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Published: Sunday, September 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Maternity clothes are no longer something to dread

  • Angie wears a non-maternity polka dot dress from Ralph Lauren ($140) at Dillard's that's fit for a princess garden party. It's got enough stretch to e...

    Stephanie S. Cordle / St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Angie wears a non-maternity polka dot dress from Ralph Lauren ($140) at Dillard's that's fit for a princess garden party. It's got enough stretch to enhance her belly shape and enough style to be worn after the baby's born; earrings ($14) and Simply Vera by Vera Wang sunglasses ($34) at Kohl's. Anya wears her own clothing from the Tea Collection, available at Nordstrom and online.

You never really know what to expect when you're expecting, but it's always a good idea not to stress out.
It's good advice to practice staying in the moment. But living in the now can be vexing for a woman whose waistline is rapidly expanding.
"You think you're going to get away with wearing most of your own clothes all the way through, but at the end you're so huge you need real maternity clothing," Stephanie Crouppen of St. Louis said.
She's about 15 weeks pregnant with her second child and just ordered a supply of maternity clothing online.
When she was pregnant a year and a half ago with her first child, Eloise Ruby, Crouppen said she attempted to supplement her wardrobe with items from Target and Old Navy.
She kept everything because she expected to be pregnant again soon, but the fast fashion pieces weren't worth preserving. This time around, Crouppen, an executive working mom, said she wanted to be more fashionable, so she made more of an investment in her clothing.
And she expects to wear many of the items long after pregnancy.
One of Crouppen's favorite finds is her Isabella Oliver maternity wrap coat. It has a cape shape that flows over her pregnant belly and a belt that cinches it tight to show off her waistline later. She purchased the popular maternity brand's coat from an online shop in the United Kingdom.
The shop has specially curated maternity-appropriate items. Not all of the items have a maternity label, but they are all belly-friendly.
She's been trading fashion secrets with a handful of friends who are all pregnant, including Cabanne Howard of St. Louis.
Howard said friends have told her that maternity fashion is "miles ahead of where they used to be. I can believe that. I was pleasantly surprised."
It's a trend in shops that not all the maternity wear is strictly maternity, which means there are fewer bows on bellies and more style.
For the better part of the last century, maternity clothes and bridesmaid dresses have had a lot in common. No one looks forward to buying them, and despite everyone's insistence that you'll wear them again, most people would rather burn them.
That's changing.
Look at the hoopla over the wardrobe choices of Duchess Kate Middleton. Everything she was photographed in during pregnancy sold out of stores almost immediately. And because most of her choices weren't actually maternity items, she wasn't just inspiring pregnant women.
Story tags » Fashion

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