Everywhere I go, I seem to be hearing of another pregnancy. Summer has, I suppose, been the season to be jolly, and in the wake of all that holiday lovin', the stork is preparing to make a good few visits to the Nelson region.
All you pregnant women out there might be struggling to feel good about your hot flushes and nausea, not to mention the dramatic changes that happen to your body, but please be assured that I (and I'm not alone) think a woman is never more beautiful than when she is pregnant.
All this sprouting of lovely lady bumps started me thinking about maternity wear. How lucky are you lot to be pregnant, given the current fashion trends?
In mum's time, she had to make her own clothes. Nowadays you can pretty much dress as you normally do, with the likes of long tunics, stretchy tights and warm ponchos being in fashion again this autumn and winter. I understand that not everyone is blessed with a "celebrity preggy bump", and weight gain in other areas is usually apparent, but these items are great for everyone:
Tunics: Knit tunics are pregnant women's friends this winter. Luckily, they are everywhere, in whatever colour suits. The kimono sleeve is still a favourite which hides an untoned upper arm, and an uneven hemline is really cute. Mullet hems (long at the back and short at the front) are everywhere, and look great with a pregnant tummy. Just make sure the front isn't too short, as this looks a little rude when worn with tights.
Tights: Again, this trend isn't going anywhere. We love the simplicity, warmth and coverage of tights and stretchy pants. Designers are getting inventive with panels, stitching detail, and leather patches in just the right places. My favourites are the Wish pants shown on Dixie - they are really thick and comfortable, with a wide waistband.
Ponchos: Not to be confused with Ugly Betty-type ponchos, this season has heaps of stylish ponchos with flattering lines. Lots have kimono-type sleeves and are so comfortable and warm.
Shoes: This winter there will be a multitude of small, solid, low-heeled or flat-soled boots, lots at ankle height or just under the knee. Although quite a few will have laces, they should have zips also - which is great, as putting on and taking off shoes can be a struggle in the later months. Favoured colours are again browns and tans in boots. As for ballet flats or booties, there are some beautiful textures and colours to add a funky look to a plain outfit with no fuss.
Dresses: An empire line dress (gathered in seam under the bust) is ideal, but other dress designs with a trumpet skirt (with inserted triangular panels), as seen above, can be even more flattering.
Vests: Cropped vests or boleros look great to add another layer to a tunic or dress this winter, and a baby bump popping out of them is such a cute look. You will find plenty of soft fur and even feathers as well this winter.
Jeans: Here's one item you can't really cheat with if you want to be comfortable. Maternity jeans are a must - the elasticised waist and stretchy denim cotton mean you can be comfortable throughout your pregnancy, and the examples above are very affordable for the number of times you will wear them this year.
Feeling comfortable doesn't mean you have to look frumpy and wear stretch trackies, oversized sweatshirts and T-shirts. There is plenty of affordable fashionable clothing about, just waiting for you to slip that beautiful bod into. Don't worry about the size label - feeling comfortable is the most important thing. You lovely ladies know all the places in town for a wee - you now also know that the best places to shop for clothes are your usual favourite stores.