Monday, April 9, 2012

Mommy Style Monday #27: Third Trimester Files: I Can Still Wear Dresses!

Note: Rather than bother with individually archiving the end of my third trimester outfits, I am going to do two separate Mommy Style Mondays highlighting my two "basic" outfits of the day. This week will be on how dresses are a SAVING grace for anyone "blessed" with a MASSIVE HUGE BABY BELLY (which is usually most pregnant ladies). Next week will be on how to do "stylish casual" during the last few difficult weeks when every part of your body is aching.

I also believe that many of my early postpartum outfits will also be part of the Mommy Style Monday series, however, I do intend to have at least a few of them be separate outfit of the day posts.

I have written on both of these subjects before in Mommy Style is one on dressing your bump, here is one on when you start to show, and here is one on how to dress either a first trimester belly OR a diminishing belly in the postpartum period.

Also, if you are interested, in the very first few months of this blog, say between January of 2009 till around May of 2009, I was still very much losing my baby weight from CW. My postpartum period this time is MUCH different (which I will probably get into at some point in the future in another post), and I sincerely doubt I will be in postpartum clothing in a few months. I did start this blog as a way to help emphasize fun fashion and style for all mommas, regardless of weight or shape, and even though I don't think what happened with CW will happen post-Angus, I do stand proud of my desire to work with what I had post-CW, EVEN if my style and fashion sense has changed since then. ;)

Okay, goes...what to do with that BIG OLE BABY BELLY in the last few weeks, when literally nothing else fits, even the "maternity" clothing that fit at 35 weeks?

I am so pregnant here, I believe this was one week before I gave birth to Gus.  You can even see my "popped" belly button. 

No matter what I put on, everything fit extremely poorly.  I was only able to wear super stretchy fabrics that gave over the belly but also could be fitted enough to fit my smaller bustline and shoulders.

This is a Motherhood Maternity dress that I lived in during CW and Rex's pregnancies.  Until the last weeks of my pregnancy with Gus, I couldn't wear this dress as it was too big (overall I only gained thirty two pounds with Gus, with CW, I gained forty, and with Rex, I gained fifty). 

But MAN was I ever grateful to have this dress in the circulation, it felt good.  Like G-O-O-O-O-O-O-D good.  The stretch jersey fabric is super soft and the yummy bias cut skirt helped keep airflow on my legs.  (It was hot that day.)

Sunglasses: Target.
Shoes: Bensimon with Liberty Print Fabric.
Necklace: J. Crew.

I also appreciate how the cap sleeves and v-neck help draw the eye to the neckline and face rather than the belly.

CW is precious here.  She insisted on the hat.  ;)

This is yet another dress that I wore constantly with Rex and CW.  However, like I said with the above outfit, it was too large (especially in the neckline and shoulders) for most of this pregnancy.

I guess I am advising you, if you have the tendency to a very large bump, to invest in one or two "one size larger" dresses for the very end of your pregnancy.  Even if they lay dormant for months at least you will have something that you can feel decent in, pretty in, and be more than glad to put on because it gives you room to breathe and lots of comfort.

The dress is another Motherhood Maternity, in a size medium (typically wear a small with them).  I love the fabric, liberty-esque without being Liberty (yikes on those prices for a dress worn a few times in total).

Earrings and Shoes: J. Crew.

I wore this to one of my last doctor's appointments, may have been my very last one in fact.  I kind of really dig this photo.  I have only a handful of me truly appreciating the bump, but this one shows how much that I like being pregnant, even with all the hassle and hurt.

I adore this dress as it does fit regardless of point of pregnancy.  I can wear it earlier on (as I did here) or later on, as I am doing above.  The smocked top of this dress really works, especially if you have a pear will always work with a smaller upper body no matter what your lower half wants to do.
Dress: Pea in the Pod.
Bag: Anthropologie.
Shoes: J. Crew.
Bracelet: J. Crew necklace made into a bracelet, see next photo.  (Plus an additional traditional J. Crew bracelet and my Tiffany's Chain Link Bracelet.)
Earrings: J. Crew.

The red "bracelet" is the necklace (in-store only) wrapped three times around my wrist.

Rarely do I wear my glasses when dressing up, but I couldn't manage the contacts and makeup and accessories and dress.  Ya know.  Exhaustion and all.

About two weeks prior to giving birth, Mr. Dina and the fam and I went to a Thai restaurant together, and I loved the opportunity to get a little more dressy, yet even I realized there was no way in heck it would include heels, any sort of true tailoring or structure, or heavy accessories.

This dress is non-maternity from Garnet Hill.  Here and there I will buy a piece of two from Garnet Hill.  I had worn this once last fall (it never made it to the blog, though), and I wanted to see how far its stretchy jersey fabric would go.  (Turns out a whole lot.)

Jacket: J. Crew.  Wore it once before in the pregnancy, here.
Shoes: Target.
Earrings: J. Crew Factory.

When I am not pregnant, this dress features a very full skirt, which is great for my larger hips and bottom.  While pregnant, that volume easily accommodates the belly.  I HIGHLY recommend buying jersey dresses from non-maternity lines if you don't have a ton of money for a maternity wardrobe.  (And stretchy leggings--again from a non-maternity line...)

If you must (and I get that, I have been there, you all should have seen my wardrobe budget during my first job, everyone on three, say it, Chadwicks!) only buy things that can work before, during, and after pregnancy, do the jersey dress and leggings route, you can get a ton of wear and very little tear (these are sturdy fabrics) from these staple items.

I love the jeweled neckline.  This is sweet and elegant, without being especially fussy.

I popped the tie-fabric collar for a bit of fun.  By then end of the meal, it was down.  I only slightly cared.

I did a review of the necklace here, so if you read that review, you have seen the outfit before, but for some of you this is new.

This is a size medium Liz Lange for Target dress that I bought a while back.  It was huge on me, but because I have done this whole being pregnant thing two other times, I knew the dress would work for reals at the end.  And it did become a godsend.  I am not one to say this often, but black is certainly slimming.  (Well, kind of.)

Necklace: Boden.
Shoes: J. Crew.  (CW wants a pair of her own glitter golden flats.  One day...I suppose.)

Okay, that's all! 

My quick takeaways:

1. Dresses are a wonderful option at the end as they allow for freedom of movement and will easily accommodate a larger belly, even if the rest of you hasn't gotten larger. 

2. Always seek out jersey fabrics, as they allow for the MOST flexibility between a smaller upper or lower half and a very large waistline.  (At one point my belly measured 42 inches and my bustline was 35 inches.  Jersey fabric was, hands down, the most comfortable of all the fabrics.)

3. Look outside the maternity stores.  If there is a store whose jersey dresses work for you (my faves are J. Crew, Boden, and Garnet Hill), seek them out in longer lengths and with fuller skirts.  Chances are they will fit you the entire time you are pregnant and flatter you.

4. Have one or two maternity dresses that are one size bigger than your traditional maternity size.  (This is truly key if your belly gets abnormally big compared to the rest of you.  If this is your first pregnancy it is hard to tell what your body is likely to do, but by two and three, you should have an idea.)

5. Know that you don't have to try so hard at the end.  If you only throw on a dress, some lip gloss, a cute bracelet, and some adorable ballet flats, you are giving 110%.  It is HARD to lug the weight around, it is DIFFICULT to feel pretty, and it is a time when every. single. person. gets it.  No one wants you to work harder than you need to...if the heels and statement necklaces bug you at the end, well, yeah, give them up.  In a few months, you totally will be back to enjoying your whole wardrobe.  Promise.  :)

Any other tips from moms who have been there?