A new book helps women who are pregnant celebrate their changing bodies with fashion, beauty and grace. "Rock Star Momma: The Hip Guide to Looking Gorgeous Through All Nine Months and Beyond" (Atria Books) is a comprehensive well-being guide with a foreword by actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Here's an excerpt:
Denim To Die For
Thanks to the advent of those famous 501s a hundred and fifty years ago, jeans are a major part of our daily twenty-first-century wardrobe — whether it's to the office, for a night out on the town, or running those endless errands. Yet considering how often you wear them, it's still shocking at how hard it is to find the perfect pair. Now try adding pregnancy and a whole lotta pounds to the equation. Yikes! Don't fret. Why? Because you're gonna make your first major maternity investment right now. (Pause for effect.) You. Are. Going. To. Buy. A. Pair. Of. Maternity. Jeans.
I know, I know. I understand you're glued to your Sevens and Hudsons. I know it's terrifying to imagine life without your Citizens or True Religions. But take a deep breath and listen to me: Your behind is going to get bigger. Your hips, legs, and thighs, too. And you've probably already lost that thing you once so proudly called your "waist." Maternity jeans are designed with all these things in mind — unlike regular jeans, which are designed for supermodels (which explains why finding the perfect fit for mortals is so insanely difficult).
Truth is, maternity jeans have come a very long way from what they were even a few years ago. Phew. Whereas once upon a time, maternity jeans were those full-paneled "mom jeans" —with a panel so high, it could readily be mistaken for some sort of breast support, and those giant, unflattering pockets made even Twiggy's ass look the size of Texas — today's pregnancy jeans are available in a plethora of hip styles that'll make even the most stylish momma smile.
Use your pre-pregnancy sizing as a general reference for maternity sizing, but as with tees, there really isn't much consistency among maternity brands. If you can't bear the thought of those scary dressing room mirrors, order online and try dozens on in the comfort of your own home. But remember: Ignore what the numbers say on the tag and go for what truly fits (repeat the mantra: "I am embracing the new me"). While you're at it, follow the handy guide below to finding the perfect pair of kick-ass maternity jeans.
The Rockin' Guide to All Things Jeans
Stretch, Baby, Stretch: Those jeans have just got to have stretch. Think major S-T-R-E-T-C-H, momma, because that's what's going to keep those jeans fitting from month five through your trip to the delivery room. Look for somewhere between two and eight percent Lycra or spandex to ensure that your jeans will grow with you while still keeping their shape. A good pair of maternity jeans should fit fabulously throughout your entire pregnancy!
The Right Rinse: The general rule of thumb is that the darker the denim rinse, the more slenderizing it is. I say stick with darker washes and avoid lighter ones (especially those ass-enlarging acid washes of the eighties). If you're trying to conceal a particular area, steer clear of distressing in that given spot. For instance, if you've got largish thighs already, don't wear jeans that have distressing at the tops of the legs. Get it?
Fab Fabric: Comfort is SO key during your pregnancy, especially when it comes to your jeans. Go for soft, washed denims, rather than superstiff, heavy jeans. I'm loving the new "jeano" — a buttery-soft cross between jeans and chino that you can wear for hours and still feel great. And rumor has it, supersmart, momma-friendly designers are working with cashmere-denim blends. The gods have answered!
Perfect Pockets: Ah, the endless quest for those perfectly placed booty pockets -- you know, the ones that'll miraculously lift, shrink, and shape all in one? Here's the inside secret to finding them (they DO exist!): Choose jeans with larger back pockets that are proportionally placed in the center of each cheek. If they're placed too high up or are too small in size, they'll make your butt look bigger. If you opt for pocketless denim, go for jeans that have a deep V yoke at the back to create the illusion of "cleavage."
She's Got Legs: From boot-cut to loose leg...no matter what kind of style you choose, one thing should always be consistent: longer equals leaner. Boot-leg and gentle-flare cuts look great on every bod — no matter how tall, short, big, or small you may be. If you're tall and slender, you can pull off a wide-leg cut, too.
Waist-land: There are so many different options for waistbands these days, but my favorite is consistently a soft under-the-belly waistband. It's the only one that's truly comfortable from sunrise to sundown and works great all the way through to delivery and into postpartum. Some have a gentle supportive waistband, while others just offer a lot of stretch around the waist —to give the illusion of nonmaternity jeans — and are ideal for days when you want to wear those shorter, fitted tees and tanks.
Last Resort: If you just can't be separated from your Blue Cults or Paige Premiums, think about customizing them into your own special maternity jeans. You can buy maternity panels from sewing or notions stores and ask a tailor to sew them into your favorite pair. Voilà!
Star Style: Mariska Hargitay
"I absolutely cannot live without my Childish frayed stretchy jeans. They're cleverly cut to fit below the belly, yet they never migrate downward or make me look like a plumber. Plus, they really talk to a pregnant chick...their tag says, 'You Are Beautiful...Rock On!'" — Mariska Hargitay, actress and mom
Star Style: Gwyneth Paltrow
"I preferred simple clothing myself, on a daily basis, and I found it relatively easy to find things to wear. Stretchy jeans and T-shirt dresses, lots of layering and cardigans. I think the thing to remember when you are pregnant is comfort and ease. Sometimes just your hair scraped back with some nice earrings are enough to spruce up the jeans and shirt that you wear every day. And accessories are a great way to feel a bit stylish." — Gwyneth Paltrow, actress and mom
Excerpted from by Skye Hoppus. Copyright ©2007. Excerpted by permission of Atria Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.