Maternity fashion that flatters

  • By Samantha Critchell Associated Press
  • Friday, April 12, 2013 1:48pm
  • Life

Kim Kardashian: Take note.

To be stylish and pregnant, you need to embrace your new shape. You have to celebrate it. But you also need to be aware of it, and not keep wearing your regular wardrobe — even if it’s a size up.

Kardashian, who is expecting her first child with Kanye West in July, has taken heat from the tabloids and armchair fashion critics for her maternity look, which seems a continuation of her usual parade of body-hugging dresses, tucked-in blouses, complicated couturelike details and super-high heels.

Lately, though, it seems she’s taken the plunge into maternity clothes, sometimes wearing stretch-waist maternity jeans (designer, of course) and leggings.

Pea in the Pod design director Olivia Capone Myers says leggings are the No. 1 must-have item for a successful pre- and post-baby wardrobe. Leggings, along with side-ruched T-shirts and dresses, preferably made of stretch jersey, are the first things to buy when the bump starts showing, and they’re the last ones you’re wearing after mom and baby are settled in at home, Myers says.

Myers, herself eight months pregnant, says the current wave of celebrity moms-to-be has reignited interest in this corner of the fashion world, which is sometimes more relatable to shoppers than the runway.

“Jessica Simpson … she’s really done an amazing job of looking fabulous,” Myers says. “She has tweaked her style, moving from heels to flats but still polished.”

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton possesses what might be the world’s most famous baby bump, and she has made a seamless transition into her slightly revamped look.

She already wore “mostly pretty, flattering and simple silhouettes — dresses, coats, hats and monochromatic color,” exactly what style expert Amy Tara Koch would suggest. Koch is the author of the book “Bump It Up.”

Other tips from Koch: Kimono sleeves instantly create the bohemian vibe that works well in maternity wear, and so do tunic tops with a blousoned dropped waist.

Dangling earrings draw the eye to the slope of the neck and shoulders, and a chunky necklace worn against a jewel neck or slightly scooped or V-neck shirt emphasizes the bustline upward.

“You want to create a focal point that will take attention from elsewhere,” Koch says.

Jersey fabric with its tight-weave stretch is good camouflage (and not just for pregnant women). Designer Abi Ferrin says good jersey will stretch and shrink with the body, and that the weight of the fabric smooths bumps.

Myers notes that what’s in maternity stores now reflects broader fashion trends. “The mistake I see most is the mentality that they think they have to stay away from stripes, or florals or prints because they fear them to be unflattering, but I think the opposite is true,” she says.

A clean, sharp nautical stripe, for example, will break up the bump.

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