Friday, April 9, 2010

Brigadeiro's Maternity/Pregnancy Style Tips

I recently received a lovely email from a reader:

(...) may I ask you some tips for finding stylish maternity clothing? I didn't realise you're 8 months pregnant until you mentioned it in the blog! Your outfits are so stylish and comfortable. It's such an inspiration to all :) I'm 4 months pregnant myself and I am struggling to get clothes which I like and comfortable at the same time.. It would be absolutely wonderful if you could share your thoughts ?? :)...

Thanks TC, for your sweet are too kind! And congratulations, once again! I am actually 9 months pregnant (2 weeks to go!), and cannot believe I made it this far without actually purchasing an actual 'maternity' piece of clothing (although my lovely sister did bring me some GAP maternity pieces from the UK, of which I have used the black yoga/pilates pants quite a bit, but have yet to wear the others...oops!).

Firstly, I must admit that I did not have to change my wardrobe too much since the beginning of my pregnancy, mostly because I have been trying to hide my non-pregnancy-related expanding waistline for the last few years already, and so mostly stuck to the 'principles' I once wrote about in an early post: Dress Size Yo-Yo: what to wear you when your weight swings. So it may be that most of the clothing you need may be in your wardrobe already...

Basic Maternity Wardrobe Staples:

I have found that my basic maternity/pregnancy wardrobe 'staples' have been:

1. Black lightweight cotton jersey leggings - these are great worn under flowy/body-skimming dresses, especially in the later months, with the expanding belly making the dresses shorter and shorter...I find my Velvet by Graham Spencer demi-sheer cotton jersey much more comfortable than the usual 'stocking/tights' leggings, wish I could find myself another pair. In Winter (when I was in Japan), I found my Falke Merino wool tights to be indispensible (mostly because I did not have one pair of pants to wear).

2. Black stretch cotton jersey tank dress - I have had this dress for over 10 years (a thicker cotton version of the dress above, from Witchery), that I have only started to use in the last few years, as I was not game to show my 'curves' before (funnily, I used it when I was a lot heavier than when I first purchased it). This tank dress is incredibly versatile, worn under body-skimming/loose tops, vests or even blazers/jackets/cardigans, just make sure it is quite stretchy and fairly long (knee length) to cope with the changing body.

Witchery cotton stretch tank dress under Chloe tunic - at 9 months pregnant

3. Maternity undergarment - Bonds make great comfortable underwire-free bras (best to avoid underwire bras during pregnancy) and long singlets (I only purchased a few of their black singlets this week, mostly in preparation for the coming weeks, but I can see that these would have been very versatile in my 'pregnancy/maternity' wardrobe). Long singlets are great, as they allow you to layer under shorter tops that would otherwise reveal your belly.

4. Black yoga or pilates pants - Even though I only got mine relatively recently, these are incredibly versatile, and I have worn mine by GAP with loose flowy tops as well as fitted long t-shirts.

5. I have heard/read that it is worth investing in a pair of maternity jeans. Due to my expanding waistline the past few years, I have seemed to 'cope' without wearing jeans for so long that not being able to wear them during pregnancy made no difference to me. However, if you currently live in jeans, and cannot imagine life without them, I would highly recommend investing in a pair. Seven for All Mankind make great maternity jeans...My sister gave me a pair from GAP, but I feel terribly guilty that so far, the tags are still attached to them...that is mostly because it has been too warm for jeans.

6. Flat shoes - Heels are great, but not while you are pregnant (for most of the time, although occasionally I would wear heels for 'special occasions' that did not require me walking/standing for long). Ballet flats (Lanvin were my 'weapon' of choice), Birkenstocks, Havaianas and my Chloe riding boots (during my trip to Japan in Winter) have been my friends the last few months.

