How to Dress for Your Baby Bump

maternitywearBeing pregnant brings many challenges to a woman’s life. Moms-to-be have to deal with more than just a baby bump. During pregnancy, the body changes in a variety of ways. The belly grows, the breasts enlarge, joints loosen and feet become larger. All of these changes can make choosing clothing seem like a daunting task.

Fashion vs. Comfort

Fortunately for today’s expectant mothers, switching to maternity clothing no longer means being relegated to frumpy loose dresses, baggy shirts and sweat pants. Just about any fashion statement that can be made on a regular day can also be made during pregnancy. Maternity wear can be hip, formal, casual or businesslike depending on the types and styles of clothing chosen. It’s possible to find maternity clothes in all styles that are just as flattering as the outfits that many women already have in their closets.

Balancing personal style with comfort isn’t as hard as it may seem. Many non-maternity outfits can be worn during the early stages of pregnancy and still look great. Comfortable tank tops, T-shirts, sweaters and button-down shirts are all options for days when Mom needs a relaxed look. “Relaxed” is an acceptable fashion statement as well, as long as the clothes fit well and flatter the body. Even with a growing baby bump, a good pair of jeans and a classic t-shirt can make for an attractive casual outfit.

Shopping Tips

Because maternity clothes are temporary, most women don’t want to invest too much money in buying a whole new wardrobe. That’s where thrift stores and consignment shops can come in handy. Women often give away or sell their old maternity wear, and a bargain shop can be a great place to snag deals on designer styles. Making pre-pregnancy clothes last longer is another way to save money. Inexpensive support bands for growing bellies make favorite jeans and trousers wearable for a few extra months.

The main thing that any mom-to-be should remember when shopping for pregnancy clothes is that style is personal. Sticking with the colors and designs that already look good is a surefire way to be fashionable with or without a baby bump. Black, white and other neutral colors are all fine, but women shouldn’t be afraid of trying bright colors and patterns as well. Outfits that are all one color can be very flattering, especially if the fabric is a little bit form-fitting. These outfits accentuate the growing baby bump and show that pregnancy can be beautiful.

Pregnancy Fashion Must-Haves

Keeping a few go-to items in the closet makes it easier to choose outfits through all phases of pregnancy. Expectant moms can rely on these items for both fashion and comfort:

• Comfortable t-shirts. Having at least one tee in a favorite style ensures that there will always be a shirt that goes with everything.

• Men’s button-down shirts. Whether bought new or borrowed from a significant other, these shirts are an essential part of casual pregnancy style.

• Tunic-style wrap sweater. Tunics are flattering on any body shape. Choosing a wrap-around style gives pregnant women room to grow without sacrificing fashion.

• A good pair of jeans, perfect for everyday wear.

• Stretch pants. Provided they’re stylish and flattering, these comfy pants look fabulous throughout all stages of pregnancy.

• Dresses and skirts that emphasize the legs. Elongating the body helps to balance out its changing proportions.

• Fun accessories. Necklaces, bracelets, belts and even handbags let Mom show off her personality and help her to feel sexy every day.

What Not to Wear

Dressing during pregnancy means considering fashion “don’ts” as well. One of the biggest mistakes that many pregnant women make is buying clothing that doesn’t fit anywhere but around the belly. Baggy clothes make the rest of the body look bigger, which can make the wearer self-conscious. The trick is to avoid anything that looks like a bag or sack. Instead, focus on choosing clothing that’s flattering but still offers room for the body to grow during each trimester. Don’t buy uncomfortable clothing just because it looks good. Discomfort shows and will detract from the overall impact of an otherwise attractive outfit.

As far as sweats are concerned, there’s nothing wrong with having a good set on hand. Though wearing them out in public is still a big fashion no-no, it’s important to be able to be comfortable around the house, whether resting or performing daily tasks.

Stepping Out in Style

The bottom line when dressing for a baby bump is to focus on personal style. Being pregnant is a whole new experience that’s meant to be enjoyed. A good, comfortable wardrobe that embraces a woman’s changing body and allows her to relax takes the stress out of baby bump fashion and makes it easier to enjoy what each day brings.

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