What to Wear When You’re Pregnant

This is a post I’ve wanted to do for awhile and the main reason behind it is my own experience with the frustrations of dressing while you’re pregnant. When I first started to need maternity clothes (end of first trimester), I got extremely discouraged by the lack of styles available and also information I could find online on how to dress. Like many other women, honing my personal style isn’t just about looking great but about feeling great. Pregnancy attire can take a lot of that away from you, especially if your style isn’t quite maternity friendly (like having an entire closet of button down shirts that you like to tuck into pants…). I searched high and low for tips and tricks and came up short. It wasn’t until I found a mom whose style I liked and looked at her pregnancy outfits that I found some encouragement and inspiration that I can keep my personal style during the pregnancy with just a little bit of effort.

Goals:

  • Incorporate your regular wardrobe as long as possible.
  • Ability to keep your personal style and feel “put together”.
  • Strategically purchase items that will stretch your current wardrobe and save you money.

Go-To Retailers

  • Old Navy
  • Gap
  • Target
  • Uniqlo

A quick note on retailers: very FEW brands do maternity and do it well, and less places are carrying maternity in-store for you to try on. I had good luck shopping the sales at Old Navy and Gap, getting basics at Target (t-shirts, etc), and then maternity leggings at Uniqlo. It’s key to get things that you’ll wear over and over again, and maybe only an item or two for a special occasion. I bought a dress for Christmas and then one for my baby shower, but I only wore those items once. I avoided maternity only stores because they tended to be pricey and I’d rather spend my money on clothes I can wear after the baby.

Bottoms

Bottom pieces are going to be the first things you notice you need “maternity” versions of. I definitely wore leggings throughout my pregnancy more than any other time in my life, but it really felt nice to have “real” pants as options. There are three main types of pants – side panel, demi, and over the belly. I found all three of these from the Gap website and ordered one of each to see what I liked and returned the rest. I found the demi to be most comfortable for me.

  • Over the belly pants and leggings look really strange, but they are great for the end of the second trimester and the whole third trimester. I found they didn’t fit as well for me before that.
  • I also bought non-maternity leggings a size or two bigger than normal and was able to wear them almost right up to the end.
  • I avoided skirts completely once my “bump” appeared because I thought it looked unflattering where the top of the skirt hit.

Dresses

Dresses are fantastic for warm weather pregnancies, and although I was pregnant in mostly the winter I did buy a few that I wore quite a bit. I definitely didn’t wear dresses as much as a summer pregnancy would because most cold days you are looking to wear pants.

  • Buy ones that can be styled a few ways. I got a plain navy dress and I wore it a lot because it could be dressed up and down for different occasions (pictured below on the left).
  • Empire waist dresses work great, even if they aren’t maternity. The photo above was one of my favorite dresses that had a forgiving waist that allowed me to wear it 6 months pregnant to a wedding. I was so happy it fit!
  • If you’re looking to accentuate your “bump”, a belt can turn your dress into a nice maternity look.

Tops:

This is very important since it will have to fit over your growing belly for as long as possible. Look for basics that can be layered under other pieces. I bought maternity gray and white t-shirts, as well as maternity gray and white turtlenecks and used them non-stop to layer under other pieces that weren’t maternity. I’m also a big fan of button down shirts and found ones I liked from Old Navy and also larger sizes of Ralph Lauren button downs that I received second hand.

  • If you don’t own them already, purchase a few long cardigans in neutral colors that will go with your wardrobe. I had a navy, gray, and green one that I wore up until the day I gave birth. I can also still wear them after since they just go over the arms and drape around you.
  • I wasn’t into showing off my bump, so I found capes and wraps to be nice for my style and kept me warm in the colder months.
  • I found oversized sweaters at the thrift store that I loved alongside borrowing my husband’s sweaters at the end of my pregnancy.

Outwear:

If you happen to be pregnant during a time where you’ll need to wear outwear, it can be frustrating figuring out how to stay warm when you’ve got a bump to cover. Until later in your pregnancy, you can get away with wearing jackets and being able to zip them up, but a time comes when you won’t be able to. I was pregnant from June – late February so I got the brunt of winter and bought a maternity coat. If you aren’t going to be big during the majority of winter, you can get away with not buying one.

