The Times Union

Maternity Outfits Can Be Time to Experiment

By SUZANNE S. BROWN
The Times Union

July 30, 2005; Page D3

Britney Spears is known for exposing her belly, but when earlier this
summer she bared her pregnant tummy in an outfit that consisted of a bra top
and a low-slung skirt, tongues wagged.
Spears was then photographed July 10 at the premiere of “Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory” wearing an aqua T-shirt announcing “I have the golden
ticket, ” with an arrow pointing toward the baby in her tummy.
Tacky? Cute? How are fashion observers and fans weighing in on the public
displays of motherhood?
“It’s just gross,” says Kelley McConnell, who’s expecting her first child
in November. “Then again, she’s in her early 20s, and I’m 36 years old.”
“We’re completely behind seeing pregnancy as a beautiful thing, but not
to the revealing extreme Britney has taken it,” says Janci Frisby, one of
the owners of Belly maternity wear store in Denver.
“Many of the women we dress are young, hipster moms, and we also dress
newscasters, artists, judges and doctors,” says Frisby. “They all show their
form off now, but they’re not naked.”
Frisby viewed Spears’ belly-baring as “fairly tasteless,” adding, “I
don’t know who can get away with that.”
Julia Beck, founder of Forty Weeks (http://www.fortyweeks.com), a
marketing company catering to companies selling maternity and child products
and services, is more diplomatic. She views Spears’ maternity mode as an
extension of the celebrity’s Bohemian, offbeat style but thinks Spears’
appearance could be improved with less bareness and more layering.
“I thought the T-shirt was fun, expressive and youthful,” Beck says. “She
has stayed in the quintessential Britney look – wearing gauzy fabrics and
peasant skirts, and a lot of lingerie cuts.
“There are a lot of ways to be super feminine and sexy without going for
broke,” adds Beck, citing Jennifer Garner and Heidi Klum as other
celebrities who have looked fashionable during their pregnancies.
Beck recommends Spears and other expectant mothers look at how they
support their new figure and wear tank tops with shelf bras. Layering with
shrugs and ponchos are good ways to finish an outfit, she adds.
It’s also a good idea to focus attention on the upper part of their body
by wearing halter-type necklines.
“Most women are flattered by it because your shoulders don’t change at
all when you’re pregnant, and your breasts and arms still look good,” Beck
says.
Women don’t have to abandon the style they’re used to when they get
pregnant, because designers and manufacturers are translating current trends
into maternity wear, say retailers and fashion observers.
And in many cases, women find the labels they love offering maternity
wear.
“We have maternity jeans by Earl, Citizens for Humanity and Seven,”
Frisby says. “Diane von Furstenberg and Chaiken also have separate maternity
lines.”
Then again, some women find their changing figures give them a license to
experiment, says Frisby, who has three children. “They feel the freedom to
do it. I don’t normally wear strapless tops, but when I was pregnant with my
twins, I loved stretchy strapless tops over jeans.”