Thursday, August 29, 2013

Part II: Not-So-Secret Secret - Guidelines for Non-Maternity 'Maternity'

{Shirt: Gap (old - not maternity!) - sim, Shell: KikiRiki, Skirt: A Pea in the Pod (old) - sim, Hat: J.Crew Factory (old) - sim, Sunnies, Necklace: Gift from D - love this version!, Shoes, Bracelets: J.Crew Factory (old) - sim, INPINK - c/o (old) - sim, Francescas (old) - sim, J.Crew, Lips: Damned}

As promised, (admit it, the anticipation was killing you!) from my Not-So-Secret Secret post: guidelines for maternity dressing sans maternity clothing (for the most part). I've really only focused on tops since most of my skirts are maternity. I had no problem purchasing some basic skirts to get me through my entire pregnancy and I wear them everyday. I rotate between a couple different denim (a more casual light wash and a darker, dressier wash), a couple structured knee-length black skirts and several fitted knit skirts both colored and black. I know a lot of people like the loose fold-over waist knit skirts, but those are the kind I wear to they gym and therefore I can't wear them as 'real clothes'. But that's just me...nothing against them for those who like 'em :) 

1. Tunic-style tops can be your best friend!
However, now is NOT the time for the big, flowy, muumuu versions (even if you're the type who can wear those normally without looking like a tent). Stick to more fitted ones, obviously staying within your comfort zone. Fun patterns and embellishments are always a plus and can help camouflage an early pregnancy and the extra length will be necessary to cover the bump as it grows. Try to steer clear of empire waists - these can make week 8 look like month 8...yikes! Make sure there is room for a growing belly, so size up a size if you need to. Thanks to recent trends, oversized shirts have been in style for the past few years so you'll be able to wear these post baby...always a plus :) With fall approaching, tunics are now everywhere so this is a great time for dressing a pregnant belly. With so many options out there, you can keep your same pre-pregnancy style or step outside your comfort zone and experiment dressing your new body! Look for tunics with cute pockets, casual stripes, mixed textures, bold patterns, subtle details, edgy, colorful, or keep it simple and neutral :)

2. Cardigans - wear 'em now, wear 'em later!
The great thing about cardigans is that you don't (necessarily) have to size up, so these will stand the test of time in your closet. A couple of maternity tanks (embellishments like this or this add extra interest to an otherwise bland tank) or blouses (solid, print, basic) will help you get great mileage out of cardis. Making sure that everything can mix and match will give you tons of different looks with only a few of each type of piece. Plus cardis can do double duty once you have the baby to layer over nursing tanks (let's be honest, clothing designed for nursing is just plain ugly!) They're great to keep things covered as best as possible when feeding the baby and give the versatility of 'easy access' :) Since cardis don't have to close while pregnant (or even after!), the choices are endless and you can get great end-of-season deals.
So many options: Cashmere, faux-leather, boyfriend, elbow-patch, colorblock, sporty, animal print, waterfall, belted, blanket-wrap...I could go on and on, but you get the idea!

3. 'Glammed-Up' Sweatshirts
It can be soooo tempting to just throw on oversized sweatshirts especially on those days when you're feeling especially crummy/exhausted/huuuge...but there's a better option that's just as comfy! Sweatshirts have come along way from the alma mater-emblazoned hoodies from high school/college days. Fun texture, flirty ruffles, sparkly sequins, lace overlays and interesting details really dress up these sweatshirts making them pass as 'real clothes' when all you really want are your pjs. Size up as necessary and have a bit of an oversized feel post-baby.

4. The 'Other Side' of the Closet!
That's right...your dude's duds :) More specifically his button-downs. Thank recent trends again for this one as oversized button-downs are definitely of-the-moment. I borrowed one of D's basic white button-downs for this look...but don't stop there. As fall approaches don't be shy about borrowing his chambrays, tartans and ginghams!

I am sure you, dear readers, also have your own tips and tricks for dressing your baby bumps - so let's hear 'em!

As always (and I'm sorry that I don't say it nearly enough!) thanks for reading :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Not-So-Secret Secret

{Top: Anthropologie (sold out) - sim, Skirt: Mimi - simWatch, Sunnies, Shoes: J.Crew (old) - sim, Lips: Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil}

Definitely part of the 'lucky' group of women for whom pregnancy comes easy, I can honestly say that I love being pregnant. Sure, like everyone, I have my better days and my worse days (a morning of food poisoning last week was definitely a worse day!), but in general I tend to sail through my pregnancies with a good amount of energy and few negative side symptoms, thank G-d. 

