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Third Trimester

whitet-shirtI have often used this blog to tell you about must-have maternity items that simply have to be purchased immediately to ensure they become part of your maternity wardrobe. Perhaps you took my advice, perhaps you didn’t. Perhaps you consider me an out-of-control, impulsive shopper, perhaps you don’t. Regardless, today is the day to put aside your personal opinions and finally heed my advice, because Nordstrom’s online maternity boutique currently has the Michael Stars Raw-Edge Long-Sleeved Maternity T-shirt available in white here. Despite having combed the entire globe looking for this T-shirt in white, I was never able to find it while I was actually pregnant.  This T-shirt is virtually impossible to find in white, I am not exaggerating when I tell you I looked everywhere for it.  Now that I am finally no longer pregnant, it is suddenly just a mouse click away. I have written about this Michael Stars T-shirt before and I will assure you, it is the best long-sleeved maternity T-shirt out there. It is extra long, it is comfortable, it has a flattering neckline, it layers very well, it is made from high-quality cotton, it doesn’t shrink, and you can easily wear it from the very first day you discover you are pregnant until the day when you officially lose all of your baby weight. I advise you to buy it in every available color and now that it is mysteriously so easily available in white, I advise you to buy as many as your wallet can withstand (at USD $59, it is not an inexpensive T-shirt, but you will get your money’s worth).

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cofh#3I’m thrilled to be back in New York for the summer, but after an excruciating 11-hour overnight flight home, I have four severely jetlagged babies and consequently, I am functioning at a very low level right now.  This will be a short posting. But a pregnant friend just asked me to recommend a stylish, denim maternity skirt and I discovered that my must-have Citizens of Humanity Maternity Denim Skirt is currently on sale at Nordstrom. I haven’t blogged about this skirt before, because it was very overpriced at USD $163. But it’s now 33% off and can now be yours for a much more reasonable USD $108.90 here.  This is a perfect maternity basic for winter with tights and boots or for summer with flip-flops or flat sandals.  It’s a 23″ skirt and reached my knee, which was an ideal length.  If you are significantly taller than 5’5″, be prepared for this to be a shorter skirt.  It runs small, be sure to go up one size so you have it throughout your pregnancy.  This skirt was also a crucial  postpartum basic–in fact, I wore it home from the hospital.

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kelly_rutherford2_300I try very hard not to be swayed by celebrity maternity fashion, so I tend to ignore what most of the starlets are wearing during their pregnancies.  After all, those of us who are not Nicole Richie can’t fit into Balenciaga pants when we are with child, let alone afford them in the first place.  But I recently came across this photo of “Gossip Girl” actress Kelly Rutherford in a beautiful Paulina Maternity summer dress and I felt compelled to share it with you.  I LOVE “Gossip Girl.”  I feel I am entitled to such guilty, mindless pleasures while I am stranded here in the Middle Eastern desert and I have been known to check iTunes about 25 times a day on Tuesdays waiting for the new episode to appear so I can download it and watch.  It is going to be a very long summer without Serena, Blair, and Chuck.

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But I simply had to blog about Kelly Rutherford’s breezy, white cotton maternity dress (Kelly plays Lily on “Gossip Girl”).  I am not simply admiring Kelly’s maternity fashion from afar, I do actually own this dress and bought it from Paulina Maternity at the tail end of my pregnancy thinking it would be perfect for those last few hot weeks.  It is called the “Never Ending Story” dress and it is absolutely lovely.  It is ideal for those hot summer days and evenings that stretch ahead of you in July and August.  The 3/4 sleeves may not be what you have in mind for a hit summer day, but they do do wonders for covering up pregnancy-induced upper arm fat.

I will tell you, this dress is perfect if you are really, truly, very pregnant.  neverending-lost-in-hAnd if you are very early on in your pregnancy, it can be cute as well.  It also works if you are still trying to camouflage your pregnancy or if you’ve just had a baby and are trying to disguise your new muffintop.  But note that it has no definition around the middle (no empire waist, no sash in the back) and if you are in that second-trimester stage where you just kind of look pudgy, this dress may not be your most flattering bet.  The Never Ending Story Dress is available here for USD $259 and is still available in all sizes.  Paulina Maternity’s line definitely runs small, order the next size up to make sure it fits.

