Let's face it, it’s always going to be harder to find clothes you love wearing when your body is changing every day. On top of that, you may now be sweating more easily and more profusely, your water retention may be off the charts, and weird bulges are probably showing up...everywhere. Despite all these complications, it really is possible to like your maternity clothes if you get just a few things right.
Best: thicker, more structured fabrics.
Worst: thin, see-through material.
Quality, substantial fabrics smooth out bulges and make you feel less exposed as your body grows. Think (stretch) suiting materials, better quality knits, and generally thicker fabric weights. The key is COOL-TOUCH, breathable materials so you don't overheat. Since there are very few brick and mortar maternity stores left, be sure to order from online retailers with transparent and generous return policies. Many maternity garments are made with such poor quality material that they pill and tear within a wash or two. A "great" price isn't worth it if your clothes look worn out in a couple of weeks.
TENCEL is the new hero of maternity clothing. It has a luxurious drape and is sustainable, cool touch, wrinkle resistant, and can be washed at home. It's considered even more breathable than cotton and manages moisture beautifully. It's structured enough to work beautifully for dresses, shirts, and trousers. Sadly, the majority of maternity clothes on the market are still 100% polyester. While poly doesn't wrinkle, it's sweaty, stinky, and does no favors for our planet.
Best: show off your best bits
Worst: try to hide everything
When your waistline is out the window for 9+ months, the key to feeling confident in your clothes is highlighting other favorite areas of your body. Have great legs? Invest in slim or skinny jeans, or leg-hugging work trousers. Have amazing arms? Go sleeveless when you can. The svelte look of your other assets will make it clear that you are still you, just with a baby bump!
Avoid wide leg pants, exaggerated sleeves, and ruffly cuts. The eye won't be able to differentiate between the size of these larger styles and your belly, making you look like you're growing everywhere at once.
Best: empire waist
Worst: drop waist or no waist
Go for empire waists whenever you can. They hit above the baby bump, at what is now the smallest part of your torso. This slims your silhouette overall. Empire waists tend to be flowy below the waistline, making it easy to feel confident on your most bloated days. They are also a favorite of mamas who have recently given birth and want a flattering/forgiving waistline.
Garments with zero waist shape will make you look like you're wearing a tent. It might feel like it's hiding extra weight, but it's not. Just say no!
After your first baby comes, you may swear you'll never do it again! But, statistics would suggest that most of us go back on that promise at least once. Trendy maternity clothes aren't a great investment because most people wait a few years between our bundles of joy. By the second pregnancy, you may find your formerly trendy maternity pieces to be unwearable. If you go for classic, timeless styles, you'll be practicing sustainability and saving money, while looking beautifully fashionable during every pregnancy.
Worst: large patterns or garish colors
It may be cliche, but it's true - black rules for maternity! When you're feeling puffy, black is classic and slimming. It naturally looks more put-together than most colors, and it has the added benefit of hiding stains (spills, breastmilk, spit-up, oh my!). Plus, it goes with everything, allowing you to leverage a few great, quality maternity pieces into a complete wardrobe.
Large patterns confuse the eye and enlarge whatever they're covering. Bright colors can be beautiful, but they should be chosen carefully. The wrong orange maternity dress will leave you looking like a walking easter egg. And not in a good way.