Cinderella has always welcomed the opportunity to strut her stuff at the ball. Maybe she leaves the pumpkin chariot at home, but hey, she shows up, looking awesome, sparkly shoes and all. Until... she got pregnant again and wasn't just-a-little-pregnant (read: still fits in stretchy dresses) but like, super, pod-of-beached whales, ain't-no-stretch-big-enough pregnant at ball time.
Then Cinderella googled "maternity ball gown" and two options presented themselves: (1) Festoon herself in chiffon and appear like a huge, glittery aqua balloon at the ball or (2) spend a zillion dollars on a dress she will never, ever, ever wear again (God willing and the creek don't rise).
What's Cinderella to do? Asking for a friend, of course. Because um. I'm not pregnant or anything. And totally not trying to pass off a cotton maxi dress as "completely ball appropriate" when we all have eyes and can see.
But here's what I know from having attended my fair share of Marine Corps balls: I (urrr, asking for my friend what?) AM NOT ALONE!
So if you, too, find yourself pregnant come military ball time, don't sit around wishing the evil stepsisters could give you a good excuse to sit down with your feet up and indulge in an Army Wives marathon instead. Put on your sparkly slippers and step out ... even if it does officially make you the designated driver for the night.
Luckily, these days, we actually have some not-horrible options of what to wear. Gone are the days of burlap-sack-as-maternity-clothing, forever live the days of formal being sold in all sizes! If you, like I, have been scouring the Motherhood Maternity outlet stores to no avail, look no further.
Here are some great options for an actually-formal gown:
Clockwise from left, options include: simple, sweetheart neckline gown made with bump-room in mind from UWDress.Com and available in basically every color under the sun ($89.99), a plain, v-neck gown with a slight train (read: room for tall girls or those with super-Cinderella preferences) also from UWDress.Com and in a whole rainbow of colors ($94.49), a very sparkly chiffon option with beaded back detail available in aqua or cobalt from Ali Express ($149.80), and a blush colored chiffon with lace overlay A-line from Aobomall ($139.99).
If you can't stomach the idea of buying a maternity gown to wear once, you can always go for an inky black maxi dress in mint condition. That part is important: no fuzzing, no piling, no washed-already-so-n0t-as-black, but mint condition, straight from the bag, preferably having never seen the light of day until you leave your house the night of the ball. I found a fantastic option on sale at Motherhood for a price too good to pass up and I plan on wearing it for basically every halfway-decent event from ball to baby. Thanksgiving dinner? Black maxi with a burnt red scarf. Christmas? Black maxi with... some other sort of scarf and a sweater. New Years? Black maxi.
Black dresses are great staples: You can dress them up with formal accessories or dress them down with a denim jacket and flips.
So if you are considering a plain dress and trying to dress it up: Accessorize!
Clockwise from left, we have: Awesome lapis drop earrings from Bauble Bar ($38), a sparkly, statement necklace, also from Bauble Bar because they have great deals and I might have an addiction problem ($48), glittery low heels that actually look pretty comfortable if you've hit the waddle-stage like me (and look shockingly similar to these more expensive Kate Spade ones) by J. Renee at Shoes.Com, and champagne colored sparkly stilettos from Lulu's ($29).
Plus you can do fun things like sport a great clutch and fabulous hair and you'll be all set.
And then, Cinderella, you'll be the belle-and-baby of the ball, and you can take a moment to remind your kindly Prince Charming that he owes you a really good foot rub later. After all, you could have been home watching an Army Wives marathon with your feet up. (Do you hear me, hubs? Elbow, elbow. Hint, hint.)
Image at top courtesy U.S. Army.