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29 April 2010

Pregnant women can look good, too!

Celoteh Aku MamaGlam at 9:10 AM
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ParenThots - Features

Graphic ©iStockphoto.com/velusariot

By BRIGITTE ROZARIO

Unlike the 1950s when there were limited options for maternity wear, today there are so many more choices – from fabrics to colours to designs.

Can pregnant women be fashionable?


Fashion stylist and PR consultant Peter Lum says it's all about looking and feeling good.


That means pregnant women don't have to “check out” of their lives for nine months – when they eat anything and wear the dowdiest of dresses that look like nighties – only to return to their sexy and fashionable selves after the baby is born.


Nope, today's pregnant women can wear knitwear dresses, shift dresses, sarung wraps and pants, too.


Citing examples of some local celebrities who were still fashionable when they were pregnant, Lum says, “For me these are modern women and there are very few who dare embrace the fact that they are pregnant. I don't think it would occur to the masses that they can walk out in a knit dress and show off their belly.”

 
The conservative maternity dress that is sold in most shops.
Lum, who used to work as a merchandiser for departmental store Metrojaya, says that when it comes to maternity wear, unfortunately, a lot of local women still go for the bell-shaped dress with empire waistline and puff sleeves.

“And what's even worse is that this is what the shops are offering. Of course, if you go to a higher-priced boutique perhaps it would have more innovative maternity wear,” he says.


Lum shares some fashion tips to help pregnant women look good:


Fabric


Lum: “Forget about polyester. One step next to polyester is actually plastic. If your hormones are changing, you're already sweating and feeling hot, why are you still wearing polyester? Ladies, think cotton – accessible and easy to care for. Get something airy.


“In our climate, cotton will cool you down better. However, do take into account that cotton has many different weaves and textures.


“If you get cotton voile, you might want to do layering as it might be too sheer.


“Apart from that there is linen; maybe a little bit more expensive. Silk could be a bit inconvenient because it's harder to care for. So you may not want to spend the time caring for silk when you're pregnant. Also, think about knits. There are loads of knits. They are not necessarily one weight and one weight only. Use something light weight.”


Colours


Lum: “Don't think you have to wear 'pretty pink' or 'baby blue' all the time. Wear colours; enjoy them.


“Wearing black does not necessarily help anybody look slimmer because if you're big, you're big.


When we talk about colours, you want to embrace the fact that you are pregnant and happy about it. Always remember this easy way to test colours – hold up that fabric next to your face in good lighting – sunlight or daylight – and look in the mirror.

“Some colours will lift you up and others will dull you down to the point that you look tired and washed out.”


Pants and skirts


Lum: “For pregnant women who work, there are maternity pants which are not necessarily jersey material. You can carry that off at work very efficiently.


“Of course, don't go into leggings because they get a little bit tight at the waist.
Make sure that your pants are not tight around the waist.

“Being pregnant doesn't mean that your dress has to be below the knee. You're still a woman. Being pregnant doesn't mean that you're not sexy anymore.”


Stripes and florals


Lum: “Stripes have to be used a little more carefully. Never, never, never get horizontal stripes unless you're a zebra crossing.


“I would say go for vertical stripes but try not to go for the very broad stripes either because what will happen is that people will count how many stripes they see on you by how big you are now. Maybe narrower stripes, about an inch wide. I think that's quite interesting. If you get the colour combination right, it can be quite nice.


If you're petite, you'll still be petite when you're pregnant but with a belly. With that in mind, I would say avoid large blossoms which tend to be overwhelming. Go for small to medium-sized floral prints. If you're big-sized, I would suggest larger prints and larger florals.”

Puff sleeves and empire waistline


Lum: “You don't always have to go with puff sleeves. Depending on the season it can be quite sweet but how about trying ruffles, sleeveless, normal straight sleeves or even cap sleeves. There are varieties so you don't have to keep getting the puff sleeves.


“If you want to use the dress with the empire waistline, skip the lace and the frills. Look for nice cuts. Bias cuts tend to mould the body. Even if it's an empire waistline, if it's cut on a bias, it gives a certain softness.”


Footwear, hair and makeup


Lum: “When it comes to footwear please don't think that it's got to be flatties like slippers all the time. Think about ballerina pumps and low heels. I think ballerina pumps are something you can wear throughout the whole pregnancy until you get water retention and your feet swell up.


“For women who are worried about using hair dyes during pregnancy, go for a haircut.

Lum: 'Get a good haircut, look great, make sure that you have make-up on.'
“Get a good haircut, look great, make sure that you have make-up on. If you're not into make-up, then just use lip gloss and cheek colour. That's another way to look great. You'll still be glowing.

“When you look better, you feel better and you'll feel like you own the world and you command it.”


Mix and match


Lum: “If you choose to wear a dress, think not just the typical bell-shaped maternity dress. Think wrap dresses, bias cut dresses and straight falling dresses.


“Other options to consider are tunics with maternity pants, maternity skirts, loose dresses but with a sash or ribbon to tie and shape your belly before you get bigger.


“Brighten yourself up; think about colours. Explore checks, prints, florals, beadwork or embroidery. Try to avoid the little ribbon trims and lacy edges.”


“Accessories – you can still wear necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you have to forego all these lovely things,” he says.


Conclusion


Lum advises pregnant women not to take leave from their personal style for nine months.


Women should also remember that everybody looks different when pregnant and no two pregnancies are the same. So, w
hen one person wears something extremely well, that doesn't mean that the next person who wears the same outfit will look marvellous. To each his own.

“If you don't feel right inside, designer outfits and high-end jewellery aren't going to make you look any better because these are just ornaments. You have to feel good inside in order to look good,” says Lum.

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