Brigadeiro's Maternity/Pregnancy Style tips:

1. Avoid baggy or “men’s” clothes:
Don’t wear large, oversized tops or dresses that only make you look bigger. Instead, wear pieces that drape and/or hug your body, I am partial to the former (drape). Wrap dresses or a flattering top with jeans/leggings are much more flattering than a shapeless oversized tee...
Pictured at 5 months pregnant (although I managed to use this Rachel Roy dress up until 7-8 months pregnant, thanks to the elasticated waist, and draped design).
I used this Nathan Jenden throughout my pregnancy, and most recently, around 9 months, which I called my 'magic dress', thanks to its stretchy wool fabric and elasticated waistline, I was always surprised when the size zip would do up, no matter how large my belly got.
Diane Von Furstenberg Liddie & Milton dresses from NAP
2. Wrap it up. Wrap dresses are fabulous for maternity wear, try to opt for those with slightly stretchy fabric, as it is not only the waistline that expands during pregnancy, but especially the bust line, and also the arms, etc...

from NAP (click on items to lead to details) - although true wrap dresses (those that require you to wrap and tie), such as those by Diane Von Furstenberg & Issa may be even more flexible in sizing...

Favour V-neck dresses and tops. V-necks are slimming and for those who wish to show off a recently-pregnancy-enhanced cleavage, this is the silhouette to go for.

This Ilana Moses silk slip dress has been incredibly versatile! Having bought this when I was 20 kilos lighter than I am now, I am astounded that I am still able to wear it, Summer or Winter, pre-pregnancy or 9 months pregnant. That is thanks to its elasticated empire bust line and flowy/draped silhouette. This dress is fabulous for layering!

4. Wear colour.
A timeless LBD always works, but colour is great to show off that pregnancy glow.

4 months pregnant

This picture also reminds me that wrap skirts/sarongs are incredibly useful and versatile during pregnancy, as they can be tied in a variety of ways. They are comfortable, as they are adjustable, and you can knot them to give the silhouette some shape, if you wish (as above), while disguising a bump...

5. Accessorize. Accessories provide the finishing touch to every outfit. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and handbags are the must-have final touches to pull your look together.

All around 2-3 months pregnant

6. Layer. I have managed to wear the same dresses in Winter as well as Summer thanks to layering. With warmer weather the same dress you wore in Summer can be worn over a t-shirt/blouse/wool knit or under a cardigan/blazer/vest/coat when the weather cools down.

I still wear my Akira wool/silk dress today, with body-skimming silhouette, from Winter to Summer:

6 months pregnant

6 months pregnant

Strapless dresses are also great for layering, like my 3.1 Phillip Lim rosette dress:

2-3 months pregnant

7 months pregnant



I have used my Phi silk vest so much! Layered over almost anything...

7. Maxi dresses look fabulous, and are effortlessly elegant but also roomy, so you won’t feel restricted by your clothing. I am thinking of wearing this Akira maxi silk embroidered dress to my cousin's wedding tomorrow, layered with my Topshop sequinned blazer:

Pictured around 2-3 months pregnant, worn from pre-pregnancy until 9 months.

from NAP (click on items to lead to details) - the latter two are great for layering.
8. Empire-line tops (and dresses). They can be worn with stretchy skirts (or over a stretchy tank dress), slim-cut pants (or yoga/pilates pants) or a wide-legged trouser or jeans, so are a great addition to your non-pregnancy wardrobe.

9. Don’t buy anything with a high waist. the low-rise cut is the way to go in terms of comfort (including leggings and tights).
10. Do not forego wearing an item of clothing because you cannot do it up. Ok, so I could still 'do up' the items below, but I have worn shirts, coats, jackets and button-dresses open, to 'jazz up' basic/simple outfits

Complex Geometries silk split square dress, CG has a gorgeous variety of drapey pieces that can be worn throughout your pregnancy (as well as before and after). Other great drapey labels include Pleasure Principles, Future Classics, Harputs Own, Humanoid, Sosume etc...

