Pregnancy may be a wonderful experience but for many it is a traumatic minefield of feeling out of control, unsexy and at times thoroughly miserable. Becoming a host organ and coping with dramatic changes in body shape throws our wardrobes into disarray and strikes at the heart of our self-esteem. Being forced to reassess our entire sense of style can hit hard at our purse strings and add further chaos to an already difficult and ever changing process.
As an Image Consultant who is now seven months pregnant, I have recently found myself in this very position. I have so far resisted the temptation of tracky bottoms and engulfing sweatshirts because my professional standing would be at risk.
Here are my golden rules for surviving the process and I hope that some women out there will find them useful:
Even though you are pregnant, many of the style rules that applied before pregnancy will still apply throughout. Avoid slipping into a tent like structure and give thought to your body shape. For example, as a 38DD (and increasing with every passing week), deep, shallow attractive necklines have been vital to my survival. A high neckline for example, gives me a double chin, makes me look like a 46F and in short, enhances that dumpy, frumpy feeling! Some women who suddenly develop fuller breasts may wish to capitalise on their sensuality by enjoying necklines that were previously out of bounds.
Pay close attention to the colour of an item, especially when worn close to the face. There is nothing worse than that pale, grey pregnancy pallor in the first three months. To give you a healthy glow wear a colour that you know suits you. Many women look stunning in black but for some it makes them look grey and washed out. Beige is another tricky colour to wear, it can make the healthiest person look green and it can completely crucify a pale pinkie skin. Wearing a colour that suits will lift your spirits and reduce the negative comments made about your early pregnancy complexion.
Invest in some stylish and comfortable maternity wear. This is easier said than done as good maternity wear is hard to access and mail order can be difficult because you are unable to try clothes on. As a short-waisted, petite woman, a lot of maternity tops were far too long for me and made my bump look even bigger. Remember, if long tops were unflattering pre-pregnancy, they wont flatter during your pregnancy either.
Here is a list of useful websites that will suit different budgets. For the more affordable purchase visit www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk, www.bloomingmarvellous.co.uk, www.bellavalore.co.uk, or www.funmum.co.uk. These sites are good for basic items, returns are easy and refunds are swift. For those who like trendy simple lines try www.formes.com. Trousers range from £60 – £105; mini skirts £70 and jumpers are between £45 and £90. For those who adore black, sleek stretchy fabrics try www.isabellaoliver.co.uk. These simple lines are available in basic colours and are moderate in terms of price.
At seven months pregnant, Im well into that feeling like a beached whale phase and for my sanity, Ive had to resort to monochromatic dressing. Its a tried and tested slimming rule that everyone should use when your self-esteem has climbed into the bottom of your wardrobe and is refusing to come out. Monochromatic does not mean just dressing in black, white or grey, but rather one colour or toning colours.
In a nutshell, the art of good dress sense is mastering an understanding of the effects of line on the body. The eye travels down a vertical line much faster than across a horizontal line. The result of this is very simple; vertical lines elongate and horizontal lines widen. High contrasts in colour therefore create horizontal blocks on the body and on a bad pregnancy day can exacerbate a negative mood. Making sure your outfit tones in will elongate the body and slenderise the shape. Many women do this with black but it can be equally as effective with other colours.
Finally, celebrate your positive features and go with the bump. Its fullness, after all, is a beautiful, sculptural shape. If you have a pretty face and enjoy wearing make-up treat yourself to something expensive and celebrate expressing yourself in this way. I have always enjoyed my full breasts and have continued to express myself sexually by revealing a little cleavage.
Every woman has different assets, dont hide them away just because you are pregnant and remember that nurturing your self-esteem is just as important as looking after your body!