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Second Trimester

I have fielded numerous emails this fall from pregnant women looking for the perfect maternity trench coat. For some reason, it doesn’t seem to exist this season, which I do find strange. I am actually in possession of one myself, but I purchased it in 2005 at the Liz Lange store on Madison Avenue and as we know, Liz isn’t doing high-end maternity fashion anymore. Every woman, including every pregnant woman, needs a great trench coat. And the trench is very maternity-friendly, as long as you recognize the fact that those buttons are for show only and you’ll need a sturdy sash to actually keep the thing closed.

I’ve been forced to come up with an alternative, but I do think this is a good idea for all of you out there desperate for a trench this winter.  Look at this gorgeous red velvet trench, it’s ideal for the holidays. You can wear this coat on its own with your skinnies and just about nothing else and you’ll be the most festive, stylish person at the holiday party. And both this Calvin Klein knee-length trench and this Michael Kors short trench are instant classics. Obviously, these are non-maternity pieces, but both of these trenches happen to be available in “Women’s Apparel” sizes, i.e. plus sizes larger than size 14. The cut of Women’s sizing is conveniently wider from top to bottom, and even without extra length in the front for your bump, your shoulders, arms, and bustline will have extra breathing room. Use the sash across the top of your bump for a maternity-friendly coat at least into the start of the third trimester. And, of course, both of these coats will also be extraordinarily useful during those postpartum weeks. Hey, if maternity designers aren’t going to respond to all of our needs for a chic trench coat, then go ahead and create your own.

All of these coats are sold exclusively in online department stores, so you can’t go wrong with trying this red velvet number on for size (i.e., you can easily return it). The red velvet trench is available here at Neiman Marcus for USD $525, the Michael Kors trench is on sale at Saks for a very reasonable $146.99 here, and the Calvin Klein trench is on sale for USD $119.25 at Bloomingdales here.

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I was in NYC yesterday for work and sadly could not squeeze a visit uptown to Veronique or Rosie Pope into my schedule. Consequently, I had to settle for a very quick visit to the only maternity boutique in midtown Manhattan–Destination Maternity’s flagship store at 57th and Madison.

As usual, my visit to Pea in the Pod, which occupies the bottom floor of Destination Maternity’s flagship, was extremely disappointing. First of all, from the moment I walked in, the very young saleswoman was hovering over me, telling me what she thought would be “perfect” for me and I found that extremely annoying. No surprise here, but when I asked her if she’d ever been pregnant, she said no. My conclusion after she finally stopped bothering me and I was able to spend about 15 minutes browsing the racks in peace?  The winter/holiday offerings from Pea in the Pod’s inhouse line are downright tacky and shockingly overpriced this season. Don’t even bother. Most of the holiday offerings don’t seem to be posted online yet, so I can’t show you any photos, but you are not missing anything.

But Pea in the Pod does still allow other designers to sell maternity-friendly items at their store and that remains the only reason any of you should ever shop there. AG Jeans continue to be one of the highlights of their offerings and several of AG’s pieces are currently discounted. The slim-fit AG corduroy trousers are reason enough to frequent Pea in the Pod and they are offering them for USD $195, down from USD $225. This winter, they are available in black, grey, and a great navy color here.

AG’s skinny twill cargo trousers are a full 50% off, believe it or not, discounted from USD $225 to USD $111.99 and still available in a good range of sizes in both black and olive here. I tried both the corduroys and the cargoes on in the store and they are very fitted. Stick to your pre-pregnancy size on the cords, but because the cargoes are made from cotton rather than denim and won’t stretch out as much, I would go one size up from your pre-pregnancy size.

Pea in the Pod’s online designer boutique does have a good number of fall/winter pieces on sale right now. Click here to browse all of their offerings from outside designers, i.e., to avoid having to wade through their overpriced inhouse collection.

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I am sorry I have been such a terrible blogger this past week, but my husband was back in Jerusalem last week and he took his laptop with him and left me only with the iPad. Wow, I hate that damned thing. I fought with it for the better part of the week before I just gave up and put it away and used my blackberry for everything. I readily admit I am not at all tech-savvy, but I am not a complete idiot and that iPad just drove me absolutely nuts. There–that is the first and last time I will offer my opinion regarding anything pertaining to technology.

Anyway, Angelina Jolie popularized the maternity maxi dress back during her first pregnancy and since then, just about every maternity designer has released its own version. In fact, many non-maternity designers advertise their empire-waisted maxi dresses as maternity-friendly and as long as you are all willing to go and have the dresses properly hemmed so they don’t ride up in the front (I absolutely hate that look), I fully support donning a Splendid or Ella Moss or Rachel Pally maxi dress during your pregnancies.

