Dressing for Pregnancy: Top 10 Maternity Clothes Tips
Dressing for pregnancy is always a daunting task. Initially, you might be focused on hiding your baby bump, and in your final trimester, you might be trying to squeeze it into anything that has room for it. Unfortunately, maternity clothes can ring up quite the bill, but there are ways to get the most out of your investment! In this article, we’ll highlight the top maternity pieces and must-haves to purchase, including tips on comfort and ways to save money along the way.
1. Don't Buy Anything in the First Trimester
During your first trimester, you are only supposed to gain an average of two to four pounds. While there will be some bloating, you can make your regular clothes work during these initial three months. Save your money and wait to buy maternity wear until you actually need it.
Hide Your Belly Well with Optical Illusions
For those looking to keep their blessed news a secret during this time, use your non-maternity clothing to your advantage. First and foremost, layering is a fantastic technique for ensuring that your growing belly remains hidden.
Chunky sweaters, blazers, cardigans, and dusters are all great options that most women already have in their wardrobes. Just make sure to keep your initial layer basic. This can be done with shift dresses and stretchy tank tops. In addition, choose black and other dark colors to facilitate an effortless slimming effect.
Then, as your belly begins to bulge, maxi dresses, billowing blouses, oversized t-shirts, and tunics should be added to the mix. Finally, don’t discount the power of a distracting pattern! Narrow vertical stripes, polka dots, and floral prints will all draw the focus away from your belly. Remember that a little goes a long way and that smaller prints are best.
2. Look For Items That Will Grow With You
Once your news is public, it is time to start searching for items that will accommodate your constantly changing figure. The top pieces of apparel to invest in are stretchy maternity leggings, empire waist skirts, wrap dresses, button-down tops, overalls, and maternity dresses. Your goal should be to find comfy items that can be dressed up and down.
Stores like Motherhood Maternity, A Pea In The Pod, and PinkBlush are fantastic places to shop because not only are their clothes tailor-made for this time in your life, but finding the right size is extremely simple! Whatever your size was pre-pregnancy, it is also your size in their maternity lines. This takes a ton of stress out of buying online.
3. Prioritize Certain Fabrics
Itchy skin and hot flashes are just some of the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany pregnancy. Therefore, make sure that your clothing is buttery soft, stretchy, and breathable! Cotton and jersey knits are always an easy choice, but if you notice that your skin has been extra sensitive, then consider purchasing clothing made with hypoallergenic materials like bamboo, lyocell, and cupro.
Not only are these fabrics environmentally friendly, but they are also resistant to static, they hold their elasticity, and they tend to be softer than other options. Additionally, they have moisture-wicking properties and they are odor resistant! Eco-friendly and ethical brands like Summersalt, Girlfriend Collective, and Storq have an array of products that have these attributes so make sure to check them out.
In contrast, materials like wool and polyester can have an irritating effect on the skin, which you’ll want to avoid, especially if you suffer from itching during pregnancy. Always make sure to check the tags before you buy maternity clothes, and make a point to confirm the store’s return policy in case the size or material is not to your liking.
4. Look For Flattering Characteristics
Along with the right fabric, the best maternity clothes feature ruching, V-necks, and tailoring in just the right places. This creates a silhouette that is both fitted and flowy, which will highlight all of your best assets! A V-shaped neckline has always been touted as one of the most flattering cutouts that work with virtually any body type.
Furthermore, a ruched dimension on dresses and tops will showcase your growing bump in a complimentary way, no matter where you are in your pregnancy! More importantly, this is another attribute that elongates the life of your apparel.
Finally, look for styles that accentuate your pregnant body. 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 also an economical choice, because one piece may fit you for most of your pregnancy. Hold onto A-line tops and dresses after giving birth as well because you'll probably still wear them while you're carrying some baby weight. This also goes for peplum and babydoll tops. These all give the wearer an hourglass appearance, which is always attractive!
5. Elastic Waistbands & Stretchy Fabrics Will Be Your Best Friend
Your pregnancy wardrobe should prioritize comfort above all else. This means finding non-restrictive items like leggings, joggers, and loose jumpsuits. Activewear can also be a sound expenditure because you can use it in multiple settings and these pieces are normally made with spandex. Look for high-waisted styles and pair them with long stretchy shirts to accommodate your ever-changing bump.
