Relying on non-maternity-wear during pregnancy, a season when your body changes drastically, seems a bit crazy. Depending on your existing closet, dressing your bump can either be a nightmare or a dream. This is my third baby (and baby bump) and naturally, I’ve learned a few things about what pieces work for my body while pregnant and which ones don’t.
One of the questions I’ve been ask most often throughout this pregnancy, especially as I approach the third trimester, is how I manage to keep my actual maternity pieces to the bare minimum and rely heavily on my pre-existing wardrobe. (Check back with me in a few weeks, when this bump gets huge, but for now, I’m trying to make do with what I have). Dressing with a baby-bump feels completely foreign, especially during your first pregnancy, and even though Pinterest makes pregnancy style seem effortless, it can oftentimes feel uncomfortable, bulky, and unflattering.
Everyone’s body is different and everyone carries their baby in a unique way, so naturally, there’s no one-size-fits all approach to pregnancy fashion, but I’m hoping that through sharing a bit of what I’m focusing on this time around you might be inspired to make do with your current closet and style your pieces in ways you haven’t before.
I’ll share a few of my “rules of thumb” for myself and then share a few brands I’ve found to be versatile and comfy enough for maternity wear:
Stretching your wardrobe:
Rely on longer, over-sized silhouettes
Obviously, as your stomach grows, your shirts won’t fit the way they used to. I’m in the phase of pregnancy where most of my normal t-shirts have made their way into crop top territory. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that several of the tees and tops I already owned will still work for my bump simply because they’re cut longer and have more room in them. Look for “tunic” style tees or any tee that falls below your hips naturally, because it will fit you much longer than your other tees.
Two words: Elastic. Waist
Pants are where things get trickier. If you have pants with low, elastic waistbands, they will fit you throughout your pregnancy, most likely. Joggers, jeggings, low leggings, and even low-cut boyfriend jeans have worked well for me.
Get creative with layers
Layering, at least in the colder months of the year, will be your best friend. Don’t be afraid to experiment with layering a tunic under a shorter sweater, or tying a tee that’s too short to wear normally over a dress. Getting creative will extend your wardrobe in amazing ways.
Don’t fear the “rubber band trick”
I know, I know, it’s not glamorous. And at a certain point, it can become impossible or too uncomfortable (and never feel guilty about needing to buy a few pairs of cozy maternity pants at that point…) but thus far, I’ve been able to get away with “rubber banding” my jeans. It makes them easier to get on and off and is hard to see as long as your shirts are long enough to cover the rubber band.
When you buy new pieces…
Think about longevity
If you do buy new pieces during your pregnancy, try to find ones that don’t necessarily look overly “maternity-y” so that you can get away with keeping them after baby arrives too.
Shop secondhand for maternity-specific items
There’s no need to spend money on a brand new pair of maternity pants that you’ll only wear for 6 months or less, when you can find the same options for a lower price when you buy secondhand. Poshmark and ThredUP have been amazing resources for me so far. Also consider borrowing from a fellow mama friend who may have kept her maternity pieces.
I’ve gotten several new pieces (non-maternity) from collaborations and as a general rule of thumb, I’ve been sizing up from my normal size to give myself a little extra length and room for growth. This will help me feel less pressure to “fit” into my old clothes right away after baby comes too.
6. Create a new natural waistline
Your natural waistline during pregnancy goes from your mid-torso to right under your breasts and above your belly. You’ll probably notice that most maternity tops and dresses have built-in definition around this area to help pieces become more flattering and comfortable. You can create these same definitions with pieces you already have too. Use a belt to create definition over a dress or top. Tie up a button up or tee shirt over a tighter dress to create a new waistline and flatter that baby bump. It’s not an exact science, but it’s fun to experiment with what works for your body.
Brands to Love (pregnant or not):
The Natural Edition
This newly launched brand creates dreamy and soft basics that have worked like a charm for me. Their pieces are made with organic and natural textiles like tencel (my favorite) and organic cotton. Their Organic Cotton Breton Dress and Tencel Long Sleeve Pocket Top are both comfortable and stretchy enough to accommodate my bump without worrying that I’ll stretch it out too much.
I’ve shared about Encircled lots of times (and don’t plan to stop anytime soon) because their pieces are the definition of versatility — especially as your body fluctuates through cycles or even pregnancy. Their Essential Long Sleeve Top is longer than most tops, and it is perfect for a baby bump. Similarly, their Chrysalis Cardi and Evolve Top (pieces I own and love) are adjustable and able to be worn multiples ways.
I partnered with THOM KELLY last year for the launch of their first collection and am so excited to share that their second collection (which includes the Sawyer Shirt from last year!) has just launched and is in the preorder phase. Their shirts are made from organic cotton and tencel and I’ve found that mine (ordered true to pre-pregnancy size) has more than enough room for my bump with length to spare, at least for now.
Another brand that creates easy, versatile pieces is ABLE. I own several of their pieces and, even though I’ve had to put my jeans from them on “hold” until I can wear high-waisted pants again, I’m excited to wear my maxi dress from them once the weather warms up. Most of their pieces are stretchy and versatile enough to accommodate a bump.
If you’ve followed me for almost any length of time, you know about Sotela. I’ve had the honor of following along with Hanna’s brand from the beginning, partnering with her several times, and this Fall, designing a dress with her and my friend Emily for Dressember. Her pieces are designed with the fluctuation of womanhood in mind, including pregnancy and breastfeeding. The Avery Dress and the Stella Jumpsuit are two of my favorite pregnancy friendly pieces.
How have you experimented with wearing non-maternity pieces during pregnancy? Have any other tips? Leave them in the comments!
*This post is partially sponsored by several of the brands mentioned above as part of a long term collaboration. Of course, all opinions, tips, and photos are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!*