October 31, 2012

Halloween and my very pregnant (potentially borderline) costume

As much as I love it because of candy and fall and all things spooky, Halloween can be challenging due to the pressure to concoct a creative and/or clever costume. And when you're 34 weeks pregnant, the costume options narrow considerably. Although I am not a person who practices a particular faith, I was raised Catholic, most of my family is Catholic, and I continue to feel a strong affinity for its history as well as its iconography.

With some trepidation (after all, despite my lack of practicing religious affiliation, I do believe in being sensitive to others' articles of faith), I decided that my very pregnant costume would be the Blessed Virgin Mary. I consulted with numerous practicing Catholic loved ones to ensure this choice wouldn't be inadvertently hurtful and found a "one size fits all" costume online that I hoped would fit a pregnant body. It was... snug. But it was also stretchy and all I had. So I wore it Saturday evening to a party and it seemed to be a big hit.

Chris was having costume block so I suggested he consider being Steven Tyler. Lots of scarves. Layers. A mic stand. Scatting. Big lips. Etc. He loved the idea! I did my best to help him execute it and it turned out way better than my own costume. Homemade costumes usually do...

Finally, I wanted to send my thoughts to those along the eastern seaboard who have been effected by Hurricane Sandy. It is hard to fathom the losses but I hope for a speedy and efficient recovery. You can contribute help for those in need through the Red Cross website.

Happy Halloween!

October 28, 2012

Fall and Winter Maternity Favorites

Although I am in the home stretch, my "new normal" of window shopping for cute and potentially professional maternity clothes has become habitual. Above are my favorites for cold weather and holiday party times.

October 26, 2012

Orla Kiely for Uniqlo Review

In honor of the recently launched online shopping options for Uniqlo, I couldn't resist trying some of the Orla Kiely pieces. I am an avid fan of the vibrant and sometimes borderline twee prints of this British designer but not so crazy about her regular prices. Orla Kiely dresses that are unattached to other retailers often cost over $400! So this "massclusive" partnership with Uniqlo winds up seeming like an even better bargain. I was hopeful that a few of the pieces could work for a pregnant and (eventually) postpartum body and I was right! They are also of course great for non-pregnant folks.

First up is the Peter Pan Collared dresses in various prints. I picked three of these dresses and was pleased with the softness and give of the fabric in each case. Although they stretch, they are thick enough to not be sheer or require additional coverage from a slip. I liked that the fabric was stretchy without being clingy. The colors were saturated and vibrant. I ordered size large and found it to fit amply over my 34 weeks pregnant belly and full bust. The length was also excellent and probably even better for taller gals when there isn't a full torso winnie-the-poohing up the garments. The shape is tent-like which is fine with me but I also tried it with a belt and found the effect to be quite flattering. I do wonder if a lower belting strategy would work as nicely as this empire one but at the moment I lack the waistline required to attempt it. The above print and the tiny floral one (maroon with navy trim) fit similarly and slightly smaller than the following option.

The deep fall colors of this circles print really grabbed me but I do think that this runs noticeably larger than the other two, even though I got them in the same sizes. I guess the trade off with massclusive lines is quality control. Although my belly means that the medium would have likely been too snug, I do think that without the variable of pregnancy, these dresses fit noticeably on the large side of true, regardless of print option. For the price ($29) they are a good value. And they absolutely work for maternity needs. Although I'm not sure if I will keep them all, I am going to at least keep the first one because the colors are so fun and with tights I think I can wear it to campus.

Lastly, I grabbed a long sleeved stem print tee ($19). I already have two Orla Kiely for Uniqlo tees from the previous collection that I have been wearing throughout pregnancy and I grabbed this in a large. It is less stretchy than the short sleeved tees and a little less soft but the structure is fine. I think these run slightly more snug than some of the other pieces in the collection but the length is ample and covers the stretchy band at the top of my pants without any issues.

As an aside, holy wow does Uniqlo ship quickly with their free shipping option!! I know some websites (GAP Brands, I'm looking at you) downgrade your order's processing time when you get to their free ship threshold. With Uniqlo, I ordered on Tuesday and my package came via FedEx on Thursday! Returns are a flat $7 (which mirrors the cost to ship orders that don't meet the threshold) so I did order more to avoid paying that $7 twice (if I needed to return). Now I'm stuck deciding what to keep and what to send back because I do like everything! Have you ordered from Uniqlo's online store?

October 24, 2012

Quick wedding OOTD

I toiled over what to wear to a recent wedding and wound up feeling pleased enough with this ensemble that I also sported it to my second baby shower. I will update with some photos and recap from that day (which was really wonderful and full of enthusiasm and love, just like the first). The wedding was also really beautiful and moving. A couple who had been together for decades decided to make a marital commitment to each other and it was thrilling to see. I wanted to dance so much more than I physically could. Chris and I really only managed a slow song or two before I decided to listen to my body and sit down.

I'm at the point where it's hard not to feel occasional negative body thoughts because with increasing frequency my current body is in varying degrees of pain or discomfort. But I am healthy and the fetus is healthy so despite my nagging aches I realize I'm very fortunate.

Things are hectic as we count down the last few weeks before we have a kid. So much is left to do. But I've managed to keep my belly photos updated and write occasionally about this new and changing experience both here and on my pregnancy blog. Thank you for hanging around even though my wardrobe and consumption have shifted to suit these adaptations.

Outfit details:
Everly Grey dress from Amazon
Assets Maternity Tights (which are actually awesome! buy them here or here)
Gucci Wedges
Amber pendant and John Hardy heart necklace (both gifts)

October 19, 2012

Kate Spade Friends and Family 30% off!

Wow! The Kate Spade Friends and Family sale gives 30% off this time around and that is pretty great. It is valid in stores or online with code F12FFUS (now through Sunday, October 21st, 2012). Above are my favorites! With pregnancy and postpartum times making my body a relatively unknown variable, I find myself gravitating to accessories more and more. Idiom bangles make great holiday gifts and I love this one (already on sale, so hooray for stackable discounts!)!

This weekend also marks Saks Friends and Family (code FRNFAM2) which, despite the long list of exclusions will yield 20% off a decent portion of their merchandise.

There's no longer a Saks in Pittsburgh so local shoppers will be glad to know that Nordstrom will price match promotions like this one as well as any from other competitors. Happy Shopping!

October 17, 2012

Designer Maternity Reviews: Maternal America

I posted an OOTD and belly photos that included this Maternal America dress but I haven't said too much about its fit. I LOVED the print of this when I saw it on Amazon and during their maternity clothing clearance I managed to grab one for a substantial discount. This style is called the "scoop" and my print is called "citrus floral." It retailed for $128 but I got it for 65% off.

For reference, I am wearing a large and believe this dress to run true to designer maternity sizing (though definitely on the small side of big box maternity sizing). The knit of this particular dress is nice and thick (almost sweater-esque) so it is a great piece for cooler weather. It is fully lined in the torso and skirt, providing excellent coverage without needing a slip. The waist tie is sturdy and stays put. The scoop is a bit low (particularly on a full and/or growing bust) so that is something to be mindful about in certain contexts. One drawback is that it is somewhat short for professional settings. Although it has belly room and doesn't "winnie the pooh" up in the front, it is already above the knee on my 5'3" frame. I did wear it to work but with tights and on a day when I wouldn't be in front of the class during student presentations.

What drew me to this dress was the fact that it is a style and print I would covet during not-pregnant times. That it is technically maternity won't deter me from wearing it postpartum. It yields a lot of compliments and is very comfortable. Although I haven't tried other Maternal America styles, I am really happy with this one and can use the sizing from it to work as a baseline size reference in the future.


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