Thakoon coat dress (shown buttoned up around 5 months pregnant), worn up until 9 months pregnant unbuttoned.
11. Go tracking. The tracksuits currently available are not simply limited to the LA celeb 'Juicy Couture' type, for lounging around the house or for casual wear, I love a pair of comfortable pants:

from NAP (click on items to lead to details)
For those who wish to purchase actual 'maternity' clothes, I did find the range at Topshop and Isabella Oliver tempting...And I am in love with Hatch's clothing since discovering it (for pregnant and non-pregnant stages alike)
Hope this post helps a little, I am afraid I did not have much time to put it together, and welcome more tips on pregnancy/maternity style from you all...


  1. That Chloe tunic is absolutely BEAUTIFUL on you! I love to see this recap of your outfits. It reminds me what a beautiful wardrobe you have! The tiered ruffle coat, the red dresses and sarongs, the thakoon tie dye dress... look amazing on you. If you're having a girl she is going to have quite a wardrobe to inherit!
    This also reminds me that I need to send a big congratulations to my friend who just had her baby!

  2. Wow! Congrats for the soon to be baby, you really are such a stylish mom. I love the advice you give here, best of luck :)

  3. this is wonderful!
    you have an awesome blog
    keep it going! its great source of inspiration
    thanks for sharing as always darling!


  4. Wow, this is a great post! So jealous of your gorgeous clothes.

    I love wearing jeans and so the idea of an ever expanding stomach really put me off as well! But I invested in some maternity jeans and they were the best!! They were from the label Soon Melbourne Maternity. I can't recommend them enough!

    Always love your blog, keep up the great work!

  5. OMG!!! I am so happy I could cry.
    I'm just 2 months pregnant and trying not to show it yet, especially at work. Though I don't have a bump yet, my waistline has increased too much to wear my everyday clothes.
    I was trying to find a compromise solution between style and comfort, and it's been a real struggle. I even went shopping yesterday and almost came back home crying from disappointment - everything looked awful on me.

    Thanks a lot for this post, it just came in the right moment!! I can't thank you enough for it, I absolutely LOVE all the pics of your looks, and all the suggestions.
    I'm going to browse through NAP a bit and probably will invest in a few pieces that I hope I will wear for the next months.

    However I'll ask for one more thing: could make some day a post on how to tie and style sarongs and wrap skirts to achieve those looks? I'm sure I'll find myself later today with a long sarong around my body looking like a mummy instead of your usual stylish look. Thanks!

  6. bookmarking! don't need it now but this is timeless advice I'll surely be needing in a few years to come! great post, you always look stunning so it's great to hear your dressing process rationalised in the written word.


  7. Great post B
    Can't wait to see your beautiful bubs wardrobe down the track. Love it when we see you wearing your clothes and your Burberry Birthday necklace is so divine.

  8. My fave post by far.

    I am not pregnant .... yet. But if I do I be sure to take on your tips!

    Also great for fat day (Which i am experiencing alot lately!) sigh!

    Btw congrats on the bubz!

  9. how did I miss your pregnancy?! must be your perfectly done attire ...

  10. 9 months pregnant and i couldn't guess if you didn't tell. This is incredible ! Great tips !

  11. lovely outfits! I love that dress your wearing when you were 4 months!

  12. este post está fantástico, o assunto está muito bem tratado e ilustrado.

  13. You look so beautiful and stylish at every stage of pregnancy! :)

  14. I'm not pregnant, but this post made is wonderful - you're so beautiful woman and you look beautiful even 9 months pregnant which does not happen very often; you look so tiny! I would wear every single outfit you showed in this post and the fact these are your maternity clothes makes me speechless

  15. Amazing post. I'm not pregnant myself but this post was so interesting and perfect.
    Congratulations and good luck with the remaining days!

  16. I love this post!

    I couldn't even tell that you were so pregnant in your recent posts.

    Best of luck with baby.

    You've been an inspiration sartorially. I will be reviewing this post when I get pregnant myself. Hope it will not be too long away.


