How to Achieve Maternity Chic

Being pregnant, laziness and tiredness just took over my body and I just could not come to put that eyebrow pencil against my non-filled eyebrows. During the first trimester, I was always weary with morning sickness, so naturally, I didn’t go out. My husband even commented that he doesn’t encounter many women in the earlier stages of their pregnancy out and about anyway. Now that I’m on my second trimester, I’ve been feeling like a million bucks and I truly want to enjoy this stage of my pregnancy and life.

Since I am first and foremost a newlywed, I’ve read:

Keep looking your best after marriage, even as you have been doing before. When you look your best, you do your best.

‘After marriage’ can also be applied to ‘during pregnancy’! Although, every pregnancy for every woman is different. No matter how bad the circumstances and effects of the pregnancy is to a woman, her womb is a home to a growing child. As the mom’s belly grows, the more that she and everyone else realize how the baby is close to joining them in the world.

To know that my womb is the current residence of someone makes me believe that every motion that I make, every feeling I keep, every thought I have an affect on that someone. Besides the food that I intake, these feelings and motions are what sustain, furnish and surround this little one’s home and I have the obligation to make his home a bright, cheerful and peaceful one as best as I can.

I can’t think of a better way to do so than by starting with making the mother feel like she is the most beautiful woman in the world while her belly grows. Here are my top tips of How to Achieve Maternity Chic. 

Allow your clothes to love your belly bump 

Gone were the days of shabby maternity clothes. The trend is to buy clothes in your favorite stores but a couple of sizes larger to accommodate your lovely belly bump. Even before I got pregnant, I loved wearing loose clothing with unique styles so I don’t have to buy too many new blouses (yet).

This top is similar to what I have in my closet and I love how she styled it with tapered jeans and cute flats.

Loose top lovin’

I love these two easy-going looks that seem as if they didn’t have to look far from their pre-pregnancy closet to assemble them.

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I have been on the hunt for the perfect jean vest because of how well it dresses the neutrals that every pregnant lady relies on for her everyday comfort. Let’s admit it, pregnant ladies are adorable when they dress their casual outfits so well.

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that jean vest!!!

Another way to achieve this is by being creative in how to cinch just above your baby bump. You can use your pre-pregnant belts over a long and loose top and tie them neatly above your bump.

Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde

Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba

Wear your chunky necklaces and bracelets before your baby starts gnawing at them 

Once you give birth and if you’re itching to accessorise (which I’m pretty sure I will be), there are chew-friendly necklaces/ teething necklaces (example: Chewbeads) in the market that are made of rubber but look like beads! If you don’t want beads to bother your baby while you carry them, you can start trying your hand at wearing colorful scarves or necklaces that are made of soft fabric and are washable.

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Get Inspired by the Maternity Queens

Blake Lively, Kate Middleton and Miroslava Duma… need I say more? I am so glad more and more style stars are loving their maternity bodies by wearing beautiful clothes. When I would see their street style photos posted, I would be in awe by the way they embraced their belly bump as part of them. Be inspired by them. Even if you aren’t a fashionista who needs to impress the paparazzi all-day, be beautiful for yourself, your baby and the people who see you.

Blake Lively

Blake Lively

Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton

Miroslava Duma

Miroslava Duma

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Miroslava Duma

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Miroslava Duma

Goodbye High Heels (For Now)

Even if Kourtney and Kim Kardashian and the rest of the stars do wear high heels during pregnancy, I personally do not believe that wearing high heels is healthy for the pregnant lady. Pregnant ladies are so prone to imbalance since her center of gravity shifts while she gains weight. It’s better not to risk anything! Comfort and ease in walking are very important at this stage. So I suggest saying goodbye to high heels (for now).

Besides, I consider it a good challenge to look dressy in flats.

Note: Because comfort for the pregnant one is important, I believe it’s the same for the bag that you carry. It should never be too heavy that it could strain your back even more… so have that go-to clutch or go-to cute sling bag that can match everything.

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Embrace Colors Because (New) Life is Vivid with Color

Newborn babies are usually dressed in pastel and bright colors. Color keeps the mother-to-be absolutely glowing whether it’s a pop of red on the lips, a bright bag or your cobalt jacket.

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The Perks of Wearing Sleeves and Other Coverups

This “wardrobe malfunction” is amusing. I’ve heard of toasters, washing machines and computers malfunctioning but a wardrobe or rather an outfit malfunctioning? It’s kind of unreal.  Well in colloquial culture, a wardrobe malfunction occurs when a dress or any other article of clothing reveals parts of a woman that shouldn’t be revealed due to unforeseen circumstances or situations. More often than not, the outfit in itself barely covers up the woman to begin with. To me, no matter what kind of effort the person gets into just to conceal what should be concealed – may it be hours of scotch taping cloth to skin, an outfit just covers up or doesn’t.

