Dressing the bump: part 2

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I’ve always wished for a winter or autumn pregnancy – cosying up in turtleneck sweaters and hiding all those lumps and bumps under stretchy leggings with a warm milo in hand has always seemed much more appealing and comfortable than sweating it out in shorts and flip flops in 40C temps with your feet swollen to the size of a cantaloupe. I mean, throw a coat over anything and you look instantly chic. And a coat will fit you throughout all trimesters, so you don’t have to worry about growing out of it by 32 weeks. Not to mention you’re out the door in 0.0005 seconds. Kim K learnt this lesson the second time around, she’s been throwing a coat over literally every single outfit of hers in 98F temps throughout the LA summer.

Anyway, before I fell pregnant, I had this radiant image of Charlotte Gainsbourg pinned to my Pinterest board, hoping to emulate at least a tenth of her je ne sais quoi when it was my turn to be with child. Because I loved this outfit so so much (and because it was probably far more achievable than Mira Duma’s bump style – though I have to say, I adore this) I promptly went out and bought a pair of maternity jeans (and subsequently two more) until I realised that I had about three weeks’ worth of wear out of them before summer turned up early to the party in Perth. With two more weeks until summer officially starts, I’m still holding out for that freak storm to hit the city so that my maternity jeans aren’t relegated to the back of my wardrobe just yet.

I was fortunate enough to spend my first trimester in winter (July/August) when I was feeling the most crappy and bloated and generally just blergh, so it gave me a little taste of a few firm (non-maternity wear) favourites that would see me through the rest of an autumn/winter pregnancy.

First things first, a black slimline midi skirt.

Possibly even more versatile (and comfortable) than the humble pair of jeans, this is my numero uno bump essential. Preferably in a stretchy fabric with an elasticised waist and a slim/pencil silhouette. I’d have a casual one (like the one I’m wearing above) on rotation as well as one with a front split a la Elin Kling for more dressy occasions to wear with heels. I really love this Topshop one as it’s so lightweight (perfect for summer too) as well as stretchy and comfortable to wear under the bump.

So why not mini, knee-length or maxi lengths? I personally find midi-lengths (both in skirts and dresses) the most practical and flattering but it could just depend on one’s height and body shape. It’s so much more slimming on me as it conceals the thighs and slims the hips – two areas that I’ve put weight on during this pregnancy. Plus, if you’re working in an office, the midi length is the most corporate-friendly on any figure – it looks best with a silk shirt tucked or untucked (like I’ve done above) or with a sweater over the top – she’s obviously not pregnant here but I’ve always thought this outfit on Anja Rubik would be perfect to wear during pregnancy.

A relaxed, button-down shirt

I love pairing these shirts (preferably in silk or cotton) with everything – they look especially chic over a pair of leggings, jeans, cigarette trousers or aforementioned midi skirt. Tucking in button-down shirts is always a bit awkward as your bump gets bigger (I prefer tucking in t-shirts and tank tops) so I like to leave them untucked to flow over the belly.

However, I’m getting to that point in my pregnancy now where my usual size shirts are no longer buttoning up, so I’ve been making do with shirts I’ve bought in bigger sizes (see, I knew it was never a bad idea to cave into the size 12s just because they were cheap at all those designer sample sales!).

I have to say, the cross-over blouse I’m wearing above has also proved to be super practical (just because I don’t have to worry about popping any buttons!) and because there’s excess fabric at the front to accommodate a growing bump. I’d wear this to the office as an alternative to the button-down, it’s so comfortable but still looks really polished if you pair it with slim trousers or a skirt.

An essential jacket or coat

I’ve always loved how a jacket or coat streamlines just about every outfit, adding a more polished element to whatever you’re wearing. Which is perfect when you’re pregnant and feeling really frumpy.

Perth has been seeing some cooler and rainy days during spring so I’ve been rotating through denim jackets, lightweight trench coats, blazers and leather jackets and wearing them with my jeans, midi dresses and skirts.

This season – well, for as long as I can, anyway – I’ve been trying my hand at the humble denim jacket; opting for one that hits between the waist and the hip so that it sits a bit more flattering with the bump (I find when it comes to denim jackets, if it’s too short – it cuts your body in half in not a very good way and too long – it’ll just look like a painfully unflattering tent over your body).

