Oh, Baby!

One thing most women expect when they are expecting is to give up their stylish, hip (and maybe hip hugging, oo-la-la!) wardrobe for all things tent-like and elastic. Well, I have some good news! Most women are wrong! At least about pregnancy bringing out the frump in all of us. The fact of the matter is, there is no reason to sacrifice style, and even a little sex appeal, just because you have a bun in the oven. The Shabby Apple maternity line, Mama Apple, is on its way, so soon you can just visit us for all your maternity needs. But, in the meantime, here are some tips to get you through your special nine months with fashion and flair.

Curves Ahead
Don't be afraid to show off your assets, especially your burgeoning baby bump. And, let's face it, your breasts will probably be getting bigger as well (lucky duck!), so you might as well show those off, too. Keep your maternity clothes relatively form-fitting, and resist the urge to live in your husband's sweats for the next nine months. If you decide to wear a baggy top, balance it out with tighter pants. 

Comfort First
I know what all you moms are thinking. Comfortable while I'm pregnant? Hah! And, it is true that I am no expert. But, comfort during pregnancy is not an illusion. At least when it comes to your clothes. (I don't know what to say about having to go to the bathroom all the time.) Check out soft, stretchy fabrics, and wardrobe pieces with interesting necklines, like a cowl neck, that draw attention up from your tummy. It's also best, for comfort and safety, to stick to flat shoes, but flat does not mean boring. Experiment with bright colors and bold patterns. If you simply have to wear heels, go with a lower kitten heel that helps you keep your mojo and your balance. Also, a caution: most women's feet will expand half or even a full size during pregnancy. Just ask my friend Miranda, who had to cut her favorite boots off her baby-bearing feet with scissors the other day. Consider investing in some pregnancy-only shoes to avoid sacrificing your favorites.

The slimming effect of one-color ensembles always holds true, whether you're pregnant or not. Darker colors, such as blacks, browns and charcoal grays will help take off the pounds, and keep you in step for Fall. Use accessories such as scarves, jewelry, shoes or cardigans to add a splash of co
lor or pattern.

Layering it On
A pregnant woman's metabolic rate increases by about 20 percent (or so they say), so when everyone else is shivering, you're probably about to melt. (This actually sounds sort of nice to me, as it is 70 degrees outside and I am wearing a fleece.) Including some layered looks in your pregnancy wardrobe makes it easy to peel off and put on as your body dictates. Don't get too carried away, as too many layers can seem sloppy, but sweater sets, a T-shirt or polo under a sweater or a turtleneck under a cardigan, are all good ways to go. 

Must Haves
Besides stocking up on adorable onesies and diapers, women waiting for the stork (how many euphemisms for pregnancy do you think I can use?) should also make sure they have a few wardrobe staples on hand. These include: a white button down shirt (if you don't want to buy one, raid your husband's closet); at least one empire waist dress; a good pair of jeans; a black jacket; an elastic top skirt; and, of course, well-fitting essential underthings. (Remember those bigger breasts we talked about? Yeah, you are going to need a bigger bra. But, when is that a bad thing, right?)

And, finally, how can you accommodate your expanding belly without having to expand your budget? Here are some clues.

Borrow: This is probably the cheapest and easiest route to avoid going broke for a maternity wardrobe. Your sisters, sisters-in-law, friends and colleagues will probably be just as happy to say good-bye to their maternity clothes as you will be to say hello.

Make the most of your existing wardrobe: If you look closely, you'll probably find at least a couple of items capable of growing with you, such as drawstring pants. You can also pair pre-pregnancy clothes, say a brightly-colored cardigan, with pregnancy items, such as your black empire waist dress, for
a whole new outfit.

Hit up thrift stores and garage sales: Anyone selling baby items on their front lawn probably has maternity clothes to unload as well. If you don't see any, ask. 

And then, armed with nine months' worth of stylish and feminine clothes, sit back, relax and wait for your little bundle of joy! (Who, after all the great advice I just gave you, I expect will be named after me.)

Are you a baby mama?
Tell us about the maternity wardrobe item you simply couldn't live without!


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