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Fall 2011

How to buy pieces from Fragile Maternity while living stateside–it’s a question that has plagued us here at PF for years. The Belgium-based maternity designer sells in boutiques all over Europe but until very recently, was not available anywhere in the U.S. As I wrote here a few months ago, Bump Brooklyn has started to carry a few of Fragile’s pieces, but they sell out almost immediately. And despite it being November, I had yet to see any of the pieces from Fragile’s colorful Autumn/Winter 2011 collection available at Bump or anywhere else for that matter.

Fragile's Matilda Dress

But recently, during one of my manic late-night searches for new and exciting maternity clothing, I happened upon UK-based site Pretty Pregnant, a new online maternity boutique. Pretty Pregnant’s brick-and-mortar boutiques have been a maternity fashion destination in London for years, but the new online site brings European maternity fashion right to a pregnant American’s doorstep.

Best of all, Pretty Pregnant carries an enormous selection of Fragile Maternity, including many of the most current dresses and skirts from the newest collection. The pure silk red Sarah Wrap Dress, the pure silk coffee and black-printed Matilda Dress, and the floral-themed Tina Pleated Dress or Naomi Pencil Skirt–these are all miraculously available for the buying right now at Pretty Pregnant. Fragile’s prices range from mid-level to high, depending on the fabrics used in the pieces you select. Regardless of whether you splurge for a $400 pure silk dress or opt for the $100 pencil skirt, we should all be excited to finally have access to this unique European collection. And to think of all the time we wasted lusting after Fragile’s Autumn/Winter Catalogue, when we could have been wearing it…

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During a preview of Olian Maternity’s Fall 2011 samples last spring, I took particular note of the brand’s new pencil-leg corduroys, not merely because I liked them but because I noticed that they also came in an unusual off-white color. All of the major maternity designers do winter corduroys now, but choices are often limited to black or other dark colors. I wouldn’t trade my black J Brand Maternity Skinny Corduroy Pants for anything, but all of the vividly colored cords and jeans available this winter are making me just a tiny bit envious. PF is unsure why pregnant women are not deemed as worthy of a sexy pair of skinny red cords as the next woman, but maternity designers don’t seem to think so.

Anyway, pregnant or not, we all need to mix it up a bit as we try and make it through this holiday season. Olian’s Skinny Maternity Cords in Ivory do exactly that. They will certainly brighten up all of the maternity black you have stockpiled in your wardrobe, and will also pair well with your holiday colors. Not to mention how great they will look with the Beyonce-like stiletto booties you are planning on wearing to that holiday cocktail party, regardless of how bad your edema is by December.

Olian’s cords have an under-the-bump elasticized waistband, though you cannot discern that from this catalogue photo because this model is most definitely neither pregnant nor in need of an elasticized waistband. I do not know why she is modeling them, that drives me nuts. They are priced at USD $98. Olian tends to run true to size, but as of this morning, I was only 24 weeks pregnant and had somehow already officially passed the 30-lb gain mark, so I will be ordering one size up.

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Cozy knit sweater dresses are all over the designer boutiques and fashion magazines this fall, and pregnant women should not be missing out. The look is most definitely not off-limits for pregnant women, but simply involves a good bit of trial and error. Bypass the loose-fitting, tentlike dresses that
might make you look more like a lollipop than a fashionista, and instead opt for a fitted style, knee-length sweater dress. Then, buy it in a larger
size…and make sure you can exchange it if the sizing isn’t right.

Of course, it’s even better when a maternity designer takes note of what’s on the runway and designs something on-trend that is also cut for
maternity. Sono Vaso Maternity has done just that with this winter’s Grey Nicci Maternity Sweater Dress, a fitted cable-knit sweater dress that’s easily incorporated into your fall transition wardrobe and also works well as a layering piece for winter. The lambswool dress is fitted with a cowl neck, cute cap sleeves and though it works fine on its own, I love it with a white long-sleeved T-shirt or turtleneck underneath. Add black tights and black leather boots and you may as well have walked right off the fall runways and into your minivan. And, Sono Vaso’s sweater dress is priced at a very reasonable $90.

