- Sources of Inspiration
- The Fine Print
- And Whatnot
[ Top row, from left: February 2012 / November 2011 / July 2011 // Second row, from left: November 2010 / January 2011 / February 2011 // Third row, from left: December 2010 / April 2011 / February 2011 ]
If I had had my act together today, I’d have (a) actually picked out a pair of green pants instead of continuing to endlessly search for the perfect one, (b) worn said pants and made it long enough into the day without getting baby spit-up on them to take photos, and (c) actually edited and posted said photos amid a blur of deadlines and an allergies-without-medicine induced haze. Because you all know part (a) was by far the least realistic of the required elements, I bring you…this recap of some of my favorite ways to wear green and green-ish through the ages, settings, seasons and stages of being not-yet-pregnant, barely-pregnant, hugely-pregnant and thankfully-not-pregnant-anymore.
*and I would love, love, love your suggestions on green pants. I tried those adorable tiny babypants from Target, but the pants-kryptonite of my waist-to-just-above-the-knee ratio proved their undoing (terrible pun intended). Have a wonderful Tuesday!
- Cream Cashmere Tunic: Stefanel, mommed
- Layering Cami: Be Maternity via Target
- Navy Abstract-Floral-Print Skirt: induetime via eBay
- Brown Peep-Toes: Naturalizer via amazon.com
- Metallic Fabric Belt: LOFT
- Maroon Earrings: Target
And just like that…3rd year! Finally?
It’s hard not to love the first day of school, with all its anticipatory, nervous pleasures. And on what should be my last first day of school ever, it was hard for me to resist getting a little bit misty-eyed as I packed my lunch, tried to pick out the perfect outfit, and headed off to class with all my neatly-labeled notebooks and carefully annotated reading assignments.
Of course, this first day of school was different in so many ways, and not just because it was my last: not only is the last year of law school a little bit of a bizarre experience to begin with (as many 3Ls know by early September what they’re headed off to do after graduation), but I’m coming back to school more than nine months pregnant and waiting to go into labor . . . any time now. And while I was pretty sure I looked enormous at the end of May, I didn’t really look all that pregnant then, so I’ve spent my first days of school this week laughing a little bit at some of the surprised looks I’ve gotten when people ask how far along I am. And like any setting involving a wide age range, there have been a few hilariously inappropriate reactions, but for the most part, my classmates are delighted, if a bit concerned at what will happen if my water breaks in class.
Unfortunately, my first day of class wasn’t entirely fun and games, as I’d be lying if I wasn’t confronting a fairly serious pregnancy-related body-image fail this week. I’m doing my best to come out of it and to find ways to dress that make me feel good about my changing (and exhausted) body, but it hasn’t all been sunshine, roses and thoughts I’m happy to admit to. With this outfit, I stuck to one of my favorite tricks for fighting the body-image blahs: finding or simulating a familiar, favorite silhouette that feels like me — or at least a version of me that swallowed a basketball inadvertently. I’m also letting my accessories do some of the work of attracting visual interest and drawing it towards my face, rather than my midsection. Obviously, I’m not fooling anyone, but it made me feel put together, composed, and maybe slightly less swollen.
What are your favorite tricks for dressing through the body image blahs? Do you have a go-to outfit or strategy that gives you a sartorial boost when you’re not feeling your best?
- Teal Dress: Liz Lange for Target
- Putty Draped Cardigan: vince via Nordstrom’s, gift from Mom
- Blue Glass Necklace: purchased in Cozumel in 2005 and only recently rediscovered
- Brown Die-Cut Flats: Lifestride via Zappos
Maybe it’s the beginning of the fall term, or maybe it’s the hilarious way that our oppressively hot July makes a day where the high is “only” in the low 80s seem downright frigid, but it’s starting to feel awfully like sweater weather, particularly on a rainy Friday afternoon as we prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Irene. I’m breaking all of my please-wear-something-other-than-matte-jersey-for-the-love-of-whatever rules, but it was hard to resist something so darn…cozy. I’m trying to make up for the lack of structure with interesting shapes and accessories, which I’d like to think are at least partially mitigating the 9-months-pregnant + dress = tent equation. Admittedly, though, I’m still working on ways to resolve this paradox of late-pregnancy dressing: what do you do when the things that are the most physically comfortable start to feel sloppy, inappropriate, ill-suited, etc.?
