If ever there’s a time to put comfort front and center when it comes to what you wear, it’s during pregnancy – but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy fashion and have fun with your maternity style. However, having to navigate the tricky issue of what to wear with a constantly changing body can be a bit of a challenge.
“Pregnancy can be such a beautiful, happy and exciting time for most women, but it can also leave some moms-to-be feeling out of sorts with their style due to dressing a whole new body shape,” says stylist Joy Gregory, founder of The Style Guide.
As your belly grows, you have enough on your plate. You don’t want to be worrying about what to pull out of the wardrobe in the morning, or spending unnecessary amounts of money on new clothes you won’t fit into in a month or so. With so much to buy for when the baby arrives, many expectant mothers are loathe to purchase new clothes for themselves. “You are growing out of things at a rate of knots”, says Gregory. “You can’t keep up with buying clothes to fit your bump.” This means you need to be smart with your purchases, to ensure they’ll go the maximum distance.
Here are Gregory’s top tips for pregnancy dressing.
There will come a point where very little in your wardrobe fits you, so new clothes will be necessary at some point. The stylist shares, “Plan to replace only the basics.” For Gregory, this means buying “one or two decent, more expensive pairs of jeans or trousers at the three-month mark to last you throughout your pregnancy, and then between five to seven simple vests, tops, or T-shirts from a slightly more budget brand”.
Don’t forget you might still be able to wear some clothes you already own. Gregory recommends putting maternity-friendly T-shirts underneath a longline cardigan, jacket or blazer, saying, “You don’t grow out of a longline cardigan!”
One of the hard truths about pregnancy fashion? “Your normal styles don’t feel comfortable any more,” says Gregory. This particularly becomes the case during the mid and final months, when “you may find things like your usual skinny jeans, shirts or tailored workwear start to feel restrictive”, Gregory adds.
This is when it’s time to adapt. This means embracing aspects of pregnancy styling that are purely there to make you feel more comfortable – even if you wouldn’t normally wear them.
Gregory recommends nailing one key dress – “like a navy wrap dress or stretchy elasticated shirt dress, and style it in multiple ways to get that cost-per-wear down and avoid that ‘wasted money’ feeling”. She also recommends, “Try an empire waistband, where the seam sits just under your bust. Peplum and wrap tops work a treat to accommodate a bump.” After all, the more comfortable you are, the better you’ll feel overall.
Even if you lean fully into maternity dressing, this doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself and your personal style entirely. “Find those comfort pieces that feel great on, reflect your usual style personality, and still feel like you. It’s so important not to lose your identity,” Gregory says.
One way to go about this is to invest in oversized styles in your normal size. Oversized silhouettes promise you extra room for the baby bump during pregnancy and can be worn after the little one is born, simply the way the oversized piece was meant to be worn. Investing in an oversized blazer can be a wise choice, as it is not only a wardrobe staple but also offers versatility in terms of styling.
This way, you can spend on maternity wear without having to worry about donating it all after the baby is born.
Although you might have to put some of your favorite items of clothing into storage for a while, she adds, “You don’t have to feel frumpy. Vamp up your outfits with accessories, handbags, jewelry, and prints. Add some of your favorite colors to your wardrobe, or invest in some new trainers or loafers to keep you looking stylish and chic during your pregnancy.”
Accessories and shoes will last forever – long beyond the bump – and are a great way of still feel like yourself.