One of the things that I do find annoying about pregnancy (and this should be my worst problem, I know!) is the maternity sartorial choices...or lack thereof. Sure there are gorgeous maternity labels out there but man, they cost a pretty penny. I just don't find it worth it to 'invest' in such items considering their rather short shelf-life. Cheaper maternity options have been great for some basics in my wardrobe up to a certain extent, but they tend to show their wear quickly.

When I was pregnant with Yishai, I would clearance shop at some of my favorite maternity retailers, trying to anticipate size and what would work as my pregnancy progressed and my baby bump grew. While I got some amazing deals and this could definitely be a good option for some, I ended up with a bunch of things, tags still attached, that never fit properly (how was I supposed to know that I would only gain 13 lbs?).
I recently sent all of them (+ some gently used winter maternity items - hello FL!) to a good friend in Israel expecting her first child so they definitely have a good home now :)

Ok, so now that I've ruled out purchasing expensive investment items and cheaper maternity labels (basics notwithstanding), you're probably wondering what I'm left with. 

Here's my not-so-secret secret: buy non-maternity clothing!

So I'm totally gonna leave you hanging with this post...but fear not! I'm going to dedicate a full post to shopping for cute, flattering, (modest), budget-friendly non-maternity maternity duds :) So stay tuned!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Modest Spotlight: Stasia Bridal

Perpetually on the hunt for modest clothing, I love learning about new websites designed to make modest dressing easier. Unfortunately, I find that most of the modest clothing website options have a serious 'frump factor'. It is really hard to find cute, stylish clothing that doesn't require layers underneath or over the top to meet personal modesty requirements. 

I don't think I felt this phenomenon more so than when I was wedding dress shopping. As a bride, you are the center of attention and as such, all eyes are on THE dress. D and I got married just over four years ago and to this day I can still say that I never really loved my dress. I scoured the Internet for modest bridal sites but the ones I found had pretty plain-Jane dresses and few customizable options. I ended up purchasing my dress from a regular website and having it altered to 'build up' the neckline and line the sheer sleeves.

Ladies, let me tell y'all, you are in luck now! Let me introduce you to Stasia Bridal: a new, modest bridal website that I seriously wish existed when I was dress shopping.

Here's how they describe themselves:
"Stasia Modest Couture is the first bridal company to give you, the bride, the power to create your perfect bridal gown at an affordable cost. Stasia's unique custom design process allows you to choose from over 1000 different combinations to create your ideal gown. Stasia is also unique as it specializes in custom made modest gowns that cater to women who want to look absolutely stunning on their wedding day with a more modest and regal look. Our beautiful and modest gowns meet the religious needs, requirements, and customs of Jewish, Muslim, and Latter Day brides. Our entire team is committed to meeting your bridal needs. We look forward to working with you to create your dream gown."

 A quick glance around the site definitely proves their description accurate. Jewish and Muslim modesty standards tend to be more strict than most other religions and where other websites fail to provide options within the stricter boundaries, Stasia succeeds! They have so many customizable options and I love how they ditched the 'frump factor' in favor of glamorous options. The ladies at Stasia sent me these images of dresses that have already been customized and ordered and I have to say, the brides to whom these dresses belong are going to be stunning on their wedding day! (If I could go back in time four years...)

 I love the lines of the cut on the above dress - sleek and interesting at the same time!
The little 'peek-a-boo' on the back of this dress is just too cute!

These two dresses couldn't be more different and with the great customizable options that Stasia provides, the possibilities are (almost) endless. The virtual 'dressing room' allows you build the dress of your dreams piece by piece - bodice, sleeves, skirt, bolero, sash, and color - and see it put together on the model. You can even change the background to imagine yourself at your wedding venue - too cute!

Here's my pick:

I love the coverage paired with all of the lace!

Now for the BEST part:

Stasia Bridal is generously offering 10% off your entire purchase to Modestly Fashioned readers! 

Use the code MF10 by December 31, 2013 at Stasia Bridal

If you're not a bride-to-be yourself, share this with your friends, family, future sisters-in-law...anyone you know who might be interested in an affordable, couture modest wedding dress :)

FTC Full Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post and all opinions are my own, however MF will receive a commission from every purchase with this coupon code.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nursery Details

I did my best to pick apart the pieces of the nursery and where they all came from, but if there's something I forgot and you're curious about, leave a comment and I'll try to update the post as soon as possible :)

For the DIY items that I put asterisks (**) next to, I'll be doing full posts with tutorials (or linking to the original tutorial as well -- hey, gotta give credit where credit is due!).

