Kardashian’s maternity woes prompt a style lesson
Published: Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 6:23 p.m.
Kim Kardashian: Take note.
To be stylish and pregnant, you need to embrace your new shape. You have to celebrate it. But you also need to be aware of it, and not keep wearing your regular wardrobe — even if it's a size up.
Kardashian, who is expecting her first child with Kanye West in July, has taken heat from the tabloids and armchair fashion critics for her maternity look, which seems a continuation of her usual parade of body-hugging dresses, tucked-in blouses, complicated couture-like details and super-high heels.
Lately, though, it seems she's taken the plunge into maternity clothes, sometimes wearing stretch-waist maternity jeans and leggings, which Pea in the Pod design director Olivia Capone Myers said are the No. 1 must-have item for a successful pre- and post-baby wardrobe.
Leggings, along with side-ruched T-shirts and dresses, preferably made of stretch jersey, are the first things to buy when the bump starts showing, and they're the last ones you're wearing after mom and baby are settled in at home, Myers said.
Myers said the current wave of celebrity moms-to-be has reignited interest in this corner of the fashion world. The key, experts say, is to stay true to your personal style, but not be so stubborn that you won't tweak it.
“Jessica Simpson ... she's really done an amazing job of looking fabulous. She has tweaked her style, moving from heels to flats but still polished. She's kept her sense of style even with her changing body, and she isn't afraid to sport trends,” Myers said.
Baukjen de Swaan Arons, designer of the British-based maternity label Isabella Oliver, has been watching star style, too. She liked the way Jenna Dewan Tatum wore the brand's fitted couture black lace gown at the Oscars earlier this year, but she said that it's equally stylish to be “out and about” in a jersey top.
The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton possesses what might be the world's most famous baby bump, and she has made a seamless transition into her slightly revamped look. She already wore “mostly pretty, flattering and simple silhouettes — dresses, coats, hats and monochromatic color,” exactly what style expert Amy Tara Koch would suggest.
“She gets the balance, proportion, simplicity. It seems her nature, so it will already be easier for her to look good every day throughout her pregnancy,” said Koch, who wrote the book “Bump It Up.”
But that's not how Kardashian dresses, so there are other tips, Koch said: Kimono sleeves instantly create the bohemian vibe that works well in maternity wear, and so do tunic tops with a blousoned dropped waist. The high necks and below-the-knee hemlines Kardashian sometimes wears do not. Dangling earrings would draw the eye to the slope of the neck and shoulders, and a chunky necklace worn against a jewel neck or slightly scooped or V-neck shirt would emphasize the bustline upward.
“You want to create a focal point that will take attention from elsewhere,” Koch said. “Kim's face looks so pretty now. She has that glow. That's what we should be looking at.”
Fit also is important. Stay away from extremes — whether it's too tight or too loose, said designer Rebecca Minkoff, who blogs for babycenter.com.
Oversized clothes might fit the bump, but will work against everywhere else, de Swaan Arons agreed.
Jersey fabric with its tight-weave stretch is good camouflage. Designer Abi Ferrin said good jersey will stretch and shrink with the body, and that the weight of the fabric smooths bumps.
The garment should be cut to give a little bit of structure because the jersey is so forgiving, Ferrin said.
Minkoff got through her first trimester by looping a hair band around the button loop of her pants, but, she said, eventually moms-to-be turn to maternity clothes. Also, it's OK if they eventually need a little confidence boost to alleviate doubts about a changing figure, she said. Her easy fix? Invest in “great shoes, great jewelry and a great jacket.”