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Last September, when speculation began that Lopez and her husband, singer Marc Anthony, were expecting their first child, or children — she's reportedly having twins — Lopez did her best to keep the public guessing by opting for the standard free-flowing, trapeze-type getups. During the couple's Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony En Concierto tour, virtually all of her onstage Roberto Cavalli-designed ensembles were of the Seventies-only-slightly-more-shapely-than-a-muumuu ilk. Of course, the is-she-or-isn't-she approach to dressing is par for the course in the early stages of the pregnancy game (see Angelina Jolie's vintage Hermès gown at the SAG Awards). But even after Lopez confirmed everyone's suspicions in highly public fashion on stage at the tour's finale performance, she never dispensed with the classic, covered-up maternity look. Such modesty was the norm say, 40 or even 20 years ago. But at a time when many women, particularly those in Hollywood, seem to regard their burgeoning bump as a marketing mechanism, flaunting it in tight T-shirts and body-conscious dresses on the street and au naturel on magazine covers, Lopez appears almost old-fashioned by comparison.
"[Once] it was all about barely even showing that you were pregnant," says maternity designer Liz Lange. "Then the pendulum swung." Indeed, the days of dowdy, unapologetically matronly moms-to-be are gone. "I didn't believe I had to let go of my love for fashion just because I was pregnant," notes Nicole Richie, whose daughter was born last month.
"I'm kind of fascinated by what's happening because I'm old enough to remember when maternitywear was designed to disguise the bump," says David Wolfe, a creative director at the Doneger Group, of the current maternity trends and Lopez's retro reaction. "Pregnancy was sort of naughty or in bad taste, and now it certainly seems totally the opposite. It's like being pregnant is like a badge of sexuality and something to be flaunted."
Take, for example, recent mother Christina Aguilera, who posed for Marie Claire in a cropped jacket and little else midway through her pregnancy, and favored the taut sweater dress look in her final expectant days. Says Richie, who was often seen in a tight T-shirt and skinny pants: "I love when a pregnant woman shows off her belly. Of course naturally, I had my days where I would wear baggier things, but during most of it I embraced my new body."