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Being pregnant and trying to stay on trend by continuing to wear skinny jeans is a serious fashion commitment.  Unless you are Nicole Richie, who does not seem to expand anywhere but her belly when she is pregnant, it is hard to pull on those skinnies in that third trimester.  If you are lucky enough to still be able to fit them over your swollen legs and pull them all the way up, comfort has to be very low on your priority list.  I own just about every pair of maternity skinnies out there and I’ll be honest, I had to give them all up toward the end.  Managing to get them on in the ninth month was virtually undoable and I certainly couldn’t walk around in them.

oceanThe more forgiving, straight-leg maternity jean seems to me a perfectly acceptable fashion compromise for the extremely pregnant woman and I just discovered that J Brand has released its straight-leg maternity jeans in a new color for Fall 2009.  They are now not only available in the very dark Indigo color, but also in this lighter color, Ocean.  Saks Fifth Avenue now has both colors for sale in all sizes here for USD $187.  Go crazy and invest in them both for the summer and for fall. J Brand makes very comfortable, well-designed maternity jeans (notwithstanding the inevitably uncomfortable maternity skinnies) with the elastic panels sewn into the existing waistband.  And, having a few different pairs of maternity jeans to pick from is a very good idea, especially since you’ll be wearing them long after you give birth.  If this is your first pregnancy, I can safely advise you that your pre-pregnancy jeans will be the “last frontier,” so to speak–meaning you won’t fit back into them until you have really lost all of your baby weight.

I have found J Brand maternity jeans to run small, so I would order one size up from your pre-pregnancy size.

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My recent preoccupation has been finding a beach cover-up to wear during the final weeks of my pregnancy.  I have never before been quite so pregnant in the warm weather and beach weather in Israel starts up in early April.  With the Jewish Passover holiday and the Christian Easter holiday coming up in two weeks, we are going to try and take the boys down to the beach in Tel Aviv often.  And I am putting it oh-so-mildly when I tell you that my physique is most definitely not “beach-ready,” as they call it in all the fashion magazines.  I already have an obscenely enormous bathing suit to wear should I actually decide to go into the water, but I just don’t think that at this late stage I should be parading around a Mediterranean beach without something on over it.

Enter Lotus London, a high-end boutique in London that carries its own line of hand-embroidered beach kaftans.  I recently discovered a lovely British website called Mama-La-Mode, which carries luxury designer clothing for moms-to-be. Unfortunately, most of the clothing is not actually designed for maternity, so while I would love to spend my days wrapped in a Temperley beaded tunic, at 34 weeks and my third pregnancy, I am very much beyond the point where I can even think about donning non-maternity clothing.

anaisponchoBut Mama-La-Mode asked Lotus London to adapt its gorgeous silk, beach kaftans for maternity and while I am usually very skeptical of “adapted” maternity clothing, I have to admit, it works.  The kaftans have a belt and Lotus London has added two sets of belt loops that work either under your bump or above.  The kaftans are roomy and even at my current size, the periwinkle “Anais Poncho” at left which I purchased is still long enough that I feel comfortable wearing it on the beach (I should tell you I ordered one size up from my pre-pregnancy size just to make sure).  Out in public, I’ll need to wear it with pants, but if you aren’t that pregnant, it would certainly work as a summer dress (it actually comes with a slip underneath to make sure it’s not see-through should you wear it without a bathing suit).  anaisponcho2And priced at a steep GBP 259 (USD $373) here, you’ll want to make sure you get a lot of use out of your new kaftan.  Although, I assure you that this kaftan is most definitely a postpartum keeper, these are absolutely beautiful items of clothing. The Anais poncho also comes in this aqua color at right here.

pyramid-kaftanIf you don’t happen to live in a warm climate, aren’t going to be spending much of your pregnancy beachside, and don’t want to make quite such a large investment in your beach look, Mama-la-Mode does have several of Lotus London’s beach kaftans on sale, reduced here to GBP 130 (USD $187).  Lotus London’s “Pyramid Kaftan” at left is still available in size Small in this aqua color and in size Medium here in ivory.

