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Why Maternity Style Matters

Putting effort into maternity style will reward you in ways you never imagined!

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Why Maternity Style Matters
Nancy Ney/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Until a few decades ago, nobody would have said that maternity style matters very much. Most maternity wardrobes were built on a few men's shirts and a collection of beribboned potato sacks. Women saw fashion and pregnancy as mutually exclusive... nine long months of tents and muu-muus to endure until you were finally back in your pre-pregnancy clothes.

Thanks to the recent boom in swank bumpwear, that's no longer the case. Put your mind to it and you'll find that it's easy to separate the good from the bad and the ugly so that you, too, can fashion your own sense of maternity style. As long as you stay open-minded and ever-mindful about what you shop for and how you wear it, pregnancy is going to be a fantastic fashion experience unlike any you've ever had before.

TAKE STYLE SERIOUSLY

Perhaps you feel a little silly about taking style so seriously. The truth is, there's nothing serious about it! After all, just because you care how you look doesn't make you vain or selfish or foolish. What it does say is that you value yourself. Having a little fun with fashion is simply a way to celebrate this most superficial (albeit oh-so-satisfying) aspect of human reproduction.

Though it won't always be easy, the manner in which you choose to present yourself now - from what you wear to the way you carry yourself - should complement your miracle in the making at all times. Trust me: The better you look, the better you'll feel. And surprising though it may sound, great fashion can solve all manner of pregnancy ills. It's true, and it's a formula you can count on for the nine long months ahead.

For example:

* Humongous, aching breasts with sore nipples + the proper bra = a beautiful bosom that looks great in your new maternity wardrobe

* Weight-gain-induced body-image issues + designer denim splurge = a spring in your step

* Morning sickness + new lip gloss = feeling almost human

If any of this is beginning to make sense to you, then you're One of Us: We who fear the frumpy frocks, puerile patterns and cavernous belly pockets normally associated with maternity wear; we who wonder whether 40 weeks of pregnancy will destroy whatever hard-earned sense of style we've managed to eke out by this point in our lives; we who acknowledge that a little bit of vanity actually amounts to lot more sanity.

Welcome to the club of still giving a darn. Not only are you in good company, but you're absolutely right to care. Though it may seem a bit silly on the surface, worrying about your wardrobe might actually reflect some of the more, shall we say, substantial concerns you may be experiencing at this critical time.

FASHION PSYCHOLOGY 101

You see, continuing to care about your own needs these days is one of the best things you can do while pregnant. Think of it as an evolutionary imperative borne of your instinct for self-preservation... and a good sign you're giving the whole motherhood thing the serious consideration it deserves. As you know, life is about to get freaky at your house. Your body and mind and spirit are quite literally metamorphosing while your pre-parental identity hangs in the balance.

Questions without answers crowd your mind nearly every waking moment. What kind of mother do you want to be? How will having a kid change you? Your family? Your relationships? Will life as you know it ever be the same? Can you keep your career and your marriage on track and still be the best mom in the universe? Will you ever have time for Zumba again? Basically... will you still be you?

In many ways, pregnancy is a like dress-rehearsal for parenthood - bumps, blessings and all. A woman's personal maternity style may give us a glimpse into her mind, revealing the subconscious motivations behind her choices. She who wears her old clothes too long, for example, may soon feel uncomfortable, restricted. Is she in denial about the changes to come? Will she be able to make the necessary sacrifices parenthood entails? A woman who hides her growing belly in huge tents and shapeless shifts, on the other hand, may be shrouding who she is in the process. Will motherhood overwhelm her? Obsess her? Consume her?

She who adapts at just the right pace, however, and truly loves her pregnant body, giving it room to breathe while showcasing what makes her beautiful and unique in the process, will evolve into a seriously stylish mama who gracefully handles the changes in her life as easily as she handles the changes in her closet.

Okay, that may be stretching it a little, but you get the idea. What you wear speaks volumes about who you are, what you're feeling and where you're going, so listen up.

POP QUIZ

If you're still not sure whether maternity style warrants any serious attention in your life, ask yourself the following three questions:

1. Am I even a little bit serious about my style?

2. Do I feel better physically and mentally when I look my best?

3. Might my burgeoning belly benefit from some fashion 4-1-1?

If the answer to any or all of these questions is Yes, congratulations - 40 weeks of fun and fashion await!

If then answer to all of these questions is No, get ready for a hard truth: You may not only be in desperate need of a makeover, but this may be your last chance to get off the express train to eternal frumpdom. Why? Because if you barely care now, once your beautiful baby is born it's going to be even harder to resist the considerable charms of a short, sensible haircut and velour hoodies in every color of the rainbow.

And yes, those are bad things. Very bad things.

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