Usually, it’s swimsuit season that causes me to burst into tears in dressing rooms.
That wasn’t this case this time, standing in a Target dressing room with tears in my eyes. Nope, not swimsuits. Maternity clothes.
I was about three months into this pregnancy with twins, and I had to face the fact that my dream of not wearing the dreaded maternity clothes during this pregnancy was a dream that was fading fast.
I’ve been pregnant twice before, and I never gave much thought to what to wear during those pregnancies. In the past few years, however, with the raising-babies season behind me, I had invested much more time, energy, and money into building and maintaining a sense of personal style. Browsing the racks of Liz Lange in Target revealed lots of items that were cute enough, I suppose, but none of it reflected anything remotely similar to my style.
Eventually, I got a hold of myself (and my hormones) and began to think realistically about how we all can take different approaches to style while our middles grow and grow (and grow). Inspiration abounds no matter how you decide to dress that baby bump!
Option #1: Skip maternity clothes altogether
My first exposure to the idea of forgoing maternity clothes throughout pregnancy came from James at Bleubird:
Throughout her entire pregnancy with her daughter Gemma Bird, she didn’t wear maternity clothing. She preferred instead to stick with vintage clothing and trends that were more her style. You can see more of her non-maternity maternity series here.
Another source of inspiration for wearing regular clothes in pregnancy is Lauren from Busy Bee Lauren:
Here she is at 38 weeks in a fun striped (non-maternity) dress!
The upside of skipping the maternity section altogether is that you don’t invest money in an entire season (or more) of clothing that you may or may not ever wear again. Dresses and skirts with pleats and stretchy cotton fabrics allow you to stay in clothes that are your regular size (or close to it!), and this makes it really easy to continue to convey your own style as your baby grows.
However, the downside of avoiding maternity clothing is that for some of us, it’s just not an option. When it’s your first pregnancy or if you are gifted with genetics that causes only your middle to grow and nothing else expands, it’s less of a challenge to avoid maternity wear. But that certainly isn’t the case for most women!
Which leads us to:
Option #2: Embrace maternity clothes and make the best of it
This is what I decided would have to work for me as I spend the next few months growing twins:
Though I don’t normally wear Old Navy clothing (it just never seems to fit me correctly), I have to say that it is my go-to place for maternity clothes. This striped pink dress is something I would want to wear even if I wasn’t pregnant!
I’m discovering that even when you decide to embrace maternity clothing fully, you can still bring your personality to the forefront with styling choices. For example, I love to wear my hair in a bun, and there is nothing about being pregnant that has to change that. I love belted skirts and dresses with boots, and I plan to rock those boots as long as my (swollen) feet will let me!
Here are some more examples of beautifully styled maternity clothing:
Merrick of Merrick’s Art:
Andrea of For The Love Of …
And Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind:
Option #3: Combine maternity wear with favorite pieces from your existing wardrobe
Of course, what many women do is combine a little of this and a little of that to be true to their own style throughout the maternity months.
A favorite scarf, a trusty handbag, stunning heels, and outrageous tights are all fun ways to pull a maternity look together. Sometimes just a cardigan, a favorite t-shirt, or a even a leather jacket pulled over maternity wear can make a pregnant lady feel a lot more chic.
This is a strapless maternity dress with my favorite retro denim vest on top:
Here, the Hollywood Housewife pairs a maternity tank with a regular-sized skirt from Anthropologie (and an AMAZING handbag):
And we can hardly talk about stylish maternity without featuring Naomi of Rockstar Diaries‘ fabulous take on wearing the bump well:
If ruffles, bows, and heavy shirring aren’t representative of your real life style, there’s no need to despair for forty weeks! It takes a little work to get creative with the maternity months, but feeling good about how you are dressed each time you leave the house makes the ups-and-downs of pregnancy a little more bearable. And hopefully it will keep you from crying in dressing rooms, too!
Share your approach to maternity wear! How long did you make it before you began shopping the maternity racks? Or did you last your entire pregnancy in regular clothes? Any blogs or shops you can recommend for style-seeking expectant mamas?