Maternity Chic

We recently did an interview with Birmingham Magazine about maternity fashion! See below for a basic Q&A on maternity style!!

From Birmingham Magazine
By Mary Ellen Stancill

Overalls and muumuus are a thing of the past for today’s moms-to-be. From high end lines like Juicy Couture to affordable fashions from H&M, it seems everyone finally gets it— there’s no reason for women to have to endure a nine month fashion disaster while they’re expecting.

Recently, we checked with the owners of The Swanky Stork—sisters Beth Montgomery, Mary Ann Hudson and Bryson Wilson—in Homewood for their advice on maternity chic.

Birmingham magazine: When should you start buying and wearing maternity clothes?
The Swanky Stork: Different people show at different times during pregnancy. Some people may not show until five or six months (especially if it is a first pregnancy). Other people show much sooner than that. The right time to buy and wear maternity clothes is when your regular clothing begins to feel uncomfortable or tight.

BM: What are current trends in maternity styles?
SS: Maternity fashion is the best it’s ever been and continues to get even better. Maternity styles and trends follow regular styles and trends. The Maxi Dress (floor length dress), made popular by Angelina Jolie, is definitely a must have right now. They are hot in both prints and solids and are available in almost every style imaginable—strapless, halter, Vneck, etc. Maxi dresses are comfortable, flattering on all body types and great for after the baby as well!
Floral prints are huge this season. We are seeing them on everything— dresses, skirts, tops, bathing suits, etc.

Color, color, color! Spring/summer fashion is all about color. Everything from solid colors to prints filled with amazing color, to accessories that add color to an outfit.

White is “white hot” and is now an all year round color. The old “no white after Labor Day” rules are gone! We have a huge selection of white designer denim, white Capri pants, white skirts, etc. White bottoms are a great buy and an excellent way to easily incorporate color into your wardrobe with a bright solid color top or colorful print top. Also, look for fun, flirty white dresses and use accessories to add pops of color to it.

Embellishments on clothing are another great trend right now. You will see everything from ruffles to bows to flowers on tops and dresses adding that extra bit of pizzazz that makes the outfit right on target stylewise.

BM: What would you recommend as essentials for your maternity wardrobe?
SS:The Bella Band is our recommended “first buy” for all moms-tobe. It is designed to fit around your regular pants, allowing you to leave your pants unbuttoned and wear them a little longer. It is an excellent buy and also works in reverse after the baby when your body is shrinking back to its original size.

Designer denim is definitely a “must have” of all maternity wardrobes. One of the biggest mistakes we hear people say they make is that they waited too long to buy designer denim or waited until a second pregnancy to buy them, only to realize how great they are and how much they wear them. … Not all designer denim is the same, so we suggest taking some time to try on different brands to get the perfect fit for your body. Denim can be worn with most any top and can be dressed up or down.

A good pair of black pants is also a great buy for a maternity wardrobe. They are another staple in your wardrobe that works with several tops and can be worn casually or dressed up for work or evenings out.

Dresses are definitely an essential for any maternity wardrobe. Most women will have a few baby showers and other special events to attend during her pregnancy, so finding a few dresses is necessary for those occasions. Dresses are also the most comfortable styles to wear during pregnancy and are available in styles that are sure to be flattering on all body types.

Leggings are a maternity essential because they are stylish and trendy, but also help to stretch maternity budget dollars. Tunics/dresses purchased early in pregnancy sometimes get a little short as the baby bump grows. Those tunics/dresses look just as cute with a great pair of leggings underneath, allowing you to continue wearing them throughout your entire pregnancy.

The Belly Bandit is our recommended “last buy” during pregnancy. Recommended by doctors and endorsed by people like Oprah and Rachel Ray, the Belly Bandit is proven to help you get your body back much quicker after pregnancy. It is a band that Velcros around the waist and uses compression methods to shrink the belly, allowing you to get back to that pre-baby body quickly!

BM: What are some chic shoe options for pregnant women?
SS: We do not carry shoes, however we highly recommend Shoe Fly boutique which is two doors down from The Swanky Stork. One of our most favorite shoe lines is Volatile. They have an excellent assortment of wedge flip flops in all different colors and styles. They are super comfy for pregnant women but still provide height and style!

BM: Are there fashion mistakes you should watch out for while pregnant?
SS: The biggest fashion mistake we see moms-to-be make is not embracing her pregnant body and working more to hide it. Pregnancy is an amazing miracle and a pregnant woman’s body is beautiful!
Maternity styles are fabulous today and we guarantee we have clothes for all body types that will enhance pregnancy and show the beauty of it. By trying to disguise and cover up her pregnant body, often times, a woman ends up looking like she’s wearing clothes that are too big or simply just don’t fit at all.

Visit The Swanky Stork at 2827 18th St. S. in Homewood, 803-2133 or theswankystork.com.

The sisters also own Fireflies & Fairytales, a children’s boutique. A portion of proceeds from both stores goes to the Fireflies & Fairytales Foundation, benefitting children who have lost a parent to cancer, in memory of their mother, Kathy Montgomery.


Nursing Bra 411

Probably one of the most confusing purchases a mom-to-be has to make is a nursing bra. Nursing bras are a must for all moms who are breast feeding. However, purchasing a nursing bra can often be a very challenging process. Below are a few tips to guide you in your purchase of the right nursing bra for you.

Fit is perhaps the most important part of purchasing a nursing bra. Nursing bras come in many shapes and sizes. They either come with underwire or without underwire. It is highly recommended that a new mom not wear a nursing bra with underwire until breast feeding has been established. This is because most women do not wear bras that fit them correctly and the underwire ends up pushing on the milk ducts and clogging them, which is a very painful process. There are many nursing bras that do not have underwire but still offer great support. Your nursing bra should support from the band of the bra (from the back) not from the shoulder straps (pulling down on your shoulders).