This is definitely a fitted style, so keep that in mind when ordering your size. If you are further along in your pregnancy, I would size up from your pre-pregnancy size.
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Sierra Lane Maternity is a small, online-only maternity boutique based in La Mesa, California. The business doesn’t do much advertising and in the virtual world, it is consistently dwarfed by ads for larger, better known maternity retail outlets. But Sierra Lane offers very specialized sales to its customers and to its Facebook fans. For this week only, Sierra Lane is offering 25% off its entire Maternal America collection with promotional code “MATERNAL.” The boutique’s MA collection includes several of the on-trend maternity line’s fun, new Fall 2011 pieces, including the Missoni-esque Front Tie Ziggy Dress, the Long-Sleeved Ivory Saree Dress, and the fitted Over-the Belly Black Pencil Skirt. The sale also includes denim, and Sierra Lane carries MA’s always popular Classic Skinny Maternity Jeans. With this week’s promotional discount, the jeans are priced at only USD $75.

Sierra Lane’s MA sale ends this Sunday, October 16th. Be sure to pay attention to postings this week, it is a big week for Friends & Family sales, I plan on being all over them when they kick off tomorrow.

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Being that I am always on the hunt for high-quality maternity clothing, I always look forward to new collections from Nuka Maternity, another one of my favorite independent maternity designers. Nuka is an LA-based line know for both its high-end textiles and designer Julia Noik’s unique graphic designs. Nuka is just out with its fall line and the collection is full of cozy, form-fitting dresses like the Nuka Women’s Cocoon Dress, and new versions of last fall’s popular Nuka Women’s Asymmetrical Kimono Sleeve Dress, including a new cashmere version.

But, Nuka’s collection highlights are always their soft, comfortable T-shirts and tunics. The Nuka Women’s London Long Cuffed Top is cut from a luxurious rayon, spandex blend and is a perfect, neutral layering piece for the cooler weather. The tee comes in both light heather grey and charcoal grey.

The links I’ve included here link to Amazon’s maternity department, which is currently offering a few select Nuka pieces at a discount. Nuka’s entire Fall 2011 Collection is available for view and for purchase in the store’s online boutique.

 

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Rosie Pope is a reality show celebrity now, but there is no reason devoted pregnant fashionistas should hold that against her. And with the pickings for true luxury maternity clothing being as slim as they are, beggars can’t be choosers.

Rosie just posted her new Fall 2011 Line for sale in the store’s online boutique and there are new styles, but I am most excited about new versions of my favorite Rosie Pope pieces. Most notably, Rosie has released numerous new versions of the very popular Hampton Tunic and with this selection of new vibrant solids and prints, it’s hard to only buy one. I love the Hampton Tunic for the office, so I have already ordered mine in the new vivid purple solid. Of course, I couldn’t resist one of the new, printed Hampton Tunics, available in a trendy new cheetah print and black and white floral print.

Rosie also released her Classic Oxford again this season in white, blue, and light pink. It’s difficult to find a basic maternity blouse that fits the pregnant physique and doesn’t scream maternity blouse, with the telltale pleats, empire waist, or a sash in the back. This blouse is fitted, but with ample room in the front for your bump. Dare I say that paired with a simple pair of jeans, this is a somewhat sexy maternity blouse? And because of the slim fit, it works really well underneath sweaters and jackets if sexy isn’t what you are going for.

Rosie Pope’s prices are high, so be prepared to spend between $100 and $300 for her pieces. They are, however, likely to be the maternity pieces you reach for again and again.

 

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Last week, I had the privilege of spending a morning with maternity designer Jessica Boulanger, the founder and designer at More of Me Maternity. We each ended up having a sick two-year-old boy home with us for the morning, but in between picking up Cheerios from the floor and refereeing fights over a particularly desirable dump truck, Jessica was kind enough to walk me through samples of her new Fall 2011 collection. You’ve likely already seen a few of her new pieces sprinkled throughout the online boutiques, but Jessica’s full collection is now up and available in More of Me’s online boutique.

The new collection’s highlights? Jessica has released her popular Favorite Shirtdress in two new prints, as well as two holiday-appropriate colors, gold and silver. The Shirtdress is cut from silk charmeuse and though it’s long enough to wear as a dress, it works just as well as a colorful tunic over your jeans or trousers. Jessica was kind enough to gift me the new Ikat Chevron Print Shirtdress (this job does have its perks) and I’ve been wearing it loose as a dress with boots, or belted above the bump as a tunic. The quality of the silk is superb and the print is fun, but done in muted colors so it’s easy to pair with a long neutral-colored cardigan or coat. If ikat isn’t your thing, Jessica’s Tile Print Shirt Dress is a more subtle option. Unlike Jessica’s light-colored spring versions of the Favorite Shirtdress, the winter versions are not lined, so you will need to wear a short slip or fitted camisole underneath.

