Building My Maternity, Office Wardrobe

When I accepted my promotion at work, I knew I'd need more than two outfits for this new job in the office. Gone are the days when I could wear three pairs of khaki pants with three different polos while treating patients as a Physical Therapist. And thank goodness for that! Realistically, I haven't donned the classic PT outfit of khakis and a polo for many years, but they still a wardrobe staple for many of my kind. It's a culture, I think. :)

To make matters more exciting, not only do I need an office wardrobe but it needs to be a maternity version right now. Maternity clothes are both awesome and awful, if you ask me. It's painful to spend money on items that you know are just temporary, since I much prefer to invest in nicer pieces that will last me 'forever'. Pretty sure that the full panel work pants I just bought will last me a few months, if I'm lucky, and the 'temporary' part of this new wardrobe is just ironic.

I did save most of my maternity clothes from the first three rounds My Bump Life, and even splurged on several newer pieces at the end of Porter's pregnancy. Having those three-year-old items to pull from are key, but some of the seven-year-old stuff from Truman's pregnancy should probably be retired for good. Many of the older clothes from 2009/2010 are for winter months, much of the 212-2014 stuff is for spring and summer....thus the need to plump up my maternity wear yet again, this time with intentions of looking professional in the office.

Let the games begin!

I've been rocking my desk job for three weeks now and I really enjoy my (brief) hours spent as Rehab Supervisor. It's all still new and challenging and exciting, and I'm finding myself prepping lunches and outfits the night before to save time in the morning. For the past three weeks, I've sort of struggled to find the 'right' outfit to wear to work. But it's not because I don't have anything to wear, since I did spend a lot of my Christmas cash on maternity clothes. I struggle because I'm not always sure how to pair the items together, how to accessorize, how to select the right shoe, and how to stay warm in a somewhat chilly building for five hours during our brutal Wisconsin winter. Basically, I just want to wear flats without socks but it's totally unrealistic in February!

I've been wanting to take pictures of my various office outfits to create a catalog of options, a visual for me when I'm selecting what to wear each night. Perhaps it could be helpful for some of you out there who are feeling less than inspired with your office attire. But mostly, I just want feedback on brown versus black boots, and which scarves look better than others. Also, any major NO WAY outfits? Any ultimate favorites?

Outfit 1 | A and B [Bling neckline top]
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Top: A Pea in the Pod | Pants: Motherhood | Booties: from my last Stitch Fix, by Steve Madden.

Thoughts: I love the top for the comfortable, flowy fit and for it's bling neckline (Cecelia is obsessed). Excellent material, super stretchy and good length. I like these pants enough, although I do feel a little strange in ankle length pants because 'high waters' are exactly the look I've tried to avoid my whole life, being 5'10". And the black ankle boots are a go-to for the office lately. I think I like the red with the black best, but I've worn both of these outfits in the past three weeks. Not sure what else to pair the gray pants with other than a black top.

Outfit 2 | A and B [favorite polka dots and red pants]
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Top: Motherhood, buy two sweaters get third free (!) | Cardigan: Motherhood, same deal | Bottoms: Motherhood | Shoes: Yosi Samra flats that you can't even see here, boo.

Thoughts: Obsessed with this sweater. Wanted to get it in a medium but the last one they had was snagged, so I got the small and am not hyper sensitive to it's length. I think this could work postpartum as well. Because it's short sleeved, I usually wear the cardigan for warmth. I love all Mr. Roger's cardigans, they are a weakness of mine. Bought the red pants to specifically go with this polka dot sweater, not going to lie. And I like I like the ankle length with flats best, but that will have to wait until April-ish so my skin doesn't get frost bite.

Outfit 3 | A and B [bright purple top that I love]
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Top: Motherhood, circa 2014 | Long necklace: Loft, circa 2013 | Cardigan: Motherhood, circa 2014 | Pants: A Pea in the Pod, current! | Shoes: Steve Madden/Stitch Fix

Thoughts: I forgot about this purple top but I really love it, it's long and simple and a nice color. The cardigan feels a little dressier and I'm always a fan of a long necklace. Now, the pants? These are my new favorite maternity pants ever. They are expensive and I really hesitated to buy them because of the $88 price tag. They are form fitting and I just know I will grow out of them before the end of this pregnancy. The sales lady assured me 'that will only happen if you gain more than 30 pounds.' Um, duh!!! That's not a problem! But the material is soft as butter, almost like yoga pants but better. There are pockets and rivets, they are long, full panel, and seriously so comfy I had to get them. And I wear them twice a week or so, because you better believe I will get my money's worth now before my butt gets too big! Then I'll cry because I will miss them, seriously.

