Sunday, 30 January 2011

Half way there!

Bump and I have been on an enforced sabbatical, we spent a night in Hospital, nothing too serious but enough to require a few days bed rest and make me feel very protective over my lovely bump.
The ward i was admitted to was a pre -delivery ward, filled with ladies in the first throws of labour or waiting to be induced, there was a lot of puffing and panting, as well as plenty of bump rubbing, these were proper bumps, full on 9 month, full term HUGE bumps, which made me look and feel as though my enlarged stomach area was merely the result of mild gluttony, i even found myself puffing out my micro bump like a peacock expands its feathers, to prove i was actually in the club!
Seeing these ladies and their ginormous baby bumps made me realise how much fuss i have made about dressing my current shape when i have a whole world of trouble ahead of me when i get to the later stages, no longer does head to toe black have a slimming effect, plus when your bump enters the room a good 30 seconds before you do, i guess comfort comes before style??
I am 20 weeks into my pregnancy, half way through, and according to my weekly e-mails from baby is now the length of a banana. My superstitious mind is finally allowing me to start thinking about the birth, there are so many choices, water birth, home birth, hypno birth, scientologists advocate a silent birth, i wonder if the leader of this church is female? A good friend of mine recently confided that she made a conscious effort to stay dignified during her labour, so no swearing and no berating her partner for getting her into this mess, which really struck a cord with me, i like the idea of keeping my cool as much as possible, and i dont want to be the screaming banchee the midwives roll their eyes at, the problem i have is clearly wasnt available when mother nature gave out pain threshholds, so i have along way to go before i deal with childbirth!
My favourite peice of advice i have been given to help me prepare for the birth is to ensure i book in for last minute beauty treatments the week before my due date, eyelash tint / eyebrow shape / pedicure / manicure that sort of thing, as you dont get a chance once baby arrives and it helps you look a little more together in the photographs, we women are nothing if not practical

Thursday, 20 January 2011

This seasons must have accessory

The exclusive club they call pregnancy also earns me an exclusive accessory, the very stylish, very "now" Baby on Board badge by London Underground.
For those of you who are lucky enough to not have to get the tube regularly or even better,ever, this sexy little number is provided by Transport for London for those of us commuting with bump in tow to encourage those lucky enough to be sitting down on the tube to offer up their seat to someone who is less able to stand...namely a pregnant woman.
The tube at rush hour is so undignified i am just happy to not be squashed under the armpit of someone who has made a valiant attempt to mask the fact they haven't washed that morning by drenching themselves in copious amounts of antiperspirant...(the lynx effect has me balking into my scarf) or worse still, enduring the stench of a stranger who is suffering from a severe garlic hangover, so a seat is a huge bonus but certainly not a necessity or a given....until now!
I am feeling a little more tired than usual, i guess i am carrying around an extra pair of arms and legs, as well as an array of mini vital organs so its understandable, but the idea of displaying my badge not only makes me cringe but makes me wonder is it necessary yet???
Since working in London and taking part in the rat race that is the daily commute i have made it my personal duty to give up my golden ticket (tube seat) whenever possible to those less able to stand than myself OAPs are top of my list (people who know me well know i have a crushing weak spot for elderly people, veterans are my particular nectar) so i keep an eye out for any that might find themselves having to stand on a busy train, pregnant women have also benefited from my personal crusade to "seat the needy" but while pensioners are generally easy to spot and very grateful, pregnant women i find are more of a minefield....unless they are displaying their (baby on board) badge of honour you run the risk of offending a woman who may just have a little more junk in her front trunk, and not be with child at all. 
As far as i know there aren't any other badges like this in circulation, for those with ailments that may require them to sit down where possible....does it seem a little unfair that we breeders get a special badge when we have our bumps as indication?? I have done a little research into this, well i have asked 2 people who have been pregnant, and their reaction is that the badge is VERY necessary as they have had to endure multiple tube journeys whilst heavily pregnant when not a single person offered up their seat!

As you can see from my picture, the badge is in my possession, i have yet to wear it despite having been on the underground a lot today, the main reason for this is on my journey to and from work i have been offered a seat almost instantly by a kind fellow traveller, this makes me very optimistic that chivalry and good manners are not dead and buried...and that perhaps my crusade to "seat the needy" hasn't been a solo quest.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

From she who knows..................

