top five tips for staying stylish while pregnant

March 3rd, 2014


Back in August, when I first found out I was pregnant, I had such high hopes for staying super stylish the whole nine months. 

And I think, for the most part, I’ve done a pretty good job.  I’m sure I’ll look back on some of my pregnancy outfits and wonder what on earth I was thinking, but given the hormones and body-size issues involved, I’m going to cut myself some slack. 

This dress, to me, was the ultimate challenge: it’s not maternity, but when I saw it during Fashion Week, I fell completely in love.  I got it partly as a post-baby carrot to dangle (I *will* fit into it by next fall!) and also to see if I could make it work on my crazy shape right now.

And I’ll say this: it zipped!  (That’s about all I ask at this point.) And the thing is, a beautiful dress is a beautiful dress, whether your body is the perfect size for it or not.  Sure, I probably looked a little weird and lumpy in it, but I felt stylish and current, like I was wearing something that pre-pregnancy-me would have been excited about.  And for a girl whose wardrobe has gone from expansive to miniscule in the last six months, that felt pretty great. 

So I thought I’d throw out a few tips for staying stylish while you’re pregnant, and I’d love it if you guys chimed in with your own!  I still have seven weeks to go, so any advice helps!

Porter Gray dress from Figure and Form, vintage boots, Chanel bag, La Mer watch.


Five Tips for Staying Stylish While Pregnant

Show Off The Bump!

If I could give just one tip for being stylish while pregnant, this would be it!  The fact is, there is an incredibly beautiful process happening inside your body, and it’s cuter than any top or bag or pair of shoes could ever be.  I’ve worn sweatpants and no makeup to run errands while pregnant, and still see people grinning at my belly. 

I know it seems counter-intuitive to buy a bunch of tight clothes just as you’re getting ready to gain 30 pounds, but they’re actually really cute!  I bought about ten Forever 21 extra-long tank tops in various colors, and wear them at least a few times a week.  They were a whopping $2 each, so not a bad investment!  (And they come in plus sizes too!)

Think Beyond Maternity

I was so excited to buy maternity clothes when I first got pregnant, I totally over-bought.  While you definitely need some maternity basics (a good pair of jeans is a must), you may not ever need things like tops or even dresses. 

Instead of heading straight to the maternity stores, think about which stores have stretchy knits or flattering cuts that could work on your growing bump.  For me, simple v-neck sweaters from Express in cotton-blended fabrics had enough stretch to be comfy and still totally cute.


Empire Waists Are Your New Best Friend

This probably comes as no surprise, but the most flattering cut on any pregnant woman ever is the empire waist.  You get to show off your new boobs (!) and your gorgeous bump at exactly the same time.  I spotted some old picture of Nicole Richie in adorable empire-waist dresses while she was pregnant, and proceeded to find as many of them as I could!  Fortunately, you may already have some of these in your closet!  (Pro tip: Maxi dresses are the best of both worlds — still super flattering, and they give you a little more coverage!)

And So Are Leggings!

I couldn’t button my pre-pregnancy jeans by like, week 8.  I gained quite a bit of weight in the first trimester, including a lot of water weight, so comfy clothing was a priority for me early on.  But while I was still poking around maternity stores trying to figure out which pair of designer jeans would be my go-to, I whipped out a few comfy pairs of non-maternity Splendid leggings and wore them to death.  I’m still wearing them at almost eight months pregnant!


When in Doubt, Accessorize

Even with the best wardrobe and attitude, there are going to be days when you just don’t feel great about how you look.  We can’t all wake up every morning with the perfect pregnancy glow and the swallowed-a-bowling-ball baby bump.  There are going to be days when you’re exhausted, cranky, hormonal, and just plain uncomfortable.  I had many (many) of those days in every trimester. 

So here’s my solution when all else fails: Dress in all black and grab some killer accessories.  Start with either a black dress or a top and leggings — something comfy and easy to wear, that you feel comfortable in.  And then grab the most expensive handbag in your closet, the cutest statement necklace, or your favorite earrings or bracelet, look in the mirror once, and head out the door. 

And you know what?  Everyone will be so busy raving about how great you look, you’ll forget what was bothering you in the first place.


Tags: baby · style

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Stacy Dill // Mar 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    My best advice is:

    1. Buy as much non-maternity as you can.

    2. After you begin to show buy items you will want to wear the first month or more post-pregnancy. Make sure these are low maintenance items!

    3. Invest in good bras and shoes! Be careful with shoes; center of gravity gets all messed-up as the pregnancy progresses.

    4. Later pregnancy, invest in botton-front blouses and washable scarves, as well as button-front sleepwear/loungewear, especially if planning to breastfeed.

    5. SLOWLY rebuild your post-pregancy wardrobe.

    Again, you look great, and healthy which is the most important thing!

  • 2 katy // Mar 3, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    These are really good ones!!!  I debated including the bra thing, but since I didn’t really wind up needing one, I left it out — but that’s good advice!  (Also the bra extender can be a lifesaver — I do have one of those!)

    And YES on the shoes — I wear flats 90% of the time now!  My shoe rotation has gone from platforms and wedges to ballet flats and Converse. 🙂

  • 3 Katherine // Mar 3, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I am not a fashion person AT ALL, but I will second the notion to not neglect postpartum, particularly breastfeeding. You want tops with easy access. If you have a small chest, the nursing tanks with shelf bras are great (target has them).

    Many women are breastfeeding long after their bodies have returned to “normal” (i.e. 1-2 yrs later).

    And you’re right that maternity wear is more important for bottoms than tops, but if you’re tall you can’t get away with wearing short dresses or regular tops while quite pregnant. The dresses get skankily short after a while, and the tops eventually don’t even cover the bump fully.

  • 4 Katherine // Mar 3, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    So, for example, this dress is probably NOT one you’ll wear in April if you’re breastfeeding.

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