Either way, check out Mama-la-Mode’s website.  After spending so much time on the maternity websites where everything quickly starts to look the same, it is quite refreshing to peruse through all of the beautiful designer clothing that could potentially fit you in your current stage.

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img00020Congrats to my good friend Jessye, who gave birth to Jasper Lapenn over here in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon.  Poor Jessye endured three days in an Israeli hospital as the doctors tried desperately to induce her, but she ultimately gave birth to Jasper via C-section.  Jasper is obviously a trooper and Jessye clearly deserves a stiff drink mixed with her Tylenol/codeine after that ordeal.  I haven’t been able to talk to Jessye at length yet, but I’ll be taking notes so I know exactly what not to do when my turn at the same Israeli hospital arises in a few weeks.  

michaelstarsMoving on to a crucial spring maternity staple, the basic maternity T-shirt.  Michael Stars has released some vibrant, fun colors in its maternity line for Spring 2009 and the oh-so-very reliable and flattering Michael Stars Scoopneck Ruched Cap-Sleeve T-Shirt is now available in yellow, orange, lavender, amazon blue, turquoise, passion pink, as well as the basic black, coffee brown, and white.  I’ve included a sampling of some of the colors here.  micahelstars2Both Due Maternity and Bellydance Maternity are carrying varying selections of the new spring colors here and here.  It’s so nice to see maternity clothing in such festive colors, especially after the recent, overwhelming  disappointment of Donna Karan’s somber, all-black maternity line.  If you decided to invest in one of DKNY’s black pieces, now you can wear it with one of your new, cheerful Michael Stars T-shirts.  Pregnant women can enjoy Spring 2009′s color palette too,  Donna.

michaelstars32The Michael Stars T-shirts are $48 at both Due and Bellydance and are one size fits all.  I have been wearing this T-shirt since the start of my pregnancy and at 33 weeks, it still covers everything that needs to be covered, so it’s a good investment.

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paige-skinnypaige-skinny2I was thrilled to discover this past weekend that Shopbop is now carrying Paige Denim’s Blue Heights Skinny Maternity Jean in a dark blue rinse (previously, these jeans had only been available in black).  I absolutely love these jeans.  As I’ve blogged here before, if you are looking for comfortable maternity jeans, don’t buy these.  They are not very forgiving.   And if your legs are already swollen, I don’t suggest buying these as you won’t be able to get them over your legs, let alone pull them up over your rear end.  But if you aren’t necessarily looking for comfort and your legs aren’t swollen yet, these are a perfect maternity investment for the spring.  

The jeans have just been added to Shopbop’s website, so click here to shop.   All sizes are still available and they cost USD $185.  They are also available from Paige’s own website here.  Stick to your pre-pregnancy size if you are in your first or second trimester, but go a size up if you are in your third.  I’ve just recently outgrown the pair I bought during my first trimester.  I am counting on them as a basic for those early postpartum weeks.

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Another pregnancy and yet another season’s worth of maternity-friendly Vince sweaters that I simply cannot seem to say no to buying.  I’ve already blogged here about Vince’s Belted Black 3/4-Sleeve Maternity Cardigan, which is becoming hard to find, but is still available here at J. Kleinbauer’s and here at Shop LA Style.  2857706swd1I am now loving Vince’s Long-Sleeve Open Front Cable Knit Cardigan, which I recently puchased and am using to throw over just about everything, from dresses to blouses to just plain old tank tops and jeans.  It basically works as a cozy, oversized shrug, so you can wear it with just about anything.  It doesn’t even come close to closing in the front so do be aware that this is a “show off your bump” piece.  It’s a 40% cashmere/30% wool/30% alpaca blend and is made from the high-quality wool we all have come to expect from Vince.  Also, because of the chunky cable-knit texture, this sweater doesn’t have the “pilling” issue that drives me absolutely crazywith most of my maternity sweaters.  Like all Vince sweaters, this is also a definite keeper for those postpartum days when your stomach is flat again and you just need a warm cardigan to throw over your outfit.

