Maternity, Where?

Sooooooooooo, I’ve got news! I’m gonna be a mom. I’ll let that sink in for a few seconds…

Phew! Ok. I feel closer with everyone already. But seriously, come November 2019, this little lady [and her husband] are going to have a peanut of their own. And while I’m insanely excited and elated and honored that the universe allowed me [and my family] this gift, I’m also human and I’m having FEEEEEELLLLIIIIINNNGGGGGSSSS. Particularly involving my wardrobe and growing…uh, body.

I’m nineteen weeks as of yesterday, so while I can still see my feet, and find my belly pretty “cute”, I’m becoming increasingly disagreeable inside my own skin. To be honest, this feeling is not entirely foreign to me, but I like to believe I’ve got a pretty good working relationship with myself and my self-image. That is until today.

Today, I decided to try maternity wear…DUN DUN DUN. I know. All the new/millennial moms out there are shaking their heads and screaming “WHY?!” at their screens, because our generation has decided we’re gonna try to shove ourselves into regular womenswear until the day we pop. Right? Totes get it. This was is my plan, too, hence why today was well, in a word: brutal.

After consuming a caffeinated beverage [yes, coffee and I are still friends; I don’t want to hear ANYTHING from anyone about pregnancy and caffeine intake. Just click here and move on], and convincing myself I was ready to walk into Destination Maternity, which I have successfully avoided for again, nineteen weeks, I got in my car and off I went.

Now, before I really get into it, I want to preface this post with the following: I have always and will always make this page a space for honesty and truth telling. If you aren’t about that life, totally good by me, but kindly exit. While I don’t find any joy in hating on companies or brands, I do find it important that we look out for one another and keep it real when we believe in things. And my findings today exposed a truth about the maternity-wear industry and just how financially crooked and unevolved it is. Let alone what little information pregnant women have access to in terms of styling their growing bodies during this time. Thus, today is about me sharing my experience; it is truly not meant to harm feelings about brands you may love or enjoy. Moving along…

I walked in and found the store quite pleasant; I was greeted, it was organized, and the music was tasteful, but definitely mom-friendly. I cruised over to the wall ‘o’ denim and began my search. [Oh did I mention, I was strictly in the market for denim today? Yes. All denim, all day.] The selections in their “affordable” area were slim to say the least, but I grabbed a few pairs and tried my luck.Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 7.10.11 PM

On went these Indigo Blue Secret Fit Belly Skinny Leg Maternity Ankle Jeans first, thinking the light wash would be fun for summer, and while I definitely didn’t love the color, I figured I’d try it. OOF. Mistake. I knew that the horrific belly band they put on maternity denim wouldn’t be for me, but jesus christ it is NOT FOR MEEEEE. Who wants to feel like they’re wearing an extra layer of nude/tan skin on top of the intensely tight/weird skin you’re already living in? Side panels it is. I quickly moved along.

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Next up, these Indigo Blue Side Panel Skinny Leg Destructed Hen Maternity Crop Jeans. Better with the side panels I’ll admit, but made me feel like I was in 6th grade again, trying on jeans from Mervyn’s that were a cross between paper mache and denim. Not to mention this wash? WHAT ARE YOU?! PASS.

Now, knowing what we know about denim, we know that pockets are EVERYTHING, even with a growing bump. Right?! Right. Ok class dismissed.

Judging by how this was going, it was time to bite the bullet and look at the designer brands. I mean, I deserve nice jeans right? I’m PREGNANT for gods sake, I deserve to feel great. I work hard! I’m growing a HUMAN inside of me! I deserve $200 jeans. **These were all the things I said to myself while rationalizing $200+ jeans that I only plan to wear for the next five months of my life.**

So Paige, here we come. I wear Paige jeans off and on; the pockets always fit great and they have some of the best washes in the denim game, but I wouldn’t say they’re a favorite of mine. Fit is usually off and the price never really makes sense to me for what you get.

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That being said, here they were, the Paige Side Panel Verdugo Ankle Maternity Jeans. Classic. Straight leg, light distressing, with a little cut to make them feel almost skinny. I still felt like a frump, but less of one, convincing myself that I’m just not going to feel good about myself for quite some time now, so just hunker down and get on board. Next step was to find my size, rationalize my purchase, and off we shall…..nope. None in my size. None even close to my size. None even in the same ballpark as a size that would prevent me from spiraling about said size. Meltdown begins.

Now while I slowly placed these egregiously priced pair of denim back on their rack, I felt relief. Relief that I hadn’t just made such a ridiculous purchase over jeans that were, in two words: very okay. Relief that I hadn’t let the vortex of Destination Maternity suck me in and throw my money at it. And then I really began to think about how I would’ve only worn these pants for five months, when I’ve preached on my blog for years to not spend money on shit you don’t plan to really get wear and tear out of. I’ve told every client I have that money is not the determinant of good style, brands mean nothing. Yet, here I was, at a freaking MATERNITY STORE, allowing myself to play the game. I was mad. I WAS PISSED. And I left.