Despite all the hoopla, we ended up making it through the storm with only a modicum of inconvenience. We are, however, looking forward to telling our daughter some day the truly fantastic stories about the many adventures of the month before her birth; it kind of makes me wish I was able to say I’d survived multiple earthquakes, a hurricane and multiple extended power outages before I entered the world!
- Peach-orange Top: Japanese Weekend via eBay
- Plum Jersey Skirt: Old Navy (non-maternity)
- Silver Necklace: gifted
- Teal Earrings: mall kiosk
- Sueded Wedge Sandals: Earthies via Zappos
There’s a hilarious irony to the fact that the majority of my late-pregnancy discomforts (and, well, occasional moments of desperation!) tend to be ameliorated by staying as busy and active as possible. Case in point: my urge to take immediate action in response to the increasing amount of clutter in our house . . . between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. last night. (After which there was another earthquake. Connected events?) So, in the spirit of, “I’ve found something that works and now I’m going to do it ALL THE TIME,” I’m trying to stay busy and engaged, flexing my creative, organizational, intellectual and physical muscles as much as I can.
To that end, a belated take on one of my favorite summer trends, as the season begins to fade away from us (tear!), and yet another unusual-for-me proportion. Intriguingly, also an example of how sometimes, color + color works better than color + neutral: when I tried to wear this top with they grey version of this skirt, it looked like something of a hot mess, but I’m loving the unexpected combination of plum and peach here. Since I seem incapable of exposing my ears adequately in photos, you can’t see it very well here, but there’s also a sneaky triad hiding in this outfit — can you find it?
- Denim Bermudas: Loft Maternity
- Black and White Polka-Dot Tunic: Japanese Weekend via eBay
- Yellow Peep-Toes: Bandolino via ShoeWoo!
- Purple Necklace: Gift from D.’s sweet aunt
We officially hit the “full term” mark earlier this week, meaning baby could come at any time . . . or hold out for another five(!) weeks, giving this stage of pregnancy a distinctive “of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most” sort of feel. As our summer break from school winds down before classes start on Monday, I find myself making many, many “contingency” lists: here are the notes for the talk I’m supposed to give on Saturday if I’m the one giving it, here’s the version if I have to walk someone else through how to give it for me, here’s the version if someone else has to do so and is unable to get in touch with me, etc. But despite the dizzying array of possibilities, it’s been a really nice, quiet few days of long walks, reading (mostly school-related), and relaxing before our world gets shaken up.
So what do you wear while you’re waiting, when the heat is getting to you and the number of things in your closet that still fit is rapidly approaching zero? Apparently, the silliest things you can find: a necklace made of purple corn kernels, mustard-yellow shoes, and a patterned, polka-dotted tunic (complete with infamous empire waist!). Consider it my nod to the adorable little boy in CVS who saw me, pointed at his mother and exclaimed, “look!” Yep, kiddo: pregnant ladies are pretty hilarious looking, aren’t they?
- White Cashmere Tunic: Stefanel, mommed
- White Tank: Gap Maternity
- “Jorts”: Liz Lange for Target
- Die-Cut Brown Flats: Lifestride via Zappos
- Beaded Fabric Belt: LOFT
- Blue Beaded Necklace: Forever 21
As with so many things about dressing my now-very-pregnant body, if you’d have told me several months ago that I was going to walk out of the house wearing a tunic sweater that I’ve never, EVER been able to figure out how to wear, mid-thigh length denim shorts, a metallic beaded belt and dressy flats…and kind of love it, I’d have laughed at you. Hard. And I’m still laughing (just at myself, as Emily’s and my list of things we swore we’d never wear that we seem to be wearing grows ever longer), but at the same time, I’m appreciating one of the unexpected joys of pregnancy dressing: the sheer, rampant fun of experimenting with proportions on an unfamiliar body.
And necessity can really be the mother of invention: some of the things I’ve discovered a love for while pregnant are things I can easily see maintaining in my post-pregnancy wardrobe (tightly analogous color combinations, for example, and maybe even the occasional maxi dress). Others . . . not so much (I’m looking at you, empire-waisted everything). But even so, I’m amazed by the way some things just seem to work on this strange, somewhat alien form of mine at the moment: when I’ve tried to belt this tunic in other moments, it’s looked absolutely ridiculous (neither long enough nor short enough, neither slouchy enough nor fitted enough), but I loved the way it looked here, stretched over the bump and belted with a skinny fabric belt. To balance out the awkward interaction of belt and high neckline, I’m using the blue necklace to add some visual interest, which works relatively well, and adds a pop of color to the overall picture.