My personal favorite from the new season is the Tres Jolie Dress, which comes in both royal blue and a vibrant red. I have already placed my order for the vibrant red. This is a fitted, well-lined dress, ideal for the office and also for those after-office events. 

Notably, the Tres Jolie dress is priced at $120, below More of Me’s traditional price point. As Jessica told me last week, she has worked hard to bring her prices down for the fall collection. Being that More of Me is a small, independent maternity business, Jessica is extraordinarily sensitive to the current economic conditions and very much aware that pregnant women still want to buy quality pieces to wear during their pregnancies, but are being more careful about where they’ll splurge. In order to address those economic realities, More of Me has not only reduced its price points for some of the new styles, but has also reduced prices for its signature Little Black Maternity Dresses (LBMD’s) this season. Using a nylon/spandex blend rather than pure silk as she had in the past, Jessica has cut two of her favorite silhouettes into more affordable choices for Fall 2011. The Original LBMD, a fitted asymmetric black cocktail dress, is now priced at only $125. And More of Me’s asymmetric Black Momshell Dress, the more forgiving silhouette of the two, is now priced at only $120. As Jessica told me, she believes every pregnant woman “should be able to buy a black cocktail dress for date night.” 

Take a few minutes today to view More of Me’s new collection and if you are in the market for a new fall maternity dress, support this independent designer with your purchasing power. Jessica’s enthusiasm for the industry is infectious and her business is very much a family affair with her husband handling all of the orders and shipping through the site. Even if you are no longer in the market for maternitywear, you can support More of Me by purchasing one of these adorable Holiday Bib Dresses the line has just released for little girls. I found out this morning that I am finally carrying a baby girl (turns out the 5th time is a charm for me), so I am treating myself to this dress and just a few other very girlie things in celebration.

 

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Intermix just posted the completely sold out Rachel Zoe Leather-Trimmed Camel Cape for sale in both sizes. Each time this item has gone up for sale this fall, it disappears immediately. Don’t take time to ponder whether $695 is too expensive for a trendy cape. Order it and return it if it isn’t as maternity-friendly as you were hoping. I am obsessed with mine, I simply cannot wait until it’s cold enough to wear it.

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Maternal America Scoopneck Tie Dress

Gilt.com is about to go online with a Fall Maternity Sale that includes NOM, Ripe, t-bags, Maternal America, and even a few pieces of denim from James Jeans. No to-die-for pieces, but there is a wide selection and the prices are quite good–I suggest you all take a look. Click here to join Gilt if you are somehow not already a member.

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California-based designer t-bags does a maternity line known as F.E.M. by t-bags and the pieces are always beautiful, cut from high-quality jersey to flatter the pregnant shape. The F.E.M. line is, however, very small and usually very hard to find online.

Luckily, t-bags’ main line includes several dresses that make ideal maternity pieces. The t-bags maxi dress is one of my favorites, particularly the maxi style designed with a forgiving, elastic empire waist, an extra-long hem, and t-bags’ trademark, always-striking prints.

shopbop.com posted two of these maxis this morning in new Fall 2011 prints. I am really loving both prints and having a hard time choosing which to choose for my fall maternity wardobe. I am leaning toward going with the stripe, as it resembles all of the Missoni for Target items I was not permitted to buy on Tuesday (I am obviously still bitter about this–the eBay offerings are now up to a whopping 38,507 pieces). But the other print is tempting as well.

A few valuable sizing tips:

–t-bags runs large, so order your pre-pregnancy size.

–These dresses are always cut very long, which works well for wear throughout your pregnancy. Hem them once early on and just make sure to leave a good bit of material available, so you can hem it again when you are further along.

–These dresses are lowcut in the back, but don’t let the cataloge photos deter you. The dress is not going to hang as low on you as it does on the emaciated, A-cup Shopbop model. I am usually able to wear a regular strapless bra with this t-bags dress.

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