Is it just us, or did the holidays sneak up on us this year? It’s hard to believe we’re in the thick of holiday season, and with all of those final Christmas and Hanukkah parties and New Years celebrations right around the corner, we’ve been finding ourselves staring blankly at our closets.
Here at Milx HQ, we know that pregnancy can do interesting things to one’s body, and each trimester — including the “fourth” trimester — brings about changes that definitely left us questioning:
“so… what are we supposed to wear?”
And during the holidays, we might feel a little extra motivation to ditch the stretchy leggings and look presentable. We asked our resident fashion expert, stylist extraordinaire, and fabulous mama (seriously, she is the definition of #momgoals) Alessandra Carlin for her best tips for dressing for the holidays for each stage of pregnancy.
Milx: What’s your #1 advice for dressing during and after pregnancy?
Alessandra: My #1 piece of advice for dressing is the same whether you are pregnant or not. Dress in what makes you feel your best. Love everything in your closet so when it comes time to get dressed, there are no fashion emergencies.
Being pregnant is a beautiful thing but it can also be scary when your body starts changing. Pick classic simple pieces that you can mix and match. Make sure you are comfortable. If your pre-pregnancy jeans start feeling tight, go buy pregnancy jeans with elastic waist. I also suggest you buy clothing that’s not from the maternity department, that way you can wear these pieces after giving birth. And if the pieces are comfortable and classic, you won't be sick of them after pregnancy.
M: We’ve all made the mistake of buying clothes just for an event, and never wearing them again. How can we reduce wasteful shopping throughout pregnancy, especially during the holidays?
A: For many women, maternity clothes have a short shelf-life. I always advise my mom-to-be clients to invest in a few key pieces, like a great leather jacket like this one from Club Monaco or bomber, booties, or cashmere sweater, that they can wear before, during, and after pregnancy. Once you have a few staples, you can pair them with lower priced maternity items.
I also love mixing and matching, especially during and right after pregnancy. Buying pieces that are evergreen can help transform your look in new and interesting ways. For example, you can add a sweater to any dress, and you instantly have a skirt and top outfit. Adding a leather jacket to a dress or pants instantly updates a look.
M: Let’s talk about the first trimester. At this point, most women are hiding the fact that they’re not drinking champagne during the midnight toast, and probably hiding the start of a tiny baby bump (or a whole lot of bloat). What are your tips for dressing to flatter those new body changes?
A: The first trimester can be a bit awkward, especially during the beginning stages when you don’t quite look pregnant yet, but rather like you may have just had a big meal. Maxi dresses are every pregnant woman’s dream. They will keep you looking stylish and feeling comfortable. Best of all, most maxi dresses will last you through your entire pregnancy! I love this Madewell dress because it hides just enough but is still flattering. These J. Crew boots add some height, are super comfortable, and will last forever. Pair this look with a leather jacket and you’re ready for your party!
For a more casual party look, remember that we’re in the middle of sweater weather — the best time to be pregnant, or to hide a pregnancy. Pair your sweaters with jeans, skirts, or dresses for a cozy yet elevated look.
M: By the second trimester, all those cute baby bumps are out to say “hello!” How can mamas-to-be show off their growing baby bumps?
A: The secret is finally out! Transitioning your wardrobe is the trick when it comes to the second trimester, and I say it’s time to show off that bump! To me, there’s nothing more gorgeous than a woman showing off her bump. The belly becomes a key feature that you get to style! Now that people know you’re pregnant, start wearing more fitted clothing. Fitted dresses that accentuate the bump, like a ribbed, wrap, or cinched dresses, are very flattering during this time. I love this dress from HATCH for the holiday season. The color is on point. Complete the look with these J. Crew leopard booties, which you will also wear post-pregnancy.
During the second trimester, you’ll have to start thinking about what’s going on under your dress too. By now, you’ve probably notice that you need a little extra love for your changing shape. Make sure you have the proper support under your outfit with a Milx bra. If you’re feeling a little self-conscious about your bump or just want to give it a little more defined shape, pregnancy Spanx work great to give you that smooth lift.
M: Okay, so in the third trimester, things can get uncomfortable, and let’s be honest — getting dressed can take EFFORT. What can mamas in their last few months of pregnancy wear to feel comfy, confident, and chic at all those end of year parties
A: After having 2 kids myself and helping dozens of moms, I can speak from experience that the third trimester is the most challenging of the pregnancy months. It’s so hard to motivate and look cute! All you want to be in is leggings and your hubby’s oversized flannel shirt — which, by the way, is a very good look. Comfort is critical, so keep things easy, comfy, and low-key during the homestretch. Dresses are still ideal at this time, particularly styles with the least amount of constriction. And remember I mentioned maxis would be your BFF? Trust me on this one. I loved in Rachel Pally dresses when I was pregnant. I felt cute and fashionable, yet was super comfortable. I love this caftan dress. It’s incredibly flattering, and you can never go wrong with black. Top the outfit off with a great accessory and a pair of comfy-yet-cute flats that you’ll be able to wear for months to come as you push your little one around in his or her stroller!
M: What about all of the new moms out there? After having a baby, our bodies take time to heal, evolve, and settle into a new normal. What are your favorite picks for the holidays for all of our new Milx mamas?
A: Congratulations on your new baby! My best piece of advice is to go easy on yourself. Your body, hormones, and emotions are supercharged. You just gave birth to a human — you’re a rockstar, a superhero, a powerful being. Your body is a total state of transition. Your cute baby bump is now a deflated basketball. Some can “bounce back” from pregnancy super quick, but for the rest of us, it takes time and work. Remember it took 9 months to grow this baby, so give yourself time and patience for your body to adjust.
I like the idea of a flowy dress post-baby, like this one from Cuyana. It’s a great drape dress with no cling, and very flattering in black. And, once you lose the last of the baby bump, you can wear this dress cinched with a belt. Until then, I like to style my postpartum clients with statement pieces that draw the eye away from the stomach area. Match with the leopard booties for a rockstar look, or accessorize with a sexy pair of heels and gold jewelry.
Want a custom look by Alessandra, or need a closet refresh? Check out her website and follower her on Instagram @alessandra.carlin.styling! Milx Moms: get a 10% discount on your first service with Alessandra when you mention this blog post!