Outfit 4 | A and B [Stitch Fix tops that still work]
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Cardigan: last Stitch Fix, Skies are Blue | Gray leggings: Old Navy (not maternity, still love) | Tank: Target, probably Liz Lange Maternity, circa 2012 | Brown riding boots: Corso Como from Zappos, 2011 | Scarf: Stitch Fix, Octavia

Thoughts: I love cardigans, long tanks, long necklaces, and/or scarves. I also try to wear my brown tall boots more often because I feel like it's so easy to wear all black pants and shoes in the office. It's like bucking the trend wearing something other than black! I think I like the scarf better than the long necklace option here, just to add more color. I know leggings aren't always the most professional option for an office job, but these are SO comfy, are really thick, and as long as my butt is covered I think it's okay. Also with a tall boot, I don't think you can even see much of the leggings to feel offended, but since they aren't maternity I probably won't be wearing them much longer anyway.


Outfit 5: A and B [Gray, so much gray in my closet]
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Top: Stitch Fix, Market and Spruce | Scarf: Christmas gift from Lois, not sure store | Pants: favorite ones from Pea in the Pod | Black riding boots: Corso Como again, circa 2011, can't find online anymore

Thoughts: I really love this top, even non-maternity, and think it's nice for the office. I will probably wear a cardigan over it (I did this later in the shoot) for warmth, and the scarf helps with that, too. Kind of nice that I can wear so many of my Stitch Fix tops while pregnant, at least for now! It's a little plain without the scarf and without a cardigan but it's nice enough. Could also do a necklace and I am also a fan of brown shoes with a gray top...just not always with black pants (my brown boots and booties aren't the right shade to wear with black pants, IMO).


Outfit 6 | A and B [Favorite tunic-slash-dress]
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Tunic: Motherhood, circa 2011 | Leggings: Old Navy | Scarf: Stitch Fix | Boots (both a brown and black in first photo): Corso Como, circa 2011

Thoughts: Do you like the black or brown boots better with the gray leggings? Once I add the navy scarf, it needs to be brown boots, right? Love this tunic, but why is everything I own 3/4 sleeves and therefore a little chilly in the office?? This is one of my favorite colors of all times, the purple-pink shade frequents my closet.

Outfit 7 | A and B [ Bright colors, so many scarves ]
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Top: Aspire at REI, circa 2015 | Scarves: no idea, super old | Pants: Pea in the pod | Booties: Stitch Fix, Steve Madden

Thoughts: This is one of my favorite tops, I've had it for awhile and it's definitely not maternity. I just like the color and the drape, and it was one of my go-to choices for working with patients, too. I think wearing a scarf and booties make the outfit a little dressier, perhaps. Which scarf is better? I have so many freaking scarves...


Outfit 8 | A and B [Old dress, some color in the scarf, pushing for brown shoes]
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Gray dress: Motherhood, circa 2010 | Scarf: Target, circa 2013 | Gray leggings: Mossimo at Target, circa 2012 | Brown booties: Chinese Laundry, no longer online, circa 2015 | Brown tall boots: Corso Como, 2011

Thoughts: So booties or riding boots? This was the only time I pulled my brown cuffed ankle boots for these photos but I do like to wear them to work, since they are comfortable and a little different. It's a shame I didn't try them on more often for you because I do want to know which outfits will look nice with the brown shorties. Is there too much gray with the leggings and dress? I just tried to make brown work here but maybe black leggings and boots make more sense. I do like my scarf for color and because without it, the dress feels depressing to me. I do want to wear more dresses to work, my boss only wears dresses or skirts. I think dresses are pretty maternity friendly, not so much skirts.

Outfit 9 | A and B [previous favorite maternity dress]
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Dress: Motherhood, circa 2014 | Cardigan: Motherhood, circa 2014 | Leggings: Motherhood, circa 2014 | Booties: Stitch Fix, Steve Madden

Thoughts: This has been one of my favorite striped dresses, although I'm not feeling super cute in it this time around. Something about the neckline makes me feel a little wider than I like (or maybe it's the horizontal stripes), but it's still a cute dress and I'll for sure wear it. I'll pair it with the cardigan for now, maybe even with tall boots instead of booties? Would a colored cardigan look strange? I NEED COLOR!

