Moms everywhere know this: When it comes to being pregnant, everybody carries differently.
Nothing illustrates this better than the burgeoning bods of reality queen Kim Kardashian and future queen Kate Middleton (both reportedly scheduled to deliver around the same time). The latter is the envy of the pregnant population -- carrying gracefully, all in her tummy. She always looks classic, appropriate and beautiful. Poor Kim, who is sporting a big, allover pregnancy, has been pummeled by the press for her, shall we say, questionable wardrobe choices.
And Kim and Kate aren't the only celebs flaunting a baby bump. Penelope Cruz, expecting her second child, donned a slinky black bikini in St. Barth's not long ago. Tiny Fergie has been photographed wearing voluminous (maybe too voluminous), bright clothes; and Jessica Simpson is dressing and looking much better for baby No. 2, often wearing her own line of maternity clothes.
Like us mere mortals, pregnant celebs are just regular folks when it comes to dressing their changing bodies. Maternity style expert Liz Lange, whose collection is sold at Target, says that "no two women develop the same way." And celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch has words of encouragement: "When you're pregnant, you may not feel it, but you are naturally sexy. You don't have to sacrifice style, but you do have to shift it a little bit because, above all, comfort is key."
No matter how you're carrying, Lange has one piece of advice that works for everyone: "My big mantra, is that pregnant women look better and slimmer in fitted looks that are closer to their bodies." In other words, so long muumuus.
"She's my ideal," says Lange. "Her look is classic, timeless and feminine, and she's lucky because she's really carrying only in the stomach. She mixes high-low, Topshop with couture, and I love that, and she has single-handedly brought back the dress." For Kate types, Lange suggests slim, Empire-waist frocks to the knee, with some detail in the middle such as a knot or ruching. Also good: color, patterns and plaids.
Simpson carries frontally, too, but unlike Middleton, her bump is big and starts right below her chest (also sizable). Says Simpson, "I gravitate to styles that are sexy and stylish, but above all, comfort is key." To that end, this time around Simpson is showing a little skin but wearing easy clothes, including some from her own collection.
"I'm not jumping on the bashing Kim bandwagon," says maternity designer Lange. But she says some of the reality star's looks weren't "as flattering as they could have been." Diplomatic, indeed. If you have overall weight gain like Kardashian, "highlight length, not width," says Lange, also suggesting color blocking, darker on the bottom. A single color also works, say Lange, and avoid "peplum tops at all costs."
Petite gals like Fergie "can easily get overwhelmed by maternity clothes," says Liz Lange. "She should wear pieces that bring her figure in, showing her smaller proportions." Lange suggests flirty dresses and more-fitted maxis. Remember, says Lange, for pregnant women, its all about "proportion, proportion, proportion and using color and the right scale of print and pattern."
"She's the dramatic type, and so va-va-voom, Penelope could pull off big prints and lots of color," says Liz Lange, who recommends that people carrying like Cruz go for tie-dye and large hits of bold color. "And show a little skin when you're pregnant," says Lange. "Your naked belly is not right for the streets of New York or L.A., but for many of us, we have cleavage for the first time ever -- show it off."
HEELS? LOSE 'EM
Maternity style expert Liz Lange is loathe to criticize Kim Kardashian's style. In fact, she goes the other way, saying, "She's staying true to what she believes her personal style is, and if she feels good wearing it, I'm happy for her."
But Lange does have one serious piece of advice for Kardashian and other high-heel wearers. "Nobody likes a mile-high-style stiletto better than I do, but to me, that's a pregnancy don't. It's uncomfortable to look at and probably to wear. Nobody wants to see you off balance. Opt for a lower-wedge stacked heel or a ballet flat."
Adds celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch, "Flats are everywhere now and for fall. You'll be right in style and sooooo much more comfortable."