| Ask The Style Chefs: Maternity Archives

Recently in Maternity Category

(note: this was originally published on our new site:

Q. I'm 12 weeks pregnant with my 6th child! I'm a petite athletic 5ft tall post pregnancy weight of 105. I've always had a hard time dressing my petite frame with all my pregnancies. I continue to run 30 miles per week and continue weight training but since I'm short I tend to look chunky anyway! I would like some tips on how to elongate my torso and look cute for once during my pregnancy. I have very toned arms, shoulders, and legs, how would I go about focusing on those areas rather than on my mid section which tends to hold a lot of my weight gain. Hope you can help!

A. First of all - your 6th child? Wow, congratulations! How you find the time or strength to run 30 miles a week and weight train is beyond me, but good for you!

It can be very tough for petite pregnant women to find clothes that are flattering, since most clothes tend to make you look like you're all belly. Since you're fortunate enough to have toned arms, shoulders and legs, you should flaunt them! Look for sleeveless tops, above the knee dresses and skinny pants or jeans that show off your slimmest features. Look for silhouettes that are sleek and form-fitting, and avoid extra fabric like ruffles that will overwhelm your figure. When possible, wear a sturdy heel or wedge to add height.

Some outfit ideas:

  • Skinny pants, fitted t-shirt and a cardigan
  • Short shorts and a bohemian printed top or loose tunic
  • Short sleeveless shift dresses
  • Long maxi dresses with or without a little jean jacket
  • Leggings and a slim fitting tunic top

Here are some pieces to get you started:

Q. Do you have any suggestions for "spicing up" a very boring maternity wardrobe? I am seven months pregnant, and so bored with the styles. Any help would be great!!

A. Unless you're lucky enough to have that famed pregnant glow, it's usually somewhere around the seventh month that women start to feel big, uncomfortable and just plain "blah". Of course this carries over to your appearance and feeling uninspired by your maternity wardrobe is quite common. Since you have only a few months left to go, it doesn't make sense to invest in expensive maternity pieces that you'll get very few wearings from.

Instead, add some spice to your maternity wardrobe with accessories: a gorgeous statement necklace, head-turning handbag, a fresh scarf or even some great shoes (comfortable, natch). These will freshen up the clothes you already have and can be worn long after the baby arrives. Here are a few ideas for you (click on each for store info):

Q. My girlfriend recently had a baby, and is self-conscience of her mid section. She has broad shoulders and back with a large bust. What are some good styles of summer dresses for her inverted triangle figure?

A. Ahhh, that post-baby period can be a difficult period of adjustment - maternity clothes are too large but you're not quite back in your old clothes either. While your girlfriend is getting used to her new (temporary) figure, she has several styles of summer dresses available to suit her:

_5621971.jpg_5673203.jpg_5641317.jpg1. EMPIRE WAIST HALTER DRESS - Halter necks are a great silhouette for broad shoulders, while an empire waist style should hit right above a post-natal tummy. A printed border on the bottom draws the eye away from her chest. BCBGMAXAZRIA Print Matte Jersey Dress, $158 at

2. TRAPEZE DRESS - The best way to balance out an inverted triangle figure is to choose a triangle shaped dress. The softly draping fabric accommodates a shrinking tummy and large bust, while flattering broad shoulders and slim legs. Maggy London Border Trapeze Dress, $128 at

3. PRINTED SHIRTDRESS - This style adjusts for a larger bust and the empire waist style should hit her at her most slender area, right below the bustline. The busy print also helps to camouflage lumps and bumps. Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique Crepe Shirtdress, $138 at

Q. Hi Alison, love your site!  I am pregnant with twins and need to find a good maternity coat. Since I will only be wearing it for one season, I would ideally like to find one coat that I can wear to work (casual office), out to dinner and on weekends.  Oh, and I don’t want to spend a fortune. Can you help?
-Baby on Board

A. So I took on this search for affordable maternity coats with full enthusiasm and after an hour passed, my search started losing steam. This is a niche market that has not been fully realized. Do maternity designers think when you get bigger you stay warmer? Even at 30 degrees?  I checked countless sites and while the tops, bottoms and dresses are darling and numerous, the choices of coats seem very finite.  So, while I have options, your search should be for empire, swing, and trapeze style coats with a hem that falls just above or below your knee to give you enough coverage over your belly and the opportunity to wear the coat with everything from jeans to skirts to dresses. And look for wool or wool blends for the most warmth. Keep the color neutral so it will match with more items in your wardrobe and you won’t feel like a walking preggers billboard. While I know you will have a big belly, you may wish to try on some regular style coats in a larger size in those same styles of empire, swing and trapeze to compare the hems and fit.

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1. Tweed Coat, $325 at
2. long wool coat, $148 at
3. LL Collezioni Baby Doll Swing Coat, $299 at
4. wool cashmere coat, $295 at

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5. Maternity Frost Free Belted Anorak, $78 at
6. Wool wrap coat, $125 at
7.  Gallery Wool Blend Trapeze Coat, $168 at
8. wool dressmaker coat, $69.98 at
9. double-breasted long coat, $158 at

Q. I need help with a summer dress. I am breastfeeding my five month old son, and I have to always wear a nursing bra - no strapless bras this summer. I would love a cute summer dress for a few parties going on this summer, but it seems like all the dresses have spaghetti straps. I just turned 27 and want something cute!
-Top Coverage

A. You want coverage and you want to look cute - nothing too complicated, old or body baring, so you can still wear a full-style nursing bra. And of course you want options and a chance to enjoy the dress when the nursing is over. You’ll need a dress that won’t bare the bra straps and isn’t low cut. Look for fun mini dresses to stay cool or a dress with front buttons or a wrap style just in case you want to bring the little one along and you find a private spot to nurse. You can also opt to wear a tank top under any style that shows too much cleavage or won't hide bra straps.

Here are some options:

Inset-waist jersey dressDiane von Furstenberg Bundette ShirtdressDiane von Furstenberg
St. Jude Wrap Dress

Charles Nolan
Vintage Print DressKimono-Sleeve Knit DressesAnchor-print shirtdress

left to right: Inset-Waist Jersey Dress, $98 at; Diane von Furstenberg Bundette Shirtdress, $298 at; Diane von Furstenberg St. Jude Wrap Dress, $325 at; Charles Nolan Vintage Print Dress, $408 at; Kimono-Sleeve Knit Dresses, $24.50 at; Anchor-Print Shirtdress, $150 at

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