To go a bit further, if a woman deliberately steps out of her house in anything that remotely looks like intimates is a malfunction all-together.

This term needn’t be used in the first place we just find and decide to wear clothes that cover up well. But for a woman (like me), oh and in this day and age, it’s difficult to grasp why there even has to be limitations with how much we should wear.

There is a rather metaphysical reason why covering up is the better option when buying clothes. Let me try to explain the overriding idea by telling a simple story.

Here it goes.

In line with my personal effort to be a neater person – not just in my appearance but even with how I take care of my things. I realized that all my things are extensions of myself and my character so if any of my things don’t reflect order or a level of neatness it says a lot about who I am.

So I recently bought a laptop case that looks like a folder from the outside but encases the delicate hardware from the four edges so that I can still be able to work with the sleeve attached. The problem with this case is that its light pink leather dirties easily. I would have to exert extra effort and time just to make sure it remains in its pristine condition. Not only do I carry around with my laptop with its case, I’ve also made sure to bring its place mat along with it everywhere I would take it. It sounds a little bit obsessive compulsive but it makes me think, if I can think of keeping this important hardware clean for it to avoid any malfunctioning… how am I applying the same principle to my soul’s earthly home?

This question leads to very practical answers. There are the Qualities of Modesty that should be avoided: sheerness, lowness, tightness and shortness. But besides these qualities, there are the straightforward Particulars of Modesty:

(1)  Opaque fabric. Sheer fabric is an enemy against covering up, simply because its sole purpose is to be transparent and to act as a visible x-ray to your beautiful body whether it is unintentional or not. When I go through stores, I often put my hand behind a shirt or a skirt to check how opaque the material of a piece of clothing is. There are some sheer pieces that are so cute. I would have to wear an undershirt (spaghetti strap or a tank top – that inherently are not too sheer, low, tight and short).

Another tip is to be aware of how the sheer top paired with the undershirt cling to the body while carrying a bag. It’s a disturbing sight to see the undershirt deforming on a woman while wearing her bag.

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(2)  The Back Side. It’s not worth it to purchase a skirt or a dress that does not have lining. Trust me. I’ve been there. I once wore a brand new skirt out only to get home and find out that that new skirt was revealing the lining of my undies. The thought of how many stares it could have caused makes me cringe. Truth be told, I just forgot about my backside. I forgot that it was important at all. I would think that many women forget about it all the same so, wear lining. Just think, those behind you might just see and know you for just your behind – be decent.

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(3)  Sleeves. What’s wrong with no sleeves? There isn’t anything wrong with sleeveless attires. I was personally all for such a fresh style until very recently. It was when a friend  mentioned that she was discouraging her sisters to wear sleeves. At that point, I was sick and tired of hearing why we shouldn’t be in sleeveless attires. But she pointed out well and clear that when you lift your arms… the arm holes can either give a sneak peek to the side of a woman’s chest or… more. For a carefree person like me, I would rather feel free to move my arms up and down than be the servant of my sleeveless attire. Besides, I have observed more and more the sleeved dresses and blouses exude a lot more elegance than the sleeveless ones because they are more formal than the latter. When the getup is more formal, the more respect the wearer gives to those she encounters within the day.

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Although these restrictions may sound like STOP signs for the stylish ones who can’t let go of their skin, they’re more of GO signals to dress with loving thought of one’s own refinement and are moreover for others.

Admittedly, it’s difficult to reach that healthy mean of “loving” oneself and respecting others since there is deep feminine desire to have this beauty  affirmed of. There are perks to wearing sleeves and other coverups. Let me go through them quickly.

(1) Instead of fussing over what feel good and nice and sometimes even right, why worry about anything? Wearing a good undershirt, skirt lining and sleeves (granted they are well-within the qualities of modesty) will not even allow worry to pass through a woman’s already heavy load of feelings. We have way too many feelings to deal with and why does worrying about our OOTD have to be one of them? Wearing sleeves and other coverups definitely does not need you to worry about anything.

(2) There are two luxuries on earth: money and time and these modest particulars save both of them. How? First of all, because you don’t have to worry about anything, your time for worrying is cut short. You also end up saving from buying any sort of adhesive or new piece of coverup clothing if you are already well-covered.

(3) This is by far my favorite point. The best perk to wearing sleeves and other coverups is that it’s incredibly stylish and fashionable – more so than wearing less. Like I said earlier, wearing more brings your look and others’ perception of you to a higher level of refinement especially if you are styled very well. I’ve never had to be distracted by an unprecedented show of skin when I dine with a well-dressed person and I’d like to do the same for others.

 

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The Profundity of Fashion

Fashion Weeks in the four major cities: London, New York, Paris and Milan, these amazing cities are great fashion homes that every designer dreams to be a member of. I’m not even a designer of any sort and I would love to be a part of it – even as a runner to attend to the glamorous items and the glorious models and designers.