Outfit 10 [Oldest dress tries to make a comeback]
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Dress: Motherhood, circa 2009 (!) | Necklace: Stitch Fix, Romolo brand | Leggings: Motherhood, 2014 | Black riding boots: Corso Como, 2011

Thoughts: I want to like this dress, but the tight turtle neck kills me. I mean, it seems very old school to me, because I know that it's eight years old. But it is pretty modest and office appropriate, I guess. Thoughts? Long necklace makes it more modern? Can you tell I'm suffocating in the turtle neck? Why can't it be a cowl neck instead? I turned to the side to prove I really am pregnant;)

Outfit 11 | A, B, and C [A favorite top three ways]
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Striped top: Motherhood, 2014 | Pink cardigan: Loft, 2013 | Blue cardigan: Stitch Fix, 41Hawthorn | Leggings: Motherhood, circa 2014 | Black riding boots: Corso Como, 2011 | NecklaceStitch Fix, Romolo brand

Thoughts: I forgot how much I like this striped top, even though I can't find the black belt thing that ties around the waist. It's a nice length and flattering, but feels like I need to add a cardigan or something. Preferred color? Long necklace, or no?

Outfits 12 and 13 | [Different Stitch Fix tops, all similar]
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Blue Shirt: Stitch Fix, Market and Spruce | Maroon shirt: Stitch Fix, 41 Hawthorn | Pants: favorite ones from Pea in the Pod | Black riding boots: Corso Como, 2011

Thoughts: I haven't worn either of these tops lately but I think they will work nicely in the office! Stitch Fix really nailed my style with several 'button tab' sleeved shirts, huh?

Outfits 14 and 15 | [More Stitch Fix tops/sweaters]
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Poncho sweater: Stitch Fix, RD Style | Striped cardigan sweater: Stitch Fix, Mystree | Pants: favorite ones from Pea in the Pod | Black riding boots: Corso Como, 2011 | NecklaceStitch Fix, Romolo brand

Thoughts: I've worn the poncho to work once, and am wearing the striped sweater tomorrow, I've decided. I always get a lot of compliments on the striped one and it's pretty cozy but still put together enough with tall boots, I think.

Outfits 16 and 17 | [Older Motherhood tops, sleeveless editions]
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Sleeveless tops: Both Motherhood or Pea in the Pod from 2014 | Pants: favorite ones from Pea in the Pod | Black riding boots: Corso Como, 2011

Thoughts: I don't think I can do these sleeveless tops much. I've always loved the green one but it's really short once my belly gets bigger. The purple one used to be my favorite but for some reason it's really tight in my arm pits and therefore impossible. Options in a pinch, I guess.

Outfits 18 and 19 | [Seriously, so much gray in my closet]
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Gray cowl neck: Pink Blush | Scarf: Itsy Ritzy | Blue cardigan: Stitch Fix, 41 Hawthorn | Pants: favorite ones from Pea in the Pod | Black riding boots: Corso Como, 2011 | NecklaceStitch Fix, Romolo brand

Thoughts: My sister--in-law got me the gray top from Pink Blush and it's seriously the most comfortable material! I wear it a lot, just haven't donned it in the office yet. Then I was playing around with that other gray top by Stitch Fix, trying to dress it up with a cardigan and scarf. This type of outfit could be my wardrobe staple, really.

Outfits 20 and 21 | [I love royal blue]
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Striped top: Liz Lange Maternity, 2014 | Solid top: I.N.C. at Macy's, 2013 | Pants: favorite ones from Pea in the Pod | Black booties: from my last Stitch Fix, by Steve Madden | NecklaceStitch Fix, Romolo brand

Thoughts: I forgot how much I love the striped top because of it's length. And then there's the solid top, one that isn't maternity but I've worn it a TON over the years. I almost went back and bought it in other colors and I always wish I would have done just that---the cut is really nice and of course, the length! It has pockets and for now I'm sure I could wear it (or both tops, really) with a cardigan. Wouldn't a black blazer look nice? I want one, it's on my 'must find' list but I think I need to try them on, lest I look too formal and not trendy enough. Where might one find the perfect blazer for the office? Not too stiff or suit-like, maybe cotton?

Outfit 22 | [Too casual?]
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Gray tee shirt top: Amazon | Sweater vest: Lands End | NecklaceStitch Fix, Romolo brand | Leggings: Old Navy | Boots: Corso Como

Thoughts: I want to love this sweater vest and want to make it work. My mom got it for me for Christmas and it's very much my style. I'm struggling to pair it with the correct top and bottom though. I think that maybe I need a navy blue shirt to wear under it, then I can go with these gray leggings? Black doesn't work. I don't have a white shirt. Is it too casual for the office? It's warm and cute! Maybe best for my days at home, though.

