Bump Up Your Style

The dos and doníts of maternity fashion.

Staying fashionable throughout pregnancy doesn’t have to break the bank— simply re-purpose your pre-pregnancy clothes to accommodate your changing body, stock up on a few essentials and mix-and-match for endless variety (and much-needed comfort).

Do wear your old cardigans, blazers and oxfords open over a tank or camisole. This not only saves you from having to buy extra clothes, but is a great option for moms-to-be who dress business-casual at the office.

Don’t hide your tummy. It’s okay to wear formfitting, stretchy pieces that you owned before. Just make sure they’re long enough to completely cover your belly. Also, consider making larger pieces more fitted by adding a belt.

Do
wear leggings. These pre-pregnancy wardrobe staples are often stretchy enough to accommodate a growing tummy. High-waisted styles can provide additional support, too. Solid black is classic and slimming, while colors and prints paired with a solid top add some pop to an otherwise basic outfit.

Don’t be afraid of prints. While it’s easy to think an allover print can make you look larger, the opposite is true. As long as you steer clear from chunky horizontal stripes, patterns are a wise and slimming wardrobe option.

Do know if you have to size up or shop maternity. Though it may be tempting to try and squeeze into your old clothes, looking constricted makes you appear larger. Stick to proper-fitting clothes.

Don’t be afraid of heels. Since pumps are central in many women’s wardrobes, it can be tough to give them up. While a change in your center of gravity makes stilettos difficult and dangerous to wear, kitten and wedge heels are a safe, stylish and comfortable option.

Do recycle. It can be painful to spend large amounts of money on clothes you’ll only wear for a few months, so shop from thrift stores for inexpensive options. Also, talk to other new moms— many are more than willing to give away their old maternity clothes after baby arrives.

That said, while many maternity pieces are unnecessary— especially when a tight budget makes it impractical or impossible to spend big bucks on clothing that you’ll only wear for a few months— there are a few items you should invest in, for comfort’s and convenience’s sake.

Maternity Jeans: Since denim is a wardrobe staple for most women, being unable to fit into your favorite pair can be a downer. It’s well worth it to invest in a pair that will fit your growing belly. Not only are they be more comfortable and go with everything, but looking and feeling great is a major confidence boost at a time when it’s easy to feel frumpy.

BellaBand: Despite the previous paragraph about maternity jeans being a pregnancy must, fit into your regular jeans longer with this indispensable product. It smooths down the button and zipper on your pre-pregnancy jeans while holding them up. During the awkward transitional period in which your belly is too big for your normal jeans yet too small for your maternity pair, the BellaBand lets you wear a larger size without risking wardrobe malfunctions.

Quality Bras: This is especially important when your breasts become tender and, potentially, too large to fit into your pre-pregnancy bras. If you plan on breastfeeding, invest in nursing bras early on, as the support they provide may carry you through your pregnancy.

Remember, these tips are just to get you started. The important thing is that you wear what makes you feel not only comfortable, but beautiful.