    SSG xxx

  17. This is such an amazing post! I'll definitely be saving some of your suggestions when that day comes in the future :-P! I didn't know you were pregnant in the pictures at all! I love your choices in dresses, espcially those dvf ones! xoxoxoxoo

  18. o.O i didn't know you were pregnant either ! Such great news, congratulations : ) ooohh i am so happy for you!

    This was a great post and very helpful ! It must of taken you ages putting all of this together ! Definitely very helpful, and although i am not pregnant myself, i will be keeping the suggestions for when the time comes !

    once again, congrats ! xo

  19. I really love the way you dressed during your pregnancy and find it inspiring. I don't believe that any women has to be confined to overalls or have to buy maternity wear when they are carrying...a lot of times the trick is in layering which you have done so well!

  20. Brig,
    I didn't realise you were pregnant either! You dressed beautifully, how inspirational!

  21. Your style is amazing!

  22. Hey Brig,

    I've been telling Joyce how gorgeous your outfits are, and how you are one hella stylish pregnant lady! Congrats on the little one on the way :) You are probably the most stylish pregnant woman I've ever seen and your style is something I've always admired and envied! Plus, all the looks you mentioned would look so good on anyone who wasn't pregnant anyway! You're an inspiration (not that I'm anywhere close to being pregnant lol).

  23. You look amazing! I can't even tell that you are expecting in your pictures (even at 9 mo!). I love the Chloe tunic, Nathan Jenden dress, and beaded skirt, and ... :)

  24. What a wonderful informative post! Thanks!

  25. You are probably the most stylish pregnant lady I have ever seen ;) I'm dealing with non-pregnancy expanding waistline due to overindulgence and lack of exercise recently and I agree that many of your staples can help someone like me :) P.S. I'm amazingly excited for you and cant wait to see pictures of you and your new family!!

  26. Great post, you have so much style!! I love wrap-dresses as well, they're so flattering period. And your Chloe dress is fantastic!

  27. love your style! absolutely lovely!

    xoxo Bardot in Blue aka your new follower in Paris

  28. Love your outfits, you look amazing:)

    xo Factory Girl

  29. what a wonderfully thorough and informative post! adored seeing all the outfits and especially love the 3.1 phillip lim rosette dress

    + oh my goodness have i not congratulated you on your pregnancy?

    hope you are well and having a wonderful week,

  30. you look amazing! the draping on these pieces are gorgeous ~

  31. so many amazing outfits, you're the most chic mum-to-be ever!! xx

  32. Hi,

    You have a nice blog. A 40-week pregnancy is really just a blip in our whole life time, but the problem with clothing during that time is very painful. Keeping this in mind, two best friends and mother of two children each started We have high quality maternity clothes there and we would like to hear your feedback on our products.

    Carina - Maternity clothing

  33. I love Love LOVE this entry!! :D Thank you so so much for that. Your tips are so inspiring and practical!!

    Thank you for sparing your time to share your thoughts. I really really appreciate that!

    Now I am very excited to mix and match my own pregnancy style ;)

  34. omgggg...i loveeeeeeeeeee this the indian skirt look..and the first drapy dress...

    but i really do like all the looks
    follow if u like what u see?


  35. I like so much this dress. When it comes to clothing, it is important to be yourself and not lose your style in the prevailing trend. You should make sure that you have some pieces of clothing that suit you the best and you feel and look great in. There are many brands out there that specialist in clothing for youngsters and teenagers. If you want to stay with the trend, you can always go to one of these stores and look at the new designs and trends and shop for yourself. However, all the while, you do have to keep in view that whatever you get should look good on you. Thank you.

  36. Thank you for this blog! I'm currently six months pregnant and I've struggled so much in the past few months. Generally, maternity clothes don't seem to fit me because I'm very petite all over so while certain items may accommodate my bump, I tend to have a lot of excess material flapping around my bust. I'm now wearing strapless, draped dresses, long non maternity vests and stretchy, low waisted skinnies teamed with ballet flats. Thank god it's nearly summer! Thanks again, great blog x