Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Maternity

For the mom-to-be: Baby planners and maternity wear

Baby planners

There's a lot of uncertainty about having a baby. Which crib? Toys? Stroller? What about the rest of the gear? What about eco-friendly products?

Women used to rely on their mothers, their sisters, their aunts or their friends for answers to these questions. But sometimes it's best to let the professionals take over.

Baby planners -- a.k.a. baby concierges, a.k.a. maternity consultants -- are increasing in number, and, naturally, they seem to be thriving in Los Angeles. Read Heather John's report to get the scoop on the folks who "take the labor out of your delivery."

Then check out the latest in maternity wear. Being pregnant doesn't mean you have to look like you're wearing a sack. In fact, the sartorial landscape for pregnant women is only getting better.


Maternity style

The birth of fashionable maternity wear

Babies R Us to launch Truly Scrumptious line by Heidi Klum

-- Alice Short

Photo: Ellie Miller, left, and Melissa Gould started a baby planning business in Studio City almost six years ago. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times


Weekend Shopping: Monique Lhuillier trunk show; Foam mag's pop-up party; Moody Mamas' major sale

Monique A few notable happenings for a more stylish weekend:


Monique Lhuillier spring 2012 bridal trunk show Through Saturday: L.A. bridal label Monique Lhuillier hosts a weekend trunk show featuring stunning, romantic gowns from her spring 2012 collection.

8485 Melrose Place, Los Angeles. By appointment only. (323) 655-1088.

Foam magazine's spring party and pop-ups Saturday: O.C. surf, skate and fashion magazine Foam hosts a party featuring pop-up shops erected in a Venice parking lot. Brands setting up shop include Alexandra Cassaniti, Me & Arrow (donating proceeds to Japan relief), TTT Scrunchies, Philomena at the Sea, Hansel from Basel, Unearthen and Black Crane.
The parking lot at 2320 Abbot Kinney Blvd., #B, Venice. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Second Annual Armani Exchange + 944 Neon Carnival Saturday: Armani Exchange and 944 magazine co-host a late-night hipster carnival 10 minutes from the Coachella music festival, featuring carnival rides, games, food, music and dancing in the desert.

Tradition Aviation, 56850 Higgins Dr., Thermal. 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Matthew Campbell Laurenza appearance Saturday: Jewelry designer Mathew Campbell Laurenza is to personally showcase the latest pieces in his fine jewelry collection, M.L.C. by Mathew Campbell Laurenza.

Neiman Marcus, 9700 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 550-5900. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Moody Mamas online sale Through Saturday: Save up to 89% on chic maternity clothes from the Moody Mamas' website. T-shirts, dresses and tops are marked down to as low as $10 -- and the brand is typically on the pricey side, with dresses ranging up to the $300s.

-- Emili Vesilind

Photo: A look from Monique Lhuillier's fall 2011 collection. Credit: Monique Lhuillier

Frugal Fashion: Natalie Portman and Jane Krakowski in stylish maternity wear at the SAG Awards


The red carpet was full of skinny-minny starlets at last weekend's Screen Actors Guild Awards, but the women who truly stole the show were best actress winner Natalie Portman and "30 Rock" star Jane Krakowski. And in case you couldn't tell from the photos or the glowing skin, it just so happens that both women are very pregnant.

The "hide the tummy" trend is all too pervasive with celebrity moms-to-be. You can search through racks of magazines in the grocery checkout line only to find pictures of pregnant celebs in giant tunics -- think Rachel Zoe, who always looks fabulous but like she is trying to hide her pregnancy. Or Kate Hudson, photographed recently in a long sundress that she could have worn pregnant or not.

Instead of hiding their baby bumps, Portman and Krakowski rocked them, proving you can be pregnant and well-dressed on the red carpet. Portman wore a conservative white jersey strapless gown with bead detailing by Azzaro, and Krakowski looked fun and sexy in a Badgley Mischka one-shouldered dress with floral sequins.


Being pregnant may put necessary restrictions on some aspects of your life, but Portman and Krakowski prove that your wardrobe isn't one of them. Maternity wear should never be confined to jeans with expanding tops, leggings and sundresses. You can feel sexy and empowered in a fun mini or evening gown that shows off your bump. If you need to find something to wear for a night out with friends, check out these minis: Manhattan mini maternity dress from Maternity Clothing Fashions for $99, Maternal America embellished dress in eggplant for $119 from Sierra Lane or a maternity lace dress by Asos for $55.17.


If you're looking for something on the fancier side for a charity gala or black-tie event, the long Roman brooch dress from Special Occasion Maternity for $99 and the Audrey dress by Isabella Oliver for $162.50 are appropriate, elegant and affordable.