After a visit to the a well known high street Maternity department (Oxford Circus branch, i meant business so only flagship will do) i could not contain my disappointment, i was told on good authority by some PPFs (previously pregnant friends) that they had the best Maternity offer, albeit the best offer in the long line of pathetic attempts at Maternity clothes from other high street retailers, but i still wasn't prepared for the poor selection, i didn't expect haute couture, just perhaps a few maxi`s with extra bump room and some long length jersey for layering, there were maternity jeans and leggings so not totally useless - oh and there was a peacock feathered bolero, which i am sure all pregnant women will find comes in handy at some point ????     

Working in fashion has led to me meeting some very stylish folk, one particular fashion bunny friend of mine has popped out 2 babies, and managed to maintain her incredible style and humour so rather than selfishly keep all her wise words on pregnancy fashion to myself, i have asked her to put together her Top 10 survival tips just for you.....take it away Mademoiselle H  

  1. Fabulous Foundations- great dressing always starts with the foundations, as the proverbial ‘Wise Man’ will tell you. Opt for seam-free underwear that will sit comfortably around the base of your bump (in a size (or two) bigger). Sloggi’s are never an option!
  2. Easy Breezy- Bumps are prone to settling into unusual shapes, especially later on, mine saw a tight knot of angled lumps on its left side, Glorious! Stick to light, breathable fabrics that will drape and fold around your bump, flattering its many bizarre silhouettes.
  3. Savvy Separates- Undoubtedly, they’ll last longer and will alter around your growing expansion? Mix’n’match to make the most of your capsule wardrobe.
  4. Blazer Glory- A fitted blazer is a great way to give shape and structure to your ensemble, nipping you in at the ‘baist’ (baby waist). Go for a slightly longer line that finishes just under your bottom for a more flattering shape. Wear open at all times unless you are The Fat Controller.
  5. Layer Up- Ever prone to a hot flush and/or wave of nausea, you’ll have approximately 5 seconds to strip before you spontaneously combust. FACT! However, layering is the best tip in trans-seasonal styling to get you from hither to tither come rain or shine.
  6. Jean-ius- Maternity denim no longer requires bib and braces, but a fabulous pair of jeans will take you from day to night without a hissy fit. Tried and tested (twice over), the bump bands continuously drove me to distraction with their tendency to slide down leaving me with nothing more than a baggy crotch. Unwilling to glue myself into my jeans, my next best option came in the form of maternity jeans with belt loops which mama could secure in place. Ta da!
  7. Scarf Wars- My favourite multi-functional life saver- the scarf of wonderfulness. O’ item of brilliance, not only did you breech the gap in my coat during the cold spell, but gave me a splash of seasonal colour, style and bump camouflage. Aaaaaaamennnn!
  8. Those Extra Inches- Let’s face it- flats don’t cut it like 5” heel but unless you have the stamina of an Olympic athlete, leave them safely in their boxes where they can be admired from afar. Instead, make the most of this seasons and invest in some super-comfy wedges.
  9. Accessorise All Areas- Well maybe not all areas…just the bits you can see. Adding some statement jewellery is the best way to dress up for evening without squeezing into a corset beforehand. Avoid long necklaces in later pregnancy as they simply won’t sit over your bump and will draw the eye line to your largest part (thank God it’s no longer your bum).
  10. Curb the Splurge- I’m not talking about containing your growing tum, but the tendency to splurge on an item that will fit you for a month simply for the feel-good factor.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Baby Bag Debacle

    Baby Bag of my Dreams

I was selfishly poring over this seasons new handbags, and while I was thinking practically about what I could fit in it, how comfortable it would be to carry and how much of my wardrobe it would coordinate with. It had to be pointed out to me that perhaps I should be considering not buying a new handbag just yet as I would be buying a baby bag very hadn't occurred to me my accessories would be affected by the baby, of course I knew I would need something to carry his/her things in, and of course I wouldn't expect baby to carry its own bag (not at first anyway).

