Fashion

Pregnant Pause

Adidas Originals
Adidas Originals
Baby's first handbag
Baby’s first handbag

I apologize for being inactive for so long, but obviously I’ve had more than a few things on my mind. Plus I haven’t really been shopping. Early on, I decided there was no need to buy tons of maternity clothes that I would only get to wear for a few months. I did make a few strategic purchases at Gap Maternity and Topshop that have proved quite valuable. Here are my top tips for dressing great throughout your pregnancy.

1. There’s no need to say goodbye to skinny jeans! In fact, I’d recommend rocking them more than ever — wearing at least one fitted garment helps keep me from feeling huge. I bought a really cute pair at Topshop in Chicago. You can also wear your pre-pregnancy pants and skirts with the help of a BeBand — it slips over your unbuttoned jeans and holds them up. Just wear a longer top to cover it up.

2. Like I said, long tops are your best friend. Your growing belly makes everything shorter, so you’ll definitely want a few extra inches of fabric for insurance. I’ve been loving oversized silky tops, which I normally would have worn belted over leggings. Now they are just the right size. I bought a few summery maternity tops, but mostly I’ve been able to just creatively re-purpose the items in my closet.

3. Get a professional bra fitting when things start to get uncomfortable. I went to Nordstrom in the second trimester and I’m so glad I did. The women there know their stuff and really helped me out. I was quite surprised how much my size had changed, and Nordstrom carries some of my favorite European brands. I really appreciated the time and attention to ensure I was satisfied with my choices. But don’t buy a ton because your size will likely change again. Soon I’ll need to go shopping for nursing bras.

4. Most maxi dresses are great and oh so comfortable. No need to worry about them being too short (well, on me anyway – at 5’3″ I usually have some extra length to play with.) You do have to watch where the waistband hits. Elastic in the middle across your belly is not a good look. I recently bought this Peter Som dress at Kohl’s, which looks amazing, and I love that I can wear it after I have the baby, too. I’ve also been making good use of my empire waist dresses. I wore a lovely Suzi Chin Maggie Boutique dress (not maternity) for my baby shower, which I bought years ago for a coworker’s wedding.

5. Layer it on. I love wearing cute jackets and cardigans because they frame my body. They still fit me; I just wear them unbuttoned. Plus with the weird Milwaukee weather, you never know if it’s going to be 80 degrees (at my suburban house) or 60 (on the lakefront).

6. Embrace comfortable footwear. Normally I’m the queen of heels, but this summer I’m embracing casual chic. Even Vogue says we should wear sneakers and Birkenstocks right now. Perfect timing! I have been frequently donning my Birks, Pumas and Stan Smiths. Now I’m just praying my feet don’t grow so I can wear my heels again soon!

 

 

Fashion

Southridge Mall Steals

Lace overlay floral dress
Lace overlay floral dress
Animal georgette maxi dress
Animal georgette maxi dress

Recently I had some time to kill, and a Bath & Body Works gift card to burn. I snapped up a bag full of body wash, but then I realized I still had more than an hour until I was meeting friends for sushi. So I decided to poke around Kohl’s and J.C. Penney to see if they still had any of the Derek Lam and Pearl by Georgina Chapman (of Marchesa) pieces on clearance.

Well, I definitely hit the jackpot. Obviously these designer collaborations didn’t go over very well at the Southridge mall. It really pays to wait around here. I immediately spotted the maxi dress that I had been admiring at Kohl’s, marked 80% off. Score! It was $18, original price $88. At J.C. Penney, I grabbed two dresses – one for $10 and another for $20 (originally $70 and $110). The lace overlay dress, shown above, actually feels kind of Dolce & Gabbana-esque.

I didn’t like any of them enough to pay full retail, but I love them for the clearance prices. It’s great to have cute dresses that you didn’t spend much on, so you can wear them without panicking if someone spills something on you. I just wish I would have had the Derek Lam one last weekend for the Jimmy Buffett concert.

Fashion

Narciso at Kohls

Narciso Rodriguez for Kohl’s

The Narciso Rodriguez collection for Kohl’s debuted this week, in stores and online. I was curious, so I headed over to Southridge Mall during my lunch break today. The store had a decent number of pieces. Several dresses, some tops and sweaters, plus the tuxedo pants and a couple of skirts. I was a bit underwhelmed — the materials weren’t that nice, and the styles weren’t that eye catching in person. Pretty much what I expected. After trying on several pieces, I decided to only purchase the turtleneck sweaterdress. I think it is sophisticated and stylish, it will keep me warm, and I can wear it to work. Sold! As an added bonus, the collection was 30% off today and I earned $10 Kohl’s cash to spend later. I’m going to keep an eye out to see if any of these items make it down to the clearance racks. Based on my impressions today (no one at the mall even seemed to notice the line), I’d say this is pretty likely.

Fashion

Lookbooks

I need these Margiela for H&M boots!
This Margiela for H&M sweater is another must-have for me.
I’ve been wanting a cape since Gwyneth’s Oscar moment.
I love this Tory Burch lunchbox, too.

Yesterday, I was almost overwhelmed with “cheap chic” fashion news. The lookbooks for the Narciso Rodriguez for Kohl’s line (in stores and online Nov. 7), Maison Martin Margiela for H&M line (Nov. 15, select stores) and Target/Neiman Marcus collaboration (in stores and online Dec. 1) all became available.

I am lucky, for once, to live in Wisconsin, because we have a Kohl’s practically on every corner. I plan to check out the Narciso Rodriguez collection, but I probably will not buy anything right away. At first glance, I like the sexy dresses and the patterned tuxedo pants but I’ll have to check out the fabrics. And I want to see if I can take advantage of a good sale or use coupons. Kohl’s frequently offers fantastic deals, even on special lines like Simply Vera Vera Wang. I’m really not worried about the collection selling out around here.

I was planning to bypass the Margiela line, because as usual the only location carrying it anywhere near me will be the Chicago/Michigan Avenue store. And it comes out on a Thursday. However, this was before I saw it. Now I’m obsessed. Even my husband is obsessed. From what I can tell so far, the clothes look freaking amazing, very similar to their current fall collection, AND they are practical! Um, hello, it gets really cold in Milwaukee. I might need that giant comforter coat! I haven’t mapped out my strategy yet, but I definitely want a few of these pieces for my trip to Paris.

By contrast, I felt a little bit disappointed in the Target/Neiman Marcus line. My heart broke a little when I realized the Marchesa and Jason Wu dresses are only for little girls. Well, I don’t have any children, so maybe I can get an Oscar de la Renta collar or water bowl for my fashionable kitty Leinie instead. And I think it would also be fun to snag the Tory Burch lunch box so I can brown bag it much more stylishly. Also worth considering are the Prabal Gurung cape, the Brian Atwood gloves, the Judith Leiber compact mirror and the Lela Rose cocktail dress. I’m sad that Altuzarra didn’t make any clothes for this, but the bar set looks really nice.

Forget Black Friday – I already have a lot of planning to do! What are you hoping to snag?