Happy shopping!

-- Jenn Harris

Have an outfit you're dying to buy but need a frugal alternative? E-mail us a picture. We're up for the challenge.

Top photos, from left: Natalie Portman at the SAG Awards; credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images. Jane Krakowski; credit: Jay L. Clendenin / For The Times.

Middle photos, from left: Manhattan mini dress; credit: Maternity Clothing. Maternal America embellished dress; credit: Sierra Lane. Asos maternity lace dress; credit: Asos.  

Bottom photos, from left: Long Roman brooch dress; credit: Special Occasion Maternity. The Audry dress; credit: Isabella Oliver. 

Motherly love: Holiday gifts for new and expectant moms

She's got more on her mind than Santa and mistletoe -- a friend, wife, sister or Secret Santa recipient is either deeply pregnant or knee-deep in new motherhood. And scented candles, designer jeans and that new Jonathan Franzen novel are no longer on her holiday wish list.

So what to gift a woman who won't be sleeping more than two hours at a time over the next few months? A few suggestions ...


Skip Hop Versa diaper bag, $70.

There are basic diaper bags and then there's the new Versa by mama-friendly accessories company Skip Hop. Featuring a series of brilliantly strategized inner pockets for everything from a sippy cup to pacifiers and wipes — along with an expandable shape accessible by a zipper down the middle of the bag -- it's the Rolls Royce of baby totes. And happens to be great-looking too.



Cake Strawberry Shortcake nursing bra, $48.

Lingerie wouldn't necessarily be the first item to come to mind when thinking about gifts for a new or expectant mom. But nursing bras are notoriously ugly — like Spanx for you bosoms. So surprising her with one that's actually feminine and frilly (with easy drop-down cups for fast feeding) might actually be well received. (Buy her anything Frederick's of Hollywood and you're asking for a slap.)


Mambino Organics Oh Baby Belly Butter, $29.95.

Pregnancy's assault on the belly knows no bounds. So help her keep her traumatized mid-section smooth and hydrated with this super-rich body butter that  softens the appearance of old and new stretch marks and soothes dry, itchy skin with pure lavender and red mandarin.



Paper Dolls Brag Book by Dwell Studio, $22.

IPhone photos are, well, bush league when it comes to showing off a new bundle. Give her a stylish, low-key brag book to pack with glossy full-colored photos of her babe when she goes back to work. This cute one from Dwell, made of coated cotton canvas, holds 24 photos.



Boob Terry Wrap, $48.

Boob's dressing gown -- featuring a tie-able overlap, side lacing and 3/4-length sleeves -- grows and retracts with the pregnant and post-baby body. It's also one of the most comfy swaths of fabric we've ever donned, and quite presentable when greeting baby's visitors with bleary eyes.

-- Emili Vesilind

Top photo: Skip Hop bag. Credits: Skip Hop

 Photo: Cake nursing bra. Credit: Cake

Photo: Mambino Organics body butter. Credit: Mambino Organics

Photo: Dwell Studio brag book. Credit: Dwell Studio

Bottom photo: Boob wrap. Credit: Boob




Your morning fashion and beauty report: Odds are out on who will design Kate Middleton's wedding gown.

Prince William and Kate Middleton Kate Middleton is believed to be zeroing in on a dress designer to gown her for her pending wedding to Britain's Prince William. Oddsmakers are saying there's a 1 in 3 chance it will be Bruce Oldfield, a favorite of London society women who sometimes dressed Princess Diana. No comment from Oldfield. "Just speculation," said a spokesman for the prince. [WWD]

Long, long ago, women tried to hide pregnancies under the dowdiest of smocks. But now, thanks in no small part to stylish celebrities, ladies-in-waiting know they can dress beautifully (a trend the L.A. Times' Image section explored earlier this year). And all year, star moms-to-be such as Amy Adams, Christina Applegate, Claudia Schiffer, Alicia Keys and Ali Larter looked simply smashing. [People] 

William Rast's collaboration with Target is due to hit stores and the retailer's website Dec. 19. The collection of denim and leathers (priced from $17 to $200) is scheduled to be on sale through Jan. 22. [FabSugar], but we all know these covetable capsule collections have a history of being snapped up early. 

Melrose Place boutique Bird is reportedly closing its doors after nine years on the storied L.A. shopping street. The blockbuster sales begin now! [Mondette]

Oprah's makeup artist, Reggie Wells, has designed a new line of compacts for Hissyfit that he says will make putting on your face a foolproof process. The Clockpot line includes eye shadow, foundation and bronzer-blusher compacts, each fitted with five pans of hues in a clocklike circle. You simply move around the clock to create the look you're after. [StyleList]  

Haider Ackermann, whose new line for men created quite a stir, plans to discontinue it after the first collection. [WWD] (Subscription required.)

