How To Buy Stylish Pregnancy Wear & What to Wear During Pregnancy

Pregnancy clothes have come a long way from the unfashionable smocks and long dresses women had to wear in the past. Now clothing designers plan maternity clothes that show off a woman’s growing chest and belly. 

Check out current styles. Before your belly gets really large, current styles may allow you to wear fashionable items that aren’t even labeled as maternity clothes. Camisoles and other blouses that tie below the bust and billow to the waist (very fashionable right now) are great for a growing belly and chest. Pair them with a pair of maternity capris and you are good to go. 
As your bump becomes prominent and gets bigger and bigger it’s time to turn your thoughts to your wardrobe. Your pre-pregnancy favourites will fit for a while, then you’ll grow out of them, so you’ll need to stock up on some maternity clothing. Thankfully gone are the days when you’ll find yourself stuck wearing baggy, sack-like, unflattering dresses to hide your bump – maternity wear these days has gone fab and funky! If you’re unsure of what to wear, here are some ideas to get you started.

Tops
There’s a huge range of maternity clothes in the shops, so you’ve got plenty to choose from. It’s hard to predict how big you’ll get, but for the early stages of pregnancy you’ll probably be able to get away with your old favourites – unless they’re ultra skimpy or cropped, which isn’t the greatest pregnancy look. As your bump expands, it’s good to invest in some new clothes. If budget is an issue and you can’t warrant spending money on something you’ll only wear for a short time, check out online auction sites, as you can usually pick up some great bargains.

Simply designed wrap tops are ideal for pregnancy, as they skim your bump and can be adjusted as your size changes. Specially designed maternity wear tops have cleverly designed panels that expand with you, yet don’t compromise the design, and dark colours such as black are flattering if you don’t want to stand out in the crowd.

If your top priority is comfort, you can’t beat baggy t-shirts and cosy jumpers. You may need to invest in bigger sizes, or perhaps borrow your other half’s offcasts. Likewise, long tunic tops, whether light and floaty or thicker and warm, are ideal if you prefer your bump covered.

Dresses and Skirts
With a protruding bump, dresses may seem a complete no-no, but don’t give up on the idea too quickly. Maternity dresses these days are no longer ugly, unflattering sacks – there are plenty of great designs, made to flatter your shape and help you look great during pregnancy.

As in the case of tops, you’ll find many wrap-style dresses, which are flattering on your stomach. Loose floaty dresses that flare out from under the bust are also great, but do make sure you pick a long style, as otherwise the front hemline may be prone to rising higher than the back.

Skirts with elasticated or drawstring waists offer the perfect way of coping with expanding waistline and you choose from maternity wear, or larger sizes in the usual high street shops.

Trousers
For the bottom half, leggings, jogging bottoms and elasticated maternity trousers are perfect for comfortable wear. The maternity versions usually have great built in panels that can be adjusted as you grow. You may hate the look of the huge waistline, but if you’re self-conscious about how you look, it can easily be hidden with a loose tunic top.

But don’t despair – if you’re a jeans lover at heart, you can still get some great jeans designed for pregnant women.

Footwear
It’s a good idea to think about your footwear too. As pregnancy progresses, and particularly in the third trimester, you’re likely to get achey, tired feet and ankles prone to swelling. Because of this you’ll need something comfortable to wear, that won’t be tight around your feet. High heels will be out for many people, but you may find flat ballet-style pumps very comfortable as an alternative.

If you’re suffering from swelling in your ankles, look for sandals or shoes with adjustable straps, so you can release the pressure and tightness around your ankle. Alternatively, for really comfy walking shoes you can get styles with Velcro straps, so you can easily loosen them to suit your needs.
Underwear
Don’t be remiss and forget to think of your underwear! You’ll need bigger sizes here too and should aim to get measured for a maternity bra by about seven months.
Look at celebrities. Many celebrities look wonderful and fashionable during their pregnancies. Check out what Gwyneth Paltrow and Katie Holmes wore when they were pregnant. People magazine often has great pictures of celebrities during pregnancy. In addition, online sites such as MSN (see link) will allow you to peek at pictures if you don’t want to spend the money on a magazine. 
Pick staple clothing items carefully. Splurge a little on quality staples. One or two pairs of quality maternity capris or fashionable jeans will help you feel stylish and sexy, and should last through your entire pregnancy. 
Buy one great dress. Get a maternity dress in a color that you love that is good quality and will last you throughout your whole pregnancy. It should casual enough to be dressed down with a sweater for a meeting at work, but able to be dressed up with jewelry for a date with your partner.
Go to the mall. There are many, many retailers offering maternity wear now. Old Navy now offers maternity clothes in their stores and online. Stores such as Pea in a Pod and Motherhood Maternity (see links) offer great and fashionable maternity options, and are also online. 
Don’t buy things that are a size too big (unless you’re expecting multiples or actually need a larger size). Maternity clothing is made to expand with you. And one of the keys to looking great in any clothing is making sure it fits you. 
Check out places online.  Many sites offer very fashionable clothing (see links).  However, in the beginning, only buy a few items from an online site.  That way you can make sure you’re getting quality clothing, and are buying the correct sizes.  If the prices seem a little overwhelming–such as United Kingdom maternity boutiques like Blossom–check out the pictures and see how the models have accessorized and how the clothing fits their bodies. 
Don’t buy maternity clothing with horizontal stripes or large patterns. It will only make you look larger. Stick with solid colors to look your best. 
Don’t buy dresses or skirts that hit above the knee.  As your belly grows, your hemline will lift. 
Wear fun accessories.  You can get a lot more wear out of your clothes (and your feelings about them) if you wear fun scarves, hats, and other accessories with your maternity clothing. 
Wear the styles you normally wear. If you don’t like capris, don’t buy a pair of maternity capris. Everyone may tell you they look great, but if you don’t feel confident and great in them, you won’t look your best. Buy things you love. 
Check out secondhand stores or outlets. If the prices for maternity clothing leave you gasping, you can find fashionable things in secondhand stores. Because women wear maternity consignment for such a short period of time, there are many stylish items in these stores.

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