Melissa Birge

How to Flaunt Your Baby Bump in Style
August 30 - Sarah Ashlock
Fashion/Beauty
 

FIRST THOUGHT: Flaunting Your Bump in Style

I listened to a podcast a few months ago and can still remember one thing the host said. Pregnant with another kiddo, she talked about what she planned to do differently with this pregnancy: wear actual maternity clothes. She realized during her first pregnancy that her hubby’s baggy shirts and sweatpants affected her mood. Sometimes we don’t know what we need until much later, but it’s never too late to change course.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: $2 Billion

The days of hiding your baby bump are long over, mamas. Not only is it trendy to show off your bump, but oftentimes, you just feel better and more supported in a close-fitting outfit. Retailers have taken notice of mamas and their wardrobe issues. The maternity industry has grown dramatically, raking in $2 billion a year in the United States.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Melissa Birge, CEO of Mia Tango

Today’s Woman to Watch, Melissa Birge, found a solution to the maternity-wear problem. Back in 2012, when Melissa acted as Kayak’s chief financial officer, she needed a boardroom-appropriate outfit stat. But here’s the thing: She was in her third trimester with twins and was left with zero appropriate clothing options. Her old college sweatshirt just wasn’t going to do.

But her financial savvy, along with her experience at big-name companies like Orbitz and Potbelly, gave her the tools to fix the predicament tons of mamas face by starting an online boutique for maternity clothing called Mia Tango. While having twins is definitely permanent, being pregnant isn’t. That’s what makes Mia Tango both cool and convenient. Once you’re done wearing a Mia Tango item, you can return it for cash back, and you can even shop pre-loved items too.

So which essential pieces does every mama-to-be need? Melissa suggests starting with a few stretchy bras that move with your ever-changing body. Find a well-fitting pair of jeans too, with the super comfortable belly band. Don’t forget to add other essentials, like side-ruched tank tops and a classic black dress. Be as neutral or as colorful as you want. Embrace the fact that your body’s making an actual person!

Like many inspirational gals, Melissa had an idea of what her life would be like from a very young age. But boy, was she way off mark. Career opportunities ended up taking her from her native Ohio to Chicago and then Connecticut, a transition she thought would definitely be temporary. Despite wanting to eventually move back to Chicago, she met her husband in Connecticut. That’s where her new roles as mother and CEO began—and she’s so happy her plans went off track when they did.

Melissa has some advice for young entrepreneurs: Firstly, if you’re passionate enough about something to make a business out of it, don’t be intimidated by the fact that you don’t have all the information. Ask so-called stupid questions and you will get the answers you need. Lastly, if you’re a mom, you can do it all; just make sure to reassess your priorities and don’t be afraid to take risks.

QUITE THE QUOTE

Stretch marks, swollen feet, endless fatigue—oh my! With the gift of pregnancy comes plenty of changes that take time to accept. Remember author Steve Maraboli’s advice:

“There is nothing more rare nor more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself, comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”

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