Exclusive: Maternity Style Guru Rosie Pope Dishes About Natalie Portman's Oscar Style

Let's face it: We don't all feel elegant when we're rocking a belly bump. So many mamas-to-be (and all of us here at iVillage) are curious about what pregnant nominee Natalie Portman is going to wear on Oscar night. We asked Rosie Pope, maternity style guru, star of the Bravo TV show Pregnant in Heels (which premieres in April), and a mom herself, for her advice on what Natalie -- and any other expectant mom with a black-tie event on her social calendar -- should wear on the big night.

As a maternity clothing designer, what would you put Natalie Portman in for the Oscars? 

Definitely something form-fitting and not the Grecian gowns that have been popular with pregnant celebs at the award shows of late. First-time pregnancies take a while to show, and Grecian gowns tend to hide the bump rather than accentuate it. Natalie Portman should wear a form-fitting, neck-plunging gown like our “Oscar Gown” in an Oscar-worthy color like gold.

Heels, or no heels? And if you go with heels, how can a pregnant woman make sure she's in a safe, comfy-enough, yet still sexy pair?

Definitely heels! They're actually really great if you're having sciatic nerve pain. But nerve pain aside, heels make us feel fantastic -- so keep wearing them if you can. If normal stilettos are becoming uncomfortable (especially with pregnancy weight gain), switch to a wedge.

Does how far along Natalie -- or any expectant mama -- is determine whether her gown should be tight or flowy?
Pregnant women should wear whichever makes them feel better, but my general rule of thumb is that earlier in the pregnancy, when your bump is smaller, wear tight so people know you're pregnant. As you head into the third trimester, switch to more flowing styles. There's no longer any mistaking that you're pregnant, so you can indulge in the glamour of flowing dresses.

What if you want to wear a non-maternity dress? What styles work best with a belly?
Empire waists, styles with some stretch in the fabric and, early on, A-line dresses work well. But please don’t just buy bigger sizes! Your bone structure doesn’t change [when you're pregnant], so just buying bigger sizes may fit around the belly but won’t look good everywhere else.

What's on-trend in black-tie maternity wear right now? 
Short and tight with long sleeves is [a hot way] to show off legs but remain modest around the bust and arms. I'm also seeing more and more maternity mini cocktail dresses in bold colors like purple, teal and lipstick pink.

What about hair and jewelry? Does a pulled-back, sleek 'do look out of place with a bulging belly? And should accessories be subdued to let your shape stand out, or are they a good way to balance out a barely-showing bump?
The hair all depends on what happens to your face during pregnancy. Some ladies are lucky and their faces don’t change much at all -- [they can] definitely rock the sleek, pulled-back ponytail or bun. However, if your face swells, then let those locks hang down and embrace your pre-Raphaelite look.

As for accessories, I love belts for pregnant women, worn above the bump, but am really not into large, clunky jewelry hitting right on or above the bump. Keep accessories elegant and small, but don’t be afraid of belts and heels.

Finally, what else should Natalie, or any mama to be, know about black-tie dressing?
Don’t fall victim to maternity clothing clichés like big flowers, bows or polka dots. If you like any of these elements, make sure they're small and tasteful and not slapped in the center of your bump or over your bust. Just because you're pregnant doesn’t mean you have to fundamentally change your style.

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