I’m a bit late to comment about the fashion weeks that have transpired.

InStyle, a personal favorite fashion magazine, gave a short description and “how to wear” a trend they coined “restraint” in 2012, for their Fall Fashion Trends

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I just love the description about it:

So why does primness evoke such intriguing allure? Because a curvaceous silhouette in a pliantly elegant, deeply textured, or appliquéd fabric holds our attention while proving that withholding is powerfully stylish.

How to wear it

Though small buttoned collars appear young, and jewel or boatnecks enhance the more mature, this demure attitude is appropriate for all, in clothes with strong shoulders, a defined waist, and below-the-knee hemlines. Bonus points for princess heels and long gloves to underscore its decorous demeanor.

While breezing through the Fashion and Design October 2013 Issue of the Philippine Tatler, I am happy to say that this was one of its features:

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It reads:

Gone are the days when “less is more.” (Note: Less meaning less clothes on) – designers at Valentino, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen prove that being sexy doesn’t mean showing off all your assets

(How to wear it)

Balance the conservative look with a structured bag and a pair of modern pumps.

I’m not a big fan of the word “conservative.” Conservative connotes traditionalism in style and manner and can also be an adjective to refer to avoiding novelty or showiness.

Conservative should be a word reserved to describe the strict suits pressed upon by corporations to their employees.

With fashion, beauty is the first word we think of

Let’s zero in on the above-mentioned trend that I believe is revolutionary in our day and age.

It actually has several names: some call it restraint or minimalist and then there’s modest.

Allow me to expose the extreme depth of these wonderful words just be reiterating their dictionary definitions:

Restraint can be defined as a measure or condition that keeps someone or something (from personal liberty or freedom of movement) under control.

Minimalist is characteristic of a design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect

Modest as an adjective mean: not ostentatious or pretentious, not extreme or excessive; moderate, decorous or decent.

To summarize: the exposition of true beauty

Let’s see how these world famous fashion designers interpreted this particular trend in the recent Paris and Milan Spring 2014 fashion shows. (These are so beautiful!! I’m drooling!!!)

Valentino Spring 2014

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Rochas Spring Ready-To-Wear Collection 2014

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Oscar dela Renta Spring Ready-to-Wear Collection 2014

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Burberry Prorsum Ready-To-Wear Collection 2014

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There is something about these polished looks that demonstrate their wondrous ideas  exposed by their beautiful and intricate details. These looks are made to move for and with a woman.

I feel like if I buy and wear (I only wish) any of these pieces, I’m sharing in their feminine ideas that I take as my own.

For me, a great gauge to detect the modest and unique style of a woman is when I look at her face first and slowly see what she has thought of wearing that day. Another gauge is I don’t feel like cringing at the sight of something that should be concealed. I don’t feel like wanting to throw a blanket over her. I don’t feel like commenting anything bad. I would just feel like wanting to compliment her on her great outfit and just feeling happy inside.

The Trend: Restraint/ Modest can be the beginning of the noble search and thrust for the exposition of the beautiful and femininity of woman – whether for ourselves as women or our mothers, sisters and daughters.

It can be done.

Photo Credit: Style.com

What’s with Modesty, anyway?

Recently, a friend and I started working long and hard on a Fashion Class. It’s a class that doesn’t stick to the mere practicality and technique in designing and making fashion but engages the students to understand what it means to wear fashion pieces – clothes. Because fashion is a big deal to teenagers nowadays, we want to make them think of why fashion is linked to values and the value of our body – as women.

Its a pretty terrifying endeavor considering that I can foresee many nights of working on PowerPoint after PowerPoint and reading one book to another. But I know that it’s well and worth it because of our very Modest Proposition.

Modesty, what’s with it anyway? It’s a virtue and it’s dressed in a sack! Rather, it dresses us in a sack. Ew. I definitely do NOT want to look like a sack of potatoes… I wanna be… beautiful! *cue in high-pitched bells ringing* Wait, we were just talking about modesty, why, did the topic suddenly jump to Beauty? More often than not,  modesty is misconstrued for us to think that it’s a virtue that makes us ugly and worse (allow me to cringe) prudish. But before going to modesty in relation to beauty… let’s get to the very basic of this entire paragraph to begin with: Modesty is simply, DECENCY.

Oh decency, it’s sad to think that the most famous and richest people are those who cannot seem to show that they can afford to wear decent attires. There are celebrities who done a (micro-mini) dress that lacks a lot of cloth  or forget to wear a shirt when they put on their underwear… I can name so much more examples but, for the sake of this post, I won’t.