So the handbag purchase is on hold for now (although June is a long way off isn't it ?) and I am giving the baby suitable bag some thought. I am about as far from cute as you can get, I admire feminine earthy types who can wear dizty florals and ironic accessories, but it just isn't my bag (pardon the shameless pun) and as much as I admire Cath Kidstons Antique Rose print on bath towels, I have trouble imagining myself carrying one of her nappy bags, I would feel like a fraud, pretending I am an organic bread making earth mother...or will I automatically become one once I become a mum ?

Baby is due in June so does that mean I should buy a light coloured baby bag, won't I still be using it in winter so therefore to get a dark one is more practical, non ?? or will a black baby bag earn me frowns of disapproval from the mummy mafia? will I look like the princess of darkness in a sea of rainbows and puppy dogs tails??

Another question I haven't been able to find the answer for in any of my many baby when do you stop having to carry baby things around ? (was that a guffow I heard at the back?) or do you graduate from a baby bag to a baby truck to cart the little darlings bits and bobs around?

I think I am in for quite a shock!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Back to reality

After the fun of dressing up on Saturday, I realised how liberating stepping out of my style comfort zone was, I have already confessed to wearing too much black, pregnancy has only made me stick to this even more rigidly, but the clashing colours and carefree attitude that comes with fancy dress is something i want to replicate....perhaps not on the same scale!

I have been looking in awe at the pictures of the Black Swan movie, and the fashion shoots inspired by it, my bump now completely rules out the majority of flippy chiffon skirts (the nicest one i have seen ? ), i can wear them of course, but i cant do them justice, so i bow out gracefully..ballerina stylee

This had led me to think think about what else i cant / wont wear whilst pregnant......and wonder if i am imposing too many limits on myself?
As the weather gets warmer i can`t stick to wearing black maxi dresses, so i am creating a wish list of things that i love for the summer, like short suits and wide trousers and see how i can tailor them to my bump
Watch this space.....

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Girls just wanna have fun

Parties and evenings out in general are the most difficult for me to find suitable attire for. This Saturday however was a little different, it was fancy dress time.

My friends and I take fancy dress VERY seriously, so no half hearted effort will do, I knew i didn't want to go to the expense of hiring a costume, my weekend bed time sans alcohol is no later than 12pm (1pm at a push) so hiring seemed extravagant, i also didn't want anything involving me being spray painted (like i said, we take fancy dress seriously) I also of course had to take into consideration my new shape, a visit to my parents to dig out some of my vintage clothes (you could say my mum curates my archives) reminded me just how big i am now, I tried some possible options (velvet dress and fur stole for Cruella de Vil, ballroom dress for strictly come dancing) my mum was polite as always, even stifling her giggles as i squeezed into a white conical busted tutu dress for my best Madonna "like a virgin" impression...there are some things a pregnant woman shouldn't be seen in, this is one of them.
After spending an hour or so ploughing through my old accessories, my character for the night revealed its self, tonight Matthew i am going to be Cyndi Lauper....because girls just wanna have fun !

Thursday, 13 January 2011

My pregnancy work uniform, black and stretchy

Is it wrong to try appear slimmer when pregnant ?

I went on to the Guardian website to read an article I had been told about titled  "would you squeeze your bump into control pants?", my favourite part of reading articles on-line, is the comments that follow it, particularly those commentators who are VERY vocal in their opinions. This particular subject provoked quite a response, as pregnancy tends to, with the comments ranging from opinionated to viscious, how appalled they were that women would dare to want to avoid having lumps and bumps during their dare they want to feel attractive!
I am at week 18, and there is no denying I am pregnant now, my bump is prominent enough not to be confused with bloat, but the side dishes that have turned up uninvited with my lovely bump are a few extra unwanted lbs around my middle, commonly known as love handles. Dressing to flatter this area can be difficult, so I can get my head around these pregnancy Spanx tights pretty easily, personally I am avoiding anything that makes me even slightly uncomfortable, belts/tight trousers etc. but I wouldn't veto the idea of trying them out if the occasion arose, and if they work for other pregnant women, and make them feel less lumpy then what is the harm ??
I am not at that point yet,  I am still pouring myself into my black Falke 100 deniers, but I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

