With five pregnancies between us, we’ve made our fair share of maternity fashion faux pas. However, since founding the apparel company Isabella Oliver in 2003, we’ve learned classic style tips. Along the way, we’ve established six key areas to help every pregnant woman achieve a pulled together look— throughout her pregnancy and beyond.
1. TIME IT Right— THE DOs & DON’Ts
- Do start buying early. The sooner you invest in maternity clothing, the more opportunity you’ll have to mix the maternity wear with your existing wardrobe. This enables you to create a capsule collection of essential maternity pieces to combine for different chic looks every day.
- Don’t buy for specific trimesters. Avoid trimester specific buying because, by definition, these designs only give you a few weeks of pregnancy wear. Instead, look for well-designed pieces to endure throughout your pregnancy that give you two whole seasons of fashion. We recommend you invest in key pieces that flatter you from early pregnancy and grow with you, like garments with our signature wrapping and ruching features that lend you a neat fitted look no matter what your pregnancy stage. Also consider designs to take you to at least three months after birth, until your body returns to its pre-pregnancy shape.
2. FACTOR IN CLEVER FABRICS
- Think about fabrics. If ever there was a time for comfort, it’s now. Look for fabrics that drape and stretch, like jersey, which fits into every woman’s wardrobe. Soft fabrics including woven pieces offer blissful comfort. They are easy to dress up or down, and are versatile and flattering. Plus, they create a smooth silhouette that grows with you and always fits.
- Consider quality. You’ll find that you’ll wear and wash your maternity clothes more intensively than your previous wardrobe. Choose superior pregnancy-friendly fabrics that stretch, allow skin to breathe and keep their shape.
- Don’t hide under smocks. Wearing “his” clothing may be tempting, but it’s a big mistake we all make. Men’s tops fall off your shoulders, sag and hang off your bump. His oversized sweaters or T-shirts hide your elegant silhouette and make you look (and feel) bigger than you are. The same is true of non-maternity womenswear. If you’re tempted to buy bigger, then reconsider. With regular clothes, you have to go up a size each month to fit your bump. This is expensive and depressing— regular clothes may cover your bump but are too big elsewhere.
- Avoid sizes that are too big or small. Celebrate your pregnant curves with wrap dresses and other styles that follow your form and adjust at every stage of your growth. Choose specially designed maternity clothes that give a flattering fit, which does wonders for your self-esteem and your budget.
3. WORK YOUR ASSETS
- Show off your favorite parts. Pick clothes that accent the best parts of your pregnant body, like that amazing new cleavage. For many of us, pregnancy gives the décolleté we’ve always dreamed of, so maximize your new assets with plunging necklines. Choose deep scoop or low v-neck tops and dresses, as well as plunging wrap designs that easily slip over a camisole for times you need more coverage. You might also want to choose garments that accentuate your womanly curves. Clever maternity designs like a halter shape or sleek bandeau enhance pregnancy cleavage and highlight the best parts of your pregnant body, such as sexy curves, radiant skin, an elegant neck and delicate shoulders. Work the look for evening with glamorous floor-sweeping dresses and upswept hair and accessories that focus attention on bare shoulders and collarbones.
- Keep it simple. The world’s most stylish women choose clean lines and quality fabrics. The signature design details featured in much of our collection, like side ruching and long wrap ties, help clothes give you a form fitted look and grow with you in order to retain that neat fit for months to come.
Ensure your look has sleek shapes, clean cuts and solid colors to create a polished finish. Once you’ve established your chic blank canvas, it’s easy to accessorize, seasonalize, personalize and even glamorize to create different looks.
- You can’t lose with the right shoes. Footwear is the perfect way to accent every look. And shoes are key accessories this season, offering a simple way to make your new maternity pieces current. Play with color. Pick jewel-encrusted or sparkly shoes, fancy flats or sexy heels. Find whatever looks feminine and fun, and feels comfortable.
- Bags and jewelry are musts in any season. As every woman knows, you can never have too many bags. Transform any outfit from day to evening by trading your slouchy tote for a chic jewelled clutch. Such a bag takes a stylish wrap dress, for example, from the office to dinner, especially when you add some sexy sling-back shoes in a bright spring shade to match your lip color.
5. SEASONALIZE & PERSONALIZE
- Interpret the trends. Lead the way in maternity style. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow the new season’s trends. In other words, you can still wear this season’s voluminous trousers when pregnant. Just balance the wide leg with a fitted top and pick a fabulous bag and platforms to finish the look.
- Maintain your sense of style. You know what suits you. Take inspiration from your current wardrobe and pick maternity wear versions of your favorite looks.
- Get clever with color. You can’t beat black, white and neutrals to work for any occasion. But, consider color to add a jolt of glamour to any look. Deep red, eclectic blues and soft pastels look fresh.
- Go for instant makeovers. Treat yourself to a great haircut, facials, pedicures and manicures while pregnant. Pampering yourself lifts your spirits and your look. And always take along oversized Jackie O shades for instant glamour with every ensemble.