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Correction: Fashion-Maternity Style story

Friday - 4/5/2013, 5:00pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- In a story April 4 about maternity fashion, The Associated Press reported erroneously the designer of the gown Jenna Dewan Tatum wore to the Academy Awards. It was Rachel Roy, not Isabella Oliver.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Kardashian's maternity woes prompt a style lesson

Kim Kardashian take note: Fashion experts say streamlined style best suits a baby bump

By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL

AP Fashion Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kim Kardashian: Take note.

To be stylish and pregnant, you need to embrace your new shape. You have to celebrate it. But you also need to be aware of it, and not keep wearing your regular wardrobe -- even if it's a size up.

Kardashian, who is expecting her first child with Kanye West in July, has taken heat from the tabloids and armchair fashion critics for her maternity look, which seems a continuation of her usual parade of body-hugging dresses -- many of which have a hard-to-wear hemline that hits below the knee -- tucked-in blouses, complicated couturelike details and super-high heels.

Lately, though, it seems she's taken the plunge into maternity clothes, sometimes wearing stretch-waist maternity jeans (designer, of course) and leggings, which Pea in the Pod design director Olivia Capone Myers says are the No. 1 must-have item for a successful pre- and post-baby wardrobe.

Leggings, along with side-ruched T-shirts and dresses, preferably made of stretch jersey, are the first things to buy when the bump starts showing, and they're the last ones you're wearing after mom and baby are settled in at home, Myers says.

Myers, herself 8 months pregnant, says the current wave of celebrity moms-to-be has reignited interest in this corner of the fashion world, which is sometimes more relatable to shoppers than the runway. The key, experts say, is to stay true to your personal style, but not be so stubborn that you won't tweak it.

"Jessica Simpson ... she's really done an amazing job of looking fabulous. She has tweaked her style, moving from heels to flats but still polished. She's kept her sense of style even with her changing body, and she isn't afraid to sport trends," Myers says. "She's wearing maxi dresses and lace."

Baukjen de Swaan Arons, designer of the British-based maternity label Isabella Oliver, has been watching star style, too. She liked the fitted couture black lace gown Jenna Dewan Tatum wore at the Oscars earlier this year, but she says that it's equally stylish to be "out and about" in a jersey top. And she gives kudos to a then-pregnant Kristen Bell for doing a rock 'n' roll leather jacket and bright purple dress at the Sundance Film Festival. (Bell has since given birth to a daughter.)

The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton possesses what might be the world's most famous baby bump, and she has made a seamless transition into her slightly revamped look. She already wore "mostly pretty, flattering and simple silhouettes -- dresses, coats, hats and monochromatic color," exactly what style expert Amy Tara Koch would suggest.

"She gets the balance, proportion, simplicity. It seems her nature, so it will already be easier for her to look good every day throughout her pregnancy," says Koch, who wrote the book "Bump It Up."

But that's not how Kardashian dresses, so there are other tips, says Koch: Kimono sleeves instantly create the bohemian vibe that works well in maternity wear, and so do tunic tops with a blousoned dropped waist. The high necks and below-the-knee hemlines Kardashian sometimes wears do not. Dangling earrings would draw the eye to the slope of the neck and shoulders, and a chunky necklace worn against a jewel neck or slightly scooped or V-neck shirt would emphasize the bustline upward.

"You want to create a focal point that will take attention from elsewhere," Koch says. "Kim's face looks so pretty now. She has that glow. That's what we should be looking at."

Fit is also important. Stay away from extremes -- whether it's too tight or too loose, says designer Rebecca Minkoff, who blogs for BabyCenter.com.

Oversized clothes might fit the bump, but will work against everywhere else, agrees de Swaan Arons. Consider this the time to show off nice legs or a bit of cleavage.

Jersey fabric with its tight-weave stretch is good camouflage (and not just for pregnant women). Designer Abi Ferrin says good jersey will stretch and shrink with the body, and that the weight of the fabric smooths bumps.

The garment should be cut to give a little bit of structure because the jersey is so forgiving, Ferrin says.

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