I’ve been wearing my leather jacket to death (such a winter essential!) so the welcome change in colour and style with this denim jacket has been great for variety’s sake as well as still coordinating with all the black, grey and black I’ve been wearing. It’s also perfect on Casual Fridays where blue denim is a bit more accepted in the office!

Flats when you’re feeling frumpy

As someone who isn’t genetically blessed in the height department but who has an embarrassingly low tolerance for heels, pointed toe flats have become my go-to flat shoe for days I want to look put-together without hobbling to the photocopier by the end of the day. Ballet flats also work quite well but I save them mostly for the weekend as I find they’re a lot more casual plus they’re not as lengthening as a pointed toe. These flats I’m wearing above are comfy enough to wear the whole day; they instantly dress up the most casual of outfits; and anything with a gigantic grosgrain bow on them… well, I’m sold.

By the way, I’ve decided to make this a 3-part series in bump dressing, so for those of you interested, look out for my next post which will feature a few more things and brands I’ve loved wearing during my pregnancy.

In collaboration with Topshop | Wearing Topshop Denim Jacket, Striped Drape Front BlousePlisse Tube Skirtpointed suede bow flatsDaniel Wellington Lady Sheffield watch.

Dressing the bump: part 1

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I don’t think anyone (me included) can say they’ve ‘mastered’ bump dressing until they’ve navigated the tricky waters that is the third trimester. Having said that, trying to stay comfortable and true to your personal style when pregnant is challenging enough throughout all trimesters, as you try to get used to your body’s shape and size that changes and increases literally every single day.

I honestly can’t believe how fast time is flying for me at the moment. Some weeks have definitely dragged whilst the rest has flown during my pregnancy (especially once I got past the 20 week mark). I’m about 6 months pregnant now (24 weeks to precise) with only a few more weeks to go until I enter the third trimester. Crazy!

To be honest, I have been consciously flying much of my pregnancy journey under the radar as I feel it’s something I haven’t yet felt comfortable enough to share online – bump watch, ultrasound pics and all. I’m loving being pregnant so far – more than anything else in this world – and it’s been so special sharing these precious moments with just my closest friends and family.

Having received a few emails about dressing my bump from some of you lately though, I thought I’d put together a few things I’ve learnt about pregnancy dressing – mainly what’s worked (and what hasn’t) for me throughout the first and second trimesters.

I’ll be spending my entire third trimester in a Perth summer which means an average of 36-42C degrees – I’m dreading it so so much! It was 37C degrees when I took these photos a couple of days ago (plus I had just scoffed down a burger and large fries for lunch – no regrets!) so I thought I was somewhat qualified to speak about how to be comfortable, confident and pregnant in summer. I have to say though, it’s definitely no walk in the park.

So far, I’ve put on about 5-6kgs from my pre-preg weight (I’m averaging a weight gain of about 1-2kgs per month so far, which is normal I think) with pretty much all my weight going to my hips, thighs, belly and boobs. Oh and baby/placenta too, of course. I’ve been so far successful in getting away with wearing no maternity clothes except for essentials like bras, a pair of SRC leggings for working out, and maternity jeans. I’ve just been going up a size (or three!) in non-maternity clothes and mostly in stretchy, breathable fabrics. To most of you I probably don’t look 6 months pregnant but I certainly feel it – I’m taking a size 12 and 14 in ‘normal’ clothes these days and even then, I can’t do up the zip (longer tops are a godsend!) or a size 14 doesn’t fit me around the belly at all.

Whilst I’ve found casual dressing a lot easier and simpler, it’s the dressing for parties and weddings that I’ve found SO hard, especially as you want (and need) to feel comfortable too. Pregnancy is no time to be cutting off blood circulation to your limbs for the sake of looking good. Thankfully for me – though after much trial and error – overcoming these challenges have come with practice and knowing what works/what doesn’t.