  • I enjoyed wearing vests as a light layer, especially since I don’t zip them up even when I’m not pregnant.
  • I did buy a maternity coat and was glad I did. If I was spending less than a month in the winter being pregnant, I wouldn’t have bought one, but with the timing of mine it was worth it. There were several horrible snow storms that I was so glad I could zip my parka all the way up over the bump.
  • There are maternity coats that have a panel in front that you do without after the pregnancy meaning it turns into a non-maternity coat afterward. I didn’t like how this style looked, and also didn’t need another non-maternity coat. I found my maternity parka inexpensively during Old Navy’s online Black Friday sale.

Shoes:

Summer pregnancies are nicer in this case because you can wear sandals towards the end if your feet swell. I didn’t have swelling in my feet until the last two months, but it was very painful and left me with very little to wear. Thankfully all my boots were a half size larger (I always size up to accommodate thick socks), and my mom is a half size larger and let me borrow a few pairs to get me through the end.

  • Consider getting a pair or two of really comfortable shoes for the end of your pregnancy if you find you can’t fit into any of your current pairs. If you’re looking to save money, just buy inexpensive shoes and add comfortable insoles to them.

Workout Clothes:

If you weren’t working out before your pregnancy, doctors advise you don’t start anything new afterward, however you should be doing some sort of physical activity. I did not enjoy being pregnant, but I had a fairly easy delivery and I credit it to all my time spent in the gym! With that being said, it’s frustrating to not only have to compensate your normal wardrobe but then your workout clothes too. I got VERY lucky because Lucy Activewear got absorbed by The North Face and I was able to pick up maternity workout clothes for a fifth of the price it normally was.

  • If you workout a lot (few times a week), the Bao Bei band is for you! I had a friend recommend it and I LOVED it. I was so worried my abs would split or I’d be putting too much pressure on my body with the added weight of the bump, and this thing is like a sports bra for your belly. It’s not cheap, but it was worth every penny for me. If you don’t workout as often or are doing low impact activity, feel free to skip this!
  • Tops are fairly easy to buy until the third trimester. I would buy looser, larger tops, and only at the end did I pick up a few maternity tops. I bought these at Old Navy and Gap and found most of it during their Christmas sales.
  • Bottoms are a little tougher, but you’ll find your leggings should work for a lot longer than your non-maternity wardrobe. Near the end, only leggings that had a really low band would work other than maternity workout pants. Maternity workout leggings usually come with REALLY high bands that go over the bump and ones that sit right under. I found I liked the ones that went over the bump for support.
  • Shoes weren’t a problem for me, but if your feet are swelling I’d just pick up a cheap pair to get you through the end. My tennis shoes were some of the most comfortable things I’d wear during the whole pregnancy.

My friend Katrina is due in September! She is going to be one stylish pregnant lady!

Other:

Rings: My wedding ring stopped fitting near the end and only recently (4 weeks post partum) does it fit again. I had another ring that was always bigger on me that I’d wear, but also had a silicone ring that I normally wear to the gym that I would wear as well. Feel free to skip a ring if you’d like, or wear it around your neck. Never force a ring that doesn’t fit!

Swim: I bought a maternity swimsuit during an Old Navy holiday sale for $10 and I’m glad I did. I had access to an indoor pool year round at my gym and used it a few times both for leisure and aqua classes. I couldn’t believe how nice it felt to swim while pregnant – you feel like your old self again! Although I only wore it a few times, I thought it was worth it since I didn’t pay a lot and it felt so nice to take pressure off my joints during the end.

