Regular-fit fashion’s due date

Regular-fit fashion’s due date
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These days worrying about the impact of maternity wear on your style vibe is so yesterday. Times have changed and those in-the-know realize that maternity wear can be just as stylish as its regular-fit counterpart. Nonetheless, there will be doubters, like Haylie Duff, who cheekily prescribe to avoiding the stuff altogether.

I was fighting the good fight on (not) buying maternity clothes…”

– Haylie Duff

While her quote contains a touch more hubris than fashion sense, it does allude to a certain kind of pregnancy dressing-strategy that relies on the adaptability of regular-fit clothing until your body needs the styling of the maternity-fit.

Between 0-5 months you’re in a body limbo of sorts – gradually getting too big for your tailored regular-fit pieces, but yet not big enough for traditional maternity. Hence your look is in limbo too. The trick to finding something to wear is to identify regular-fit clothing that is adaptable or blind to your changing body. These kinds of wardrobe pieces are called maternity wear posers, or more simply, posers.

Given current fashion trends, it’s likely that much of your closet’s existing clothes can make do as transitional clothing during your early and midterm pregnancy. To discover which of your regular-fit clothing can pose as posers examine them for the following styling, construction, and detail…

Knit and stretchy material (versus woven fabrics)

Roomy fit (versus tailored fit)

Draped and wrapped styling

Durable fabric that will not misshapen

Long-bodied and pull-over tops

Low-rise bottoms

Expandable clothing elements including: side vents, side ruching or drawstring and elastic waistbands

Adaptable mechanics that can be worn unbuttoned, un-cinched, zipped down, open or layered under

Easy-on silhouettes like skirts and dresses (versus pants)

As a stylist, I can assure you that plenty of pseudo-maternity looks are hanging in your closet. To prove it, just check out the plethora of posers I found in mine.

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1. Shift dress
This dress lacks waist definition making it super-wearable.

2. Tie back vest
Add panache to a basic tee when you don a vest. As you progress, loosen its back tie or wear it unbuttoned for a little breathing room.

3. A-line top or dress
The flare from this dress’ midsection provides ample room for a little bump.

4. Button fly jeans
Make room for your bump one button at a time while keeping your pants securely in place.

5. Boyfriend cardigan
An oversized cardigan looks great with relaxed jeans, fitted knit pencil skirts or leggings.

6. Maxi dress
This aptly named dress maximizes your look by diminishing your bump and accentuating your décolletage, shoulders, and arms.

7. Fitted knit skirt
The best knit skirt acts as a kind of Spanx, flattering and smoothing the lower half of your expecting bod.

8. Cocoon top
This easy piece adds interest to your look and showcases your bump.

9. Tunic
A tunic elongates your body and narrows your hips.

10. Wrap dress, top or vest
Wrap styling adjusts to your growing belly with its tie design. Be advised, as you adjust the ties to accommodate your bump, the neckline begins to plunge. Layer a pretty cami underneath to control cleavage-exposure.

11. Empire and baby doll top or dress
This high waisted styling will provide ample room for your bump.

12. Banded hem top
The top’s wide band slims hips while its shirring detail accommodates growth.

13. Ruched top or dress
Regular-fit clothes with ruching details will expand with you for a short time.

14. Long scarf
Visually slim your torso by draping a long scarf around your neck and letting it hang loosely down your body. Also don a scarf to add texture, color or pattern to your mate

15. Smock top
The top’s neckline smocking detail creates a voluminous lower bodice.

16. Open front cardigan
Worn open or tied about the waist, this kind of cardigan is of a less fussy fit than its buttoned counterpart.

17. Long-bodied tee or tank
The best pieces hit at mid-hip.

18. Elastic and drawstring waistband skirt or pants
Bottoms with accommodating waistbands make for excellent posers

19. Kimono jacket or dress
Its full sleeves conceal heavy arms, and its wrapped bodice hides your tummy size.

20. Dropped-waist top or dress
The waistline of this dress falls below your tummy, making it easy to slip on over your bump.

21. Shrug
An easy-on shrug makes a terrific heavy arm concealer and can be worn throughout pregnancy.

22. Low-rise pant
The rise of these pants falls below the belly making it possible to wear them longer than their mid or high-rise counterparts.

23. Cape
A short cape will hide the belly but can make you look as big as a house in later term.

24. Half coat
Hitting above your natural waistline makes this kind of coat wearable throughout your nine months.

25. Long-bodied drape
A versatile wrap helps elongate and slim your bumped body and is an easy alternative to your getting-tighter- by-the-minute blazer. During your pregnancy, you will find hundreds of ways to wrap it and to wear it. Plus, it makes an elegant breastfeeding drape in post.

26. Yoga pant or leggings
A multi-purpose pull-on pant with an adjustable waistline wears well when you’re out for a coffee, at the gym or just lounging around at home.

27. Peplum and skater top
or dress
The flounce or overskirt of this piece can provide a short-term disguise for the belly.

28. Poet top
A shapeless shirt with an easy-going vibe and, in this case, also a distracting print.

Even if you found similar pieces hanging in your closet, you still may be hankering for something new. These days, some of the trendiest clothing worn by flat-stomached gals also works well for those with bumps. To find the largest assortment of fertile friendly pieces look no further than your local mall. Mall stores such as Zara, Madewell, and Anthropologie make for excellent hunting grounds for trend-right posers at reasonable prices.

It may surprise you to know that stores which exclusively offer regular-fit fashions are not the only places in the mall to find posers. In fact, some maternity stores offer them too. A Pea in the Pod and Mom’s the Word understand the value of offering non-maternity pieces as their availability gets pregos in their stores and shopping sooner than usual during the pregnancy process. While at the same time, shoppers benefit from these stores’ expert selection of posers that unquestionably flatter the pregnant body.

While sizing-up a size or two in regular-fit works well in the short-term, this dressing strategy fails miserably later on in pregnancy when you have to size-up multiple sizes to get anything to fit. This is because regular-fit clothing uses a size scaling system based on the average difference between sizes of the non-pregnant body (This system usually adds an inch to all of the garment’s measurements each time its goes up in size, thereby proportionally maintaining shape, fit, balance, and scale of its style details between sizes.). In and around your fifth month, sizing-up in regular- fit becomes a less suitable way of dressing because your bump will have proportionally outpaced the rest of you. To find clothing that will accommodate your belly in regular-fit, you will have to size-up dramatically, leaving the rest of your body parts drowning in extra fabric.

To avoid this fit issue, you could do as the celebs do and spend your money on expensive alterations to make your sized- up clothing fit better, but take heed: these altered pieces will never flatter you in the way that clothing designed specifically for your new proportions can.

Now back to Haylie’s quote and photo. As you can see, Haylie’s regular-fit pieces look outgrown. They have reached their due date and are contributing to her frumpy look. Now is that time for her to put hubris aside and choose a much more flattering fit: maternity-fit.

Partially excerpted from Chapter 2 – Maternity Wear Posers, Fashion Dues & Duen’ts; a Stylist’s Guide to Fashionably Embracing Your Baby Bump (Know Act Be Book, 2014). Available NOW on Amazon.com