And hey . . . I count multiple elements of this outfit that are made out of woven fabrics, some of which even have (or lend) some shape. That’s progress, right?
- Peach-Orange Top: Japanese Weekend via eBay
- “Jorts”: Liz Lange for Target
- Striped Flats: Annie via Zappos
- Teal Earrings: Forever 21
I have a confession to make: as I navigate these unstructured days of my quasi-vacation and the strange limbo of late pregnancy, it is all too easy to spend far too much of the day in my gym clothes or in some other slightly-dressier soft, fuzzy equivalent. I was struck by this fact the other day, when I went for an early-morning walk with my sweet friend and neighbor, who gave birth to her third child eight weeks ago. True, she was wearing yoga pants and a tee-shirt, but she managed to strap two toddlers into a stroller and a newborn into a baby carrier and have her hair and makeup done…in the time it had taken me to trundle down the stairs in shorts, a tee-shirt and a hat. In truth, I felt a little embarrassed (and super impressed, A4.!), but I also felt like I was doing a lousy job at something that’s been an important goal of mine: taking care of myself in a way that makes me feel “like me,” despite my changing body and the vagaries of late pregnancy.
So, I’m trying to give myself a little more structure these days, both in terms of my routine and my sartorial choices. It’s not exactly the newest trick in the book, but I’m hoping that trying to get myself to wear one thing that isn’t made of matte jersey will help both my self-image and my productivity during these final days before school starts. Today, I’m giving it a go while trying something else new: these shorts, which are a length I couldn’t really have imagined myself wearing under normal circumstances. I’m not sure I’m 100% sold on them. All the same, I’m appreciating the chance to continue experimenting with new proportions on this unfamiliar body, and challenging myself to appreciate aspects of my body that, like my legs, I’ve struggled to find ways to love.
Also a new experiment? These striped flats, finally found at the conclusion of a very, very long search for a pair of festive, printed flats. While I can (and do!) still wear heels, pregnant or not, I love the way an unexpected flat can add new dimensions to an outfit, and can be both chic and comfortable at the same time. I’m hoping these earthy jewel tones will turn out to be perfect for fall, as well, and will have me nimbly chasing after our little girl once she arrives!
- Teal Ruched Tee: Liz Lange for Target
- Grey Jersey Skirt: Old Navy (non-maternity)
- Necklace: gifted
- Bejeweled T-Straps: Indigo by Clarks via Zappos
- Denim Bermudas: Loft Maternity
- Bejeweled T-Straps: Indigo by Clarks via Zappos
- White Cami: Gap Maternity via gap.com
- Orange Draped Top: Olian via Nordstrom’s, gift from Mom
I’ve finally found my favorite odd battle ground in the mommy wars. It’s not team stay-at-home mom versus team working mom, or team breastfeeding versus team bottle feeding. It’s maternity waistbands: team low rise and team full panel.
I’ve switched teams frequently on this one (a subject I’ll tackle in more detail in a forthcoming series on maternity wardrobe essentials), and not in a necessarily linear way. Many maternity designers advocate the idea that there’s some appropriate progression to maternity waistband choice, that you “should” start out wearing your pre-pregnancy pants with a belly band, and then progress through “real waist,” “low rise” and eventually on to “full panel” styles as your bump grows. And this approach isn’t crazy. The problem? You might change your mind (a lot), and it’s hard to plan appropriately to purchase things that will actually fit for a decent percentage of your pregnancy. While (like everything about pregnancy wardrobe choices) this varies depending on your pre-pregnancy proportions, your digestive symptoms and how you’re carrying, you may also find a tension between avoiding pressure on your belly and avoiding what Sal of AlreadyPretty would call Segmented Worm Syndrome.
As my pregnancy has progressed, my bump has expanded not only forwards but…sideways, which creates not only the strange sensation of feeling baby movements at about the same longitude (yes, I’m feeling…globular) as my hip bones, but makes many low rise styles challenging to wear (see below). Lest you think me helplessly vain, I promise it’s not just because they appear to give me the equivalent of pregnancy love handles, but it actually is a comfort issue. Because I’m carrying low, the stiff elastic cuts not only into my sides but into the lower part of my belly, which just…doesn’t feel good. The outfit below is in some ways a partial farewell to wearing these kinds of waistbands on a regular basis, at least without a longer, more structured layer up top, that permits greater flexibility in waistband placement.