Overall tips:

  • Stay optimistic! You’ll get discouraged from time to time being able to wear less of your closet but don’t give up. Looking “put-together” when you don’t feel like it will lift your spirits and make you feel like your old self.
  • Get creative with wearing items a few ways. I utilized Pinterest a lot to search an item and see how many different ways it could be styled.
  • Buy items you’ll wear a lot, with a few exceptions (special events).
  • Buy second hand, or find a friend who had been pregnant that can loan you a few things. You’ll be surprised how many women are willing to share their maternity clothes with you. I was very fortunate to have a few friends and family members who loaned me items that got me through my pregnancy!
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Virginia’s Nursery

Virginia’s nursery was a process, but I found a few photos on Pinterest that I liked and combined them into this. I knew I wanted to do mostly neutrals with a feminine powder blue as an accent color. I’m really happy with how it turned out! I know I’ll look back at these photos with amazement on how clean and organized things were. 😀

diaper bag c/o barrington gifts (post coming soon)

Winter Olympics Style

The Winter Olympics start this weekend and my favorite part is Team USA ‘s opening and closing ceremony outfits designed by Ralph Lauren. I especially think the winter ones are always so great and leave me wanting everything in the collection. You can buy the same items from the Ralph Lauren website, but they’re pretty pricey and usually have the year on it. It’s no secret I love wearing the American flag, so I rounded up some of my favorite items below that have the Winter Olympics feel to it with the flexibility to wear it in the future.

Noteworthy – I’m a big fan of the RL Flag sweater (I have it in cream and navy), but they tend to be a lot of money on the website for adult sizes. I have seen them at the outlet for less, and also find the boy sizes to be a nice alternative. A medium in boys would fit a women’s XS, a large would fit a women’s small, and a XL would fit a women’s medium. All of mine are boy’s sizes from the outlet and I’ve never paid more than $40 for one, and one of them was $20! I have shorter arms and torso so it works for me, but I always recommend trying on first.

 

team usa mittens / vineyard vines shep shirt  / RL flag sweater / needlepoint flag hat (highly recommend and can get year round use)

flag beanie / flag pillow / flag tote

flag tote (I have this and love it!) / flag scarf / danner boots / north face stars scarf

 

What is your favorite part of the Winter Olympics?

 

 

Non-Maternity Items I’ve Bought

I haven’t bought many clothes in general since being pregnant, and the majority of clothes I have been purchasing have been maternity staples. Honesty, it’s been sort of nice being in this state where normal clothes don’t fit me because when I do want a non-maternity item, I put more thought into it. Because it’s something I can’t wear right away, I have to really want it in order to purchase it. With that being said, the items below are all non-maternity items, most which cannot be worn until after pregnancy, that fit my standard for a “must have” item for the future.

Tuckernuck Earrings (sold out): Of course I can wear whatever earrings I want while pregnant, but these are so spring/summer that I probably won’t be wearing them until after the baby anyway. I SO badly wanted these earrings when they came out last spring, but couldn’t bite the bullet at $88. I ended up getting them for $17 + free shipping recently during their sale, and cannot wait to wear them when the weather gets warmer.  They’re sold out of the color I got but they still have other colors online.

ROW ONE

Lilly Shift in Multi Sea Salt & Sun: An item I wanted when it first came out was this Lilly Pulitzer dress in this pattern. It reminds me of 1990’s Florida and I really love the fun print! It was marked down to $65 in their latest after party sale and I couldn’t resist. I got a little bigger than my normal Lilly size, so we will see how well it fits once summer comes.

Abercrombie Fair Isle Sweater: This isn’t an item I bought, but asked for from my parents for Christmas. I’m a sucker for fair isle and loved this red version of it. I’m looking forward to wearing it next December!

Vineyard Vines Funnel Neck Shep Shirt: I found this piece on Poshmark with the tags still on it. I wanted to know if the sizing was similar to their other Shep Shirts so I wanted to find the old listing for it on the VV website to read the reviews. What I found was it’s still for sale on their website currently, yet for some reason this lady was selling it on Poshmark, and I ended up paying $35 for it. The reviews all said it ran large, so when it came I tried it on and the XS fits me… at 35 weeks pregnant. They are easy to shrink so I’ll be attempting to shrink it after the baby comes. 🙂 I’m really happy with the style and quality of the item and recommend it to anyone interested in adding a fun piece of Vineyard Vines to their wardrobe!

 

ROW TWO

Talbots Gingham Half Zip: I saw this on IG friend Devon’s story and instantly loved it! I got it for $25, and it looks like it’s still at that price. It’s a really warm fleece and has a cool navy feature on the top and back of the shoulders similar to a shep shirt. It’s an item that can be worn in cold weather when you’re sick of your normal winter clothes and want something “fresh” looking, and I’m hoping it can bridge the gap between winter and spring after the baby comes.

