I know maxi dresses have been around for a few years now, but I have always resisted. They just seemed so...long and flowy and conspicuous. However, I have found that they are extremely forgiving of growing bumps, so when I found one in my favorite color (I know, gray is the most boring thing ever, but it's beautiful and versatile and I love it), I picked it up. I was beginning to have second thoughts, however. How was I going to wear this? The top is rather awkward and, without a camisole, obscene. I was wanting something to wear to work once classes start back this fall, and I rather doubted that this would work. However, since the dress came from a consignment shop, it couldn't exactly be returned. I decided to see what I could do with it.
Here is the back view, just to emphasize that the top was not going to work for creating a professional image on its own.
Look 1: Black Blazer. At this point, I can still button the top button, but it would also look fine open. I would wear this with a long silver chain necklace, which I forgot to put on for the picture.
Look 2: Blue Button Down with Brown Leather Belt. I love belts and wear them almost everyday. A friend asked how I would manage to wear them with the bump--just cinch them higher, of course! I also think my brown leather boots would work with this look.
Look 3: Long Gray Sweater. Gray on gray--love this. I am hoping I don't stretch the knit out too badly as I get bigger. Notice the strategically placed arm to actually make the bump visible. I am 20 weeks along, and although the bump shows up in person, on camera it somehow disappears.
A few thoughts on making the maxi dress (typically a casual, summer item) work for the office in the fall/winter:
1) Pick the color/print carefully. Solid charcoal gray (or black, beige, navy) can be made to seem appropriate. Bright colors and huge prints might be a bit more tricky.
2) Keep the top covered. Basically, it it going to make the dress look like a skirt. I toyed with the idea of cutting off the top and adding elastic to actually make this a skirt, but decided against it--I think it is more comfortable this way, and I don't have worry about waist band placement.
3) Choose a fitted top. To balance the long, flowiness of the dress, a more tailored piece helps. A loose top with a loose dress is going to look sloppy. A belt can make a looser top seem more fitted.
Just to point out a few things: first, none of these pieces is "maternity" and I hope/plan to wear them all again post-pregnancy. Second, this is my first pregnancy, and I have no idea how big I will get. Hopefully these (and a few other ideas that I have, some involving actual maternity wear) will see me through.
Classes start back in late August and I am due in mid-December. With teaching five days a week over the course of my third trimester in weather ranging from sweltering late summer to freezing early winter, this should be an interesting experience.