Learn from a Local Expert About Personal Style During the Childbearing Year: Krystle Marks, Co-Owner of RAAH Clothing

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It can be so difficult to know what to wear in order to feel your best when your body is changing during pregnancy, as well as during the tricky postpartum period when you aren't quite ready for your pre-pregnancy clothes.  I was so thrilled when local stylist Krystle Marks, co-owner of RAAH Clothing agreed to do a Q&A for my blog, because I know her pro styling tips for the childbearing year will be so helpful to all the expectant and new moms out there.  Read on for some real nuggets of fashion wisdom!

1)  Could you tell me a little about your background, and why you became a personal stylist?

My first love was working as a professional makeup artist. I enjoyed enhancing the natural beauty every woman possesses. My absolute favorite part of doing makeup was seeing a big smile stretch across a clients face, knowing she saw her own unique beauty like I did. I have always had a love for fashion and styling myself. From a very young age I was very interested in clothes and how they work together to create a look. A little over 5 years ago, I had a friend ask me to help her with her own closet. I took this request very seriously and dove into learning about different body shapes and how to dress them. The day before we were going to meet, she called me and said, "By the way, I am paying you to help me with this and I have 3 friends that would like to come over and watch the process". I am not going to lie, the thought of this was terrifying, but I was excited for the challenge.

Driving home that night after the consultation, I knew, this is what I was meant to do.  It gave me the same satisfaction that makeup did, but I LOVED that we were able to focus on the entire body. My business steadily grew from services to also being able to share the love your body message through public speaking platforms.

2)  I love your passion to help women embrace and love their bodies.  How can the right wardrobe help a pregnant or new mom feel better about her changing body?

Every moment of our lives is a precious gift, including pregnancy and after baby bodies. Our bodies tell a story of self sacrifice, growth, life and an overwhelming amount of love. I always tell my clients that loving your body will take it much further than hating it will. Choosing clothing that makes you feel good is just as important as nourishing our body with good food and keeping it healthy with movement. There are certain cuts and fabrics that will make you feel great every single time. I know for a lot of moms it is hard to justify spending money on pregnancy and postpartum clothing, but I promise having very few items that fit you well and make you feel beautiful is worth a million drops in the the self love bucket.

3)  Do you have tips or suggestions for shopping for maternity clothing?  Any staples you suggest?

My best tips for dressing during pregnancy are going to be 1) Show off the bump. I want to see your shape and that beautiful belly. Look for pieces that are more tailored. 2) I want to see your waist. I know it sounds crazy since pregnancy completely removes your waist, but whenever possible, I want to see it or an illusion of it. This is where jackets that give you a natural waist are great such as military jackets, blazers, denim jackets (avoid boxy cuts). You can also utilize cardigans in the same way. You can wear the same jackets you wore before pregnancy unzipped or unbuttoned. 3. Dresses will be the most flattering and probably the most comfortable items to wear. I would prefer something that gives you a shape with a length that comes to the knee or slightly above. In cooler months you can add fleece lined leggings, boots, and jackets. Investment pieces for a well rounded maternity wardrobe would be: maternity leggings, at least one pair of good quality denim (designer), 1-3 patterned or stripe tops/blouses, 2-3 jackets, and 1-3 dresses.

4)  What about transitioning into a postpartum wardrobe?  Do you have any suggestions for must have clothing options for times when a mom needs to get out of her nursing tank and yoga pants?

Yes! The items that were working for you in the beginning stages of pregnancy when your hips were changing and your tummy was starting to show are great for postpartum picks. Don't skimp on this stage because you will use your clothes twice! Look for fabrics that won't cling to your body or cut you off. Fabrics like chiffon tops and blouses are great as well as jackets that give your body structure.  Wrap style tops and dresses that have a shirred detail across the tummy are extremely flattering and classic. If you are looking to camouflage your bottom half, look for dark solid color ankle pants or skinny jeans.

5)  I love that you're participating in Dressember this month, in support of the International Justice Mission and A-21 to end human trafficking.  Are dresses a good maternity option?

A thousand times YES! The most flattering item for every woman is going to be a dress that let's your shape shine. During pregnancy, dresses will make you feel feminine, put together, and most importantly, comfortable. I have so enjoyed the challenge this month of wearing a dress everyday and realize it is possible even in the month of December! If you want to learn more about Dressember, you can do so through http://www.dressember.org/.  We can be a part of ending modern day slavery. Find out how you can help through through a donation of any amount. Our team's goal of raising $7,000 (which is enough to fully fund one rescue!) I would love for you to link arms with us & be a part of setting others free!  https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraiser/852674

Thank you so much for reading! Enjoy this beautiful stage of life and it is my hope that you feel great about your changing body and give it all the love and appreciation it deserves!

Thanks so much to Krystle Marks for her great tips and advice!  You can find more awesome styling tricks for all stages of life on her Facebook page, her Instagram, and more info about the fabulous new clothing company she is co-developing at www.raahclothing.com

Written by Angie Traska of Align Doula Services, providing intuitive, attentive doula support that aligns with you.  Looking for doula support or lactation counseling in the Madison area?  Contact me here.