I love fancy dress...but pregnant fancy dress? god help me

To celebrate 3 decades on earth my friend is throwing a fancy dress party, the thought of dressing up without the aid of carbonated dutch courage is filling me with dread! Its not that i am shy or alcohol dependant its just that i find it easier to look tragically unattractive when under the influece of something cold and wine flavoured.
My ever romantic beau (yes, you lover) has suggested i go as Vicki Pollard, complete with exposed bump and chavtastic leisure wear, other suggestions have included a bunch of grapes...can you imagine me poured into a green leotard and tights covered in balloons, hoping i am not attacked by a pin weilding menace who leaves me deflated and vunerable covering my lycra clad lady lumps ??? terrifying. Fruit has been a popular suggestion, particularly circular shapes  (a reference to my increasinly rotund looking figure perhaps?) oh and another helpful friend suggested i go as an egg, boiled i imagine as runny eggs arent reccommeded during pregnancy.
Ive been thinking about going as an over grown baby, complete with babygro and dummy, its on my mind a lot for some reason, and sounds like a comfortable option, will it look as wrong as it sounds ? I hope so

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

I wore leggings, dont judge me

After making a personal vow to myself not to wear leggings to my hospital appointments on the basis that I should know better, I did it, i wore leggings. My pathetic excuse being i have been feeling very tired, I don't want sympathy (well maybe a little) i just felt i couldn't keep this to myself.

I didn't go the whole hog and team threadbare leggings with UGG boots (i will save that tasty morsel for Week 38) they were actually rather fetching Acne ruched seam leggings, worn with wedge ankle boots which i think redeems me a little ??  I wouldn't usually bother with a wedge for a hospital check up, but since i was wearing comfy / cozy leggings i felt compelled to put myself through just a little discomfort.

I have been giving leggings some thought, as ive been warned by existing members of the motherhood that during the cold months they are going to become an essential, but would the most sensible thing to do be to keep for emergencies? a bit like a hat on a bad hair day ?? pre pregnancy its been a while since i have worn them, due to the fact they aren't the most flattering item for a girl with a healthy thigh circumference, especially leggings that could be measured in denier.

Many a time I have a caught sight of an unwitting bottom being partially exposed by the lack of denier being stretched accross the buttocks and thigh of its owner, the owner having been brave enough to have chosen a short top, this really isnt something i want to put my rear at risk of, so for the next 5 months ( or until i have the baby and my body miraculously morphs into the shape of a young Elle Macphersons, or an old one for that matter) I will be putting all leggings to the denier test, and sticking to this motto "if in doubt dont wear it out"

Monday, 10 January 2011

Another member joins the club...again!

This wasn't my planned subject for today but the news that Victoria Beckham is to be a mother for the 4th time cannot simply pass without comment! There is no denying she has really defined her style over the past few years, the Fashion media are in Luuuurve with her and her Victoria Beckham label is flying high, being nominated for a British Fashion Award this year.
But how, pray tell me...will she choose to dress her bump this time around?? Her previous pregnancies cannot be used as a benchmark, as not only do they span over the last 10 years and fashion and trends have changed drastically but they were all before her transformation as a style maven was complete.
Her own collection of body skimming tailoring is far more suited to her existing figure, complete with washboard tum, but somehow I cant see Mrs B letting herself go entirely, gorging on chips and ballooning in size, so perhaps her style wont alter too much, just a few adjustments for the only A listers can!

The only side physical side effect of pregnancy I have been looking forward to its getting a (slightly) bigger bust, having never been blessed in that that mother nature has bestowed my share  (I am not quite Pammy Anderson, but an extra cup size will do me) I have realised that this in itself holds wardrobe challenges, i have a new found empathy with naturally busty women who in the past i thought were being ungrateful...buying clothes for a living means i have always taken into consideration varying shapes and sizes, selecting flattering necklines and shapes for bigger busts, but the fact they can throw your entire proportions out of sync, forcing you to size up when buying clothes is something i will now be a LOT more sympathetic to...all that remains for me to do is replace my flimsy brassieres with some shiny new "over the shoulder boulder holders" (well, almost) 

Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Bump & I get dressed up

The cleverly orchestrated pose i plan to adopt for the next 5 months demonstrated above...