In my moment of rage, I decided that Nordstrom would be a good idea. Again, millennial hopeful, trying to find some instant gratification to make up for this crap experience.

I stumble in the doors, basically waving my money around in hopes of bringing good shopping juju to the sitch, and walk straight up to the Good American section of the store. Because Khloe Kardashian will understand by pain today, right? Right. I was greeted with a, “Sorry ma’am [Yes, I got ma’am-ed], we don’t have a maternity line in our store. It’s all online.” ONLINE. Yes, please let me mentally try clothes on, because I’ve never felt more familiar with myself or my size than as of late, and the inter web is clearly the ideal place for me to find clothing right now. Are you kidding? Is this seriously the slim pickins’ pregnant women have? And really, should I be shocked? I mean it’s a ten month stint of a woman’s life. How can fashion markets survive on such short term buyers and purchases? Oh right! By charging $200 for a pair. Cleared that up earlier ^^

I nodded and walked away, feeling completely defeated at this point. And lets be real: not-pregnant Dena probably wouldn’t have been so moved by such an afternoon, but the experience was not only eye opening to a corner of the fashion world I hadn’t really focused on or even explored for that matter, but emotionally challenging because I feel like a weird blob as it is right now, the last thing I need is to be shlepping all over town to find jeans that I quite frankly, don’t even really want in the first place. But here I was.

So I convinced myself that jeans were off the table. Let’s find a top instead and regain whatever shred of confidence you had prior to your shopping choices today. To Topshop I went. My dearest, kindest friend, who always seems to get my fashion journey as I explore it year in and year out. They have pieces that are young and fun, but also the classics; pieces that never break the budget, but allow you to feel like you’d be proud telling someone where you got it when they inevitably compliment your choice ;] And no, I don’t get paid to say any of this. #notad #wishitwasthough #acceptingtopshopdonations

I walked through their section and within five minutes had 20 items in my hands, denim included. I found my way to the fitting room and took a deep breath. Here goes.

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First pair, the Mid Blue Ripped Jamie Jeans. I probably have 30 pairs of Topshop jeans, no joke, and the Jamie’s always work for my body type. Today was no different. SUCCESS. They fit! Just enough give in the waist [I sized up one size], hugged my hips and thighs to make me feel confident and feminine, and the wash was perfect. The pockets always endorse my assssssssets and help boost my confidence when walking away in a crowded room, if ya know what I mean? I was feelin myself now, people.

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Next were the Mid Blue Jamie Jeans [not ripped or distressed] and honey, I felt goooooood. I liked the option of having a casual pair that were distressed, but a “dressier” pair without. Again: pockets on point, a tiny bit lighter wash which I was into for summer, and they were the “ankle grazers” which accent heels, flats–pretty much any style of summer shoe. I was so elated by the two winners that I ditched all the other items in the room and headed to the register to pay up.

As this super sweet woman rang me up, she exclaimed, “This pair is only $35!” I was shooketh. Am I gonna get out of here spending HALF of what I would’ve spent on one pair that I wasn’t really into to begin with?!? AND I feel good about myself??

This was intentional shopping at it’s finest; this is the feeling I try to implore my clients to have when they shop. The ability to find a, yes, material item, but one that removes the pain and discomfort we have with our self image. A tangible piece that made an awkward mom-to-be, struggling through the racks of a weird, expensive place, feel confident again and BEAUTIFUL. An item and an experience that left me in tears in my car because A. hormones, but B. because while this is all a new chapter for me [and for my readers], I’m excited to keep pushing through it and see how it grows me, and grows my brand. And I truly hope you all continue to cruise along on this journey with me. While I can’t promise it won’t be bumpy and maybe a little too TMI at times, it will, as always, be real AF.

My experience today was personal, vulnerable, and one that maybe only I related to, but I felt it was important to share. And while Topshop may not be the brand for you, I do feel like it may be one of the best kept secrets in the maternity wear game thus far. Don’t worry, I’ll keep updating you all with any other gems I find out there, because the search is FREAKIN ONNNNNN NOW!

How has fashion changed you recently? Are you a mama, or mommy-to-be, what were some fashion struggles you had while pregnant? What was an experience that grew you, in a fitting room, in a store, getting ready for a night out? Share you stories with me in the comments below.

XX.

Sweater Together

Believe it or not, Fall is here. Californian’s be like “suuuuuuure it is…” But in all seriousness, it’s going to get really cold here shortly & one of my favorite but most difficult Fall styles is circling back around. && I want to make sure you babes are wearing this one to it’s full potential.

[The pullover sweater.]

