Maternity Fashion 101: How to Be Chic While Pregnant

July 8th, 2008

Q: I have to go buy my first maternity clothes this weekend. What advice can you give to keep me looking chic? Styles, colors, fabrics…

Maternity Smocked Yoke Button Front Shirtby Colleen Geary, fashion stylist and image consultant

A: Trying to be chic while pregnant can be challenging as your body changes, but the good news is that there are so many choices for chic maternity wear today.

For looks that are fresh and chic , I would choose natural fabrics such as cottons and silks.  Simple silhouettes are best–and my favorite looks tend to be in solid colors with few, if any, embellishments.

My philosophy is that when you’re pregnant, the simpler your style, the better you look.  Figure flattery is still important, but when you’re pregnant, you have the opportunity to show off your growing tummy (instead of trying to hide it).  So–embrace your body and showcase your belly with chic, simple styles like wrap tops, empire waist dresses, button-down tops, and wide leg pants.

Maternity Smocked Empire Waist DressKeep in mind that you will only need maternity clothes for about three to seven months [Updated 7/8/08] –so you don’t need to buy nine months worth of maternity wear.  Depending on the time of year and the climate in which you live, you may need to base your purchases on seasonality–and note that seasons will change during your pregnancy.  Regardless of where you live and time of year, you’ll need casual clothes for weekends, a number of work-appropriate separates if you’re working, one very good dress (I love Veronique Delachaux), and a comfortable everyday shoe. 

As you craft your maternity wardrobe, think also about whether you plan to have another child.  If you plan to be pregnant again, you may want to invest in better quality maternity clothes.  If, however, you don’t plan to have any other children, you don’t need to spend as much on maternity fashion.

Here’s a few maternity stores to check out:

Old Navy - $20-$40 for dresses
Ann Taylor Loft - $40-$70 for dresses
Gap - $50-$70 for dresses
Japanese Weekend - $70-$120 for dresses
A Pea in the Pod - $150+ for dresses

Good luck with this wonderful, happy time of life and best wishes for your new baby!

Maternity Smocked Yoke Button Front Shirt | $44 at Ann Taylor Loft and Maternity Smocked Empire Waist Dress | $24.50 at Old Navy.

Have a great tip about how to be chic while pregnant? Share it with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: Q&A,Shopping Guide,Women,Women's

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Newt  |  July 8th, 2008 at 7:36 am

    You will only need maternity clothes for about three months?

    Maybe if you’re Nicole Kidman. But everyone’s body is different, and my regular pants stopped fitting late in the first trimester, even though I’ve only put on two pounds.

    After the baby is born, a lot of women phase out the maternity wardrobe gradually, while their bodies go back to normal, also. So maybe three to seven months would be more accurate. I would hate for pregnant women, of all people, to be subject to unrealistic body expectations!

  • 2. Mitzi  |  July 8th, 2008 at 8:40 am

    I enjoy this website very much. It gives me many affordable fashion tips. However, as a 50 year old mother of four I am puzzled by the statement that you will only need maternity clothes for 3 months. Speaking from personal experience, anything with a fitted waistband gets uncomfortable after 4 1/2 months, and unless you are Britney Spears and can afford a nanny and personal training, expect to be wearing at least some of your maternity clothes for a few weeks – months after delivery. It may go against the fashion gods, but elastic waistbands are a godsend.

  • 3. Trisha  |  July 8th, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Here here for elastic waistbands. Thanks, Mitzi and Newt, for your perspective. I’ve never been pregnant, so I’ll take your word for it. Updating Colleen’s piece with the three to seven month guideline.

  • 4. Erica  |  July 9th, 2008 at 6:47 pm


    This is my first comment on Omiru, though I’ve read the blog with regularity for a while now. I’m currently in the 39th week of my first pregnancy, so I’d like to share some tips I’ve gathered over the months that have worked for me.

    Wrap clothing is a lifesaver during pregnancy. Wrap dresses, wrap tops, wrap cardigans, robes, wrap skirts–they adjust with pregnancy and you can wear them afterwards.

    If you like to wear jewelry,specifically dangly earrings and long necklaces, now’s the time to get it out of your system because baby may snatch them.

    Be kind to your feet, whether that means wearing lower heels, flats, or staying off your feet more. I prefer lower heels and even I’ve experienced sore feet.

    Finally, I would encourage other moms-to-be to not give up on style. It has helped me keep my morale up when I’ve felt off track. Pregnancy, among so many other things, is an opportunity to practice adapting, which is eventually what all mothers must do when baby comes. So adapt your style however you must, but don’t give up on it!

  • 5. delynator  |  July 9th, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    I heard about Bella Bands from Caterina Fake’s post about her experience with maternity clothes. Bella Bands will ease you into and back out of maternity clothes in 6-8 months, no problem. Get 2: one in black for work and 1 in white for casual. I’d also splurge on a pair of earl maternity jeans or citizens of humanity maternity jeans and a dress that makes you feel pretty. when you are 8 months pregnant, you deserve something that makes you feel pretty.

    Caterina’s Ultimate Guide to Cool Maternity Clothing:

    Bella Band:

  • 6. Trisha  |  July 9th, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Erica and Delynator, thanks for sharing these tips with the Omiru community!

  • 7. Adriana  |  July 11th, 2008 at 6:16 am

    I agree — that first trimester is tricky because your pants do stop fitting even if you don’t really need true maternity wear.

    My favorite trick was just a rubber band: loop it through your pants button hole and attach both ends to the button.

    I wish I’d known about belly bands when I was pregnant!

    Yeah, wrap clothes are great.

    I put off wearing maternity wear a little by wearing stretchy tops and skirts and shifting waistbands under the belly as much as possible. I’d read that I’d need new maternity underwear, but that’s so unnecessary if you already wear bikini briefs.

  • 8. Andrew M  |  September 5th, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Hi, nice blog-there are some great nuggets of advice on there. Theres no need to look dowdy now when pregnant. A great range of womens maternity fashion can be found at Peacocks here in the UK – they are very stylish and reasonably priced.

  • 9. Emily  |  January 21st, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    When my teacher was pregnant last year she’d wear basic black long sleeve shirts with a nice long scarf around her neck, not wrapped around her neck though. It made her look really slim and chic.

  • 10. Trisha  |  January 23rd, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Great tip, Emily! Thanks for sharing.

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