Dressing the Bump: How to Style a Maternity Dress

You have plenty to stress about when you find out you’re pregnant, from prenatal vitamins to gender reveal parties to decorating the nursery. Although pregnancy inevitably causes major changes to a woman’s body, many are still surprised by how quickly they are forced to swap out their normal wardrobe for their maternity wardrobe. 

Depending on your body and how you’re carrying, you may be able to incorporate some of your old clothing into your maternity wardrobe, especially if you own loose-fitting dresses and T-shirts. It makes sense that you may be viewing maternity fashion through rose-colored glasses. 

In fact, everyone does it, even the experts. Fashion consultants and celebrity stylists report mistakenly believing that they would be able to wear tight-fitting dresses, heels, and swimwear while pregnant. The illusion is encouraged because of their proximity to celebrity women who have maintained enviable bodies during pregnancy. However, stylists who have been there and done that advise expectant moms that the reality is a bit different, and that’s OK.

Stick with a few statement pieces

Maternity fashion should be comfortable, above all. Experts warn against stockpiling maternity clothes in the first trimester. In fact, if you’re crunching numbers, you can hold off on buying new pieces until the last possible minute. You can typically make do with the basic slouchy pieces that are already hanging in your closet, at least until your bump starts to grow considerably.

Oversized cotton tees in neutral colors or short dresses can be a great option for the early months of pregnancy when you’re still working, especially if you pair them with cute accessories. For lazy days at home, raid your husband’s collection of faded vintage band shirts or oversized flannels. Not only will they give you a cool mom vibe, but you won’t have to go sorting through consignment stores for the tighter-fitting, less maternity-friendly women’s equivalents.

Embrace the maxi

By the stage in pregnancy when you’re really showing and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to move without feeling like a beached whale, you’ll be eager to hit the maternity stores and buy a few maxi dresses. Even if you are not the type to wear dresses too often, you will likely find that they’ve become a permanent fixture in your maternity wardrobe by the eighth or ninth month.

The fact that maxis, such as these popular and inexpensive pieces from Old Navy, are both stretchy and form-fitting, makes them an ideal choice for the modern woman who wants to retain a bit of style during pregnancy. 

Style bloggers everywhere are giving the maxi a bit of a renaissance, and not just on the homesteading, crunchy-granola side of Instagram. Plenty of powerful lady bosses have incorporated them into their work wardrobe during pregnancy. There is a prevalent misconception that maxi dresses are frumpy, but they’re actually very capable of giving you a flattering silhouette, even through the third trimester.

How to style your dress

Fashion insiders agree that styling your maternity dress has never been easier. There are countless resources available for the mom-to-be who hopes to balance her style with her changing body. Searches for maternity style have skyrocketed in the past several months as the whole world has turned its collective gaze on royal style icon Meghan Markle, who recently gave birth. Brands such as ASOS sold out of maternity dresses that bore a resemblance to Meghan’s chic choices.

ASOS and H&M are two very popular clothing brands that cater to expectant moms, with a selection of maternity dresses that combine style with functionality for a reasonable price. Historically maternity clothing has been fairly basic, making accessorizing a slightly more challenging prospect. Nowadays the options are limitless. 

You can either stock up on patterned maternity dresses or grab a bundle of basics. If you prefer to stick with neutrals like black and grey, you can add some intrigue to your outfit by buying a few new pieces of jewelry. Simple is typically better, stylists say, as bold and chunky statement pieces are less flattering to your figure. So consider adding a personalized mom-and-baby necklace or bracelet for an added touch of glam.

Gone are the days of choosing comfort over style. With these simple tips, you’ll be a comfortable and stunning mom-to-be!

Rebecca Tomlinson

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