Paint Color: Valspar Signature in Sea Breath

Crib: Munire Majestic Full Panel Flat Top - Gift from Grandma & Grandpa (D's Parents)

Recliner: Raymour & Flanigan Outlet Store

Bookshelf: Ikea Hemnes (scored it from the as-is section for waaay less!)

DresserIkea Hemnes (in black-brown, obviously)

Dresser Knobs: all Anthropologie

** Sunburst Mirrors: DIY'd by me (tutorial to come!)

Diaper GenieBuyBuyBaby

Small Cube BookshelfIkea Expedit

Baskets: Ikea (can't find the link)

Lamp: Target

Lamp ShadeTarget

iHome: Bed Bath & Beyond clearance

Birdcage and Owl Candle: Homegoods

** YISHAYA Letters: DIY'd by me (plain wooden letters from A.C. Moore)

Fairy Needlepoint: Made by Yishai's Nana (my mom originally made this for my baby nursery - reframed at A.C. Moore)

Crib Blanket: (in Harbor Gray)

Crib BumperCarousel Designs

Crib SheetCarousel Designs

** 'Little Man' Art: DIY'd by me

Elephant ClockDecoylab

Life PreserverAmazon

Yishaya Stool: Gift from a friend (found here)

** Hamper: DIY'd by me (tutorial here)

** Ombre Chevron Curtains: DIY'd by me (tutorial coming soon!)

Curtain Rod: Bed Bath & Beyond

4 Foot Giraffe: Gift from Nana and Papa (my parents) - Melissa and Doug

Piggy Bank Tzedakah Box: Painted by D and me at Little Shop of Crafts (Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Painted Mask: Souvenir from our trip to Rome Dec. 2012

Dog Bookends: Target

'Jacob' Bear: Gift from my Grandpa (Jacob is Yishai's english name)

FoxAnthropologie (Chanukkah gift from Mommy and Tati)

Lion: Gift from D's Aunt and Uncle

Chain PullLowe's

I'll be updating as the rooms comes together a bit more with pictures and links/tutorials. If I forgot anything that you're curious about, let me know :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Nursery...a work in progress :)

Generally speaking, it is a custom for Orthodox Jews not to do much (if any) preparation for a new baby in order to avoid the 'evil eye'. It's essentially a Jewish superstition, that like any superstition, some people take very seriously and others don't see the point (and everywhere in between).

D and I, for the most part, did little preparation until the very end of my pregnancy. Neither of us having family in the area, we had to do some things ourselves that a lot of our friends relied heavily on family members to take care of. We mostly focused on the super important stuff - buying and installing a car seat, pre-ordering a crib (to be delivered after the baby was born), making sure we had a few items of clothing/diapers/basic toiletries ready, and since we didn't know the gender, making tentative bris milah plans should we have a boy (spoiler alert: we did ;)).

I was pretty obsessed with Pinterest before pregnancy, but my preggo obsession was a whole new monster :) But it was soooo hard to search for nursery inspiration, know that not only could I not start curating the nursery of my dreams, but that I couldn't even pin the images I loved for future reference (if I only knew about secret boards then, oh man!).

After Yishai was born, it definitely took a bit of time to get into the 'new momma groove' and the nursery planning definitely took a back seat to, ya know, keeping the baby alive! (i kid, no really). Once we got into a rhythm (and then adjusted to new schedule changes) I finally had my opportunity and boy was I ready! I knew that I wanted to add my own personal touches in the form of DIY projects (and really, my 'champagne-taste-beer-budget' predilections meant I had to make some of the items I desired) and I'll post tutorials of everything I made (if I haven't already).

Yishai's (and soon the be the new baby's as well) nursery is very much still a work in progress. I have ideas in my mind (and now on a secret pinterest board!) that still need to come to fruition, but I like to think that that's one of the nice things about having our kids so close in age -- I can add to the nursery, make some new things with the new baby in mind, and having be an ever-evolving project :)

The nursery, D and I both agree, is definitely our favorite room in our home. During the day, it has really beautiful natural light (when the blackout curtains are opened :)) and in the evening the lamp illuminates with such a soft, warm glow making the spacious area a calm, serene oasis. I could sit in that recliner, cuddling my sweet boy for hours and I look forward to bonding time with my future little one, G-d willing.

Stay tuned for follow-up posts with all the details and DIYs :)