Nursing bras should fit well and be comfortable, but not so tight that the breast is being smashed too much. This again can interfere with nursing and cause problems.

It is very important to let the sales staff measure you to ensure you buy the right bra size when purchasing a nursing bra. Ideally, you would be measured around 38 weeks for your nursing bra and then purchase a bra with the same band size one cup size larger to accommodate your breasts enlarging when your milk comes in after the baby is born. You may also choose to just purchase one bra at 38 weeks to use in the hospital and then return to the store around 2 weeks after giving birth when your milk comes in to get re-measured. At that point, you should purchase one more nursing bra that should be a very accurate fit based on those current measurements.

Nursing bras are sized in different ways. Some come in band/cup sizing, others come in S,M,L sizing. The sales staff will know how to direct you to the bra size that is best for you.

Ease of Use
All nursing bras feature an access point to the breast for breast feeding without having to remove the bra or lift the bra up. Most bras unsnap at the cup. Be sure you feel comfortable opening and closing the bra you purchase. This should be an easy process. Also be sure the closures are not uncomfortable on your body in any way and that they are strong and durable as you will be using them repeatedly.

Be sure your bra is also adjustable. As your body regulates during the nursing process, you will need to adjust your bra to accommodate the changes in your breast.

Types of Nursing Bras
There are different types of nursing bras. Ideally, a women would purchase at least two regular nursing bras for every day wear ensuring a fresh nursing bra is always available.

Sleep nursing bras are designed to give you support overnight, yet be extremely comfortable to sleep in. When your milk first comes in, until your body regulates your milk supply, the breasts are often very engorged and heavy and require support at all times. Sleep bras almost resemble sports bras. They are soft, usually do not feature a closure in the back and usually do not feature a closure at the cup. They are designed to just slide off the breast for breast feeding at night, while still supporting the breasts throughout the night. Ideally a woman would purchase at least one sleep bra that will most likely be used at least in the first two weeks of breast feeding, if not longer.

Fashion nursing bras are also available. These are bras that feature different fabrics or prints such as lace, leopard print, bold colors, etc. These are designed for women who may have evenings out, functions to attend, etc. while breast feeding. Nursing bras are not dull and boring - they are fashion forward as well!

Ask questions!
Finally - be sure to allow the sales staff to assist you. They are trained in nursing bras and can help you find the exact size and style for your body and preferences. Nursing bras are usually not cheap and you want to be sure you get the most for your money. Ask questions and utilize the training of the sales staff.


Decoding Designer Denim

One of the best investments you can make during your pregnancy is designer denim. Designer denim is top of the line denim that will last throughout your entire pregnancy and the weeks following your pregnancy as your body is returning to normal. Designer denim also never goes out of style so investing in them during your first pregnancy pays off well for subsequent pregnancies - even if they are years apart. Very well worth the money!!

That being said, before you invest in them - it is important to know some basic facts about designer denim so that you are an educated buyer and get the perfect pair for your body type.

1. Not all designer denim is created equal. Some denim stretches more than others. Some denim is softer than others. They have different panels (as in some have over the belly panels, some have under belly panels and some have no panels). Be sure you try on all different styles to see what is most comfortable to you and offers the options you prefer.

2. Different brands fit in different ways. For example, Citizens of Humanity and Paige jeans are usually most flattering on a curvy body type. Also the bootcut fit tends to be more flattering for a curvy figure. Chip & Pepper Jeans are typically most flattering on straighter body types. A bootcut fit is also flattering on a straight figure, as is a slim leg fit.
We are finally seeing designer denim available in petite sizing. It has taken a long time, but they are beginning to produce petite sized maternity denim and that is a great thing for those of us not blessed in the height department! Again, try on all different styles to see which fit is perfect for your body type.

3. Sizing is everything! Designer denim is sized by waist size. But - again, not all denim is created equal, so you might be different sizes in different styles of jeans. It is important for your denim to fit snugly in the dressing room. This is because all denim stretches and if it is not snug in the dressing room, by the time you wear them a while and stretch them out naturally, your jeans will be loose and sagging and unflattering.

That being said, because you are pregnant, your body is growing, so it is important to buy with the idea that you are growing and want to be able to wear these jeans the entire length of your pregnancy. The basic rule of thumb is to buy up one size from your regular size for maternity denim.

Another thing to consider is where you would naturally gain weight. If you naturally gain weight in your hips and thighs, you definitely want to buy up one size to get the most wear out of your denim. If you normally do not gain in hips and thighs and tend to gain more in chest and upper body area, you may be safe to stick to your regular size. I gain in chest and stomach area and was able to stay in the same size denim for both pregnancies.

Trying on is, again, key to making the best decision. Allow The Swanky Stork staff to assist you. They are trained in helping you pick out the best denim, with the best fit for your body type.

4. Pick a wash that is most suitable to your style. Denim comes in "washes" which is another word for the color of the denim. Washes range from very light to very dark. A lighter wash is very trendy this season and works great for casual wear. A darker wash is classic and stylish and also works great for casual wear, but is also able to be dressed up for dressier evenings out, etc.

Know that designer denim is worth the investment and there is a perfect pair of designer denim out there for you no matter what your size or body type. We are happy to assist you in the process of selecting what is best for you and are trained on each denim style available at The Swanky Stork and will work to get that perfect fit for you. We have the largest selection of designer denim in the state!! Come in check it out!