Q: I am a size 10 and a bit pear-shaped. I am 11 weeks pregnant, but because I have a small, narrow waist I am starting to show already, even though I haven't put on any weight yet.
I don't want to tell work for at least another month or so until I'm more secure in my pregnancy, but I'm afraid they are going to guess because of my growing little bump. I really don't have the clothes or any idea how to disguise it, so I need to buy a few inexpensive high-street pieces that will get me through the next few weeks. I would really appreciate any help you might have.
Fi (30) Dublin
AFirst off, resist the temptation to start buying larger-sized clothes. This might seem like the obvious thing to do to conceal your bump, but, at this stage of your pregnancy, it would only make you look bigger.
Instead, choose tops and shirts that are slightly longer and end at least one inch below your bump, such as this floral top (€30, alwear) -- this will draw attention away from your stomach.
Tops that end right at your belly will draw attention to it.
Trapeze or baby-doll-style tops that are fitted at the bust and gradually open out into an A-line shape will help. This nude top from H&M with its billowing fabric and bell sleeve (€29.95) would look super-stylish paired with fitted pants or skinny jeans and a pair of wedges.
You'd most likely prefer to stay away from heels during pregnancy, but a wedge will give you added height while offering support. Penneys has a great selection starting from €15.
In terms of dresses, draped fabrics and empire or A-line styles such as this cherry tea dress (€34.99, New Look) or this cute butterfly-pattern dress (€21, Penneys) will work best.
Q I want to update my wardrobe for spring but I have very little to spend. What accessories would you recommend to inject new life into my current wardrobe?
Jenny (25) Galway
A Spring 2011 is a riot of colour, including plenty of florals and fruit-inspired prints. On the catwalks, Miuccia Prada, Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney were all, quite literally, inspired by the fruits of spring and summer. Prada presented banana prints, while Jacobs and McCartney used a blend of citrus fruits. As always, the high street has been quick to react and you can easily update your look with some accessories. New Look has a sixpack of fruity earrings for €6.99.
Florals scream spring, so bring any outfit bang up to date with this colourful print clutch (€49, Littlewoods Ireland). A pair of rimless sunglasses (€25.50, Accessorize) or a vintage scarf-trim cloche hat (€34, Accessorize) will inject a retro vibe. Butterfly patterns are also big, and this butterfly chain necklace (€18, Doo-Lally.com) is a statement in itself.
Q I've been living a student/singlemum lifestyle and clothes shopping has been very much non-existant on my to-do list. However, I need to start shopping, and the first item on my list is an outfit for my graduation ceremony in April. Long sleeves are recommended because the gown sleeves are short. I feel there are some beautiful dresses out there, but they are more suited to younger girls. However, I don't wish to look like an ‘ol' wan’ either. I would love to be a fit-looking mum on her grad day!
A Dressing for your graduation can be tricky. It's important not to overdress — which means floorlength formal wear is completely out — but, at the same time, you don't want to under dress either; it is a festive occasion, after all.
This season, bold, block colours are popular and great for making a statement. This Jasmine Guinness crêpe tea dress (€79, Littlewoods Ireland) embraces the ‘Mad Men’ trend and is fully lined to accentuate your curves. Its fulllength sleeves will work well with your gown, and the detailing on the shoulders and buttons down the front create interest.
Likewise, this belted watercolour, floral-print dress by MaxMara Studio (€315 at House of Fraser) is elegant yet fun. Wear with black tights for additional coverage. One thing to keep in mind is the length of your gown versus the length of your skirt/dress. It's also crucial to think about your footwear, as you'll most likely be standing for a long time before the ceremony or have to walk on stage to receive your diploma, so wear something you can walk in with ease.
Above all else, it's your day and the most important thing is that you feel 100pc comfortable in whatever you decide to wear.