Hayden Panettiere wearing Lorena Sarbu at the 2014 Emmys
“You can have anything you want in life, if you dress for it,” says esteemed fashion stylist Micaela Erlanger. We wholeheartedly agree.
Last week, we chatted with Erlanger, who recently ranked among the top three stylists on the Hollywood Reporter’s “Power Stylist” list. Erlanger has worked with some of Hollywood’s top celebrity names, currently styling Meryl Streep, Winona Ryder, Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Hudson, Hillary Swank, and Michelle Dockery, to name a few.
For Erlanger, fashion is about challenging oneself to think bigger. Clients often come to her with a distinct point of view, but she asks that they be open minded.
“I ask new clients to tell me what they don’t like, but I find you can surprise yourself with things that you do like,” she says. “That’s what’s so exciting about styling and fashion.”
For expecting moms, this advice rings especially true, as not all styles that work pre-pregnancy flatter a growing bump.
But pregnancy doesn’t have to be limiting, encourages Erlanger, who styled pregnant Hayden Panettiere and Jamie King. “You can still wear normal fashion when you’re pregnant! You just have to be smart about it.”
The first step, she instructs, is to decide if you’re going to be one to embrace your bump or stick to more flowy silhouettes. But no matter what your personal preference, Erlanger cautions against fabrics without give.
The easiest items to wear when pregnant are dresses, she says, candidly. “Those without a waistband are obviously going to be the easiest answers, but also look for dresses that have a higher waistband that will fit empire-waisted while pregnant or will come just above where your belly begins to curve.”
Erlanger points to sleeves as a timely “of the moment” trend for moms-to-be or postpartum moms who are looking to hide a few extra pounds in their arms. “Sleeves offer so many cool different styles women can experiment with and are a nice way to balance out a pregnant or post-partum shape,” she says.
A huge fan of denim, Erlanger says she prefers super stretch styles for expecting moms. “I love James Jeans,” she says of her favorite brand. “They hug the body really well.” James Jeans also offer versatility, given they come in over and under-the-belly styles.
Most essential, Erlanger says, are base layers. Erlanger advises a back-smoothing bra, which won’t pinch, as well as avoiding underwire for added comfort while pregnant or nursing. “And all shapewear!” she adds, enthusiastically.
To flatter postpartum, Erlanger recommends a body suit “to keep everything tight” while a woman’s body recovers. “It’s a great winter look because it will keep you warm and gives you layering opportunities,” she says.
For an investment piece that will last you throughout pregnancy and offer great versatility afterward, Erlanger recommends a quality tunic.
“Tunics are a must have because you can wear them over pants while pregnant, but they can double as a shorter dress afterward,” she said.
As for her own pregnancy style (one day down the road), Erlanger says she intends to maintain her personal style throughout.
“You’ll see me mostly in dresses," she says. "I’ll be embracing my bump for as long as I can, but I’ll also go with jeans and beautiful blouses and tunics. I’m classic and feminine, and I’m not giving it up!”
Shop Micaela’s Favorite Looks:
James Jeans over-the-belly and under-the-belly Twiggy Maternity Jeans
Cosabella Underwire-Free Bra and Nursing Bra