Helping mom-to-be find her style.
Maternity and Nursing fashion has undergone a revolution over the past few years. Fueled in part by the public’s fascination with what celebrities are wearing during and after pregnancy, the level of style for maternity and nursing fashions has risen to new heights. Additionally, innovative fashion items for pregnant and new moms have emerged.
When styling a maternity client at AmyandRose, the fundamentals are the same as styling any other client. You just need to remember your “ABCs” – Accentuate, Balance, Camouflage.
When styling any person, pregnant or not, the key is to hone in on what their best features are and which they like the best about themselves.
Do they love their legs?
Do they have great toned arms?
Or is it their hair or facial features they are most comfortable accentuating?
With maternity clients, the first thing to find out is if they are a “Belly Pride” or a “Belly Hide.” For some women, being pregnant finally permits them to wear clothes that show off their bellies, and they want to do this for the entire 40 weeks! For these clients’ slinky knits, jersey tops, and bias-cut woven dresses are must-haves for their wardrobes.
If your client wants to accentuate another part of their appearance, use color or accessories to help them. If she has beautiful blue eyes, show her tops with colors that will make them dazzle! If she has a graceful neck and décolletage, suggest a statement necklace or dramatic earrings to dress up her outfits. If she has an excellent leg, help her find the perfect skinny jean to keep her looking current.
While balance can be a common issue for pregnant women, their shifting center of gravity and changing hormones is not the “balance” that is fundamental to wardrobe styling. The balance, in this case, is a visual balance of proportions to create the best look for the client.
For instance, pairing a loose top with a pair of wide-leg pants or a flowing skirt will give a tremendous and substantial visual effect. It is better to match that top with a slim leg maternity pant or legging and save the flowing skirt for a more fitted knit top or sweater.
Another visual balance issue can be with color. Clients who have well-proportioned figures when they are not pregnant are used to being able to wear solid columns of color comfortably and still look stunning. But maternity clients usually have a more difficult time carrying off this look with ease and grace. In this situation, you can suggest accessories to complete the outfit.
I recommend an easy woven or tied belt to break up the solid block of color for our clients at AmyandRose. Depending on the outfit, this can be worn just under the belly or even as an empire waist. A contrasting color cardigan or shawl is another excellent piece to add visual balance. The goal is to lead the eye naturally to your client’s best feature.
Most women who have been dressing for so many years have created subconscious camouflage techniques to hide their “problem areas.”
The most common frustration I hear from my maternity clients is that they have a whole new set of “problems” and don’t know how to tackle them! Again, the first issue to uncover is if they are a “Belly Pride” or a “Belly Hide.” The women who are not yet comfortable with their new bump and changing shape, or who need to be more discreet about it for their careers, can be directed to the more loose and flowing styles of tops and dresses, as well as more structures A-line suits, Swing Coat style jackets and longer cardigan sweaters for professional attire.
In the first trimester, most will probably be able to wear much of the regular wardrobe. Anything which has a little stretch on top is usually fine. Pants and skirts are where it starts to feel uncomfortable first, so in the initial three months of pregnancy, one can leave the top button open on pants and skirts when appropriate and wear a blouse over the top to camouflage.
Giving her structured jacket options to layer instead of drapey sweaters will also camouflage her growing bump. Also, the eye will naturally travel along over darker colors and land on the brighter and lighter ones. So, offering your customers the option of lighter colors for skirts and pants to wear with darker tops will take away the emphasis from their belly.
The next challenge is also to help address the rest of her “problem areas.” Perhaps she has water gain or edema and doesn’t want to show her legs; try offering a chic pair of maternity pants in a modern trouser cut. Or maybe she has a newly developed décolletage that she has not had to dress before?
Offering a variety of different neckline options for your clients is helpful, as is having lovely layering pieces to put underneath some of the sexier tops and dresses to give a more modest appearance.
The ultimate goal of these fundamental rules for styling a maternity client is to help her feel beautiful. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that a big part of what helps these fundamentals be successful is the “fun.”
Every Mom-to-be deserves to look her best during this particular time in her life. But if you can also connect with her and give her a shopping experience that is enjoyable with nurturing personal attention, an upbeat attitude, a comfortable environment, and excellent customer service, you are guaranteed to create a level of trust and a sense of security that will bring your client back time and time again with her friends and relatives.
Amy Rose has 19 years of parenting experience, with a teenager and a preschooler under her wings. She runs AmyandRose blog, which aims at simplifying the life of pregnant women and parents.