Marc Jacobs' long-awaited Tokyo flagship -- which already has won architecture awards for its striking design -- is about to open. [WWD] (Subscription required.)

-- Susan Denley

Photo: Kate Middleton with Prince William. Credit: Ben Stansall / AFP/Getty Images

Mountain Mama outfits pregnant rock climbers in style

MtnMama_OCR1 Mountain climbing isn't the first activity that comes to mind when thinking about pregnancy fitness.

But designer Teresa Delfín, a rock-climbing mom and university professor, has debuted the Patagonia for pregnant women — a line of technical climbing clothes for the expectant set, aptly called Mountain Mama.

And aside from its unusual niche (I was nervous climbing the stairs with a baby bump, let alone mountains), the high-end line is one of the cutest maternity fitness collections I've seen. 

Delfín creates silhouettes that are modern and stylish, but also Zen-like simple — much like yoga outfitter Lululemon.

A fleece jacket ($149) could be the dowdiest thing a preggo woman wears; but in Delfín's hands, the outerwear item gets a chic light gray color, slouchy bell sleeves and a kimono-style pulley system that allows you to wear it from month one through month nine.

A base-layer top ($54) comes in a rich pumpkin hue, and is cut to perfectly skim — not smother — a mid-sized baby bump. 

 Like Patagonia, Mountain Mama -- based in Ontario, Calif. --  strives to keep its eco-footprint small. Every garment is made in the U.S. (most in Southern California), and the company has cut commuting by creating a high-speed distributed office that lets employees work where they live.

So you can feel good about dressing smartly to scale new heights. 

Photo: Mountain Mama's chic fleece jacket and top. Credit: Mountain Mama


Your morning fashion and beauty report: Penelope Cruz shows off her baby bump. NFL players go pretty in pink. Diana Taurasi poses nude.

We love it when pregnant women wear sexy clothes that prove that motherhood isn't an excuse to be dowdy. No mom jeans for Penelope Cruz, the latest celeb showing off her baby bump in style, when she was spotted at Heathrow Airport in London on Monday night looking lovely in a sheer black lace blouse. [People]

Speaking of black lace, here's a Halloween costume idea: be ahead of the curve and go as Natalie Portman's "Black Swan" (above). The film doesn't open till December, which will make your black tutu, ballet slippers and dramatic makeup all the more mysterious. [FabSugar]

Have you noticed the big, burly NFL football players wearing pink? Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are among the gridiron gladiators who are wearing pink this month in honor of breast cancer awareness month. [Glamour] 

Basketball player Diana Taurasi posed nude for the cover of ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue," and it is stirring angst in some quarters. [Baltimore Sun] Not sure why, since athletes with well-toned bodies have been doing it since at least 1972 when Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby posed nude for Sports Illustrated.

Fast fashion purveyor H&M, the world's third-largest retailer, is ready to take Paris, opening  a flagship on the Champs-Elysees. [WWD] (Subscription required.)

Lest we forget, fashion is working hard to keep images of the Gulf Oil spill alive. German designer Mira Becker digitally printed fabric with photos of the spill to create two cocktail dresses, and Brooklyn shoe maker Bed Stu has a pair of faux oil-stained "Gulf Coast Cleanup Crew" shoes, which will be available in November. Kenneth Cole's "I clean up well" tee, with the word "well" obscured by oil, is another offering, all designed to keep images of the disaster from fading. [Wall Street Journal]

The Kardashian sisters are about to open a branch of their L.A. boutique, Dash, in NYC's SoHo. [New York Post]

A travel company has announced plans to open a resort in the Maldives staffed only by young blond women, purportedly to prove that blonds aren't dumb. Well, all this blond can say is what a dumb idea! [Telegraph]

-- Susan Denley

Photo: Natalie Portman from "The Black Swan." Credit: Niko Tavernise / Fox Searchlight 

Your morning fashion and beauty report: Fashion's glitterati kick up their heels at Paris Fashion Week, while closer to home we wonder: Is Rachel Zoe expecting?

