Shop Talk

IN TRANSITION: Senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne adjusts to baby bump style

I couldn’t hide it any longer: I was sporting a baby bump and my clothing had to adapt in a serious way.

Yes, a belly band worked for awhile to keep the jeans in rotation, and maternity tights with high-waisted dresses are an option. But after too many hectic mornings changing outfits and a few wardrobe malfunctions, combined with winter weather, I realized a major style overhaul was required. I needed to toss out old style rules to make way for new wardrobe staples; I had to trade my  heels for ballet flats and boots — the baby inside called for comfort (and safety).

At week 23, the baby is the size of a papaya. Try hiding that in a sleek sheath dress!

I decided it was time to head to AMH Style. Not only does my pocketbook prevent me from buying an entire closet full of maternity-specific clothing, but last time I visited for a chat with owner Alison Hughes she was aglow with style — and bouncing a newborn on her arm. “It’s all smoke and mirrors,” she said that day.

I had already made a run for the border to Target, which has a pretty decent selection of maternity clothing. I picked up some tops and tights — as well as some great advice from a pal who has already been there: don’t invest in maternity clothes. “You’re never going to wear those clothes again.”

And my mom took me to Winners, but that was before the mid-day hot flashes. Now those long-sleeves don’t seem doable. (In fact, I was so enamoured with the long tanks that I splurged on a couple from Ça Va de Soi.)

When I arrived at AMH Style, I was dressed in what was beginning to look like my maternity uniform: long cardigan, tights with a comfortable waistband, scarf, long tank top. Alison gave me her thumbs up.

After swapping pregnancy stories, we made our way through the store and picked out long tops, high-waisted dresses, and shirts that would work for breast-feeding. I guess I’m not quite ready for the next step of this style transition, because I left the wraps and deep v-necks in the changeroom, but I loved the fact that she understood the need for cozy fabrics and affordable, office-appropriate pieces. In the end I left with a sweater dress, which I’m hoping isn’t going to be too warm for my office, and a long, breezy top that should work with tights and the one skirt that has made it to month five.

Perhaps most interesting, though, was the coat. The bright red swing coat from Mexx might not be fit for frigid weather, but it offers room to layer, makes me feel fabulous, and didn’t cost me a bundle. And this was one aspect of maternity wear that I was really starting to sweat over (metaphorically). I had already made a trip to Milkface to pick up a bathing suit and check out the coat selection, and there were literally two coats available. Neither in my size, no more to come this season. But Alison assured me that a maternity coat is not necessarily the smartest investment, and I’m feeling pretty great swinging down the street in my $40 find.

Since visiting AMH I’ve found a long dress at American Apparel and an LBD from H&M that, surprisingly, works with the bump. Soon I’ll be making a trip to  Thyme for another pair of tights. Any other suggestions?

— OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne