Your Stylist: Tips on having a super chic pregnancy
Last week I ran into celebrity stylist Nicole Chavez (her longtime clients include Rachel Bilson, Kristen Bell and Scarlett Johansson) at an event for a designer and was totally inspired by her super chic pregnancy style. Chavez is seven months pregnant and on that particular evening was clad in a long, soft pink Vanessa Bruno dress, a cropped black jacket and festive fur collar. The dress fell elegantly against her baby bump and the black jacket cinched in her smaller top half creating the right proportion between her belly and the rest of her body.
“I always thought I’d wear muumuus when I was pregnant, but I quickly realized that’s not the case at all, it’s more flattering to wear fitted clothes.” Says the stylist, who describes her pre-pregnancy body as petite and curvy. Chavez has eschewed maternity clothes and managed to stay in mostly designer and on-trend pieces thanks to her top tips in looking stylish while seven months pregnant: tailoring and using helpful tools such as a Belly Belt (a piece of stretchy fabric that fastens into jeans to extend the waist) and bra extenders to self-alter her existing pieces.
“I’ve been able to wear a lot of my old clothes by adding fabric or elastic at the waist,” says Chavez who also buys mod style dresses at Zara and Topshop a few sizes up to accommodate her belly and has the arms and upper back altered to fit and highlight her smaller top half. “After [pregnancy] you can have the middle tailored to fit you. Tailoring is key so then you can wear these clothes again.”
Chavez advises first shopping your own closet to see what pieces can stretch or be tweaked to work with a growing belly and changing body. “You can probably get a lot out of your closet. Take the stuff that absolutely won't fit away and put the stuff with elastic, stretchier fabric and A-line silhouettes to the front of your wardrobe. Try playing with those kinds of items. You can add elastic to some skirts. There are ways to get around it, you just have to be creative,” she says.
She also applies these rules to her clients. Chavez recently styled a pregnant Jessica Simpson and used a lot of Dolce and Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli items for their stretchy fabrics and fun, bold prints. “Dolce's a great brand for pregnancy because a lot of their fabrics are stretchy and many silhouettes are fitted and have a v-neck, so you really can see the bump and the body.” She adds that Jessica Alba also wore a lot of Dolce and Gabbana clothing during her last pregnancy. If the Italian brand is out of your price range, Chavez also loves Topshop, Zara, Fertile Mind and the long, colorful, light cotton wrap skirts found at the flea market.
She emphasizes focusing on proportion when getting dressed up and recommends looking for cropped jackets to cinch in a dress on top or otherwise,going longer with vests or cardigans that hit below the waist, creating a more elongated line. “A jacket or sweater really has to be higher or lower than your belly for the most flattering shape.” She says. Empire-waist dresses are a good option for getting that smaller on top, roomier through the middle proportion. Chavez buys empire-waist dresses from department stores and has them taken in through the side of the arm so there’s no potentially unflattering billowy fabric.
Aside from altering clothes to fit her changing shape, Chavez loves to use accessories that she says have nothing to do with the baby bump but really work at adding stylish flourishes to an outfit. Her go-tos are fur and faux-fur collars that loosely fall around the neck and add some drama to a blazer or simple dress.
Opaque black tights from Fertile Mind are also a huge help as they smooth and support the belly area while adding a nice layer to dresses and skirts, both long and short.
“I think you have to be really flexible and realize that you are not the size you were, but you will be again. Be patient and focus on what fits and looks good,” Chavez says. “It's definitely the ultimate fashion challenge, but it's been really fun.”
-- Melissa Magsaysay
Top photo: Celebrity stylist Nicole Chavez attends the Vanessa Bruno dinner in West Hollywod. Credit: Donato Sardella
Middle photo: Pregnancy tights in opaque black from Fertile Mind ($19.95). Credit: Fertilemind.com
Bottom photo: Belly Belt from Fertile Mind ($19.95). Credit: Fertilemind.com