Let’s get one thing straight: there is nothing wrong with still wanting to look good while you’re pregnant. It’s not shallow. It’s not vain. Pregnancy, while beautiful and miraculous and incredibly rewarding, can be hard—and a great way to make yourself feel good is by looking good. Confidence is healthy, and a healthy pregnancy is a happy one.
So we asked Morgan Johnston, creative consultant, artist, and Brookwood Baptist mom-to-be, to share with us some of her favorite fashion tips for expecting mothers. Morgan is currently expecting her first child, so she’s practicing what she preaches every day. Be sure to check her bio at the end and follow her online for more practical pregnancy fashion tips.
“Expecting Fall Fashion”
You’re pregnant. At some point following the initial surprise/elation/freakout, it’s going to cross your mind: what am I going to wear? This is not a question to be taken lightly. I think most of us fantasize about having a picturesque nine months like all those leggy celebrities who are photographed in five inch heels the day before going into labor. And some of you may be so blessed, but for the rest of us facing our changing bodies and closets full of “unwearables,” there’s a lot of stress surrounding the new wardrobe dilemma.
I’m just going to put it out there: maternity clothes can sometimes be a little depressing, with those weird stretchy waistbands and necklines up to your chin. Take heart—and a calming deep breath. Yes, your body is changing and overnight you no longer fit in your jeans, but you really can make this an equally, if not more stylish, period in your life.
As we move into those cooler months, there are a handful of items to consider adding to the wardrobe that are stylish, versatile and translate so well into whatever your personal style may be.
The first and most valued staple of my amended wardrobe is the black legging. I have worn them practically every day since my jeans miraculously quit fitting a couple months ago, and I am more than okay with that. They go with everything, and I am convinced that they make my legs looks longer and leaner (you know, like the supermodels). My secret tip for the first four or five months of your pregnancy: go to T.J.Maxx and load up on leggings in a larger size. With various locations around town, you can get many varieties of fabric weights, stretch and lengths for pennies on the dollar. And when the day comes that you might need leggings to accommodate the bump, I love Ingrid & Isabel Seamless Baby Leggings.
The second staple I would highly recommend is a long tank, preferably ruched as it will highlight your round belly with the soft lines of gathered fabric. I love the idea of showing off the bump in a tasteful way. Own it! Wear an open cardigan over it, a trim blazer or that buttery soft leather jacket. If it’s a little too much exposure of your precious cargo, layer up in Fall and Winter with wraparound sweaters, capes or ponchos. My favorite of these tank tops is Ingrid & Isabel’s Ruched Tank, available in four colors and three sizes. Get a larger size that serves almost as a slip dress, covering what we tend to keep covered. I also love the Isabella Oliver Ruched Tank that is a little longer in length.
As for other staples, consider a long black dress and a pair of Spanx Power Mama Power Panties. I never wore Spanx pre-pregnancy, but this awesome (and comfortable) pair smooths out the areas I want smoothed and has tummy support that often feels better than when I am not wearing them.
Now, let’s talk about add-on items. This is where you can really start making your personal style statement—and pull things from your existing closet too! I’m talking about those drapey tops that are a little longer and hang off your shoulder; your favorite button down shirt in chambray or a bright color or pattern (tie it up above the belly!); and your blazers and jackets that always made you feel put together.
Look in your closet again with fresh eyes, and ask yourself how you can style your favorite pieces in a different way. Then supplement them with a few new purchases that are chosen with the new body in mind. My favorite new additions to the wardrobe are Piko 1988 tops. They’re amazingly soft, and the cut is perfect. They will last you through your whole pregnancy and beyond. Stick to classic hues of black, grey and white or be bold with a stripe pattern or bright color. You can find them at Soca Clothing in Homewood.
Some may call boots an accessory, but I call them just plain powerful! Your shoe situation has probably changed—the swelling and aches are less than glamorous, but the right shoe can bring you comfort and great style. Everyone needs a pair of ankle boots for Fall and Winter. I’m a big believer that function should go hand and hand with form, so get something equally comfortable and stylish. It may be a flat boot or it could be the four-incher. I stick to the happy middle ground with about two inches to give that little boost I need vertically (and it helps with my posture). These Steve Madden Milaan boots are particularly versatile. And check your favorite stores around town for your perfect pair as Fall shipments are coming in.
Lastly, the actual accessories: this is how you can fully individualize your look and strategically draw attention (or divert it) from any part of your body. Jewelry is an amazing thing. It will change the look of an outfit immediately. I love gold jewelry right now, stacking bracelets from my own Rugged and Fancy jewelry collection with bangles from Soca, and layering necklaces from Charm on Second with my grandmother’s diamonds that I can’t seem to take off since finding out I was pregnant. You could also opt for one really powerful statement necklace that falls across your breastbone, drawing the eyes up from your belly. J.Crew always has a great selection (and check out the scarves too!).
From staples to amended closets and accessories, I hope that each of us is able to feel some excitement about this opportunity to translate our statement style to our current needs. I hope some of us will take some risks and try something new and bold. But more than anything, I hope we all find a way to feel beautiful, powerful and confident during this really crazy and amazing times in our lives.
Best wishes to you all!
Morgan Johnston is expecting her first child with husband, musician Duquette Johnston in early 2014. They are partners together in Rugged and Fancy, a lifestyle initiative and creative strategy firm. With a background in fashion and styling, she loves helping people find their voice and better understand themselves through style. She began designing jewelry two years ago and recently returned to her first love of painting, with gallery exhibits in both the U.S. and France. You can follow her as she blogs about motherhood and pregnancy life and style at Rugged and Fancy, and also on Pinterest, where she pins her favorite products, tips and beautiful things.