One of my favorite maternity maxi dresses is currently on sale at More of Me maternity, discounted 30% when you use the promotional code “HOT” at checkout. Every woman to whom I have suggested this dress subsequently informs me that she loves it. At USD $180, the price is a bit hard to swallow compared to other maternity maxi dresses out there, but this dress is a keeper and will be a perpetual part of your maternity wardrobe from pregnancy to pregnancy. Click here to buy the dress in navy–it is still available in all sizes, but does run slightly big.

Pregnant British women are raving about Oscar London, a new UK-based designer that specializes in flowing maxi dresses. They are not specifically designed for maternity, but are being carried in all the the top maternity boutiques over the pond. My pregnant friend just purchased the “Venus,” a V-necked maxi dress with an empire waist that is available in black, purple and this unusual floral print. The Venus is currently available here directly from the Oscar London site for GBP 89 (USD $135). After she bought her dress, they offered her 25% off her next purchase–a clear incentive to buy the Sophia dress as well. The Sophia is also pregnancy-friendly, i.e., you can wear a bra with it, which is always a bonus. I love this mauve color.

And I also really love this long-sleeved maternity maxi dress from NOM. It’s clearly not for this insanely humid weather we have on the East Coast right now, but it is perfect for fall. Bellydance still has it available in a size Small on sale here for USD $94. You’ll need a camisole underneath this dress…

And a quick congrats to my friend Reena, who just announced she is expecting her first baby. Reena is gorgeous, stylish and is most definitely muse-worthy material for Pregnant Fashionista, despite currently living in fashion-starved Jerusalem. Best of luck, Reena!

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I’ve been waiting for Maternal America’s new maxi dress to show up for sale online and it popped up last week at Due Maternity. Why is this maxi dress different than all of the other maternity maxi dresses out there? Because it has built-in cups. I don’t know if any of you have yet tried to wear a strapless bra while pregnant, but it is not easy. Besides the usual problems with keeping strapless bras up, wearing one while pregnant presents an additional problem–keeping it down. The strapless bra simply is not designed to have a large, protruding belly jostling around underneath it. On the rare occasions when I did attempt to wear a strapless bra during my pregnancies, I frequently had to check and make sure the entire thing hadn’t popped up out the top of my dress.

I saw this particular dress as a sample and I concluded that more maternity designers should design pieces with built-in cups. It’s obviously not for every pregnant woman, but on a hot summer night, if you are only mildly pregnant, it’s nice to still be able to throw on a lightweight summer dress and not worry about all of the machinery you have to rig up underneath…and, of course, whether that machinery is showing. That being said, this dress is not lined in any way and is made from a rayon/spandex blend, so it really is the ultimate lightweight summer dress. While you may not need to wear a bra, you might be well advised to consider pulling on those Mama Spanx before leaving the house.

The dress is currently only available in navy here at Due for USD $148, but Maternal America has released the dress in black and teal as well. It is already sold out in size M, but I am very optimistic we will see it pop up in other boutiques in coming days (such is the blessing and curse of Maternal America–you can find it absolutely everywhere).

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woolsweaterSo London was cold and icy and Leighton developed a nasty ear infection within several hours of our arrival…but it was still fabulous and injected me with a good bit of holiday spirit.  On Sunday night, there were even Christmas carolers at our door!  Due to the ear infection, we did not get to see Santa Claus at Harrod’s or Selfridge’s.  We did, however, see Santa Claus in duty-free shopping at Heathrow airport and Leighton was so utterly terrified by him, I realized that waiting in line at Harrod’s or Selfridge’s would have been a complete waste of time.

Despite the inclement weather conditions, I was not deterred from doing a good bit of shopping and my very first stop was Blossom Mother and Child’s new location on the Marylebone High Street.  It’s a small boutique, but it has a great selection of maternity jeans and there was a shocking 40% off pre-Christmas sale going on downstairs.  I tried on numerous items from their Winter 2009/10 collection and could not help but purchase Clements Ribeiro’s merino wool knitted “coatigan.”  (Nope, I’m not pregnant, but yes, still buying maternity clothing).  My friend, Debbie, loved it so much, she bought one too.  It’s cut very long and narrow, so it really is a sweater coat, not a cardigan.  I’ve been wearing it all over Jerusalem the past two days.  The knit buttons are just gorgeous and it has long, thick cuffed sleeves.  The sweater is definitely roomy enough in the bottom half to button over a small baby bump.  But because there is no defined waistline or sash, I don’t think you will be buttoning this sweater in the third trimester.  Still, it is a postpartum must-have and worth the investment.  It comes in three beautiful colors here for GBP 235 (USD $376)–grey, black and a gorgeous winter white that I would have immediately purchased if I was not going home to four little boys who love ketchup.

