with Susan Wagner
The Working Closet is your source for the best of what's hip and fresh in fashion and beauty. Susan Wagner keeps you up-to-date on trends and offers tips and tricks for making everything in your closet truly work for you.
You can also catch Susan over at Working Closet.
I love e-mail. This week, I had a great e-mail from Amy:
I recently found out I’m pregnant with my second child and upon hauling out all my maternity clothes, I realized how long it’s been - stylewise - since I had my daughter three years ago.
I also realized how cheap most maternity clothes are. Many of the items were pilled and/or have shrunk to the point of not fitting, even now when I am at about 10.5 weeks.
Another issue is that I am showing already a little, with my regular clothes being tight already. I have invested in some great belly bands from Blush, but often you can see the button on my jeans through the band.
I stay home now, working as a writer, but I still want to look put together. Dressing well, if casually, helps me feel professional when I am writing or conducting interviews.
Might you be willing to advise on these issues? Such as where to get good quality maternity staples, etc? Also, might you be willing to ask your readers at Friday Style if they would participate in The Maternity Closet? I would be thrilled to kick it off!
Congratulations, Amy! Babies are the best.
Because Amy is not going to work in an office, she doesn’t need to worry about finding suits, but she DOES want to invest in a few basic pieces that will both get her through her pregnancy and keep her looking great as she — and the baby — grow.
1. Maternity tees. Tees are the building block of a casual wardrobe, but they should never be investment pieces, particularly when you know you will only wear them for a short time (say the duration of a pregnancy). Amy wants to look for tees in pretty colors and with some interesting detailing — an empire waist that sits below her breasts but over her growing belly will be both flattering and comfortable. She also wants to look for good quality fabric that won’t shrink the very first time through the laundry. Motherhood maternity has a good selection of basic tees, for reasonable prices.
2. Yoga pants, in an actual maternity cut. I know, I know, yoga pants are for YOGA, but Amy is a pregnant mom of a small child who works from home — let’s cut her some slack, shall we? I trust Amy not to sacrifice her style for comfort, but I also remember how important it was to be comfortable when Baby #2 was on the way. Instead of tossing on her husband’s sweats, Amy can invest in some maternity yoga pants and have comfy pants that fit her pregnant body. Gap has a nice selection of active wear bottoms.
3. Cotton blouses. For days when a tee just isn’t enough, Amy can opt for a simple cotton blouse. I like a popover style, with some seaming under the bust; this gives even the most pregnant shape a little more, well, shape.
Old Navy mandarin collar maternity blouse, $29.50
For colder days, she can wear the blouse under a non-maternity cardigan or jacket; she can also layer it over a long-sleeved tee, either maternity or non, for a cool casual look.
4. Tailored pants. Amy needs at least one pair of properly fitting pants that are NOT yoga pants. These can be jeans or corduroys or chinos, but they should be maternity, so that the belly can accommodate the baby for as long as possible. Tall, slim girls can pull off capri or cropped pants even during pregnancy; if you are naturally curvy, look for a wider leg, just like you would in non-maternity pants. Again, Gap and Old Navy are a good source for pants at a reasonable price.
5. A couple of dresses or skirts. Dresses can be a godsend later in a pregnancy, particularly if the baby is due in the summer. A dress is so easy — pop it on and go — and is both comfortable and stylish. Amy wants to look for dresses with interesting necklines and seaming under the bust and over the belly, for some definition; she might also look at dresses that tie in the back, which can “grow” with her as her belly grows. For spring, she can wear a dress with tights and a cardigan; for summer, wear it on its own with some cute slides or skimmers. Alternatively, Amy could opt for a couple of maternity skirts, something with a simple A-line, that she can wear with either a tee or a blouse. I am a little bit in love with this convertible dress by Japanese weekend, which can be a skirt or a dress, and can be worn either on the print side or the solid side.
What should Amy NOT buy?
1. Maternity coat. Unless she is planning to be pregnant for many many winters, she will probably not see a return on this.
2. Maternity cardigans. Honestly, they won’t really ever fit right. Wear regular cardis over maternity tees and blouses.
3. Pieces that need to be dry cleaned. If the whole idea is to keep the maternity wardrobe small and affordable, choosing pieces that have to be sent out for cleaning is silly. There are great options for maternity wear in machine and hand-washable fabrics; stick with these for the most versatility.
Now who’s up for a Maternity Closet Flickr pool?
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