Saturday, September 22, 2012

Good{will outlet} Friday #29 ~ Maternity Outfits

This post is all about my friend Elly and her baby bump (a boy!).

Almost immediately after Elly disclosed the good news, I started hunting for maternity clothes at Goodwill Outlet Center.  As a school teacher and a pastor's wife, Elly is a busy girl and needs to dress professionally throughout the duration of her pregnancy.  For the first trimester, this new mom has depended on a few stretchy shirts and loose dresses already present in her closet.  She needs to look nice and feel comfortable without investing lots of money into a new wardrobe that will be useless after a year.  Because we share a passion for thrift shopping and fun clothing, I asked if she would be interested wearing maternity clothing from Goodwill Outlet Center, and if she would model the outfits for Good{will out} Friday.
So here's something new that I learned: there is no good way to ask the question "Will you pose for photos for my website?".  Its just always going to sound creepy at first....

After collecting at least a dozen adorable maternity items on my own, I invited Elly to treasure hunt with me.  The clothing I found looked good but I've never been pregnant, so other than digging for items with the brand 'Motherhood' on the tag, I was in the dark on what moms-to-me need.  She's never been to the Outlet Center before and as we walked in, I was immediately concerned for the safety of her belly.  If you've ever shopped there, you've witnessed how passionate people are when grabbing things before others get them.  Sometimes, when the new bins come out, it can be like feeding time at the zoo.  I almost expected her to turn around and walk out, but instead she told me, "I bet when people see my stomach, they'll be careful."  Thankfully, she was right: Elly and her fetus made it home unharmed with a bag full of hew goodies.  We found five entire outfits (and a few bits and pieces that didn't make in into the shots) and easily spent less that $20.

The first outfit was inspired by this layered look with the V-Neck Cardigan from Loft Maternity.  Elly's long gray sweater isn't designed for pregnant women, but is long enough to cover her baby bump as it grows and the weather changes.  Unfortunately, button up sweaters might not always fall smoothly over a pregnant stomach: if it pulls and gaps when buttoned, the look might lean more towards alien-trying-to-burst-out than rosy-mother-to-be.  Lucky for Elly, this sweater zips, so she a can avoid that look.  The white pants and striped cotton shirt are very summery, but will layer easily for fall.

This is definitely a teacher's outfit: the chocolate brown tulip skirt is work appropriate but very comfortable, and versatile enough to wear with practically anything.  She's borrowing my boots for the photo, but could also wear this basic skirt with a pair of tights and ballerina flats or sexy heels.  I love the ruffled details on this distressed lavender top, especially with the texture of the white sweater.  And, just so her students don't have to ask, "Are you pregnant, or just getting fat?" we tied the floral patterned fabric belt above her belly to define it.
Because Elly loves bright colors, this dress is a perfect match - even though its not actually a maternity dress.  The top portion of the strapless dress has plenty give and room for her belly as it grows, and is made of light airy fabric to keep her cool until the summer heat is gone.  To make the outfit work friendly, we added a cozy white grandpa cardigan and gold strapped flip flops with one of the many orange necklaces from my giant Outlet Center jewelry stash.  She will look glowing and beautiful in this outfit at the last few church barbecues and outdoor picnics of the season.  When its too chilly for sandals, she can trade them in for a pair of gray tights and black boots, and swap out the cardigan for her gray sweater and a warm scarf to create a colorful autumn ensemble.
I adore this gray cotton tunic (again, not a maternity shirt).  Its graceful and delicate, almost hiding her stomach with pleats and a gathered elastic hemline.  The open neckline is detailed with an intricate pattern that bumps it up a notch a from plain top to gorgeous shirt.  For now, Elly is keeping it simple with romantic drop earrings and this great pair of basic maternity jeans.  In the winter, she can layer the tunic over a long sleeve shirt and wear with a pair of skinny jeans and bright shoes.
Last but not least is our weekend outfit.  How can pregnant girls keep it casual without looking frumpy?  One solution is a long fitted shirt and pair of khakis. If you're planning to invest in just one pair of maternity pants and are deciding between khakis and jeans, consider this: khaki pants are an important staple in almost any wardrobe because you can dress them up or down.  With a crisp sweater or jacket they serve well in an office setting and look relaxed when worn with a simple t-shirt.  Elly's generic khakis and tee have a polished feel when paired up with pretty beaded sandals and a scarf.  She can go from running errands to meeting friends downtown for lunch without changing her clothes.  In the winter, when her coat no longer buttons over the baby bump, a long scarf will not only look nice but will also hide the gap while keeping her and baby warm.

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