So…you’re knocked up. Haha, just kidding! But really, you are. So, congrats!! Super exciting times lie ahead for you!! Let’s see…sleepless nights, hormonal adjustments, very little ‘me’ time, and a body that is dismorphed (possibly temporarily, possibly permanently), to name a few.
Now you’re thinking, “It’s hard enough to be chic with a normal body, much less a gigantic belly protruding from my body!” And, honestly, you’re right. No sugar coating there. I will say this though: I’ve now been pregnant twice during my tenure as an academician (is that even a word?!). The first time I was a 1st year PhD student and the second time, I was a 1st year postdoc. Actually, both kids were also born in June, right before the summer. Interestingly, neither was planned… A-NY-WAY….I digress. But, that said, I’ve had some experience with having to find maternity clothing that was outfit appropriate.
Here are a few pointers for dressing for your new, baby-in-utero-body:
1) The Long-Length Blazer Jacket
Think in terms of body proportions. First and foremost. You want to wear clothes that make you look, well, proportional! Hard to do when you have a giant belly, but feasible with a few key pieces.
Take for example the two Kardashian sisters with babies, Kim and Kourtney. You may love or hate them, but these girls can dress! And dressing chic while pregnant was something they both did well! I especially like what Kim Kardashian wore during her pregnancy, because like me, she had major edema towards the end of her pregnancy (I had it with both boys), so I feel a certain type of kinship with her. Anyway, so, to even out her body a bit, she took to wearing blazers.
I loved wearing blazers as well. Here is one example, taken May 2012 (one month before my second son was born, and one of the only pics I had on my current phone!):
It’s a little hard to tell here, but I’m basically wearing a non-maternity dress (Prabal Gurung for Target and a Forever 21 blazer, one size larger than usual). The key for me to wearing blazers, was to find ones that were a little longer than usual, in length (i.e. ones that cover your bottom). Theory blazers are great (super expensive in store, averaging $400 or so for the blazer alone…though a great investment; and less expensive on eBay), as are Forever 21 Boyfriend Blazers (if you want a way less expensive option, averaging about $30).
And on blogger, Morgan from Allen and Co:
2. The High Waisted Pencil Skirt
I LOVE pencil skirts. Pregnant or not! I just think they are incredibly flattering, and work well on most body types. When pregnant, I really feel that pencil skirts work well. For those of us who are not blessed with long, slender legs, pencil skirts also help to give the illusion of length and to add, well, proportion! Here are some examples I love:
Love, love, love these colors as well as the fit of the skirt. For me, below the knee is key for work-appropriate looks. This one in particular hits right below the knee, so it really works to give the illusion of (or enhance) an hour-glass figure.
Asos maternity pieces are also great staples while pregnant! They are inexpensive and well-made for the price. Here’s a popular skirt from their maternity line:
NOTE: Also in this picture are the opaque maternity tights. Though they don’t really qualify as a staple because you can only REALLY wear them during the fall/winter, they are amazing during pregnancy!! Let’s be real, for those of us without a thigh gap, they prevent thigh-chaffing; they usually are control top, so they keep your baby-belly nice and snug and your thighs and buttocks in place when wearing tight-fitting clothes; and, finally, keep you from having to shave EVERY.SINGLE.DAY during the winter (don’t judge me!!). My favorite tights come from Target and can be found here.
And finally, this look from Sydney (blogger, The Daybook):
3. The Skinny Pant or Jean
Okay, so you may be able to give me some insight on great-fitting maternity slacks for the work place, but I was unsuccessful in finding ANY while pregnant with both my boys. I found maternity slacks to be all around ill-fitting, making me look like I had both a saggy bottom and a saggy belly! They also were usually didn’t fit well in the thigh area and bottom/tummy area simultaneously. I did wear one pair that I bought on eBay for $1 (plus shipping, of course) during both pregnancies, but nothing else. For the most part, I stuck to black leggings with boots (during the winter), and skinny pants/jeans during the spring.
Here are some legging/blazer examples I loved re-creating:
Here are some examples of work-appropriate looks with the skinny pant or jean:
And from one of the most chic bloggers, pregnant and not, Anh from 9 to 5 Chic:
4. The Long Length Tank Top
Omgosh, these are heaven sent during and after pregnancy. You can wear them alone with your blazer and skinny jeans or pencil skirt; under dresses or tops with low-necklines, under tops or sweaters that don’t cover your belly and/or butt; but most of all, to help keep your pants up that don’t quite button during the earlier phases of pregnancy when you can still manage to wear your non-maternity pants/jeans!
Here, Andee Layne (blogger – The Honeybee – who inspired my preggers-style for my second pregnancy) in a Liz Lange for Target tank top styled in an all-black look with the jacket as the pop of color (though this color is more muted since this was worn during the fall/winter):
Another great, all-black look with pop-of-color blazer from Red Soles and Red Wine blogger (also a target Maternity tank):
Here’s the coveted, all-around amazing, Target tank (though, any long length tank will work of course!):
5. The Fitted Maternity Dress
I was really a fan of the fitted dress. I think one of the best things about being pregnant is that, for the first time, it is actually socially acceptable to wear fitted clothing with a protruding belly! 😛 For me, anything that was not fitted, make me look HUGE and kind of as if I was wearing a tent. 😦 So, fitted dresses for me! Here are some looks I used for inspiration during my pregnancies:
Different shoes for the office, but this look from Kim K. would definitely work for the office, and very chic, might I add:
I loved this look too! A bit short for the office, but could work with a longer dress:
And finally, the business formal fitted dress look. Sometimes, we have dinners to attend, galas, or other ‘dress-up’ functions! Dresses like the following work well paired with a nice blazer during the day, and alone for the evening event. Here’s Reese Witherspoon with a rouched-black fitted dress that I loved paired with the pink heels (similar here):
And this floral number from Asos.com:
So there you have it! My 5 wardrobe essentials for dressing ‘Chic in Academia’ while pregnant! Of course, there are a variety of other clothing options, and omgosh, let’s not even get into shoes!! The options are endless! But, I really do feel like these 5 options work well for most work-appropriate outfits, and furthermore, staples that can be mixed and matched so that you don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe to accommodate your growing baby belly! Stay tuned for my dressing ‘Chic in Academia’ while breastfeeding/postpartum! I also have a ‘Pregnancy board’ on Pinterest that you can follow for outfit inspiration or other pregnancy-related pins!