Designer and Blogger Chanelle Laurence's Maternity Style Is Pure California Cool
As a fashion blogger, streetwear designer, and curator of an online vintage shop, Chanelle Laurence has no shortage of stylish things to wear. But when—surprise!—she found out she was pregnant while in full-on wedding planning mode, the Valley High co-founder was thrown quite the curve ball. But, like many modern women, she was determined to steer clear from the maternity section as much as possible. Instead, the newly married mama-to-be (more on her insanely gorgeous wedding look below) has managed to keep her California cool edge even with a burgeoning belly; she needed only to introduce one major thing into her wardrobe. We met up with Chanelle and got her best advice for dressing around a bump without sacrificing her unique style, plus the cute gift she can't wait to try on her little boy.
How would you describe your maternity style this far—using only three adjectives?
Laid-back, comfortable, fun.
Do you shop the maternity section, or try to get creative?
I haven’t stepped foot in a maternity store and I told myself that I didn’t want to from the day I found out I was pregnant—I’m definitely taking the creative route. I like getting a lot of use out of the things I buy and we also don’t have the space for things to just sit. I did invest in a spandex pencil skirt and a spandex bodycon dress, which I layer with different tops and wraps around my waist to jazz it up a bit. My favorite piece that I’ve had a lot of fun with is a vintage bodysuit that I throw under anything. It’s tight and shows off my belly while being super comfortable.
You have Valley High and Penelope's Vintage—so clearly you're obsessed with clothes. What are some pieces from each you've been relying on with a growing bump?
Dressing myself during this pregnancy has been somewhat of a struggle for me when I thought it would be so easy. I now realize my problem was not having anything formfitting in my closet. I was really small up until the 28 week mark so my oversized vintage and Valley High tees were not working well to accentuate such a small bump—I either looked like I ate too much or I wasn’t pregnant, which I didn’t want! Up until this point I’ve been relying on my spandex dresses and now I can wear the rest of my closet because it’s a real live pregnant belly now that pokes out of everything! My favorite Valley High pieces are the oversized tees, the Palm Tank and our muscle tees. When I’m not wearing those, I’m picking from my vintage tee collection and pairing them with Hudson's stretchy jean shorts and Vans.
We have to talk about your wedding style—too perfect! Tell us about your dress and how you found it, and what you wanted to look like on your big day.
From the moment I got engaged I knew I wanted to be a 1960s-style goddess, so I was inspired by vintage dresses and hairdos. I went to LOHO Bride because I wanted the full bridal experience; I loved their selection and the fact that they offer unconventional options. Originally I planned to only try on different cuts and styles to see what looks best on me (because I kept reading that on the internet), then get creative to achieve the look I wanted. However, I knew the very first dress I tried on “the one” because I sat in it for 30 minutes while sipping champagne (I didn’t know I was pregnant then)! Suddenly, getting creative and trying to find a bargain was out the window and I had to have this dress. I bought it the next week and waited while it got made. When I found out I was pregnant, my wedding planner and LOHO Bride were the first to know because I had a slight panic attack about how we would proceed with the wedding and how this formfitting dress would fit an unpredictable, growing bump. We decided to go with a size up for my dress and altered it two days before the wedding (shout out to Lumida Couture who is a wizard!). I knew I wanted an outfit change and Tobi had swooped in at the perfect time to offer me a party dress if I was interested. For the reception, I topped off their white bodycon dress with vintage fur coat, threw up my hair and added star freckles to make it fun.
What's your fave piece of clothing you've bought the new baby thus far?
It’s funny because we haven’t bought one thing yet! I’m waiting for my baby shower and then we are going to go ham on all the stuff we still need. My favorite gift we’ve gotten for the baby so far is a pair of baby blue Vans the brand sent us after I announced I was pregnant. We used them for the gender reveal at our wedding and they’re sitting on a shelf in our apartment right now, waiting for his little feet to fill them.
How do you think your little babe is going to influence your post-pregnancy style as well as how you design VH?
I’m honestly not expecting anything to change too drastically. For starters, we’re having a boy and we make girls clothes so I don’t see him influencing Valley High any more than boys clothes normally do at this point (which is a lot). Also, I’ve realized that my style has been pretty consistent even with drastic changes being thrown at me. That said, I’ll be able to put on all my high waisted bottoms again and feel like my normal self—I’ve really missed them!