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jbrandcordsJust a quick note to let you know that J Brand has expanded its maternity collection to include a maternity version of its popular straight-leg corduroys.  The waistband it already uses for its maternity denim collection is the same–the elastic is built into the waistband on the sides, providing a very discreet, under-the bump fit.  Because of the very subtle way that the elastic is incorporated into the waistband, J Brand’s maternity collection is a must-have for the postpartum weeks.  J Brand’s straight leg corduroys are currently my favorite pants and I bought them in several colors and wear them just about every day.  I know, how boring.  But they are so comfortable and work well with boots or with flats.  J Brand’s decision to make a maternity version of their stretch corduroys is great news.

One warning–J Brand’s corduroy really stretches.  I have to wash and then dry them every time I wear them just to keep them from looking droopy.  Even if you are very pregnant, I would stick with your pre-pregnancy size.  I cannot envision this fabric not stretching to accommodate a few extra inches here and there.  And you don’t want to buy them too big and be that eight-and-half-months pregnant woman hiking up her pants all the time. J Brand’s straight-leg maternity corduroys are available in black and grey in Pickles & Ice Cream’s online boutique here.  They cost USD $189.  I know–but if you are already a J Brand fan, then you know these are impossible to resist.

I am on my way to London for the weekend and will be devoting a good amount of time to combing the city’s fabulous maternity boutiques.  I also can’t wait to take Leighton to see Father Christmas.  There are obviously no Santa Clauses to go see here in Jerusalem and the Consulate even had a hard time finding someone this year who was willing to wear the Santa costume.  I find that very amusing, because this city is literally chocked full of elderly men who already bear striking resemblances to Santa Claus.  Anyway, I look forward to reporting back on some great new maternity pieces next week.

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nukaolivenukaolive#2I am happy to say that you all may finally put away/give away/burn your Juicy Couture maternity hoodies because I have discovered an equally priced, yet infinitely nicer substitute at Nuka Maternity.  If there is justice in the world, pregnant women will no longer feel compelled to buy those brightly colored, slightly aggravating velour Juicy hoodies because they have no other options. Instead, they will all head straight to Nuka Maternity here and opt for the tasteful, supremely soft hoodies and T-shirts designed by mom Julia Noik, an LA-based graphic designer who set out to make pregnancy more comfortable with Nuka and has most definitely succeeded.

The absolute must-have in Julia’s Fall 2009 Collection?  The V-Neck Hoodie, a supremely soft, cotton, short-sleeved hoodie with an empire waist and subtle ombre shading.  The empire waist has cute button detailing through the front, but is reinforced with two pieces of elastic through the back, allowing for some serious stretching. This hoodie is so cozy and comfortable that I’ve been wearing it daily since it arrived this past weekend.  I am not actually pregnant.  But I think it is the ultimate compliment to a maternity designer when a non-pregnant women chooses to wear her clothing.  I still haven’t decided if I am going to part with the V-Neck Hoodie and send it to my pregnant sister (sorry, Jane, I really like it).  And Leighton’s diaper exploded while I was wearing it so I can also promise that the Nuka V-Neck Hoodie washes quite nicely and does not shrink.

You can buy a Nuka V-neck Hoodie for yourself here at Nuka’s website for USD $110-it comes in olive, chocolate and caviar black.  I should warn you that Julia is not exaggerating when she called this the V-Neck Hoodie.  This is a plunging V-neck, so on the days you don’t feel like you need to flaunt it, you should plan to wear a camisole or tank underneath (the zipper stops at the bottom of the V-neck, you can’t pull it up any higher if you suddenly have an attack of modesty).

nukapeasantAlso, be sure to peruse Nuka’s entire collection while you are on the site.  I also like the Nuka Peasant Top, which is made from a cotton/jersey blend and is a comfortable option for the first or early second trimester when you aren’t yet at the stage where you really need an empire waist.  The lantern sleeves are a great touch and this looks really nice with jeans or even your most casual maternity sweatpants.  It is available here in orchid for USD $70.

You must order at least one of Nuka’s pieces just to try it out for yourself.  The cotton and jersey used to make Nuka’s maternity clothing is amazingly soft and is of the highest quality.  You’re pregnant, after all, you deserve a few beautiful and comfortable articles of maternity clothing.  Whether you are going out on the weekends or just hanging out at home, Nuka’s T-shirts and tops will be the maternity pieces you reach for every day…and probably at night too, they are just that comfortable.

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Another day in Jerusalem and yet another truly bad haircut.  I am not going to bore you yet again with my futile efforts to find someone here who can cut hair properly.  Suffice it to say, I now look like Joan Jett from her “Love is a Battlefield” days.  All I need is a teasing comb and some Aqua Net and I am working proof that the ’80′s are unfortunately back, even here in Jerusalem.  Sadly, I don’t believe that people who are old enough to have partaken in ’80′s fashion the first time around should be trying it out again.

