Sunday, February 15, 2015

How to Dress for Pregnancy (and not look like a small lost whale)

I thought I would share some of the things I discovered while attempting to look nice and dress well during pregnancy.

1. Silhouette. 

Assess your wardrobe for the shapes you usually wear. I wanted to dress like 'myself' just pregnant. I didn't want to wear things I wouldn't normally wear just because I was pregnant. So I took a look at my wardrobe. Things I normally wear fall into 4 silhouettes: Hourglass, Triangle, Tube, Lollipop. Out of these the only one that didn't work for pregnancy was the hourglass - because you lose your waist. The tube shape would become a little bumpy but still a tube. So I had three silhouettes to work with.

2. Dress for Trimester. 

Your body shape changes as you go through pregnancy. You don't need the huge tummy space at the beginning. For the first trimester you might get away with wearing your loose normal clothes. For the second trimester your tummy is small and cute, might as well show it off so people know you are pregnant not getting fatter and can congratulate you. Third trimester you are just huge, so no point hiding or attempting cute-ness unless you normally do cute. Third trimester I went for smart and stylish options - dressing up not down. So that meant wearing a stylish jacket (left open to drape) and nice jewellery even if just going to the supermarket.

3. Shop with Caution.

Don't buy too many maternity clothes if you can avoid it because you won't wear them for long. I only needed maternity pants at about 20 weeks in and was out of them by about 1 month after delivery. One or two pairs of maternity jeans and or dress pants should be enough and a couple of pairs of maternity tights if you wear tights. For tops and dresses I just brought my normal silhouettes in 2 or 3 sizes larger to accommodate my tummy. That way after pregnancy I'm still wearing them.

4. Breastfeeding. 

Don't forget breastfeeding if you plan to. Buy tops with buttons or that are loose at the hem so you can feed easily later on. That way you only need to buy one set of tops instead of tops for pregnancy and then tops for breastfeeding. Stretchy jersey fabric long tunic tops are good as are button down shirts a size or two larger than you normally wear (roll up the sleeves to avoid looking sloppy).

5. Body Changes.

Your body changes in interesting and unexpected ways. Generally what were 'problem' areas became enhanced as a result of pregnancy. My ankles usually retain water so they retained even more water during pregnancy. My feet swelled to 2 sizes larger (had to buy new shoes as nothing fit). My already large bust grew even larger. My ribcage grew wider to accommodate the baby and the extra lung capacity needed and I grew 2 inches across the bust so none of my fitted dresses or tops fit me by 5 months pregnant. My fingers swelled so I couldn't fit my rings on. My hips became 2 inches wider.

6. Work with your Good Features. 

Play up your good features. My arms stayed nice so I wore sleeveless tops. My skin was wonderful due to the pregnancy hormones, so I didn't have to wear makeup much. Despite my ankles swelling my legs stayed relatively slim so I could wear skinny jeans (plus the enormous tummy makes everything else look smaller by comparison).

7. Cheer Yourself. 

Cheer yourself with cute clothes for the baby or a nice jewelery for yourself. You will probably feel horrid and huge at some point, so buy the baby something nice. Enjoy the pregnancy, its only 9 months and you get a cute baby at the end of it. In a few months after the baby sleeps for more than 1 hour at a time and you start to look and feel normal again you will probably look back on your pregnancy with fondness. The baby will probably rip a necklace off your neck and dangly earrings off your ears so go with small stud earrings or a ring (though your fingers are probably swollen so buy rings with caution!). Or save the money for a massage or nice dinner after delivery.

8. 9 Months. 

It took 9 months to grow huge so it will take at least (possibly some parts of your body will never be the same again) as long to shrink. The media has unrealistic expectations about being a 'hot mama'. Ignore that and enjoy your child. Sure, eat healthy and exercise if you have the energy and time (who does?!) but don't beat yourself up about not fitting unrealistic ideals. I'm not a supermodel to begin with, so why should I look like one after having a baby? My feet will apparently never go back to their original size and I'll always be a size larger (hello new shoes!).

9.Kiss those soft baby cheeks often. 

Most of all enjoy the wonder that is a new life. Congratulate your body for growing and nurturing a child and be kind to yourself.

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