J. Crew Nordic Boots (Sold out): This is another item I asked for from my parents for Christmas. I LOVE these boots and featured them in an earlier post. They are extremely warm and comfortable, and may be the only shoes that are truly pleasant for my feet these days. I’ve been wearing them frequently for a month and they’ve proven to be a little more high maintenance than I’d like. They are not very waterproof so you have to waterproof them yourself. I used an entire can of nubuck leather waterproofing spray (three layers), and they look great, but if I get a little snow on them they seem to dry kind of funny. No permanent markings have been made so far, but I wish they were a little lower maintenance. The look and feel of them make up for the trouble!

Hunter Boots: This is the last item I didn’t personally purchase since it was a Christmas gift from my husband. It’s an item I can wear while pregnant, although I know they will fit much better once I deliver my baby and my feet/leg swelling goes away. It’s a fun addition to my wardrobe!

THIRD ROW

Old Navy Activewear leggings / jacket / leggings: I’m a fitness instructor so I had to purchase a lot of maternity workout items the further I got along, and got really lucky because the brand Lucy is being absorbed into North Face and had all their maternity items on sale for $12-$20. I wasn’t planning on buying any activewear that wasn’t maternity but I couldn’t resist this print Old Navy came out with recently. It’s very rarely you find “preppy” workout clothes and I loved the navy and stripes. They almost remind me of the J. Crew activewear line, but I’ve had good luck with Old Navy workout clothes in the past, but haven’t heard great things about many of the J Crew pieces.

The Best Gym Bag

monogrammed nylon gym bag c/o mark & graham / yoga mat c/o mark & graham / nike training shoe

It can be hard to take fitness gear advice from someone who’s a style blogger, especially when there are so many fantastic fitness bloggers out there. Something I don’t share on here too often is what I do in real life. Besides my day job, I’ve been a fitness instructor for the past 5 years at Life Time. If you haven’t heard of Life Time, it’s incredible and I love and enjoy every single part of my job and the facility itself. Calling it a gym or fitness center does it no justice!  Don’t tell my boss but I’d teach classes for free if that’s what it took. 😉

I’ve always been into working out ever since I realized I hated playing sports but still loved being active. I’ve been apart of some sort of gym / group fitness atmosphere for the past twelve years, and professional the last five, so I know a lot more about health and fitness than your average style blogger. Trust me when I tell you this is the best gym bag I have found to date.

Finding the right gym bag is a personal preference that really depends on how you use it. Some people are OK with a simple tote that they throw things in, while others depend on versatility because they work out often and/or shower at their gym. I fall into the later category and depend on the functionality of my bag to help keep me organized.


  • This bag has a total of EIGHT pockets and compartments – each designated for a different use. The very front of the bag has zippers on the side that once unzipped can hold a yoga mat, and right above the monogram is another compartment that I use for random hair ties and headbands (being without one can ruin a workout for me).
  • One side of the bag has a place for a waterbottle, and the other side has a compartment for shoes. I would never buy a gym bag that didn’t have a compartment for shoes and flip flops! I find it so useful and helps my inner germaphobe feel more at ease to keep it separate.
  • The back of the bag has a huge slim pocket that can hold anything you want easy access to.
  • The inside has three pockets – one larger one that I use to keep my iPad and workout class lessons in. It would also fit a laptop as well. Opposite of that pocket is two smaller compartments – I keep my instructor essentials in there such as a mic belt, windscreens for the mic, & wallet,  as well as extra headphones and socks.
  • The entire interior and exterior are completely wipe-able so it will look brand new for a very long time!

I’ve owned this retired Gaiam bag forever (7+ years), and while I bought other gym bags throughout the years, I always went back to it because of the compartments. I can now say that bag has been replaced and upgraded majorly with this new gym bag. I’ve never felt so organized in my life as this bag checks all of my boxes for my dream gym bag. I couldn’t have design one better myself!