There's been lots of fashion-meets-baby news lately: such as Miranda Kerr showing how sexy pregnant can be in Milan and then strutting the Balenciaga runway in Paris. Such as Alicia Keys looking drop-dead glamorous in a dazzling Dolce & Gabbana gown as she showed off her baby bump at Thursday's Keep a Child Alive Black Ball in New York (she looks radiant in a People mag photo). Now comes word -- make that a rumor -- that celeb stylist Rachel Zoe and husband Rodger Berman are expecting. If it's so, I think we can expect another fashion forward mama. And the era of dowdy pregnancies is officially over. [OK! Magazine]

Kelly Minogue sang "Happy Birthday" and Heidi Klum cut the cake at designer Roberto Cavalli's party in Paris marking his 40th anniversary in fashion. A galaxy of models, former models and other celebrities attended. [WWD]

Also among the Paris Fashion Week festivities: French Vogue threw a stunning masquerade ball, themed "Eyes Wide Shut," that drew throngs of fashion glitterati hidden behind elegant masks. [WWD]

It's Oct. 1, less than a month to Halloween! Fashionistas may want to start thinking now about how to pull off a costume that stands out from the pack. Check out spooky fashion spreads in magazines for inspiration. [FabSugar]

Confounded by trying to pick a good suit? Functional buttonholes, a quality lining and a sturdy middle layer of fabric are signs of good tailoring. [Wall Street Journal]

Celebrity hair watch: Hilary Duff's trademark blond is gone. The singer/actress is sporting newly darker locks. [People] 

Ines de la Fressange, the face of Chanel in the 1980s, will be back on the Chanel catwalk next week at the Paris shows. Karl Lagerfeld says he'll also use her in the spring-summer ad campaigns. "She is beyond stunning," he says. [WWD] 

-- Susan Denley

Photo: Rachel Zoe of Bravo's "The Rachel Zoe Project." Credit: Kurt Iswarienko / Bravo

Rent Maternity Wear, a fashion rental website for mamas-to-be, launches

RentMat Outfitting yourself in style when you're pregnant can be sometimes feel like a fool's errand.

First off, the selection of clothing for the bump-toting isn't exactly mammoth. But even more offensive is how expensive keeping yourself looking good can be  -- especially when it comes to suiting up for formal occasions.

Which is where Rent Maternity Wear, a new online rental service dedicated to chic maternity wear, comes in.

The site, which launched Monday, stocks a well-edited selection of cute maternity apparel -- mostly formal wear -- from top-tier labels including Fierce Mamas by Christian Siriano, Olian Maternity and Maternal America, for rent by the week.

Prices start at $35 for a one-week rental of one of the site's more casual dresses, ascending to $45 for more expensive formal wear. You can also opt for a two-week rental for between $50 and $60, or pay $70 for a dress that's guaranteed to be brand new or worn only once before.

And while $70 may seem like a lot for a formal dress, in the later stages of pregnancy, the usual alternative is buying an expensive occasion dress that you might never wear again.

And the process of renting a dress is Netflix-style easy. At the end of the rental period, you simply load the dress into a prelabeled return shipping polybag and drop it into any mailbox. Best of all, you don't even have to clean the dress (they are even tolerant of small spills and stains); the dry-cleaning bill is included in the rental price.

-- Emili Vesilind

Photo: Beaded yoke long knit maternity dress by Olian Maternity, available on Rent Maternity Wear. Credit: Rent Maternity Wear.

Heidi Klum joins moms-to-be in Beverly Hills to promote maternity collections

HeidiLAT Heidi Klum celebrated her summer 2010 collections for A Pea in the Pod and Motherhood Maternity Wednesday night at an event thrown especially for expectant mothers at the A Pea in the Pod store in Beverly Hills.

Klum, dressed in a sequined white-and-yellow minidress from Jenny Packham, spent most of the night confabbing with reporters and photographers on the red carpet just outside the store.

Meanwhile, big bellies abounded inside the cocktail party — as a gaggle of preggos perused the model-turned-host's pricey collection, Lavish by Heidi Klum, and more affordable line, Loved by Heidi Klum.

Klum, who's had four children, isn't pregnant (for a change), but a few celeb attendees were — including "Wonder Years" star Danica McKellar, who was sporting a five-month bump, and Jodie Sweetin of "Growing Pains," who's six months into her pregnancy. (Sweetin, surprisingly, was mobbed at the valet by professional autograph seekers toting dozens of head shots of the former child star for her to sign; she obliged smilingly.)

Standout looks from Klum's summer collections  include sequined tank tops, black-and-white tie-dye jersey tops and skirts, skinny jeans, jersey maxi-dresses boasting appliqued floral details and flowing silk tops that work over leggings and jeans. 

Visibly pregnant guests left with a goodie bag of fun items, including a post-natal T-shirt emblazoned with, "I Did It!" and a Klum-created checklist of things to pack in your hospital bag, which includes "basic makeup" and lollipops.

-- Emili Vesilind

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Photo: Heidi Klum on the red carpet. Credit: Emili Vesilind / For The Los Angeles Times


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