Here are a few things that have worked well for me in terms of special occasion dressing so far, especially as the temperature rises:

Off-the-shoulder tops and blouses

One of the best things about pregnancy dressing for me is embracing and discovering different styles of clothing to accommodate my changing shape. I’ve never been a huge fan of off-the-shoulder anything, but as my bump and waistline gets bigger and bigger, I’ve learnt off-the-shoulder tops are seriously flattering and also really chic (which is not a word you throw around often when you’re the size of a whale with raging hormones). For evening/special occasions during summer, the best thing to wear is an off-the-shoulder blouse or dress in a fancy or structured kind of fabric. It cleverly hides those expanding arms (I wish I was going into a winter pregnancy as I hate having my arms out!) as well as those awkward first-second trimester mini beer guts until you properly pop. If you want to conceal your bump, choose something with a hemline that falls to your belly button and then pair it with high-waisted trousers, tailored shorts or a skirt like I’ve done here.

When it comes to an off-the-shoulder dress though, I find the fitted silhouettes way more flattering than those grecian-inspired, flowy tent dresses. As comfortable as they are, they look god-awful-potato-dumpling-like on me so I personally avoid them, preferring something more fitted.

Embrace bodycon anything

Going back to my first point about pregnancy dressing forcing me out of my sartorial comfort zone; the only time I’ve ever felt comfortable wearing something skin-tight is when I look like I’ve swallowed a basketball (and don’t have to suck it in). I personally think baby bumps look SO much more beautiful and flattering in something form-fitting than baggy and loose. If you’re not into the head-to-toe bodycon look (let’s be real here – who is after they’ve just wolfed down a burger and fries) I recommend wearing something loose up top and fitted down below – as I’ve done here with this outfit.

Wear all one colour in simple shapes

Okay, I’ve stayed true to something that has always been a part of my personal style and it’s worked wonders during my pregnancy. No prints, no psychedelic colours and no crazy fancy cuts. I’ve always been a big fan of minimal dressing and zeroed in on this ballerina pink two-piece at Topshop as soon as I saw it. I love the simple lines, the gathered detailing at the shoulders, the midi length skirt with a subtle split, and the structured overall shape. Subtle details with maximum impact has been my pregnancy wardrobe mantra. Head to toe black is also your best friend when pregnant!

I’ve always thought I’d take inspiration from Miroslava Duma’s maternity looks when pregnant lol but I soon found out that simple and minimal dressing is the best way for me to look chic during pregnancy because, er, I kind of forgot that I don’t actually have Valentino on speed dial.

Two-pieces/separates are the best things ever invented. Ever.

I haven’t had much luck AT ALL trying to find a dress for a wedding that fits in all the right (and tight) spaces. These days, when I’m looking for a new outfit, I have to shop for it literally the day or two before the event because I’m growing out of clothes way too quickly now (if it’s not stretchy, I’ll only have 1-2 weeks at most to wear it before I can’t fit into it anymore). I’m also finding I take hours or days just to find something suitable, which I don’t really have time for.

Cue the fantastic invention that is the two-piece. I’m wearing a size 10 top here and a size 12 skirt (I would have preferred a size 14 to be able to fully zip the skirt up but there was none available for me at the time). There’s no way I’d be able to find a non-maternity dress that accommodates a smaller upper body and larger bottom half at the same time (unless it’s 100% lycra), so dressing in separates has become my saving grace for special events and occasions. If there’s a coordinating skirt, then go for it – you can kind of create the illusion of wearing a dress and still look super polished. It’s so much more comfortable and you obviously get more wear out of your separates as you can pair them with other things in your wardrobe. I have Elin Kling’s baby shower outfit on file for inspiration (hello, off-the-shoulder top and split pencil skirt!).

The ultimate slimming effect

I’m in flats and sneakers 99% of the time these days, but as I’ve been lucky so far to not experience a bad back, puffy ankles, pelvis dysfunction or any leg cramps during my pregnancy, I’ve been able to get away with wearing heels on occasion. As I start piling on the weight now that I’m nearing the third trimester (and my legs/ankles get sore easily from all the weight), I spend the majority of events and occasions sitting down and I always pack a pair of ballet flats in my bag when I’m out just in case I end up having to walk really far due to a lack of parking etc. I don’t wear heels any higher than 10cm (these Louboutins I’m wearing are 100mm) because I’m clumsy af and I almost took a tumble in my five inch Charlotte Olympias in front of the mirror the other day.