While it may be more money than some are willing to spend on a gym bag, I find that owning the perfect version of something ends up costing you less over time. Settling on a lesser version of something so functional that will end up being replaced anyway costs time, money, and frustration over the years. Buying the right version the first time is worth its weight in gold. Plus, who can resist the navy and monogram?

What bag do you use for the gym? What are your must-haves for a gym bag?

 

Help Me Pick A Rain Jacket

It’s been a tiny bit milder in Michigan this week and we’ve had a tons of rain that has washed all the snow away. Naturally, I’m thinking spring and have my eye on adding a new rain jacket to my spring coat collection. I have a very old, lightweight yellow coat, but it doesn’t have a hood, the fit is a little tight for layering, and the color is more of a darker “fall” yellow. I’ve decided it’s time to get what I really want! I’ve narrowed it down but could use a little help deciding. Here’s what I’m working with for my decision:

  • I’ve always wanted a classic yellow rain jacket, but my only hesitation is that my husband Joe owns a yellow rain jacket that he really loves. Anytime it rains even a tiny bit, he’s wearing it. It may seem trivial, but do I really want to be matching my husband in bright yellow rain coats? It’s one thing to both being wearing navy or black, but imagine a Caucasian, blonde married couple walking around in bright yellow coats – we would be snap chatted by strangers for sure!
  • Secondly on the yellow color – I see it often on models with darker hair and it’s a lovely contrast. I’m worried the yellow might wash me out a little bit or just not look as good on me with having lighter hair.
  • I prefer toggle hooks, specifically a lighter color rope. I love the way they look and the nautical style they add to a jacket.
  • A hood is a must-have, and I love that each jacket below has a contrasting hood.
  • The footwear I’d most likely be wearing would be red Hunter boots, dark green rain boots, or duck boots.

  1. The Long Seafolly Jacket by Seasalt Cornwall (a UK brand), has many of the things I’m looking for: great shade of yellow, really nice toggle closures, contrasting hood. I kind of like that it’s on the longer side since most of my other spring jackets aren’t like that. The downside is because it’s shipped from the UK, I may have a harder time figuring out my size and then it’s a risk of whether or not it will fit. It’s a bigger pain to return it if I don’t like it in real life.
  2. The Classic Raincoat by Land’s End is really cute with the stripes and the inside lining is a cheery yellow. I like the look and length on it, but I’m afraid it will make it a little harder to find something to wear with it. I wear stripes a lot and with this jacket there would be a whole lot of stripes! I don’t like having to think twice about grabbing a jacket and I may do that with this one because of the pattern. The stripes would look good next to Joe’s yellow rain coat though! 😉
  3. The Coast Waterproof Jacket by Joules is the only option that doesn’t have toggle closures on the front, but it seems pretty heavy duty for the rainiest of weather. The hood is really cute, so I can assume the whole thing is lined in the navy stripes. It says the fit is boxy, but that’s fine since I’m not looking for a really fitted jacket for rain. This may be my least favorite option, but when I look at the other photos online of it, it’s growing on me. They don’t have my size right now, but it seems to be a product that is around year round and gets restocked often.
  4. The Whitby Waterproof Jacket by Boden is the front runner in mind, but I still have some hesitation. If you click through the link and look at the other images, the material seems off, like it’s extra wrinkly (is it just me?). I love the toggles but not sure if I’m a fan of the sideways triangle that holds them. One reviewer said the yellow was more of a dull, mustard yellow, which might be fine by me but I think I would like a more cheerful shade if I’m being picky. This one always stuck out to me because it checks the most boxes of what I’m looking for.
  5. The Whitby Waterproof Jacket by Boden again, but in this cute, blue gingham pattern. It looks amazing, and while I have the same reservations as the yellow version, I still am attracted to it. Again, it may give me less options for what to wear since I probably wouldn’t wear gingham or smaller stripes underneath it, but it would look fine next to Joe’s yellow coat. 😉 It’s more of a statement piece, so I can still see myself wanting a yellow coat even if I got this one.

