What a relief to be pregnant in this era! Gone are the days when maternity fashion meant wearing dresses that resembled our grandmother’s “daster” and made any mom-to-be look more like a house than an ordinary pregnant woman! Nowadays, with the right pieces and accessories, pregnant women are looking just as chic as the rest of the population.
The current fashion trends are also on the side of pregnant women, with loose blouses and tops being paired with stretch jeans or leggings, a very convenient outfit for any woman, pregnant or not. In fact, some pregnant women opt to simply ride out the nine months wearing (mostly) non-maternity but belly-friendly clothes in larger sizes.
While this strategy may prove to be difficult in the last trimester, or even the second, it is usually easy to do during one’s first trimester. At that stage, you may not even know you are already pregnant, so dressing up a barely noticeable bump is usually the same as in everyday attire, except that you may want to loosen your belt a notch or two.
It is in the second trimester that things may get tricky. At this point, depending on how quickly you show, your bump may either look like you just came from a very good lunch buffet or obviously a baby belly. Some women prefer to simply emphasize the baby belly so as to avoid having to politely correct comments on having gained weight. Others opt for the other route and discreetly cover their bumps with flowing tops, high-waisted peplum blouses and dresses, or other high-waisted outfits that are loose enough at the bottom.
However, you will definitely have something to show by the time you end your second trimester. Purchasing a whole new wardrobe for just a few months is neither advisable nor practical, especially when you consider the expenses coming in after you give birth.
Rather than buying at random a number of clothes that you can wear only a few times throughout your pregnancy, consider getting pieces that you can mix and match together or with your old clothes.
Choose outfits that can grow with your body so you can wear them throughout your pregnancy and even after you give birth when things aren’t quite back to how they used to be.
Here is a list of clothes you may want to pick up to help you stay on top of your (fashion) game throughout the nine months.
1. An oversized open cardigan/ jacket/coat/cover
Choose one that is loose enough to hang around you and will give an illusion of having an elongated torso. You can wear this with a normal stretch top or dress over your belly so you don’t have to buy so many new shirts. Or, you can also wear it with a loose top if you do not want to overemphasize your belly. The cover also keeps parts that you are not comfortable with.
The right amount of space
2. Tunic tops
I was never really into tunics, except during a quick bohemian phase shortly after college. However, I have come to realize that they make great tops during one’s pregnancy. I like tunics that are fitted on the shoulders and arms; it makes you look like you are dressed smartly, but at the same time, gives just the right amount of space for your belly to grow underneath.
Their length is also a plus factor, as they usually extend until the first hip, which is a flattering length for most pregnant women, and leaves you confident that your bare tummy is not peeking out from under a shirt that is too short.
3. Maxi dresses
A maxi dress is heaven sent when one is pregnant during the summer. In the suffocating heat, with a six- to nine-month tummy (I’m always in my third trimester during summer), I do not enjoy having to squeeze into thick denims or tight leggings. But I appreciate the freshness that comes with a loose maxi dress.
Also, a maxi dress does not cling to every inch of your body, so you can enjoy your pregnancy without having to be conscious of anything.
4. Stretch jersey shirts or dresses
When your body is constantly growing, a dress made of jersey fabric can be your best friend. I have one particular dress that can go all the way to my ninth month, and I love it. You can choose styles that will flaunt your belly in all its pregnant glory and grow with your body, as the fabric stretches very well. Personally, I like choosing tops and dresses that have folds and layers so that they’re not stretched tightly over my tummy.
5. Wraparound dresses
Many, though not all, wraparound dresses can stretch all the way to your second trimester, and can then be worn again after you give birth. Since you can choose how tightly or loosely to wrap it around your belly, it is a comfortable and easy choice for many pregnant women who would like to enjoy their figure as their tummies grow.
6. Maternity jeans
This is probably the only piece of maternity clothing I would advise you to get. While I do try to wear whatever pants and jeans I can still use so as to have more choices, it is really quite convenient to slip into a pair of jeans made especially for your changing body. There are some that come with a big stretch of fabric that “cradles” your tummy, and there are also those that resemble my kids’ pants with adjustable waistbands on the sides.
Of course, if you can still fit into your old jeans by simply pushing it below your belly and leaving it unbuttoned or partially unzipped, then you can also try to just put a big belt on and close it wherever you are comfortable, or buy an extender. That’s a piece of garter that you hook on to the original button of your jeans, then “button” into the original hole using any of the buttons sewed on to the garter. This way, you don’t risk having any wardrobe malfunctions.
The key word that describes leggings is comfort. You can almost hear your body go “ahhhh” when you bring it out of your closet. You can buy a maternity pair which has a belly band for your tummy, or you can wear an ordinary pair and simply slide the waistline beneath your belly. It can go from day to night depending on how you dress it up. I don’t believe in “branded” leggings because, personally, I feel they are all the same. Aside from being effective, this is also one of the most economical outfits you can buy.
8. Slip-on flats
I love sandals, but when the time comes that you can hardly see past your tummy, the last thing you want to do is to bend down to close or open any clasps. Look for comfortable and sturdy slip-on flats that will take you places. Make sure they have good soles that are not slippery to avoid accidents.
9. Comfy wedges, steady heels
If you can’t bring yourself to give up your heels, try switching to wedges with thick bases or shoes with steady and thicker heels. The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine, was one of the most gorgeous and fashionable pregnant women I ever saw, and judging from her photos in magazines, she couldn’t part with her heels, either! But from the looks of it, she avoided razor-thin and super high heels and opted for practical pumps and wedges.
10. Long necklaces and scarves as accent pieces
I’m not sure why, but I always feel like my normal dainty necklaces have no effect whatsoever on my outfits when I am pregnant. I usually opt for loose tops and dresses, and I noticed that long necklaces and scarves usually complement my clothes more than the small pieces I prefer. Since I am a creature of habit, I didn’t really want to change my style, but I soon realized that there was no harm in trying something new.
Fortunately, there are many shops all over the metro offering beautiful accessories that are easy to find items to pair with your outfit. I’ve also come to realize that big accent pieces can really change the look of an entire outfit, something we need to master when we have a limited number of clothes for nine months!
So, whether you find yourself in the same situation or not, it’s always good to give in and change styles once in a while. Who knows, you may end up liking it and keeping it even after giving birth.
After you get your body back, despite the overwhelming desire to throw out your pregnancy wardrobe, consider keeping them in a box and saving them for your next pregnancy. While the trends will have probably changed by then, I’m sure many of the clothes and accessories will still come in handy, and you can always just build on what you have saved.