Summary: I think I need a blazer or two. Any top favorites? Any suggestions for accessorizing/shoes? Do I need more than a pair of black and brown tall boots and booties? Office maternity wear, here I come.

21 comments:

  1. You're so darn cute! I've worked in an office for almost 20 years (what?) and find my I prefer cardigans over blazers. Blazers can be pretty stiff and I'm all about comfort. Loft has a lot of great options which are pretty affordable. Check out ThredUp for some options too. I bought ALL of my maternity clothes from them (free returns as store credit).

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    1. I forgot about ThredUp, thanks for the rec!!

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  2. Wow!!! 22 outfits??? I'm impressed. I work in an office too, full time. Not a manager but still... no leggings should be allowed here (although some people think its okay.. arg!). I'm pregnant with #2 and probably by now in my 3rd trimester can barely scrape together 6-8 outfits. And that's pushing it wearing the same pair of jeans 3-5 days of the week! Much of my maternity wear is too small now :(

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    1. I'm sure I will be there with you in a few more months, so I will enjoy the 22 outfits while they last! ;)

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  3. I have a white and black striped top that I am thinking about dyeing a fun color so there is less of a contrast with the stripes. I wonder if you might like your striped dress a bit more if you dyed it.

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    1. Interesting thought!! I like it, good luck!

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  4. OK, first disclaimer - I like all of the outfits. I'm gonna go through and give opinions on several, but I don't think any are inappropriate or unflattering at all.

    Second disclaimer - I haven't worked in a traditional office setting in 7 years, so I didn't even know that leggings with a long top or dress aren't ok?? I mean...maybe I shouldn't even be giving my opinion since I'm so out of date, lol.

    Disclaimer three - black and gray are my favorite clothing colors, so I don't relate to the need for color, haha!

    Outfit #1 - far prefer the red pants to the gray. Which is funny considering I just said black and gray are my fave colors. But I think the red fit you better.

    Outfit #2 - I don't love that cardigan. Generally speaking, I love cardigans and wear them all the time, but I don't think the color of that particular cardigan goes well with that outfit. Maybe if the pants were black? Or the cardigan was...white? navy? Gray just seems like an weird choice. I do love that polka dot top a lot!

    Outfit #3 - love the colors! love the fit! love it all!

    Outfit #4 - I'm a scarf gal, so I like the scarf option. Leggings + boots/booties + flowy top + cardigan + scarf is my go to all fall and winter. Probably 8/10 of my outfits revolve around that combo.

    Outfit #5 - Great basic outfit that's not so basic because of the cut of the top. I like both options - with and without scarf, depending on temp.

    Outfit #6 - I prefer the brown boots and I looooove the scarf.

    Outfit #7 - I like the scarf on the left best.

    Outift #8 - I love the gray on gray! I definitely prefer the riding boots and the scarf is the perfect pop of color. I think when it warms up a tad, you could do the dress and booties with bare legs.

    Outfit #9 - Super cute dress. I think this is one that would look great with a blazer! (And I like the cardigan with it too.) Would definitely stick with black cardigan/blazer, but again, I love black.

    Outfit #10 - Simple and cute, love the long necklace. Don't think it looks "old school" at all.

    Outfit #11 - Great top. Love it plain or with the blue cardi.

    Outfit #15 - that cardigan is perfection. I'm jealous and I want it.

    Outfit #22 - I love this vest! I think to make it more office appropriate, I'd pair it with a top that is a little more dressy. Like a dressier material, maybe, but definitely not cotton. I think navy would be great, or even a small navy pattern.

    Have fun dressing the part for your new gig!! :)

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    1. Super commenter alert! :)

      Thanks for this, I need to go back and re-check my outfits now after this!

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  5. You look fantastic! There are even more opportunities to mix and match the items you have for variety - like the grey and red pants with more of the top options you showed lower down. Congratulations on #4!

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    1. Good call, not sure why I didn't try gray tops with the red bottoms. I certainly have enough tops to try!

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  6. I love the wardrobe. I have a pair of gray pants and I pair pretty much any color with them. Gray pants are kind of like black pants and go with anything. Turtleneck dress is cute for winter. A blazer would look good with a lot of those tops. Red pants with gray cowl neck or poncho top, or first gray dress with different scarf. I am no fashion expert and my work wardrobe seems pretty boring now.

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    1. Right, I don't know why I don't wear the gray pants with more tops---it's a neutral and should work!

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  7. Nordstrom's has an Olivia Moon knit blazer that is fab and so comfy. Not maternity, but just wear it unbuttoned and then it will work once baby comes as well. Check it out!