Having said all that, I’m starting to notice this week that my feet have seemed to increase half a size (not sure if it’s pregnancy hormones or the weather, or both) as some of my shoes (especially heels) have started to feel a little tight. Vanity aside, the key to dressing a bump is listening to your body – don’t stay on your feet all day and don’t wear anything too restrictive if that’s what your body is telling you!

I’m hoping I won’t have to switch up much more of my pregnancy style come the third trimester (simply because there are probably more urgent things to think about like picking a name and doing my kegels!) but who knows. I really do love and embrace my new shape and am in complete awe of the miracles my body is really capable of, but when you fall pregnant you quickly realise your body is no longer yours and that you just have to go with the flow!

In collaboration with Topshop | Wearing Topshop Structured Bardot Top and Split Pencil Skirt, Christian Louboutin nude patent Decollete pumps, Daniel Wellington Lady Sheffield watch.

Bubblegum dreams.

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It only seems like yesterday that my husband and I were packing our bags to spend two months overseas.

Suddenly it’s two months away from the end of the year, my waist has officially disappeared, and next week I’ll be five months pregnant. For reals. My time now is divided between researching prams, completing the last of my deadlines, and turning to my husband every so often with a knowing glance that in a few months’ time, we will never be able to sleep in (or travel so carefree) again.

Within a few days I’ll also not be able to get away with wearing this bubblegum pink playsuit again because anything with a zip has become the root of all evil, as far as pregnancy is concerned. So I whipped this playsuit out today for errands and fish and chips in the sunshine. Belly is definitely about to pop!

In collaboration with Topshop | Wearing Topshop Cut-Out Playsuit, Simone Leopard Sunglasses, Mid-Heel Sandals, Daniel Wellington Lady Sheffield watch.

A new take on classic style.

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I love this time of year. It’s finally becoming a little warmer to warrant bare legs with a couple of extra layers. Speaking of, one of my favourite finds lately has been this Topshop trench coat (the other being something I picked up on sale from Country Road yesterday – will post this one soon!). For years I’ve been on this eternal search for a classic trench in the right shade of tan and after a few contenders (which I later ended up selling) I think I’ve found The One in this Topshop number.

Being a fairly average 5’4, it’s hard to find a coat that’s the perfect length for me as well as something that fits neatly at the shoulders. I also have to accommodate my growing bump (it’s somewhere there, promise!) with everything I’m wearing these days. I paired the trench with this season’s lace-up shift dress for a marathon meeting with our builder last week. With a million things to think about and organise in the coming months, I’m all about easy dressing at the moment.

In collaboration with Topshop | Wearing Lace Front Dress, Trench Coat, Snakeskin Lace Up Flats, Daniel Wellington Lady Sheffield watch.

Calm before the storm.

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I’ve been sitting here since last night writing an eloquent and witty opening paragraph for this post; about how it’s been a month since I swapped ice cream and sandals weather in Santorini with the impending grey and gloom in Perth; about how it’s actually not quite winter yet; but how it doesn’t really matter because winter in Perth is usually just sweaters and Birkenstocks weather anyway.

Then I backspaced the entire thing because all of it – the weather, the Santorini blue, the small talk, celebrating the fact that I’ve been comfort dressing in monotones lately – seems so futile after an ominous morning I’ve spent inside a dimly lit room, listening to a doctor saying things I didn’t want to hear today. It’s funny how a single moment can make your heart beat so fast when you don’t want it to beat at all.

So I backspaced the whole paragraph because there is nothing more paralysing than pretending not to care.

But I remember the afternoon these pictures were taken, and I remember how much I love this outfit, how much I loved the way the clouds rippled across the sky for just a few seconds. And how wearing grey – and all at once – has this magical ability to instil a sense of calm in me as I fall in and out of fear on an otherwise gloomy day.

But then the wind changed. It started to rain shortly after. It’s unnerving how a split second can make you feel like you’re either on top of the world, or under it.

And it’s times like these photos let me remember how beautiful the world is before it all comes crashing down.

In collaboration with Topshop | wearing curved hem tunic over raw-edge sweatshirt, MOTO slim boyfriend jeans, and grey long duster coat. All items available from Topshop instore.

