Maternity Clothing: How To Dress Your Growing Baby Bump
Shortly after I found out I was pregnant with Nikash, I took one pass through my closet and felt an instant wave of anxiety. I'd never been pregnant before, so I had no frame of reference to how my body would change over the next nine months (and beyond). All I knew was what I saw on Instagram, the moms with the perfect baby bumps that still managed to wear high heels. Would I have enough energy for that? Or would I end up sobbing on the floor of my closet, surrounded by a mountain of clothes from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe, and resort to shooting my YouTube videos in a loose-fitting nightgown instead?
Just as I was about to shell out hundreds of dollars on maternity clothes, I decided to wait for my bump to pop and continue working with what I had. There was no way to know when I'd need to jump up a size until those clothes stopped fitting. At the time, I was dealing with morning sickness that lasted into the evening, so comfort was key. All of my stretchy knit dresses became a godsend, and I found they were easy to layer and dress up or down for different occasions. The same goes for leggings.
As my bump grew, I began to shop in the maternity section. Thankfully, the entire transition proved to be less painful than I initially thought. Sure, I felt like a beached whale, but at least maternity fashion has improved from its days of ill-fitting jumpers and horrible fabric. Now you'll find clothing that's comfortable and flattering, and that can grow with your body from the first sight of your baby bump to postpartum. Read on for my tips to create a no-stress and affordable pregnancy wardrobe of your own:
Save Your Sanity With Stretch Knits
As I said, stretch knits were my godsend. I also wore them pre-pregnancy, so I got a lot of wear out of those dresses and leggings. I didn’t have to change sizes since they stretch and I didn’t commit to too many maternity items. The material is extremely comfortable, grows with your growing body, and is a breeze to take on and off. It also accentuates your bump, unlike a loose-fitting style that can make you appear twenty pounds heavier than you really are. My favorite brand is definitely Enza Costa. I wore the brand throughout my entire pregnancy and I still wear it today. You can often find it on sale on The Outnet. For leggings, the Ingrid & Isabel line from Target is the best. In fact, Target became one of my favorite stores for maternity clothes, including maternity bras!
Don’t Be Afraid To Outfit Repeat
You’re pregnant. No one cares if you rotate between the same outfits. If you find something that you're comfortable and confident in, buy a few of them. I suggest sticking with basic neutrals, which are more versatile to layer and create an entirely new look. My favorite pregnancy outfit was a striped stretch knit dress from Enza Costa, and I wore it over and over again in different ways. I found it helped take the stress out of deciding what to wear, and that meant everything to me. I could wear it with sneakers or slightly dressed up with sandals or heels. (FYI, the striped dress isn’t available anymore, but here is the same style in gray!)
Button It Up
The more pregnant I was, the more my shirts would ride up. That's just how it is. But instead of buying maternity blouses that I'd outgrow in a few months, I wore loose-fitting flannel or denim button-ups that I tucked into the front of my jeans or leggings so it would look more flattering. The buttons didn't only help my bump, but also helped contain my boobs which had grown massive. All it took was a simple un-button. I also wore my button-ups while breastfeeding for the easy access. Unfortunately, towards the end of my pregnancy when my bump was really popping, I had to get a couple of maternity-specific tops, but I found affordable ones on Topshop.com.
Bella Band = Your New Best Friend
When it comes to maternity fashion, the Bellaband is a gamechanger. The ultra-soft and stretchy material allows you to wear your pre-pregnancy jeans or pants unbuttoned without anyone noticing. Once I started wearing a Bellaband, my outfit options drastically increased, and I was able to wear the same jean style I'm used to, rather than buying maternity. I also loved how the lining prevented the band from slipping, which kept my pants up and made my bump feel supported. It comes in handy after the baby is born too! FYI: The size of Bellaband you order coincides with your pre-pregnancy measurements.
Think Outside The Box
We're not limited to Destination Maternity or Pea in the Pod anymore. Stores like ASOS and Topshop have great maternity clothes that look similar to trending styles but are designed specifically for pregnancy. I found these stores especially helpful when I needed an affordable dress for a wedding or other formal occasion. They also had great maternity jeans options (because who wants to spend close to $200 on jeans that can’t be worn for years?). There’s also a site called Le Tote that allows you to rent designer or stylish maternity clothing at less than the retail cost. I didn’t personally love their clothing styles, but for some it’s a great option when you know you’ll only wear a certain item during pregnancy.
High Heels? Not so much
When I was pregnant, I had no idea my feet could swell to the size they did. I wore heels when I absolutely had to (thank goodness for block heels!), but let’s just say I never became one of the moms-to-be on Instagram in heels each day. When the third trimester rolled around, I couldn’t even fit my swollen feet in slip-on loafers! Plan on wearing shoes that have an open design and are easy to slide on and off. Trust me, this is important when you can barely see your feet or bend over. Even though they’re ugly, a classic pair of Birkenstocks became my go-to footwear, both pre and post-pregnancy, along with a pair of Gucci Loafers that eventually had to wear with the back down.
Do you have any pregnancy fashion tips? Share them in the comments below!