If you're new to dressing for two, the world of maternity clothes might be somewhat of a mystery. Learn what styles look great with your growing baby bump and what pieces to invest in for a cute and comfortable pregnancy. You have a stylish nine months ahead!
A-Line Shirts and Dresses
There's a reason why so many women (pregnant or not) reach for A-line or empire-waist shirts and dresses: they flow away from the tummy. This cute and comfortable style has a seam right under the bust so that there's plenty of room for an expanding midsection. It's an economical choice because one piece may fit you for most of your pregnancy. Hold onto A-line tops and dresses after giving birth because you'll probably still wear them while you're carrying some baby weight.
You've surely heard of this fashion lifesaver for pregnant women: the belly band. It's a stretchy fabric band that overlaps the top of your unzipped or low-slung jeans, pants, and skirts and holds them up while leaving room for your growing belly. Genius!
You'll be able to wear your favorite jeans and pants early on in your pregnancy, and using a belly band will buy you even more time until you need maternity pants. But by month four or five, you should take the plunge and invest in a couple pairs of stretchy-waist maternity jeans and work pants. The good news is that several designer labels – such as 7 for All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, and Juicy Couture – are now making maternity jeans, allowing pregnant women to feel fashionable and not frumpy.
Pregnancy calls for comfortable clothes, but it can also be a great time to play up your feminine side. Many women like to wear ruffles, florals, and girlie colors and touches to complement their pregnancy glow. Choose shirts with longer hemlines in the front to cover your expanding belly and with room on top for your shoulders and growing bust.
Swelling, tender breasts can be one of the first signs of pregnancy, and your bust could grow by a cup size or more over the next nine months. Before long, you'll need some larger, more supportive bras. Don't break the bank by buying a slew of new bras before having your baby because your breast size will change again after delivery. Get just a few new bras that fit you well and have a little room to grow as your pregnancy progresses. Many women experience breast discomfort at night, so you may want to buy a sleeping bra that gives you light support at bedtime.
Beyond Maternity Stores
There are a lot of great maternity clothes stores, but don't limit yourself to just those. A lot of major retailers, like Gap, Old Navy, Kohl's, and Ann Taylor, now offer maternity lines. Plus, check out local boutiques and online stores that carry maternity clothes. You can find almost anything under the sun – from stylish bathing suits to wider-leg boots – if you look in the right places.
The Layered Look
The weather and your body temperature will vary during your pregnancy. You'll probably feel increasingly warm as the months pass, so dressing in layers will help keep you comfortable. And if you wear your regular cardigans, blazers, and denim jacket unbuttoned, you'll only need to buy inexpensive maternity or stretchy tank tops and T-shirts to wear underneath.
A Little Help from Friends
When you find out you're pregnant, ask friends who have recently had a baby to hang on to their maternity clothes so that you can borrow them. Most women would be glad to give their old maternity wardrobe a new home, especially if they're done having kids. You could even share and swap maternity clothes with a friend who is also pregnant. As a new mom, you'll quickly become a fan of receiving and exchanging hand-me-downs.
On casual days, go ahead and reach for your stretchy yoga pants, cozy zip-up hoodies, broken-in sports bras, and stretchy, breathable tank tops as maternity clothes. No one said you have to be as put together as usual throughout your pregnancy. Sometimes you just need a comfy Sunday to veg out and avoid constricting clothing.
Your Partner's Clothes
Your guy's roomy button-down shirts, T-shirts, and boxers are great to sleep in or wear around the house on those days when you're running out of actual maternity clothes. While you shouldn't sport his flannel shirt to a business meeting, some of his white or plain dress shirts should be fine to wear to your job.