That super cute, but super impossible wardrobe item you have a thousand of but are never quite sure how to style…that’s when I enter. The pullover sweater can be epically bad if not executed properly, so I’ve come up with the Five Sweater Commandments to alleviate any stress related to this item moving forward.

Let’s get to it.

sweater slip    trench

Commandment #1: mix fabrics. With heavy knits & big blocked stitching, sweaters can quickly become terribly masculine, so adding a smidge of lace is the perfect feminine touch. Take your outfit to the next level with some of my favorite lace pieces here.

sweater trench black trench

Commandment #2: add a layer. Some of my favorite wardrobe additions this Fall are all these beautiful trenches & coats showing up everywhere. [It’s like designers finally figured it out.] They add dimension to any outfit & kick up the class & sophistication. Pair a neutral-toned sweater, a statement coat & a great necklace…you’ve got Fall nailed. Next level: try a cape.

cowl neck and skirt
    cowl neck skirt

Commandment #3: never fear the cowl neck. The key to a great pullover look is fit & function. A cowl neckline flows effortlessly & adds a stylized element to a look that takes you from bargain shopper to runway walker in seconds. Pair it with a great pencil skirt or pair of denim & heels, && you’re set.

leather leather and sweater

Commandment #4: leather always. The best partner to a big bulky pullover is a sexy, skin tight pair of cropped [faux] leather pants. They make your stems look thin & sleek, & add an edgy element to an otherwise conservative look. Some of my favorite pairs here & here. Key: wear this outfit on chilly days//nights #sweatingisntcute

layered      statement

Commandment #5: know when less is more. Sometimes a pullover calls for a big statement necklace & other times it needs nothing at all. To know the difference: identify how loud your sweater is [color, fit, neckline, knit, stitching, etc.] & work from small drop necklaces to heavier layered pieces & determine what look you like best. Tip: the thicker the knit, the less likely it needs a necklace.

These commandments are meant to guide not dictate. You & only you know what works best for your body & style, but tips & tricks are always helpful, especially when dealing with a tricky wardrobe item like sweaters. Start trying new sizes & fits, & work your outfits to a place where you feel confident & sexy…because that’s the entire reason we invest in these fabrics in the first place, right?

Happy styling, babes.

Xx.

Basic Bunnies

Whether you’re meeting your significant other’s family for the first time, or simply spending time with your least favorite relatives, Easter outfits can be a tricky thing. Department store racks are currently spilling over with floral ensembles, so I’ve decided to not let you go the easy route; just say no to floral this holiday #dontbebasic. Instead, I’ve put together my six favorite Easter 2015 looks, so you too can get inspired & find your inner creative pastel bunny, in hopes to make this Sunday’s outfit one you’ll actually want to look back on.

Let’s go.

lavender maxi easter

Ditch the typical floral maxi, find yourself a beautiful lavender, soft pink, even powder blue one instead. Keeping with the pastel theme, this dress will make you feel like a princess in a room full of frogs [don’t worry, they all have the potential to be princes].

polka dot easter

Keep it fresh with an unexpected print like this oversized polka dot tunic; it adds texture & dimension to a once simple design. Find one in a gorgeous pastel? Well, you’ve won the freaking lottery.

pink lace easter

The one cliché fabric that I’ll always let slide is lace. This always beautiful, always chic, effortless garment stands alone without fuss. Julia Engel rocked this one above with her amazing [$1,000] Valentino pointed-toe slingbacks, but a playful gladiator sandal or wedge would team just as well.

white on white easter

Not feeling a dress this Easter Sunday? Try a monochromatic look instead. Julie Sarinana [my favorite style blogger on the planet] is the white on white queen. Pair neutral colors together [white, tan, grey, charcoal, black, taupe] & don’t look back. Just be sure you’re ultra stain-conscious throughout the day.

tie dye dress easter

As much as I love a stand-alone maxi, I’m more interested in unique pieces like this tie-dyed beauty. A stylish way to ring in the Spring season without looking like you just stepped out of High Times Magazine. Top it off with a sexy heel & you’ll feel like JLo on the red carpet circa 2000.

white shorts easter

& finally, one of my favorites; shorts. This look is perfect for a chilly morning brunch turned afternoon hellish sun. Team a waffle knit sweater with a soft pair of shorts & you’ll be the most prepared fashionista in the room.

Lastly, make me one single promise this Easter Sunday & say it out loud to yourself: “I will not ruin my adorable Easter outfit that Lyric helped me style with an awful pair of old flip flops. I will take the time to pair the appropriate footwear to finalize my outfit & not break Lyric’s heart.”

Nothing makes me more devastated in my clients than when I catch them being lazy with their footwear decisions. Always take the time to top off your entire fit.

& with that, I wish you well in all of your outfit decisions. & remember, regardless of anything, this is a day to spend time together, to love on one another & to feel good about yourself.

Happy Styling.

Xx.