Category Archives: Stuff I’ve Learnt

Stuff I’ve Learnt – Hiding a Baby Belly

Before we get started, let me say that I LOVE the look of a pregnant belly. I love its satisfying roundness and the promise of new life that accompanies. But there are certainly times when looking pregnant is not so desirable – maybe you’re trying to keep a low profile during your first trimester, perhaps you’ve only recently given birth and your tummy hasn’t shrunk back as quickly as you’d hoped, or possibly you’re sporting a post-Christmas “food baby”.

If you’re pregnant with your first baby you probably won’t need too many of my tips below as your bump will be nice and compact (although a useful heads-up if you’re planning pregnancy: the expanding body part you’ll need to accommodate first is most likely your breasts, not your tummy).  If you’re anything like me though, with abdominal muscles that never recovered after the first baby, your body may want to display your pregnancy before you are quite ready. I’m pleased to announce that I’m now 13 weeks pregnant with baby #3, but let me tell you it’s been a challenge to try to disguise my growing belly these last few weeks!

The standard rules still apply – try to stand with good posture (you don’t need to tell me how impossible that is if you’re suffering morning sickness). You might choose to wear a firm fitting (not uncomfortably tight) singlet underneath to smooth out your stomach. Other than that, my main technique for disguising my tummy is to create “explainable volume”. There is no way I can just suck in my tummy at this stage, so instead I try to create an outfit where a casual observer might assume that the little extra volume around the middle is simply due to the way my clothes are sitting. (And possibly a few too many desserts?)
(All photos below taken on the same day at 13 weeks pregnant.)

Hiding A Baby Belly (1) Hiding A Baby Belly (2)

The jeans I’m wearing here are maternity jeans – you know the ones, with the big stretchy panel instead of a proper waistband. I deliberately chose ones with belt loops so I can still wear a belt, then I tuck the front of a loose top into the belt. This creates the illusion I am wearing jeans with a normal waistband instead of maternity stretchy ones. The tucked top creates a little extra shape around the waist while naturally puffing out slightly at the front – this is my “explainable volume”. (A belt would also be useful if you aren’t at the stage of needing maternity pants but maybe need to leave the top button undone on your regular jeans.)

Hiding A Baby Belly (3) Hiding A Baby Belly (4)

I tend to grow out of my regular jeans pretty quickly, but can wear some of my skirts for a few extra weeks. Particularly if the skirt is a looser fit normally – if it normally sits closer to your hips, now it will just sit closer to your waist. In this photo, nobody would know that I couldn’t zip my skirt all the way to the top as it’s hidden under my stretchy belt! I also prefer to wear a printed top as it provides some extra distraction, but I’d go for florals or an abstract pattern rather than something geometric like stripes.

Hiding A Baby Belly (5) Hiding A Baby Belly (6)

Tying your bump in a bright green bow doesn’t seem like the most sensible option to hide it, but in this case the bow becomes “explainable volume”. The bow does stick out, but it always has every other time I’ve worn it too so doesn’t arouse suspicion. In fact it draws attention to itself rather than the tummy behind it. (And it does indeed cover up some of the bumpy bits.)

As always you need to dress for your own body and there are certainly many other clothing options to experiment with. I steer clear of baby doll styles as I feel like these make me look pregnant on a skinny-non-pregnant day, but if they are a style you are comfortable with then go for it. If you have been blessed with a generous bust size then you can probably get away with simply wearing a loose top untucked that flows past your tummy – one of my well-endowed friends managed to hide her second pregnancy until 20 weeks wearing loose tops and a distracting chunky statement necklace. (I personally can’t get away with this as my tummy sticks out further than my chest from early on in pregnancy.)

I’ve struggled to hide my bump through summer time, but it’s definitely easier in the cooler weather. Flowing cardigans, open blazers, and best of all scarves! Use them all to your advantage. Maybe try a monochromatic outfit in dark neutrals (black, grey, navy) then add a pop of colour to pull the eye away from your stomach – bright red shoes, a chunky yellow necklace, or a bright pink purse.

And in case you were wondering, here’s how to proudly showcase your bump once you’re finally ready for the world to see – get rid of the firm fitting singlet, belt above the bump and enjoy :)

Hiding A Baby Belly (7) Hiding A Baby Belly (8)

Good luck :)

Stuff I’ve Learnt – Swapping Accessories

I’ve already talked specifically about belts and scarves, but today I want to extol the virtues of accessories in a general sense. Previously I’d placed accessories firmly in the category of “optional”, but now I understand how useful they can be in a functional wardrobe. Turns out it’s possible to change the look and feel of outfits super quickly by just swapping around some of your accessories.

Many people would find this useful when transforming an outfit from day to night, or from work to play. It’s pretty rare that I need to transition a single outfit for multiple occasions, so for me playing with accessories is mainly about extending my outfit possibilities and getting the most wear out of my existing wardrobe.

The exact same t-shirt and jeans. Boring by themselves, but a great base for accessories. Here are two different vibes – bright and cheerful, and calming neutrals.
Pockets And Belt (1)Quest for a Functional Wardrobe - A Slight Relief
Necklace swapped for earrings, navy belt swapped for red, bright shoes swapped for neutral. It’s obviously still the same dress, but the balance of the outfit is completely changed.
Subtle StatementStatement Earrings Dare (1)
The same lace top with cobalt jeans. Different coloured singlets worn underneath the top alters the visual texture, while tucking it into a belt modifies the shape.
Lace Dare (1)Pumped (1)
Again, this is obviously the same dress in each photo. But each time it feels fresh and exciting to ME, which means it gets worn a whole lot more often than it would otherwise!

