By Rae Mok
Your enlarging bulge has made sleeping uncomfortable, you wake up in the middle of the night to relieve yourself, your tired body is crying out for more rest even though you slept at 9pm… and the last thing you want to do in the morning is to ponder over what to wear to work. As tempted as you are to just throw on an oversized sweatshirt over jogging pants and go to work, you have to refrain from doing that if you would still like to have a job when you come back from your maternity leave.
To avoid these headaches, you may want to put some thoughts into stretching your dollars when you overhaul your wardrobe as you start to outgrow your pre-pregnancy clothes. Mother of two kids (aged seven and four), and owner of maternity wear boutique Joy Luck Club, Karen Lum, 40, has this advice for all working mothers-to-be : “Mix and match is one important part in building a maternity wardrobe. We can but is it justifiable to revamp the entire wardrobe? Hence it is good to get a few well-tailored pants that match all your babydolls, tunics and blouses. You can wear them to work, play or simply relax with simple accessories to differentiate each look. You don't have to burn a hole in your pocket to look good. Pregnancy itself makes one beautiful.”
First Trimester [Week 1 to 13]
Shopping for clothes now is a contradicting experience as you can’t really fit properly into normal clothes, yet maternity clothes are too roomy. Choose your purchases wisely as you don’t want to splurge on clothes that will not fit in 2 to 3 months’ time. It is a good thing baby doll tops/dresses and leggings are back in fashion so make full use of that for this period while your tummy fills out. Pick durable materials and classic styles as you can still use this batch of clothes after your delivery, before you lose your pregnancy weight. Also, mix and match pieces from your current wardrobe and you can always throw on a jacket or cardigan for a more professional look. This is also a good time to steal that shirt you loved from your hubby!
9 months is a long time, and you do not want your co-workers to see you degrade from a sharp dresser to a lounging-around-the-house dresser. There are many styles available in the market which are professional looking and yet comfortable for your growing assets.
Second Trimester [Week14 to 27]
As your tummy grows bigger (as does your other “assets”), you can finally start to fit into maternity wear. There are many trendy and comfortable maternity wear available in the market now for you to take your pick. As your weight gain will pick up at this stage, do pick tops with allowance at your armholes, chest and tummy areas. Bottoms with stretchable or adjustable waistbands are also more ideal as you will not know the amount of expansion you require till the end of your pregnancy.
Beware that your short dresses may now be too short as your tummy raises the hem. If they still fit well, team them with leggings or even pants so you won’t be revealing more than you should. Buttoned-front tops may not button down too well, so you can wear an inner tube or camisole, and leave several buttons undone, or you can wear a vest over it for a sharper look.
Third Trimester [Week 28 to 40]
As your belly starts to take up more than half of your body, you want to make sure that the most attractive part of you at work is your efficiency and your pregnancy glow, and not your exposed belly. If your favourite top is now too short, you can always layer it underneath with a long tube top or camisole that goes over your belly.
Dresses are the most comfortable at this stage for moving around, and you need not have to fuss over matching separates. Maternity clothes do not have to be boring just because they are big. Throw on some chunky accessories like a scarf, a long necklace or a brooch to brighten up a simple dress, and take away the attention from your bulge. Choose light materials as your body temperature may fluctuate at this late stage of your pregnancy. Always have a shawl or cardigan on hand at work so you can throw it on when it gets chilly. A long overcoat is a good choice as you can still use it post-pregnancy.
Other Than Your Belly… they are growing too
Your bra is also an important element as your breasts start to prepare themselves to dispense streams of love for your unborn child. A well-fitting bra will go a long way in terms of comfort, and allow your clothes to fit nicely around the neckline. You would want your audience to pay attention to your presentation slides and not to whatever’s “sliding” out of place!
Comfortable shoes are very important during pregnancy, with flats being the most ideal. Most women will experience swollen feet at some stage, so you want to make sure the material of your shoes are flexible and spacious, especially around the toes area. If you absolutely must have some height in your shoes, choose wide wedges for additional support for your feet. You can also leave a pair of formal shoes at work for meeting clients, and opt for more comfortable shoes for travelling to/fro work and also to lunch.
All pictures featured above are courtesy of Joy Luck Club – www.joyluckclub.com.sg