Second Trimester Style Update (A.K.A. Maternity Capsule Wardrobe)
The 2nd Trimester has been stretching not just my long ligament muscles, but also my styling muscles indeed with all the new creative ways I’ve been inventing to adapt my wardrobe to my newly changing shape & state.
Whereas the focus of the first Trimester was really to conceal and be comfortable, the shift is now to maintain balance and proportions. It’s also about deciding which maternity wear is necessary right now, and still using my existing wardrobe pieces to create unique outfits that don’t look the same from day to day (believe me, the allure of a uniform is very tempting, and in some ways inevitable!)
As those of you who have been there know, everyone’s body changes at different rates and in different areas, so the need for maternity wear may arise as early as 10-12 weeks and as late as 20-22 weeks, depending. I plunged into doing a ton of research during my first trimester, knowing that when the time came that I would no longer be able to zip up my pre-pregnancy jeans, I wouldn’t want to find myself unprepared.
I learned a lot through my research about the best brands, fits and staples worth investing in, and am sharing some of my insights below. I hear over and over and from clients and mom-friends that choosing maternity wear that works for you is no small feat, so I’ve also put together a Capsule Wardrobe for Fall that hopefully will be useful to those of you expecting.
Here are a few styling tips for 2nd Trimester Styling:
- START BY PICKING OUT YOUR MATERNITY DENIM, EVEN BEFORE YOU NEED IT. For years I’ve been hearing from friends & clients how maternity jeans are the most comfortable jeans one will ever own. So naturally, when it came time for me to pick some out (which I decided to do rather early so as to have them on hand when I needed them), I was very excited. As it turned out, their comfort is really debatable. One thing that they all have in common is a rather low rise – and from there, the styles vary between those with a band that stretches over your stomach or folds down, or side stretch panels. After a few trial-and-errors, I’ve decided to go with the over-the-belly style, in hopes that as my belly grows, they will stay up more comfortably. I have to admit, I’m not there yet 🙁 One other tip: don’t size up as tempting as it might be (unless you know your body and think you’ll be going a few sizes up). The sizing on the jeans runs a bit big overall, and they have a ton of stretch. I actually went down a size from my usual jeans size and found them to be more comfortable as they hug my legs better and stay up more. I still use a Bellaband with mine for extra support (see more on that next). I ended up purchasing 2 pairs – one dark blue skinny pair from Citizens of Humanity and one from Mother in a lighter wash with some minimal distress. 2 pairs is plenty to carry you through, especially if you add some other necessities to your wardrobe to mix it up.
- PURCHASE A BELLABAND (OR 2). As I was doing research on Maternity stores in NYC (more on that in a future post), I went to check out Séraphine, located in Soho. After talking to the sales associate about various types of maternity jeans, I asked her what she thought of a belly support band, and she kind of sneered at me, saying they don’twork. It makes sense that she would say that as their competitor makes them (!) but I decided to check them out anyway. This company called Ingrid & Isabel is known for them primarily – theirs is called Bellaband, and I honestly LOVE it. Essentially, it’s a piece of elasticized fabric, cut into a band that you can either drape over your belly or fold down twice for extra support. It stays put because of its seamless construction and 21% spandex fiber content, and regains its shape completely after washing. It’s perfect for getting more wear out of your pre-pregnancy jeans too, as it allows you to wear them unbuttoned by sliding comfortably over the front and keeping them in place. When you double it down, it just looks like a tank top, peeking out from under your shirt/sweater, which appears as layering & helps with fit & proportions.
- INVEST IN QUALITY MATERNITY LEGGINGS (AND TIGHTS). I realized that leggings are one wardrobe staple that can help me through the winter with a million different looks. You can wear them with a long top and cardigan, or a oversized chunky cowl or turtleneck (which probably already live in your closet as I know they do in mine). You can wear them with a denim or plaid button down and a leather jacket; you can also layer them with a tunic or dress and booties or boots. You get me – tons of options. I purchased a few pairs so far (all in black – as much as I’m not a huge black-wearer). They ARE flattering and warm. I invested in a pair from Spanx ($78) and received a pair from BLANQI as a gift (they’re starting their Black Friday Sale now for 50% off Maternity and Postpartum leggings, reg. $64). Both Spanx and Blanqi pairs are very comfortable and chic. I’ll probably end up buying 1-2 more pairs as the winter draws closer. Tights are also a great options – they work better with dresses and skirts, especially the more opaque ones. I’ve linked some options below!
- MATERNITY DRESSES ARE EASY AND COMFORTABLE (AND FLATTERING!). I knew I was planning to get pregnant for the last year or two, so I’ve been intentionally purchasing some swing dresses from Anthropologie over time, knowing they will be great pregnancy options. And they are – but until you have a big belly, they look a bit like you’re hiding being fat 😉 That’s why maternity dresses are worth the investment. I got most of mine from A Pea In The Pod and Ingrid & Isabel. The key is to look for ones with stretch AND structure so that they can grow with you; and if you’re checking out some of the more structured styles, keep in mind that they may not hug your belly as closely as you want right away – so employ some styling tricks like belting (higher above your bump) and layering a stylish blazer or cropped cardigan over them to maintain a balanced shape.
- EXPLORE COAT OPTIONS. If most of your pregnancy is happening during the Fall/Winter months like it is for me, you’ll need a warm coat (or 2) to carry you through. I’m a fan of playing around with silhouettes when it comes to coats – and own a variety of types from cocoon to fitted & belted, to empire. The struggle with most of the fitted coats is that once you grow to a certain size in your belly, they won’t zip (and therefore, won’t keep you warm!). My biggest challenge was not wanting to buy a coat I will have to abandon after just a few months (i.e. true pregnancy coat or very oversized one) so I opted for a Parka from MAJE, which I scored at their Sample Sale for $200 (reg. $1200), I sized up 1 size to have some extra room and the design of the coat is slightly oversized, but not unflattering – so I’m sure I’ll still wear it next year. It’s a pretty red with a warm hood. I also bought a cashmere-wool swing Clariene Coat from Theory (which is now on a great sale at 40% off!) to wear with a sweater for 50 degree weather. The Theory coat is fabulous and I’ll definitely be rocking it for a few more seasons after now.
- DON’T FORGET FOUNDATIONS AND STAPLES. A few maternity or longer-fitting stretchy tank tops, and maternity short and long sleeve tops and better bras are essentials to carry you through. I am checking out ThirdLove for my new bras (will keep you posted when I receive my first one!) and the tanks and tees don’t have to be expensive as they will most likely be layering pieces for more support and a pop of color.
- So there you have it – a Maternity Style Capsule, which you can supplement with pieces from your own wardrobe that should still fit and come in handy, like blazers and leather jackets (worn open over sweaters), stretchy longer sweaters and cardigans, and even some shift, sweater and swing dresses if you have them. Don’t forget all your fun shoes, jewelry, scarves and handbags – they will be your best friends when creating these maternity looks!
- If you have questions or would like some one-on-one assistance in creating the most ideal and [fun]ctional Maternity Wardrobe for your needs, don’t hesitate to reach out and check out my Maternity Styling Package, called “Most Stylish Mom-to-Be”, which helps you get through this special time in your life with great poise, style and flair. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog post on best maternity stores to shop in NYC and online, and more styling tips and insights along the way.
- Until then!