It is no secret that shopping for maternity clothes can be challenging and at times overwhelming. Your body is in a constant state of change, your hormones are on a roller coaster ride and not to mention you now have a new appendage that throws everything you thought you knew about dressing your body right out the window. Well don’t cave into wearing your husband’s sweat pants just yet, because I have three of my top maternity fashion tips that will help you navigate through the upcoming 9 months and extend the life of your maternity wardrobe.
1. Invest in a great pair of maternity jeans.
Shopping for a great pair of denim can be a challenge whether you are pregnant or not, but all women know that when you do find a great pair of jeans you feel like a million bucks! This feeling does not change with pregnancy. A common mistake women make, is that they wait too long to buy maternity jeans and endure the rubber band trick for far too long. My suggestion is to purchase a pair of denim when you are about 13-16 weeks along. This is typically when women start showing. I also suggest purchasing a pair of over the belly denim. It may seem unnecessary in the early stages, but you will be grateful that you have them once you hit the 6 month mark. **Style Tip: you can fold over the belly to create an underbelly jean if you do not fill out of belly band or if you need add support at the hip area. You can also do the same thing after pregnancy stretching the life of your jeans **
2. Look for side ruched tops.
If you are not familiar with what “side ruching” is, it is when a top has an added piece of elastic sewn into the side seams, creating a “ruching” effect throughout the tummy area. Tops like these are great, because they hid the early pregnancy belly when you haven’t quite popped yet, as well as camoflauge any problem areas after baby has arrived. As your tummy gets bigger, it has the fit of a nice fitted tee shirt and shows off the baby bump. **Style Tip: Look out for tees like that are 100% cotton. They do not hold their shape as well tops that are a spandex blend **
3. Buy true maternity wear instead of upgrading in size on regular wear.
There seems to be a popular trend, and almost a bragging right, for women to say “I never bought maternity clothes. I just wore a size bigger in regular clothes.” Okay, that is lovely for maybe the first couple of months or for all the size zero’s out there, but the reality is that you will spend more money going this route than if you would have opted for maternity clothes. Maternity clothes are not just like regular clothes but bigger in the belly. They are strategically engineered from the fabric that is chosen, to the cut of the garment, to the length, ensuring that the piece is meant to last you through the majority of your pregnancy. Maternity clothes are fit to a pregnant model; regular clothes are cut to fit a size 2 and then are size scaled from there. In order to get the length you need from regular women’s wear, you would need to buy at least 2 sizes up from your regular pre-pregnancy size, which result in a poor fit throughout the shoulders, arms and often bust. In addition to the poor fit, you will have to keep buying new clothes over and over in order to accommodate your growing baby bump. Lastly, you will never be able to wear those clothes again. Most maternity clothes are designed with a drape that allows you to camouflage some of the post-baby problem areas for the several months after baby is born.
**Style Tip: If you want to use some of your pre-pregnancy wear, wear your pre-pregnancy blazers and cardigans open and pair them with a fitted maternity tee and maternity pants **
Bonus Tip! Find items that transition from day to night.
Having key pieces in your closet that are transitional are always a fashion must-have, but they are even more essential to extending the life of your maternity wardrobe. If you work in an office, look for classic wrap dresses that can easily be paired with a blazer during the day and worn alone with a statement necklace at night. If you are more casual during the day, look for brighter chiffon tops that you can pair with jeans during the day and pair with a sleek pair of black pants for an evening look.
– Robin Otto
Robin Otto is a maternity fashion expert for zulily