The first week in January brings with it my dear friends birthday, so there is no hibernating in my pyjamas this Saturday night, its off out with the girls for dinner & drinks (nachos, washed down with lime & tonic, if you, like me, require details)
So my task for tonight is to find an outfit that; a. fits and b. doesn't make me feel frumpy along side my fabulous cohorts.
The baby books tell me my balance is affected at this point in my pregnancy so heels are not advised, I don't seem to be blessed with that particular symptom (yet) nor have my feet swelled beyond recognition (which apparently i have to look forward to) so high heels it is.
One of my New Years fashion resolutions (i haven't made any lifestyle resolutions, i don't smoke and cant drink so cant see whats left to give up?) was to wear more colour. My wardrobe is dominated by various shades of black, black/black, barely black and not forgetting, almost black, which i have to say is helping me at the moment, as it is the most slimming colour. Its not that i am trying to hide my bump, quite the opposite in fact, i want to look pregnant and not as though i have eaten too many mince pies. 
One of the early lessons i have learnt is to remember to balance out my proportions, some of my lowest moments (when getting dressed) have involved attempting to pull off anything over sized, the lack of silhouette rather than looking cool and effortless just looked shapeless and painfully unflattering.

Now i am not  pretending to have found the answer to dressing a pregnancy bump, my findings are a work in progress, which i am sure will change with the seasons, not to mention my expanding waist, but up to now getting a balanced look for my new shape and height involves 2 simple calculations that look like this;

Maxi dress + Cropped jacket
 Long length loose top + Leggings 

For last nights celebrations i chose the former, (all from my existing wardrobe) an ankle length maxi (Topshop) it was fairly sheer so i layered it over Wolford footless tights and a long vest (H&M) worn with what has been and will continue to be a wardrobe staple, a black cropped leather jacket ( Day Birger et Mikkelson from ) i added a (vintage) statement necklace for a little bit of sparkle and off i went.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

What not to wear!

Am now approaching the 17 week mark, work know I am pregnant, and am ready to show off my bump.

Other breeders have been very generous and given me their baby books to read, so after looking up how big baby is this week (the size of an avocado) and what stage his/hers development is at (baby`s ears are now in the right place apparently) i flicked straight to the “what to wear during pregnancy” pages and was mortified to read some of the advice; raid your partners wardrobe..? erm, now i am as partial as the next girlfriend to stealing my mans sweaters occasionally, but seriously considering wearing his jeans and shirts as maternity wear? I somehow can`t see that being the most flattering option for the next few months! I would look like Tom Hanks at the end of BIG. No, that will never do.

Back to the books advice, the other suggestions were to “choose horizontal zips and buttons  as they create the illusion of a slimmer silhouette” I had visions of myself going to work wearing zip through hoodies desperately trying to  appear slimmer but instead managing to look like I had an ASBO and a penchant for dodgy sportswear!
The one piece of advice i did agree with was to wear one colour top to toe, this is something i would advocate pregnant or not, should you be trying to look a little leaner, other than that, the majority of the pregnancy books should stick to giving out the medical and practical advice, which i am totally in awe of, as it`s a subject i know next to nothing about, as for their fashion suggestions, they could do more harm than good!

For work i am encouraged to wear stock we sell on the website, which i have to be honest is usually no hardship! I aim to continue to wear stock we sell until my due date, but my purchases will have to be a little more considered. Having spent from June-October last year studying the trends and buying all the amazing stock for Spring Summer 2011 i am loathe to think that that i can`t wear any of it! My plan is to identify what i can wear without looking like a hippo in 70s fancy dress, and I don`t mean taking the easy way out and buying hats and earrings, i mean genuinely embracing the trends without fear of people laughing at me in the street...I will keep you posted on how i get on.

Thursday, 6 January 2011


The perfect outfit for when you totally run out of options

So, along with my skinny jeans, went anything that had previously only been saved for "thin" days (i cant say they had been worn a lot in recent months) and any other high waisted separates.
High waisted i discovered is not a look a woman in her 1st trimester can pull off, the necessary proportions have all been thrown out, this was the first hurdle for me as higher waist lines flattered my pre-bump shape (pear shaped with a relatively flat stomach) and some of my favourite outfits consisted of this look so it wasn't an easy revelation, but i had to keep calm......and carry on!