6. Buy a Belly Band
A belly band is an extremely important item that every pregnant woman should purchase. This support garment is designed to give you some much-needed back and tummy support towards the end of your pregnancy. It can also help to alleviate abdominal pressure and even improve your posture. Better yet, it will help you fit into your regular jeans a little bit longer! While you can buy this at maternity stores, Amazon has some amazing options for a very affordable price.
7. Accessorize Like You Mean It
You would be surprised at how easy it is to spruce up what would normally be a drab outfit when you have the right accessories. Not only that, but if you buy basic maternity tops and dresses, you can easily rotate your jewelry, scarves, hats, footwear, and layers to create an array of cute maternity looks!
Best of all, if you buy just one pair of maternity jeans and a handful of black maternity leggings, you can keep your expenditures low and still produce a multitude of fashionable looks! Plus, all of those accessories can be used after your pregnancy is over.
8. Upgrade Your Undergarments
Swelling and tender breasts can be one of the first signs of pregnancy, with bust sizes commonly increasing by a cup size or more over the course of pregnancy. Before long, you'll need some larger, more supportive bras. Don't break the bank by buying a slew of new brassieres before having your baby, because your breast size will change again after delivery.
Instead, buy a few options that will give you room to grow. Then, when shopping, look for bras that do not have an underwire, but have wider straps as a substitute. This can give you the lift you need, while still ensuring comfort when your breasts expand. Additionally, many women experience breast discomfort at night, so consider wearing these undergarments at bedtime as well.
Don't Forget About Your Postpartum Period
For the first six to eight weeks following the birth of your beautiful baby, you will be in recovery. This makes that ever-flattering maternity underwear exceptionally important! While not the most attractive item, it is necessary. Kindred Bravely makes a spectacular line of products that are designed to accommodate women who have both vaginal and cesarean births.
In addition, for those moms who have breastfeeding in their future, nursing bras are also needed. However, these should not be purchased until at least the eighth month of pregnancy. Moreover, keep in mind that you will want to buy these items with some extra space. Once your milk comes in, your breasts can double, if not triple in size. Thus, buy two or three options to tide you over until you can determine the best size for you.
Kindred Bravely has a fantastic instructional video on how to find your perfect size. Finally, do not forget about feeding blouses! You also want these to be loose to allow for ease of use.
9. Look Beyond Maternity Stores
There are a lot of great maternity clothing 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 like ASOS that carry an extensive line of maternity products that feature current fashion trends with room for a baby!
You can find almost anything under the sun – from stylish bathing suits to wider-leg boots – if you look in the right places. This also ensures that your pregnancy style stays true to your normal fashion choices!
10. Get Creative to Save Money
The biggest problem with maternity clothes is that you only wear them for a short amount of time and then they end up at the back of your closet. Therefore, for those ladies who find themselves on a budget, you need to be a bit imaginative when it comes to finding appropriate options.
Get A Little Help From Friends
When you find out that 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.
Use 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 at a business meeting, some of his white or plain dress shirts should be just fine to wear to the office.
Buy Second Hand or Rent Clothes
This is an amazing option for moms-to-be who find their schedules filled with formal events! We all want to look our best at our friend’s wedding or the fundraising gala that we have been planning since before we got pregnant, but what are the chances that you will find yourself pregnant again at another fancy occasion? This is also a great choice for the ladies who want to look their best at their baby showers and during their maternity photo shoots.
Look For Sales
With the number of holidays and special occasions that warrant a price reduction, it would be silly not to take advantage! If you know that you want a collection of maternity outfits, then buy items on sale, even if you don’t need them quite yet!
For instance, if you become pregnant in August or September, this is an opportune time to invest in maternity swimsuits! Stores are looking to clear out their inventory and you will likely find a use for this piece of apparel by the spring when you are sporting an adorable little bump!
The same goes for fall and winter gear. There is no reason why you cannot enjoy some high-end maternity fashion on a budget. You just need to be savvy about when you make your purchases. Therefore, always be thinking ahead!
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Heidi is an experienced journalist who worked in the television news industry for a decade, where she gave local forecasts as an award-winning meteorologist, was a reporter, hosted a lifestyle show, and contributed to a weekl