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    1. Off to online shop now! Thank you.

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  8. You look adorable. I would definitely look for a blazer in a boyfriend cut or a Loft blazer you can cuff to keep from being too stuffy. I have both a black Silence and the Noise BF blazer and a black blazer in a ponte where the sleeves are ruched and cropped. I did think your one black cardigan was a blazer at first.
    I don't think you need another pair of boots but if you did get one I'd suggest a cognac, grey or taupe color to give you more wardrobe options.
    I adore the red pants and now want a pair for my regular wardrobe.
    My faves were outfit 1 B and both of the second outfits. I think you actually nailed it with outfit 22.
    Outfit 7: first scarf
    On outfit 8, I don't think those booties in particular work. It is hard to see the full shoe, but they look too high at the ankle.
    I think you're in great shape.

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    1. Thanks! I was thinking a cuffed or 3/4 length blazer might seem less stuffy and I do love Loft. Will go check online now!

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  9. Long long time stalker. First time commenter, but it's slow at work and I love fashion. Disclaimer: I am a lawyer (in a cold client), so my "office" wear may be a tad more formal. I wouldn't feel okay in leggings, but if it works for your office -I'm jealous! Re: shoes, most of the time I commute in boots and change into flats at the office. There just isn't great work appropriate closed toe shoe options!
    Random thoughts:
    #5 - the scarf seems a bit too casual (more of an outdoor scarf), but I am obsessed with that shirt!
    #8 - Cute dress, great length (as a fellow tall girl I know the struggle to find things that go to the knee), but I don't love it with the light grey tights, nor do I love the ankle boots with it? It seems to be cutting off your legs a bit :(
    #10 -that turtleneck is fab. embrace it. love love. it's totally back.
    #14/15 - I'm obsessed with both of these sweaters. I would definitely try them both with ankle boots (brown or black!).
    #18 - love.
    #22 - this vest is amazing. your mom killed it. I love it with the grey shirt. It does look a bit causal, to dress it up, I would do solid black underneath, black pants, blank shoe. Black and navy work! I promise. The vest with the turtleneck dress might also be worth a try with a black tight/shoe (or even the grey shirt from #5)
    Layers are key to everything!
    p.s. I also love the arrowhead necklace!
    Congrats on baby #4 and the new job.
    Also the perfect dressy/casual maternity/non maternity blazer can be found at Artizia (called the Wildred Chevalier Jacket). Disclaimer: It's an investment piece, but it is SO worth the $$$ (I wore it pre baby, all through my pregnancy and post baby). Comes in a couple colour options and I swear I've worn it for 6 years now. No wrinkles, no ironing and covers your butt for us tall gals.

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  10. I will admit that I skimmed this but then after a few comments about it not being okay to wear leggings?? I wear leggings and a sweater dress probably..... 3 out of 5 days, every week in the winter. Maybe sometimes 4/5. And you know the issue of the sweater dresses becoming more like tunics. They definitely FULLY cover my butt so whatever. That plus a variety of scarves or necklaces is great for comfort and looking dressy enough for me. Target has some cheap ones that would work well for pregnancy too.

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  11. I just wrote a long piece about each outfit but then accidentally closed and lost everything!! I'll type up an abbreviated version lol.

    Basically, you look amazing in everything!!!! I see no 'NO WAY' outfits. The polka dot sweater doesn't scream maternity to me - and you could totally rock that as a regular top!! Outfit #3 is my ultimate fav. on you - with or without cardi!!! I love all the color!!! You could totally wear a colored cardigan with the black & white striped dress - and you could even get some fun brighly colored tights - a la kate spade. The grey turtleneck does NOT look old!!! The cut is modern and very, very cute. Those black Pea in the Pod pants have pockets?!?!?! Outfit #7 - first scarf (but just by a margin).

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  12. Love all of your outfits. I will browse pinterest frequently for ideas. And I always find combinations I would never think of on my own. Hope this helps a little:)

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  13. You are too cute! I think you look pretty stinkin' fabulous in everything!

    My office is pretty casual so take this with a grain of salt, but I wear leggings A TON. As long as they are super thick (I like ponte fabric), I don't find them much different than slim fitting cigarette pants. I still like to wear them with tunics or sweaters that cover my butt but have no other qualms about treating them as "normal pants," especially if they are black.

    Definitely check out Nordstrom -- they have tons of knit blazers. I don't even bother with structured blazers as separates now. And I almost always wear them unbuttoned (or at least buy them so that they look good both ways) so you could easily buy one now to wear unbuttoned with your belly and it will work after this pregnancy as well!

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