Styling by me. Photographs by Jamie Lau.

Let’s never leave.

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It’s a little crazy to think that it was only three weeks ago when half the contents of my unzipped carry-on bag literally flew halfway up the street outside our Iceland hotel as we piled into the car en route to the airport. A tour bus load of passengers who – with much amusement apparently – witnessed me running after my Roshe Runs as they made for a great escape along with the ferocious wind at 5am.

I can’t begin to tell you about the howling and unforgiving Icelandic wind that morning, but let’s just say steel lamp posts were swaying rather precariously from side to side and it took no less than 10 minutes for my husband to successfully put one suitcase into the boot.

And if that wasn’t enough, my hands were jammed in my pockets out of fear they’d turn blue and fall off in -9 degrees celsius weather.

So I can’t begin to tell you how much I was looking forward to (and dare I say, earned) sun-drenched Santorini – and the daily overdose of vitamin D – to end our two month-long trip.

Of course, the excitement was kinda dampened when our airline lost our luggage on the way to the Adriatic coast – but that’s another story for another day (see, I wasn’t ever joking about packing that spare change of undies).

The short story is that eventually our suitcases turned up and the long story? Maybe I’ll just let these pictures speak a thousand words.

In collaboration with Topshop Australia | wearing Finders Keepers pinstripe top + culottes available at Topshop.

Photographs by Jamie Lau.

Life in the slow lane.

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Fridays are for my favourite things: sunshine, waking up at noon, cups of tea, leaving things half done, and life in the slow lane.

They say time goes quicker in New York, whilst in Iceland, life is the complete opposite. I’ve been watching snowflakes fall to the floor from my bedroom window every day I’ve been here; taken the roads that are less travelled, sat by waterfalls as they crash to the ground and it’s as if the second-happiest country in the world doesn’t know a damn thing about time.

But the thing is, they’re completely okay with that. And so am I.

In collaboration with Topshop Australia 

Topshop: An essay on style.

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Wearing Topshop pale blue raw edge cropped shirt

My catholic high school uniform consisted of a white shirt and striped tie, and a grey pleated skirt no higher than 12cm above the knee. We weren’t allowed to tie our college sweaters around our waist, and our hair had to always be tied back with a teal scrunchie.

Even when I was 14, being indistinguishable from everyone else bored me. So I’d change out the buttons on my shirt cuffs. I wore black Clarks oxfords with a heel a little higher than everyone else. I’d find novel ways to plait my hair each morning.

Style must have come to me early but looking back, it was ironic, given that for most of my childhood, I craved to have the same colour hair and the same contents in my lunchbox as everyone else.

I find ‘style’ difficult to define. I always knew it was an intangible quality – something money can never buy and something you either have or you don’t But it wasn’t until I had a conversation with Tiffany from Perth’s Topshop Personal Shopping (a free service that’s available to anyone) that I realised style – of the sartorial kind – is merely an unapologetic interpretation of what you wear and an expression of our personality.

As Topshop Perth’s Style Ambassador for 2015, that’s precisely the message I hope to convey through these monthly ‘style essays’.

That maybe it’s okay to buy a plain Jane blue shirt in favour of the fuchsia spray-on dress that’s hanging in the shopfront window just because it’s what you think you should wear (and not because it’s something you actually want to wear). They say you should never wear two voluminous things together. That flat shoes should never be worn with hemlines longer than the knee. That you should never leave the house without brushing your hair.

But rules were meant to be broken – and having a sense of personal style is just a matter of knowing which ones to break.

In collaboration with Topshop Australia 

Photographs by Jamie Lau.

Bubblegum.

In between turning the house upside down tonight looking for the remote to our air con, I’ve also given some thought to my outfit for work tomorrow. I only have a half day in the office tomorrow, as I’m attending a Christmas party at Nova FM.

So far I’ve decided to wear a Topshop skirt (the pink ‘Scuba Peplum’ one) and I think I might draw some inspiration from Jason Wu’s Spring 2012 collection to put the rest of my outfit together. I especially love how fresh and invigorating white looks against a very saccharine Barbie pink. And I really love the makeup – I’ll be pulling out the Morange for this one, I think.

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