maternity style: finding it out there?

now that i'm with bebe and the belly is ever-growing, i've been doing a lot of thinking about maternity fashion (or the lack there-of) and how i am personally going to navigate this (rather short but ever-changing and expanding!) period of my life and state of my body with my personal aesthetic, individuality and identity intact. is such a thing possible? do i have to suffer through this time wearing hideous chintz muu-muus with gigantor bows or minging maternity trousers...or can i somehow make it work?

where can i even find inspiration for maternity style? is there any decent maternity wear even out there?? and, most importantly to me, is any of what that inspiration inspires accessible, attainable, and reasonably affordable?

so, i decided to go on a mission: quite recently, i began googling my fingers to the bone, and forced myself to wrack my pregnancy-addled mind. i started on a quest to look for and find about for maternity motivation via the rocking personal style of others who've been down a similar road, and have devoted myself to rooting out that which is awesome, sexy and cool to wear and to make, while simultaneously creating this little human.

over the next couple of posts (including this one), i'll be exploring maternity style, with focus on finding inspiration, making maternity duds oneself, and seeing what's available to-go out there (maternity-wise and otherwise) how it can all work together with some semblance of style. the aim? to ensure that i (and maybe you?) can remain lookin' good/and be myself (ourselves?) even after getting knocked up.


(before i get started, this has to be said, lest someone pipe up and inundate me with links to the rich and/or famous: celebrities are NOT inspirational to me , while with child, or not. why? much of what they wear is out of the reach of the wallets of me and most, and most of the time their bodies (with child or not) are just as unattainable. let's face it, most of us don't have the body of nicole richie or most of her ilk, pregnancy or no. so what she and her super-famous sisterhood wears while in waiting is mostly irrelevant to me. beyond these few sentences, i refuse to even give the famous any more attention than they deserve. i find real women and what they can and do wear while their belly expands and contracts far more interesting.)


the first place that came to my mind as far as maternity style/mama style inspiration is that always amazing maverick of the street fashion website world, hel-looks, my favorite street fashion site, EVER EVER, and the fact that they feature folks like this, in all stages and ages of life, makes me love them even more.

to my knowledge, hel-looks is one of the only street fashion websites to occasionally feature stylish pregnant women, or women/couples with their young children. there are only a few in the hel-looks archives, but seeing just these few makes me yearn to see more!

(all three from hel-looks)

the first photo is a recent addition to that site, and the later two are a bit older, of the same family, approximately one year apart. clearly, style IS the domain of parents, if they would like it to be.

seeing these few photos begs the question: where are all the stylish pregnant women and new moms/families on other street fashion sites? beyond hel-looks, do they exist? or are they considered invisibles and untouchables, left to the wayside for the young, svelte and childless (much like the stylish though disabled vasiliisa mentioned a while back)?

i have also seen a few of pregnant ladies post their photos to wardrobe_remix now and again, and for that i am very proud. but, again, i wish there were more!

generally though, i had a hard time finding much of anything else as far as maternity inspiration goes via google. tis a pity.

you know what though? feel free to correct me on the lack of maternity street style inspiration supposition; i'd absolutely LOVE to hear about more/other street fashion sites that feature stylish pregnant women, new mommas, or families. perhaps i wasn't looking in the right places...your eagle eyes may have spotted something i hadn't.

but the important point is this: i think seeing other real women going through the same thing and remaining themselves and stylish is really important, and could be really powerful. at least, it would be for me. for the third time, GIMMIE more!


i've also been many women just plain drop out of the style stakes whilst pregnant? do they give up on it all, instead focusing on the baby instead (of course, a very worthy cause!), or do they sometimes give up because, despite the alleged claims of more offerings in maternity fashion of late, they just can't find pieces and clothing that suits both their personal style, budget *and* their current form? do they give up out of frustration? really, can anyone blame them? i certainly can't.

i can't help but think the latter bit plays a large part...the whole maternity fashion world, from what i've been able to glean, is one of extremes: okay, so maybe there's more stuff out there, but a lot of it remains expensive, especially for temporary wear. who can afford a closet full of that stuff? and sadly, the affordable options are limited in both quality and style. so, what to do?

while it's okay for others, i just don't want to sit back and just give in. who i am, how i put myself together, mother or otherwise, means a lot to me, and always has. i want to find a way to make maternity style work for me. and it is just that, how i hope to make it work, that'll explore from here on out.


for those of you who've been (or are) pregnant, and survived with your personality and personal style intact, enlighten me, and the rest of us!

how did you manage? care to give the rest of us tips on how YOU made it work? where were your go-to spots for maternity fashion (actual maternity shops, or other sources you depended on)? chime in!


to kick this whole thing off, some antenatal style linkage:

-i'm obviously not alone with this desire to want to remain me whilst becoming a mama: 'i still want to be me' (from the guardian).

-the pregnancy survival kit: maternity fashion victim: does having a baby mean you have to look like one? (from salon). love these two parts of the article, by writer christine pakkala:

"I left the store humbled and empty-handed. I had just learned The Secret Commandment of Pregnancy: Thou Shalt Not Look Sexy, Funky, Hip or Cool. After all, some designer figured, you're pregnant. You're big, bloated and bizarre. How can you be sexy?"

True, pregnancy and motherhood change us utterly, but it doesn't necessarily take away our personal sense of style, our sense of what makes us beautiful or our desire to be desirable.

-a NEW flickr group focusing on maternity style: pregnancy style (formed by flickr user/wardrobe_remix member juicifer...go join!)