Tips to Style Your Bump from 'Ripe Maternity' and Yours Truly

 Photos: Anna Kooiman, Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia, Emma Wand Photography

Photos: Anna Kooiman, Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia, Emma Wand Photography

Anna Kooiman annakooiman.com fitness travel lifestyle pregnancy fashion style australia usa new york charlotte la los angeles nyc nc north carolina

Now that I'm in my 9th month of pregnancy, I feel like I finally have maternity fashion figured out! Ha! But I have to say in the first few months, there was a lot of trial and error. It's a funny spot for all of us first time mommies to be in. First we notice that we just look a little thick, bloated, or chubby and we don't know how to keep looking and feeling great in the fashion realm. We also don't know what we need to buy and what we can skip in order to save some cash.

Then once the big bump actually comes in, we enjoy feeling our bub kick, twist, and turn in our tummies... and also enjoy people knowing we are pregnant and not just packing on the pounds!  We are then left to figure out what we can wear that will accentuate our cute baby belly, and conceal some of the less flattering body changes that come along with pregnancy. We are also again left wondering what maternity fashion pieces to invest in and which ones to pass on to save time, money, and precious closet space!

So what has worked for me? I have found the two pairs of maternity jeans I invested in early on have each been worn about 1,000 times. I have a few body con dresses that I have worn for television gigs, parties, or nice dinners. Long flowy dresses with empire waists have also been a staple - particularly as I have been getting bigger and more uncomfortable! In fact, as I creep toward due day, my fashion has really been heading in this direction! ! When I'm not in activewear, I am almost 100% of the time in a long dress and Birkenstocks. This combo covers up my fluid filled legs and ankles - and supports my aching feet! I have also found BIG accessories work wonders with a simple black dress.

Anna Kooiman annakooiman.com fitness travel lifestyle pregnancy fashion style australia usa new york charlotte la los angeles nyc nc north carolina

As you will notice from my social media posts, I have had a lot of luck at Ripe Maternity. The clothing is good quality, on trend, and many pieces can double as nursing attire once baby arrives.

Below you will find a Q and A with the co-founder and creative director of Ripe Maternity, Lisa Balakas.

ANNA: What are the advantages of buying maternity clothes rather than just buying a size or two bigger than you normally wear?

LISA: Comfort and confidence! Not having to worry about how much longer your pants will fit or feeling uncomfortable when your tops and getting too short will mean you can get on with your day and celebrate what is such an exciting time in your life.

ANNA: Do you buy the same size in maternity clothes or do you go up a size from your normal size?

LISA: Yes, we always recommend starting with your pre-pregnancy size. Our clothes are designed for your growing bump and changing body.

ANNA: What investment pieces should pregnant women definitely buy?

LISA: Our Isla Jeans are a great one to invest in early. You will get a lot of wear out of them and will still be wearing them post pregnancy. We recommend buying versatile, basic pieces you can wear with some of your fave pre-pregnancy items in the early stages, while you get your head around the changes your body is going to go through.  The Suzie Pant is a great well priced basic that will take you from your desk to dinner, while the Ali Top & The Swingback Maxi Dress will take you through from early stages to nursing.

Anna Kooiman annakooiman.com fitness travel lifestyle pregnancy fashion style australia usa new york charlotte la los angeles nyc nc north carolina red dress

ANNA: What are the best cuts/styles to show off our new figure?

LISA: Bodycon dresses like our Cocoon Tank Dress and Stripe Nursing Dressare so, so popular! They look like regular dresses you would normally wear but feature side seam gathering for the perfect fit through all stages. They’re also cut from high quality jersey knit fabrics that will last the distance and recover well so you can wear them post pregnancy too.

ANNA: Do maternity jeans/pants sit below the bump or go over the bump?

LISA: Both! It’s really a person preference. Some women like an under-bump waistband to begin and an over-bump band for extra support towards the end, or vice versa. Our Isla Jeans are our best-selling under-bump style. And for an over-bump style, we would recommend our Rebel Jegging.

ANNA: Can a tight waistband hurt the baby?

LISA: A tight waistband won’t hurt the baby, but it might hurt you! With so many cool and comfy maternity options out there with stretchy waistbands, we think they’re worth the investment.

ANNA: Pregnancy shape-wear like Spanks are becoming more popular, what are the pros and cons?

Anna Kooiman annakooiman.com fitness travel lifestyle pregnancy fashion style australia usa new york charlotte la los angeles nyc nc north carolina red dress

LISA: Some people find compression wear restrictive while others like a little extra support. It’s really a person preference. Our Seamless Support Shorts and Briefs are some of our most popular styles for pregnancy. They aren’t uncomfortably tight but provide extra support. OurRecovery Shorts and Briefs provide support and a smooth silhouette post pregnancy. They will also help you gain confidence and assist your return to exercise.

ANNA: Why do we need maternity bras and when do we need to buy them?

LISA: While it may be tempting to make do with the bras you have, it's best to invest in a few good maternity bras. Your growing breasts deserve some comfy support! We suggest getting fitted for a maternity bra at 12 weeks and then again between 29-32 weeks.

Anna Kooiman annakooiman.com fitness travel lifestyle pregnancy fashion style australia usa new york charlotte la los angeles nyc nc north carolina
Anna Kooiman annakooiman.com fitness travel lifestyle pregnancy fashion style australia usa new york charlotte la los angeles nyc nc north carolina

ANNA: For ladles hesitant to spend money on a whole new wardrobe, what are your top 5 must have maternity items?

LISA:

  1. A basic, versatile black pant like our Suzie Pants
  1. Comfy jeans, that look just like regular jeans Isla Jeans
  2. Our Nursing Tube Dress is simple and versatile. It will take you from early on all the way through to nursing.
  3. Simple fitted tops with a little extra length will feel so comfortable and supportive as your body changes. We recommend our Ali Up/Down Nursing TankTube Tank and Embrace Tee. Take your pick!
  4. Every wardrobe needs a pair of leggings, right? For during the day or as sleepwear, our Basic Ankle Leggings feature an extra soft waistband.
AnnaKooiman.com Anna Kooiman Lisa Balakas Ripe Maternity prenatal fashion pregnancy style

 Lisa Balakas is the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Ripe Maternity.

Good friends Lisa Balakas and Kate Beaconsfield launched the Australian maternity and nursing brand Ripe a little over 20 years ago. After having kids, Lisa was frustrated by the lack of fashionable maternity clothing available and felt it was time for a change.

Ripe was born in 1995 out of a desire to provide pregnant women and nursing mothers with fashionable clothing that would support their lifestyle and allow them to celebrate what is such a special and exciting time in their life. The Australian start-up has evolved into an award winning go-to label for expecting mums around the world.