If you are thinking: “What do I wear, then, smartypants?” First of all, I personally believe that we don’t need a list of do’s and don’t for daily modest attires – if it were that petty, then all of us should have a list posted on our mirrors every time we would have to get ready for school or work.

Modesty, besides checking the length of your skirt or the transparency of your top, is being a modest person.

Allow me to cut this phrase to understand each part.

To be – when we reflect on it – is one of the most profound transitive verbs because we do not have any physical action take place unlike the verbs –  to run and to jump. Instead, to be, is used when you allow it to happen and affect you within allowing what you are to naturally come about. To be modest only connotes that modesty isn’t just about what you put on but the internal decision to live what modesty entails. For me, it always starts out and is most important in thoughts. Thoughts are driven by what we know and love. If we know the truth of what it means to be modest (this takes a LOT of reflection and even acceptance).

Because modesty is most important in our thoughts, here are some thoughts that I think are very positive about fashion and what it says about modesty:

1) You don’t need to tell anyone that dressing modestly is the way to go – just do it and do it beautifully. At the end of the day, people who dress modestly are judged WAY LESS than those who don’t. Yup, I said it, those girls who do bare all cleavage and leg do have beautiful body parts but they are all way too distracting. I am guilty of this… One day, I saw a very sexy lady wearing very short and tight shorts and I noticed that  her legs were just… perfection – no scars, no hair – the works. You could even say I was a bit jealous. But after that incident, I thought, I can’t believe I just looked at her as a pair of legs. Not everyone will realize what they do on a daily basis but it’s good to start to dress in a way that will allow people to look at your face. Think if I were a guy, will this shirt or this skirt allow me to see my face? What you end up wearing will say: I don’t want to be looked on as a beautiful leg but as a beautiful person. Start the revolution.

2) Dressing modestly is IN. Haha this is a funny point but apparently it’s in to wear clothes that what fashion experts call: “RESTRAINED” (Okay… keep going.) So apparently there are articles coming out now about how this new trend is appearing on runway and are even worn by celebrities. Here’s a good  article about this “trend.” I like how it ends and what it proposes to the fashion industry:

Is grace really going to win against in-your-face fashion?

The truth is that it takes a certain courage and conviction to try simple, covered-up clothes. Whereas baring it all looks increasingly like yesterday’s trend.

3) Good news: the fashion industry has items to support this modesty proposal! Unlike before, when fashion was all about the trendiest new looks and having every section in the same taste, we have a buffet of fashion choices – trendy and beautiful pieces that are still modest! You just need to take the time to pick them and gauge what it tells about you!

4) Dressing modestly is a challenge. Instead of complaining that it’s sooooo hard and ‘all my clothes are this and that’, why not buy a beautiful piece and be creative in finding a modest attire in the current wardrobe that you have? Let me give an example, recently, I received a beautiful bag that had a particularly shocking color. For a week, I decided to make it a challenge to pair this bag with items in my wardrobe and my my my was it a very exciting challenge that encouraged me to be way more creative than I normally am with my wardrobe choices.

5)  Dressing modestly doesn’t make you worry. I was reading the blog of a socialite. She was talking about a dress she wore that had a very long slit and a very risque peek-a-boo near her cleavage. She complained about how she had to apply 2 entire rolls of double-sided tape to ensure that she doesn’t encounter a wardrobe malfunction. I admit that some of my evening gowns do need double-sided tape but never an entire roll. How to gauge the rate of the worry-o-meter? Generally, on a normal day, when you  know in your mind and your heart that what your wearing is decent and won’t catch unnecessary attention, you don’t have to worry so much about any malfunction that might occur. One rule that I absolutely believe in is once in doubt about a piece of clothing… be rid of it. We, women are SO intuitive that we JUST KNOW. So why do we try to shut it up?

At the end of the day, modesty allows any woman to be creative in her fashion choices and it allows her face, to shine. Modesty doesn’t make women less beautiful… it frees beauty.

Isn't modesty beautiful?

Isn’t modesty beautiful?

on elsa peretti

Normally, I would be bored during the first three minutes of what I know is a ten minute long video but this 13-minute long video was so captivating that I had to stay through it the whole time.

I am a firm believer in hefty craftsmanship that would take years of honing fine skills. And this craftsmanship is married to a style based and inspired by the natural world. Why the importance of its inspiration to the natural world? To me, it’s carries the kind of beauty thats gets you lost… not a lot of things have that kind of beauty so, why look elsewhere?

I especially admire how she would break down her pieces of jewelry from  their embellishment and she does so by scraping through to the very cores of her designs.

In this video, I just love the unfolding of the designer or the author of these jewelry designs and the stories that these material masterpieces carry.

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Bone marrow inspired

“Style is Simple”

Video: Elsa Peretti, how she revolutionized jewelry design: 

http://www.tiffany.com/shopping/category.aspx?cid=288187