Maternity Musts –And Must-Nots

WWD asked recent and expecting moms for their fashion yeas and nays.

“I tend to like things that hug my belly instead of trying to cover it. If I do wear a bigger top, I wear skinny jeans or pants underneath, but I am getting to the point where pants are not very comfortable anymore, so I’m moving into T-shirt dresses. — Naomi Watts, seven months pregnant.

“Wear what you normally wear. Do not turn into some strange, muumuu-wearing mum at three months pregnant. I lived in Liz Lange and Paige Denim maternity jeans throughout all my trimesters.” — Lucy Sykes-Rellie of Lucy Sykes New York, mother of three-year-old Heathcliff and six-week-old Titus.

“All the things you think are going to be so cute when you’re pregnant are actually the things that aren’t. When I was pregnant, sleeveless baby dolls were in fashion, but you just look like a big elephant in them.” — Rebecca Taylor, mother of four-month-old twins Zoe Victoria and Isabel Bridget.

“Don’t bare your belly unless you’re at the beach. Try shopping in the men’s department. Brooks Brothers size L V-neck sweaters ought to cover you and your belly.” — Anne Christensen, Women’s Fashion Director of T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and mother of 14-month-old Gloria.

“I worked out the whole time I was pregnant, so I felt good about my body. I wore tight clothes the whole time and liked to show off my belly. I even rocked a bikini right up to the end.” — Monet Mazur, mother of two-year-old Marlon.

“Go for outrageous pieces — pregnancy is not a time for fashion darkness. Buy a few designer statement pieces in large sizes. My pregnancy BFFs were some dramatic Lanvin dresses.” — Devi Kroell, mother of three-week-old Kiki.

“Do highlight your hair during pregnancy, do wear sexy G-strings and do wear gorgeous blouses and tanks with your new rack. And wear that tight sheath dress, but don’t leave home without Spanx on.” — Lulu Johnson, mother of one-year-old Layla.

“Pregnant women should show off their curves. Wear a pretty neckline to show a little newfound cleavage or a cute jersey dress to hug your belly. Beware of muumuus. You could end up looking, well, big!” — Nanette Lepore, mother of nine-year-old Violet.

This story first appeared in the May 9, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I wore a lot of Empire, bra-top dresses — the best your bust will ever look is when you’re pregnant. I suggest getting five to 10 basic things that fit and are comfortable, and have fun with accessories like big earrings, chunky necklaces, fringy scarves, belts to wear up high above the tummy and over-the-elbow gloves.” — Cynthia Rowley, mother of seven-year-old Kit and two-year-old Gigi.

“I’ve gotten by with almost exclusively ‘normal’ clothes — even with a huge twin belly. I like H&M for affordable clothes that really can be disposable, and I have been living in American Apparel.” — Jessie Randall of Loeffler Randall, eight months pregnant with twin boys.

“As far as a don’t, never say never. You should always wear whatever you want and what makes you feel good.” — Maria Bello, mother of five-year-old Jackson.

“An ill-fitting but fabulous something is worse than a less stylish but size-appropriate piece of clothing. Nothing is worse than seeing bulges, bubbles and bumps that aren’t directly baby. My favorite pregnancy dresses were jersey dresses from Lola y Maria down on the Lower East Side. They are not meant to be maternity, but they kept growing and stretching with me.” — Celerie Kemble of Kemble Interiors Inc., mother of seven-month-old Ravenel, or “Rascal.”

“Wear a belly band. Mine was in black Lycra jersey from Topshop, and it was fantastic for covering up the increasingly big gap between my top and my pants. And do wear big control knickers as soon as you can after giving birth. I had an amazing high-waisted pair from Agent Provocateur that were specifically designed to suck you back into shape.”

— Sue Stemp, mother of six-month-old Kitty.

“I think it’s a shame when a woman dresses like a baby — bows, baby-doll dresses — just because she’s having one. People look best when they keep their own personal style with larger sizes and maternity pieces thrown in as needed.” — Kate Waters of Marc Jacobs, mother of one-and-a-half-year-old Ingrid.

“My biggest secret is the SoHo boutiques. Everyone’s a size 4 or 6 down there, so there are all these 10s and 12s left over that go on triple markdown sale. I saw this stunning chiffon black tie dress at Anna Sui. I think it was originally $600 and they kept slashing the price; I bought it for $79.” — Jill Kargman, author of “Momzillas,” whose third child, a boy, is due this fall. “Don’t try to squeeze into clothes that clearly do not fit you anymore. It will just

accentuate that fact that you are getting bigger and make you look ridiculous.” — Allison Aston, David Yurman Director Public Relations, mother of three-week-old Sherrell, or “Jett.”

“I just dressed as I always did before I was pregnant. I was lucky to be my biggest in the winter so I lived in sweater dresses with tights and boots. Having a big belly makes one’s arms and legs look thinner, so I made a point of not hiding them.” — Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler of EF Communications, mother of four-month-old Nico.