FIVE TO FAB: Maternity Fashion

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We all want to look and feel our best. Well, each week, we're sharing five tips, five items, five products, five ingredients, five steps, five minutes to a more fabulous you, which is why we call it Five to Fab!!!

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I've learned the hard way that looking good while pregnant takes a lot of little tricks and tips. How so? Well, since I work in TV, I knew I'd have bright lights and that additional few pounds the "camera adds" to contend with, along with my growing bump. On top of that, usually, we're asked to wear solid, bright or bold colors. Those shades are perfect for a woman who isn't pregnant, but on-camera, the brighter the colors, the bigger I looked. And I realize, I should embrace the bump. I do!

It's just a matter of flattering my changing figure without spending a ton of money to do so. That said, here are my five tips to fabulous maternity fashion!

1. Ruching is your BFF : when you're newly pregnant, dresses with ruching across the belly can really disguise a growing bump. I had a few dresses with rouching (and made out of jersey) that lasted me through month five and into month six. My favorite dress for a growing bump with ruching is by Seraphine and is the Jolene style. For a more fitted look with ruching on the side, I found a dress I bought in multiple colors from Target. It's the Liz Lange for Target 34 sleeve scoop neck T-shirt dress. Finally, early on in pregnancy, I wore a lot of non-maternity dresses with ruching around the belly. It helps disguise that tiny bump before you're ready to tell people!

2. Don't be Baggy - Be Balanced: Baggy clothes may be more comfortable, but they aren't going to make you look better. It may feel like you're hiding your bump, but you're actually making it look bigger. So try to find pieces that flatter your chest and belly, whether it's completely fitted or empire to show you have a waist. Also, when you're not pregnant, balance is key. If you're wearing a flowy shirt, make sure to wear a skinny pant. If you're wearing a fitted shirt, that's when a flair or wide-legged pant would look best. I wore a fitted blouse by Boob Design with a looser Rose Pope trouser in this story. For a fitted pant look, I wore skinny pants by Lilac Clothing, and the flowy blouse isn't actually maternity. I got it at Marshall's, and it's Cupio.

3. Solid Silhouette: Wearing the same color, fitted dark shirt and pant underneath a cardigan or jacket gives the illusion that you're not as big as you might be! I wear all black a lot, and then add on top for an added pop. I wore a Pea in the Pod black shirt, with my Lilac Clothing black skinny pants, and a gray Old Navy cardigan in this story.

4. Wrap Dresses: these are the absolute best cut for a pregnant woman, especially as she goes through the third trimester. Since a wrap dress is adjustable, it can grow with you. Also, many maternity brands allow wrap dresses to take you into nursing, so they're great for after the baby, too! My favorite wrap dress is by Boob Design. I think it's really flattering, and it's a thick enough material that body shapers aren't necessary.

5. Wait to Buy the Jeans! I made the mistake of buying my maternity jeans when I was still in my first trimester. The sales people may tell you (like they did me) that your size won't change and just your bump will. So, I went ahead and bought two pairs. One felt good. The other felt like they were falling down when I bought them even though they fit. The sales lady told me that my belly would fill them out and alleviate the sagging problem. Well, still, at eight months pregnant, they don't fit will and they still fall down. So wait until you have to purchase! Make sure they're comfortable. Go for a boot cut or flair and skinny casual style that you can wear with flats. A little stretch doesn't hurt either! My favorite jeans are by Jessica Simpson and called the Secret Fit Belly 5 Pocket Skinny Leg Maternity Jeans. They are soooo comfortable.

I have two bonus tips for you. One, wear maternity body shapers and buy them a size bigger, so you're comfortable. Or, do what I started doing, since I'm sick of body shapers at 34 weeks. Make sure to buy dresses that are in a thicker fabric! Second, buy everything on sale! If I found something I loved at a store or online, I googled the brand name and style and surfed the web to find it for cheaper. It's so worth the time it takes to find a good deal because the baby expenses add up big time!
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