What are your thoughts? Please let me know what you would choose if you were me below in the comments – THANK YOU! 🙂

Lace Tying Hacks & Other Good Tips

We all know how to tie our shoes, but today’s post is going a little more into detail on different techniques that aren’t taught growing up that can make your shoe tying experience a little better. I personally like being able to slip on shoes without spending a lot of time tying them up. Two pieces of footwear that I’ve “turned into” slip-on’s are my slippers and boots from L.L. Bean. You can use this advice on any version similar to what I own.

Let’s start with boots: I love wearing my Bean Boots but found sitting down to tie them a little tedious when I wear them so often. I’ve seen other people tying their boots this way (eastland knot) and decided to try it out, and 2 years later they’re still tied exactly how I did them and they’ve made a huge different in how I wear them. It’s SO easy to just slip them on and off, so I reach for them even more now. No more sitting down and spending time lacing them! I also like the way they look this way better than when I did a traditional shoelace knot on them. Here are helpful instructions on how to do the eastland knot on your boots.

Tips for tying boots:

  • Loosen up the laces to the point where you find them easy to slip on and off. They won’t be as tight as if you laced them up each time, but you will hardly notice a difference.
  • Start on notch lower than you normally would (see photo) to keep them at that loose point.
  • Know that if you keep this tying arrangement for any period of time your laces will probably be bent that way if you undo it. Laces are fairly inexpensive and I found the trade off for this slip on option to outweigh having straight laces later on. So far I haven’t undone them and don’t plan on it!

 

I also own and love the Wicked Good Moccasin slippers, but like most slippers that you tie, they used to come untied constantly and it became annoying. L.L. Bean came out with a how-to video on how to tie them using the seaman’s knot to ensure they don’t come untied too often. It’s pretty easy, and although they do still come untied, it only happens once in awhile and not everyday. You can tell in this photo it’s slightly different than a regular shoelace knot.

 

I tie a regular shoelace knot for my workout shoes, and then “double knot” them so they don’t come undone during my workout. I do, however, sometimes get in the bad habit of just slipping off my workout shoes when I get home instead of untying them. Make sure you always untie your shoes completely to help the laces last longer. The pair above replaced a different pair I had where I kept it tied all the time, and the laces had worn down and the shoes were not very snug when I did use them. I learned my lesson and now take the time to untie everything.

Do you have any shoe tying woes that you’ve solved?

Bundled Up

beanie – ll bean (sold out) / vail parka – j crew factory / striped shirt – abercombie (last year) /

corduroy leggings c/o lands end / nordic boots – j crew

I tend to gravitate towards pops of red in winter outfits to brighten up the mundane and bring a little après ski style to my everyday looks. It’s easy to deviate towards a very neutral color palate after the holidays but I’m a big fan of color and believe everyone should be adding it a little bit into their outfits.

Two items I want to highlight in this outfit are the leggings and boots. The leggings are corduroy leggings from Land’s End and have been in heavy rotation all winter long. I have had the tan pair for years and this year got the navy pair. It’s hard to tell in photos but they are thicker and much nicer looking than regular leggings. Land’s End runs sales pretty often so you can find a deal and try them. I can guarantee you’ll love them as much as I do! I wear a XS normally in them, but bought this pair in a medium for pregnancy purposes and they’ve been fantastic.

These boots are AMAZING. I cannot begin to describe how much I love them.  I was so hesitant about asking for these, and when I got them for Christmas I couldn’t be happier. They are extremely high quality in every way – the entire thing is shearling lined, they’re comfortable, they come with two pairs of laces (red and neutral), and can be worn with the flaps up or down for two different looks. They’re made of nubuck leather so I was told you should waterproof them before wearing. I used this product and ended up doing three layers before wearing them out in the snow. They got a LOT of snow on them from this quick shoot and dried very nicely. I wouldn’t wear them in heavy snow for long periods of time, but they’re perfect for everyday winter conditions. Walking in sludge, salt, a little snow, and then keeping my feet warm and dry  – I couldn’t be happier!

My feet have been hurting SO badly for the last month and these are a nice relief. I’ve been wearing them almost everyday. Thankfully it’s easy to create cute outfits around them! 🙂

What type of outfits have you been gravitating towards?

Do you find winter (post holidays) easy or hard to dress for?

 

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