The first of these looks, though, represents something of a breakthrough, simple though it may seem: it actually isn’t a maternity skirt. Seriously: it’s just a plain, ordinary Old Navy jersey skirt with a foldover waistband, free of any crazy spandex/microfiber/elastic pyrotechnics. Depending on the day, it fits either partway below or partway over my belly, with the waistband either folded up or folded down. I’m a little wary about jersey skirts for my particular proportions, since they tend to reveal more than I’d like, and this is certainly not the apotheosis of perfect jersey skirts. That said, the a-line silhouette and relatively sturdy fabric go a long way to preserving appropriate modesty levels, and it works well enough with a slip that I don’t feel uncomfortably bereft of Spanx. The softness of the jersey is a marked contrast to the stiff elastic on most of my “low rise” maternity bottoms, and it’s remarkably more comfortable. And I know I can’t really live in it, but…I might be tempted. Bonus? It might turn into a postpartum mainstay, as well.
If you are or have been pregnant, how did your waistband preferences shift throughout your pregnancy? What about postpartum? If you haven’t been, does the fear of awkward segmentation affect your layering strategies? Under what circumstances?
- Navy Maxi Dress: Liz Lange for Target
- T-straps: Indigo by Clarks via Zappos
- Silver Necklace: gifted
- Turquoise Drop Earrings: mall vendor
How do you dress for your dear friends’ “dressy casual” summer wedding in, er, balmy North Carolina, where the expected temperature tops 100 degrees and you’re pregnant enough that most of your dresses look like tents? Paradoxically, in a bigger, trendier tent, it appears.
I’ve had an unexpected slew of late-summer special occasions to attend in the last few weeks, including the joyous (and gorgeous!) wedding of our friends A2 and A3 this past weekend. I found this dress during a mostly-for-baby-supplies(!!) trip to Target a few weeks ago, and it’s become my go-to “festive” summer dress. The jersey fabric couldn’t be more comfortable, the dark color both hides the fact that I tend to melt in the heat and adds to the formality factor, and the length hides all manner of late-pregnancy ankle-swelling incidents. It’s also modest enough that it doesn’t beg for an additional layer, which is an added bonus in this weather! I’m also loving the waist/bump definition, and the decidedly budget-friendly price tag. Extra special: unlike a totally depressing percentage of so-called maternity staples, it isn’t black! Black has its time and place, of course, but I’m admittedly deeply partial to the versatility of this jewel-y shade of navy. Though I don’t have any photos from the night of, I’ve also paired this dress with gold drop earrings and a matching cuff, and with a pale purple pashmina as a defense against a blast of air conditioning.
- Floral-Print Dress: Gap Maternity via gap.com
- Orange Paisley Pashmina: Gift from D.’s Aunt L.
- Saddle-brown Die-Cut Flats: LifeStride via Zappos
It’s subtle, but it’s there, I promise! Actually, if you look closely, there are not two but three patterns in this outfit, which I wore when my sweet mum took husband D. and I to dinner to celebrate my birthday. (Ed. note: if I really wanted to be a wise-arse, I’d count the mosquito bites polka-dotting my legs as a fourth!). The bold, modern-arty floral print of the dress, the delicate paisley on the pashmina, and the die-cuts on my shoes are all not only different patterns but different textures. When combined with the bold color combination of orange and blue (wahoooowa, anyone?), they form not so much a subtle bending of the rules but a whole kaleidoscope of rule-breaking, pattern mixing craziness. And of course, remembering that bodies are never neutral, the fact that the woman wearing all this is 8+ months pregnant, and we’re at least sending one unexpectedly cohesive message: this woman is no shrinking violet. And she is not having a quiet day.
Amid all that loudness, though, I am following at least some of the “rules” for mixing prints: I’m using prints on two different scales, I’m letting one print dominate the other, and even though the blue and orange color combination is loud, it’s a well-traveled pairing of complementary colors. As for the fact that being this pregnant makes nearly all fashion statements appear more like fashion screams than fashion whispers? More for better than for worse, there’s little I can do about that at this point! And although this may not be my favorite-est-ever foray into mixing patterns, there’s a joy and a playfulness to this trend that I can’t get enough of, and that seems particularly apt as I experiment with dressing this increasingly foreign body in late pregnancy. And seriously, who can keep a straight face in an outfit like this?
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