Building Your Maternity Wardrobe

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on December 10, 2022

Moms-to-be have many fashion choices for their pregnancy. In the past, many women wanted to hide their growing bellies. But today, that's changing. There are more options that celebrate your changing shape, and you can look as stylish as you would if you weren't pregnant.

Still, there are some other considerations, such as comfort and cost. These 10 tips will help.

  1. See what you already have. Your current wardrobe may see you through the first few months. Check for clothes that "give." This includes sweaters, blazers, T-shirts, pants, or skirts with any degree of stretch or elastic in the waist or fabric.
  2. Choose clothes that look like what you'd normally wear. The designs, fabrics, and colors should appeal to your personal sense of style. Your maternity wardrobe shouldn't make you feel like your choices are limited.
  3. Stock up on basics: tops, skirts, and slacks in solid colors. You can mix and match solids easily. Pair less expensive pieces with a few designer ones.
  4. Go to a larger size in non-maternity stores. That might be all you need, as long as the style isn't very fitted.
  5. Borrow or shop secondhand: You may want to ask a friend who's had a baby recently if you could borrow some of their maternity clothes, or shop consignment or secondhand.
  6. Think snug. Large, full-cut tops and dresses just make you look bigger than you are. Clothes with a bit of stretch will fit better and feel more comfortable. Choose maternity clothes that are slim cut with flattering shapes. You can build a neat, pulled-together look that gently hugs your body without clinging too tightly.
  7. Play with color and pattern. These draw attention, if you're comfortable with that. If not, you might want to go with solid colors.
  8. Choose pants and skirts wisely. Slacks with a slightly flared leg help balance your figure. Pick skirts long enough to allow you to feel comfortable while sitting.
  9. Slip on a jacket. Jackets can add polish. You can start with one you already own, and later add one or two maternity jackets to your wardrobe.
  10. Wear shoes with at least a one-and-a-half-inch heel height. A shoe with a little height is actually better for your back than flats. Super-high heels may be harder to balance in, especially as your belly grows and your center of gravity changes.

Show Sources

Bouchez, C. Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy: Beauty, Health and Lifestyle Advice for the Modern Mother-to-Be, Broadway Books, February 2004.

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