Bad haircut notwithstanding, I am excited to see that Pure T’s new Fall/Winter 2009 maternity line is now available for purchase on Pure T’s website. I’ve heard of Brooklyn-based Pure T’s line of high-end maternity tops before, but didn’t happen to own any while I was pregnant.  puret safireBut during my wonderful tour of “A New View Maternity” in New York City at the end of July, I was able to go through samples of Pure T’s Fall/Winter 2009 line. Without a doubt, the Short Sleeve Soft Cowl Turtleneck was one of the top 5 items I saw that day. Both my sister and I tried it on in this gorgeous “Sa-fire” color pictured at left and added it to our Fall 2009 must-have list. If sa-fire isn’t your first choice, the turtleneck is available in seven other colors, including the lipstick color pictured here and the more neutral black and vanilla colors.  puret lipstickThis top is made from very high-quality cotton and just feels very comfortable and cozy when you put it on. It is extra long, ensuring it will last through all three trimesters.  The sleeves are sufficiently long enough to cover the upper arms and the neckline is quite flattering.  I am not usually a lover of turtlenecks, but this one is quite loose-fitting.

You can purchase the top now in almost all 8 colors on Pure T’s website for USD $60 here. And with the short sleeves, it works well for layering once the cold weather hits and everybody else is freezing but you are suffering from inconvenient hot flashes that may require you to unexpectedly disrobe. If you are not subject to those horrible hot flashes caused by pregnancy hormones, the shirt is available in the same colors in a long-sleeved version here for USD $66.  Be sure to look through the entire selection on Pure T’s site, I was quite impressed at the high-quality cotton they use.

Pure T’s Short Sleeve Cowl Turtleneck does have an unfinished-looking hem at the bottom, which you can see in these photos and is not a look everyone necessarily likes.  I thought it looked OK as long as you are wearing it as a casual top. I’m not so sure you can pair it with a skirt or dressy trousers and pull it off at the office, it might look a bit sloppy if you don’t have a sweater or a jacket on over it.

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one-shoulder-ZOOMtnb_120x90_asseenSummer is just about over and new Fall 2009 maternity items are popping up online every day. Click on the icon at right and check out my most recent posting on TheBump.com for a write-up on FEM by T-Bags’ newest maternity maxi dress.  I just love the one-shoulder sash and the smoky grey color…

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rp trench #2rptrecnhThe late summer sales continue and if you are going to splurge and add an “investment” piece to your maternity wardrobe, now is the time to do it.  I can’t think of a better investment piece for a pregnant woman than a beautiful maternity trench coat.  You can wear it buttoned and tied  while you are still trying to camouflage your pregnancy or when you have only a cute little bump.  Once you are quite obviously pregnant and the buttons are in mild danger of popping off, you can simply tie it above your bump.  And you can wear it throughout those postpartum weeks when covering your physique with additional layers seems a very, very appealing idea.

Rosie Pope’s silk maternity trenches are the ultimate decadent investment piece for the stylish woman’s maternity wardrobe.  I have not yet blogged about them because they were retailing for a very steep USD $650.  Rosie Pope, an independent New York City-based maternity designer, has a very high-end maternity collection that she sells exclusively in her downtown Manhattan boutique.  I visited her store this summer and not only is her store elegant, but her selection is lovely.  After visiting her store, I am a bit disappointed in her website and the scarcity of her online offerings, but the silk maternity trenches are now on sale here in her online boutique, slashed 50% to USD$325.  They are still available in a wide range of sizes in all three colors–navy, grey, and desert clay.  This is a beautifully tailored coat that you can easily use to dress up your basic maternity jeans and T-shirt or throw on over your maternity cocktail dress for an evening out.  I found that her line does run slightly small in the upper body, so I would order one size up from your pre-pregnancy size to make sure you can wear the trench throughout all trimesters and while you are nursing.  I also found the coat to be cut slightly long, so I had to have mine hemmed to knee-length.

rp#3rp#4Just one little footnote…the Rosie Pope sale also includes her luxurious White Silk/Cotton Maternity Trench, which is reduced from USD$675 to USD$350 here.  I have been lusting after this coat for months and when buying my own Rosie Pope trench, it was all I could do not to splurge for this one.  But I do try and exercise a very small semblance of practicality when shopping, and purchasing a white trench coat to wear in a sand-ridden Middle Eastern city is simply not practical.  If you don’t happen to live somewhere where you find yourself covered in a layer of dust at the end of the day, this is a very sensible investment (OK, buying a white silk coat is never sensible, especially when you are about to give birth to a very small person who is guaranteed to spit up, vomit, and have explosive bowel movements on a daily basis…but wow, it really is a gorgeous coat).  If you decide to buy it, please send me a photo…I will post it and we can all envy how fabulous you look…

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