37137_in_lThis sweater is, of course, drastically reduced since I purchased it and is selling for only USD $79.99 here at Pea in the Pod in this nice charcoal grey color at left–that’s a very large discount from the original retail price of USD $325 .  And it’s miraculously still available in all sizes (remember, Vince runs small, so order up).  Neiman Marcus is also selling it in this pretty heather maple color here, but it costs USD $202 and is currently only available in size Large.

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I’ve never been pregnant in January and February before and damn, it is tough to say no to the gorgeous spring fashions that are showing up all over the stores.  I so want to indulge in a cute romper or one of those hip jumpsuits, but I think no matter what your style sense, we can all unanimously agree that rompers and jumpsuits are not maternity-friendly.  I’ve been particularly bummed about missing out on Alice & Olivia’s Spring 2009 collection–I love Alice & Olivia and designer Stacey Bendet’s spring line of brightly colored shifts and chic fitted dresses is just gorgeous.

alice-olivia-coatI have consoled myself, however, with Alice & Olivia’s cream-colored Marilyn Knit Wool coat, which I recently bought on sale, and turns out to be extraordinarily maternity- friendly.  I tried to buy this sweater coat last fall and it was completely sold out at all the major department stores.  But I recently discovered it in several online boutiques and not only was it still available in my size, but it was also on sale, the priced halved from USD $638 to USD $319.  And it’s not just your typical sweater coat. The shell and collar are wool, but it’s completely lined in silk, so it feels especially decadent.  And don’t worry, I can personally attest to it being easy to clean–Tristan vomited watermelon and tomatoes all over it last Friday and after a trip to the dry cleaner, it looks good as new.  And best of all, it seems to be cut specifically for a pregnant woman, with an empire waist, pleating all through the empire seam, and a tie that fits just right over your bump.  In fact, doesn’t this model kind of look pregnant even though she is not?  I actually don’t know if I would wear this sweater if I weren’t pregnant, I can’t imagine it would do wonders for one’s lower half.

Anyway, there are still a couple of places to buy it, including here at The Hip Chick for USD $319 , where it is available in sizes Small and Medium.  And it is also available at My Chloe Lane here for USD $319–they have it in all sizes.  It fits true to size, I would go with your pre-pregnancy size unless you are in your last trimester.

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OK, before we get to today’s fashion suggestion, you must read this story about the Washington-area six-year-old who drove his parents’ car 10 miles to school on Monday morning. It is an absolutely shocking story, not only because of how fast he was going and the fact that he was passing people, but because he managed to drive for 10 miles before hitting anyone and he claims to have learned how to drive from playing video games! I can’t even fathom how James, who can barely feed himself with a fork, could possibly be capable of driving himself to school in just a few years.

Anyway, moving on to fashion, you simply must go to Isabella Oliver here and buy yourself this gray Maxi Cardigan Sweater now. I received it as a Christmas gift and I have not wanted to take it off. It is also one of those very rare maternity pieces which you just know you will want to keep as part of your post-baby wardrobe, it’s that stylish and versatile (and trust me, I speak from experience, you will want to see very little of your maternity wardrobe once the 40 weeks is over). Right now, I can’t really try it on with a belt cinched at the waist, but when my waist reappears someday, I know this sweater is going to look great belted at the waist. The sweater has very full, 3/4 sleeves, and works with a short-sleeved top underneath or with a long-sleeved top. I particularly like it with a white blouse underneath. It’s 90% lambswool and 10% cashmere and it feels much softer to the touch than my previously purchased Isabella Oliver knits. It’s also currently 10% off, reduced to USD $207 from USD $230. Not much of a discount, but you’ll wear it all the time. I know, I write that a lot. What can I say, it is how I justify my personal shopping problem, maybe it will work for you too.

By the way, as many of you readers have pointed out to me, I do recognize that you currently seem to end up getting a raw deal if you buy from Isabella Oliver and use American dollars. The sweater above is only GBP 108 if you buy through the UK site, which works out to only about USD $163. But remember, IO is a UK-based designer and business. Lovely pregnant European ladies who are paying in Euros also must pay the additional money for IO items, so the higher price is for everybody else except those lucky Brits.

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