Bright yellow belt and colourful scarf

Bright yellow belt and colourful scarf

Simple and clean

Simple and sophisticated

Orange Twist (1)

Bright belt and shoes

Bright Dare (1)

Green sash and white heels

Black Belt (1)

Wide black belt and funky shoes

Stuff I’ve Learnt – Scarves

Another thing I’ve learnt on my quest for a functional wardrobe is that scarves are awesome. I’m really not sure how I didn’t realise this before. I used to own a handful of scarves that I pretty much never wore – now my collection has at least doubled and I’m looking forward to when the weather cools down again and I can bring them out to play!

Here are some of the ways I’ve used scarves so far:

Red And PinkTo add interest to a plain outfit.
Cafe DayTo complete an outfit without needing jewellery that babies are just going to try to eat anyway.
Mix It Up (1)Print mixing for beginners!
A Little Bit Of SunshineTo slowly introduce colours or prints you aren’t used to. I used this scarf to help ease me into wearing yellow, and I may one day do the same with a leopard print scarf. Maybe.
Musical Trampolines (1)To keep warm when going to the park on a freezing day. Obvious? Yes, but I wasn’t doing this before!
Life's A MusicalA low-commitment way to experiment with strange colour combinations.
Feeling Thrifty (1)To add sophistication to an outfit with bold colour pairings.
Brooch Dare (3)To use as a platform for other accessories, like this brooch.
And last, but not least, to match colours that I wouldn’t normally think to put together. Thank you cute elephant scarf!
Unpack Your Trunk (4)Seaside (4)More Pink (3)

Stuff I’ve Learnt – Tuck It

When I had barely entered my teenage years I decided it was definitely not cool to tuck tops into bottoms. I’m uncertain if this was in fact sage advice for the 90’s, or if I was just doing some small-scale rebellion against my Mum. Nevertheless, since that time I haven’t tucked my tops in. Ask me what other bits of my own teenage advice I still agree with and I’d be hard pressed to think of any, so when Audrey from Putting Me Together suggested I give it a go it certainly seemed worth a shot.

Now I’m not saying this is for everyone and every body type, but it’s certainly worked well for me so chances are it will for some of you too. I might not tuck a top in every time I wear it (so I can vary the look a bit), and there are definitely some tops that don’t tuck well, but most of the time you’ll see me tucked in.

Here are some of the reasons I’m now a converted “tucker”:

Most skirts look better balanced with a short top. If you’re like me you would generally choose longer tops for coverage (I’m talking reaching up high and bending over), so then when you go to wear a skirt you find none of your tops look quite right. This is where tucking comes in – magically transforms a long top into a short one. Genius.
tweak_1Washing DayCheatTwo's Company (1)Curl Dare (2)Red Nail Polish and Vintage Dares (1)Braid Dare (2)Necklace Stack Dare (1)
One way you can easily look more polished in casual clothes is by adding an accessory or two. Belts are one of my favourite accessories – they don’t dangle or irritate me and are much less likely to get pulled apart and eaten by babies. In order to let your belt shine, it must be seen, so tuck your top into your pants!Ditched The UniformExpect The Best (1)Out Of Order (1)Blue Stripes And Red (2)Why NotAnother Brick In The Wall (1)On Your Head Dare (2)A New Hairstyle Dare (2)
You don’t need to fully commit, often a partial tuck is enough to add some shape and interest to your outfit.Pleats And Pearls (1)Turtles (2)Black, White and Red (2)Rings, Rings, Rings Dare (3)
I’ve found that my most successful post-baby-tummy-hiding outfit is a loose or flowy top tucked in. It avoids contact with a squishy belly whilst still looking neat and not sack-like. I imagine this would be equally useful for food-baby-hiding and early-pregnancy-hiding.
Blue And White (1)Pink And Navy (2)Spicy Island (3)Floral (1)Seaside (1)Animal Print Dare (1)All Black Dare (1)Eyeliner Dare (1)
And how else would I be able to pretend I am wearing a dress and not a top and skirt?
Breakfast At Tiffany's Dare (2)

Stuff I’ve Learnt – Belts

One of the really useful things I’ve learnt so far on my quest for a functional wardrobe is how to use belts. I have to give a lot of credit to Audrey from Putting Me Together for this, she definitely got the ball rolling for me! Here are some of the ways I’ve used belts so far:

Denim Dare (1)A skinny belt over a flowy top to create a defined waistline (also shortens a long torso and lengthens the legs).
Breakfast At Tiffany's Dare (2)A wide belt to define the waistline and create a neat top for a skirt that doesn’t have a neat waistband. (Also would be useful for creating a barrier and distraction when a top and skirt don’t match perfectly.)
Hot Pink Lipstick Dare (2)To soften the transition between a contrasting skirt and top.
Close Enough (1)To distract from a top and bottom that don’t match perfectly.
Orange Twist (1)To accentuate the waistline of a fitted dress.
Cafe DayTo make regular jeans look that little bit nicer.
Blue And Green (1)To help different coloured shoes belong in an outfit.
Something Old Something New (1)To give shape to a loose cardi.
And last, but ABSOLUTELY NOT LEAST, to add a splash of colour to an otherwise plain outfit!
Washing DayBlue And White (1)Why NotA New Hairstyle Dare (1)