Before i caused myself any more distress  i did some "research", this involved trawling images on-line of pregnant celebrities. I set criteria they had to meet, I had to admire their personal style, pre and post pregnancy, Supermodels i could look at but not beat myself up over as they aren't "normal". And i also had to consider the time of year they were pregnant, for example i had always admired Nicole Ritchie's laid back LA style but most of her pregnancy pictures were in the blazing Californian sunshine so, i will only be able to steal her style on holiday. And finally, how pregnant they were, it isn't fair for me to judge an outfit worn at 3-4 months and one at 7-8 months as the challenge is totally different.

Unfortunately for me most of the celebrities I Googled ( Elle McPherson/Kate Moss/SJP/) seemed to have hibernated for the majority of their pregnancies, so i was forced to broaden my search to include people i wouldn't usually look to for style inspiration; Victoria Beckham/Heidi Klum/Gwen Stefani. I also looked at celebrities who are pregnant right now; Abbey Clancy/Holly Willoughby/Myleene Klass to see how they are doing in the style stakes.

My findings? Celebrities aren't the ideal benchmark for dressing my bump, they don't have to think practically about their work wardrobe, getting dressed on cold mornings or using public transport and they don't have a limited budget so the comparisons aren't fair (on me, and its my experiment!) so I've decided to only use them as reference in extreme circumstances.

First things first...

                                                              Goodbye for now, my faithful friend x

Like I said, my first wardrobe casualties were my skinnies,  (gorgeous black high Waisted J Brand majors) although I could get them on, even zip them up, the marks left across my stomach could be described as minor lacerations, and the zip was straining under the pressure, my first thought was of the baby I was growing, and how cruel it was to limit the size of his/her temporary accommodation, my 2nd thought was of how I didn't want to damage my jeans beyond repair as I intend to pour myself back into them one day.
With my priorities straight I carefully placed my jeans into a storage box, shedding only a crocodile tear.
My main observation about the afore mentioned jeans is had they of been low rise they may of been able to accompany me on my pregnancy journey for a little longer, i remember seeing pictures of Kate Moss wearing her skinnies well into her pregnancy, the paparazzi caught a rather mean shot of her wearing her trusty grey skinnies with the zip undone to allow her bump room, am 99% certain the photographer responsible was a man and therefor had never faced a pregnancy related wardrobe conundrum. My point is, if Miss Moss with her all fashion accolades not to mention access to clothes beyond most women's dreams or financial means came unstuck, then I, a mere mortal not blessed with supermodel proportions was prepared to bow out early with my dignity and my zipper, in tact.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

I promise not to upload any serious pregnancy photos....just a few fun ones x

Introducing the bump..........

I have joined the realms of expectant motherhood, my due date is 18th June 2011, so for the next 6 months i have decided to put my fashion skills to the test!

I am a Womenswear Buyer so on a daily basis I look at amazing clothes and choose the ones I hope our customers will fall head over heels in love with, the challenge for me is can i continue to dress myself in a stylish yet comfortable way now my shape is changing beyond my control??

Like most women, the first 12 weeks I kept my pregnancy and my bump under wraps, luckily the temperature's were below freezing, so concealing my bump under chunky knitwear was pretty easy....feeling and looking stylish was another thing all together!!

My first pregnancy weight gain came in the form of a rather unflattering bulge on my lower back (aka my love handles) then came the enlarged but not yet bump shaped stomach...all of which made wearing my trusty black skinny jeans awkward, not to mention VERY uncomfortable ( now when it comes to jeans, i am a creature of habit and own multiple pairs in the same size and colour) and this rendered me helpless, with no bottom half attire! Sound dramatic ? well, maybe a tad, and a little untrue, i did have other things i could wear, but the reality was i was struggling to get dressed on a daily basis, as the the items i regularly wore were no longer suitable, and my inner brat wasn't ready to accept i had grown out of them so soon.

After a couple of mini tantrums, both brought on by attempting to wear things that bore a size small label, whilst my waist line (make that waistline/bum/thighs) were clearly yearning to be clothed in something a little more spacious. I decided drastic action was necessary.

Luckily my moment of clarity came whilst at home for the Christmas Holidays, I had a little time on my hands, so i took my self upstairs to my wardrobe and set to work.

My first task was to be brutally honest with my self about what i didn't have a hope in hell of fitting into for the next 6 months, and gently wish them arrivederci, this is NOT goodbye may i stress, as this is simply a case of putting them away for now.........