—well-cut—that can be worn well after pregnancy. And for that oversize coat of the season—I found my in my husbands closet—an old wool piece that he’ll never wear that just does the trick!
Layers Work. Most any single piece of clothing can be dressed up or down, and in multiple ways. Pair a top with a skirt for one look. Wear it under a dress/tunic with jeans for something entirely different. This has been my survival strategy for choosing maternity clothes. I’ve tried to (1) Pick clothes that can be layered; and (2) Pick clothes that can be function during pregnancy and after. Now for my list:
My Fall 2012 Maternity Must-Haves:
1. The Wine-Colored Dress
My pick is the Isabelle Oliver Lizzie Dress (currently sold out), but Isabelle Oliver goes a long way in offering a line of beautiful wine and plum colored maternity dresses to fit the season (http://www.isabellaoliver.com/maternity-clothes/uk/100/maternity-dresses.html?viewall=true).
2. Well-Tailored Work Trousers
The Isabelle Oliver tailored trousers (http://www.isabellaoliver.com/maternity-clothes/uk/100/maternity-trousers/TR074.html)–another great purchase. To give credit to A Pea in the Pod, they make a decent tailored secret fit belly maternity trouser in a wool blend (http://www.apeainthepod.com/Product.asp?product_Id=633030181&MasterCategory_Id=MC19).
3. The long shirt
The Isabelle Oliver Libby Tunic is pure magic ( http://www.isabellaoliver.com/maternity-clothes/uk/100/maternity-tops/TP127.html). It is by far my fav white top for fall. It’s simple and elegant, and the fabric stands out. It looks great on its own, paired with a blazer, or the right cardigan. Wear it with trousers, leggings, or jeans for a different look each time. It’s great with boots or flats.
4. The Jacket
I choose this Shaped Jacket with Angled hem by Eileen Fisher. It’s a beautiful cotton and viscose blend that will last well beyond pregnancy. Moreover, it can go as an elegant work jacket with any suit, or paired with jeans for a night out. Link: http://www.eileenfisher.com/EileenFisher/collection/ShopByCategory/Jackets_and_Vests/Jackets/PRD_F2FFJ-J1686M/Shaped+Jacket+with+Angled+Hem+in+Fauna+Jacquard.jsp?bmLocale=en_US
5. The Navy Cardigan
On sale at Isabelle Oliver, this Belted Cardigan in Navy is made of heavenly cotton material (http://www.isabellaoliver.com/maternity-clothes/uk/100/sale/all/TP106.html). It’s versatile. It can be tied in the back for a more informal look. Pair with black trousers for work, or wear it as shown here for a comfy informal look. I’ll be wearing this long after baby is born.
6. Perfect Old Navy Tanks
The Maternity Jersey Stretch tank from Old Navy is a great blend of cotton and spandex. It feels great and equally flattering. Old Navy tanks and tees are a life saver, as well as budget saver! They can be paired with a nice merino wool or cashmere cardigan for a stellar Fall look, or with a comfy cotton sweater and yoga pants around the house. I LOVE these tanks!
7. The Skinny Jeans
Skinny jeans are a must have. The right jeans can be really flattering, but finding the right jeans with the right waist band is the trick. My Paige Skinny jeans have continued to fit comfortably buttoning below my baby belly throughout pregnancy. I have to give it to Paige for designing fab skinny jeans. Other jeans, however, not so much… This sent me shopping for one pair of versatile jeans to have throughout pregnancy.
I settled on the 7 For All Mankind Secret Fit Belly Signature Pocket Maternity Jeans. They fit to the appropriate size, are super comfy, and overall very flattering. I’m already wearing them every chance I get. They will get much use in the remaining months. Link: http://www.apeainthepod.com/Product.asp?product_Id=233650250&MasterCategory_Id=MC25
To date my pre-maternity Eileen Fisher leggings made with a viscose material continue to fit comfortably. However, I have also bought one pair of Old Navy Jersey Leggings.
They’re 94% cotton and 6% spandex, and at $15 a pair–they look just as great on as their many of their much more expensive counterparts. Link: http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=58363&vid=1&pid=778942
9. Cole Haan Boots
Riding boots are in this season, and having a pair of flat boots to survive the winter is critical before, during and after pregnancy as far as I can tell.
These fab Kinley boots from Cole Haan are my favorite. Link: (http://www.colehaan.com/colehaan/catalog/product.jsp?catId=100&productId=646990&productGroup=646991)
10. The most comfy lounge sweater yet!
I have quite a few comfy Fall sweaters and cardigans–many of which I anticipate will continue to fit right through pregnancy. And I’m firmly against buying purely maternity sweaters and cardigans that I won’t wear after pregnancy.
This said, Old Navy has produced what I think will be my fall sweater and jacket through for yoga and weekends throughout my pregnancy. I anticipate it will continue to be great after pregnancy too. The Maternity French Terry Cloth Hoodie is pretty spectacular. The tie makes the sweater. It drapes so that it’s not frumpy–the perfect post-yoga Sunday lounge sweater!
That’s it! My Top 10 2012 Fall Maternity Must-Haves!