By Erin van Vuuren, TheBump.com
Can’t stomach the thought of spending your dough on maternity clothes that only last a few months? Then reach for duds that you’ll wear longer! Maternity fashion has come a (very, very) long way, and the racks are full of cute pieces that can take you from that first little bump right through new mommyhood. Yes, really. Here’s what to grab:
“They’re great for accommodating a bump or hiding one … and perfect skimming over a body that’s still getting back into shape,” says Hannah Macdonald, owner of chic maternity boutique Bump Brooklyn. You can find Empire-waist tops and dresses just about anywhere — not only in the maternity department. When scouring the “regular” section, just be sure there’s enough material in front to keep you covered. (Look for stretchiness and a gathering of fabric beneath the bust.)
One to try: Smocked Jersey Maxi Dress, $29.50, (But on sale now and about $5 off), OldNavy.com.
(Author’s note: I’m eight months pregnant and wear this dress nearly every day. It isn’t maternity, but it doesn’t ride up in front at all.)
“Wraps, shawls, or cardigans are great for throwing over any outfit. They can also be used to give you some privacy while nursing and are perfect to snuggle baby in when you have them in a carrier,” says Macdonald.
Her favorite is a gray cardigan. “This is just a wonderful, timeless classic that can go from day to night, work to weekend, and season to season.”
One to try: Banded Bottom Cardigan, $99, LuckyBrand.com.
“There aren’t many wardrobes that don’t have jeans as their centerpiece. Many denim lines now include maternity styles — J Brand, Paige, Citizens of Humanity, Habitual, Juicy Couture, Paper Denim & Cloth, and Serfontaine to name just a few,” Macdonald explains. “If the waistband is covered, no one will know they’re maternity.”
Bonus: Belly panels can offer great support in your first weeks as a new mom.
One to try (no panel adjustable inner waistband): Habitual Knocked Up Half Baked Maternity Jeans, $186, PoshBelly.com.
Another great one (full panel): 7 For All Mankind Secret Fit Belly 5-Pocket Boot Cut Maternity Jean, $210, DestinationMaternity.com.
Your body will go through a whole lot of stretching and shrinking, so make sure you have clothes that can do the same. The right pair of leggings can be worn in your third month, your ninth month … and home from the hospital. “They don’t have to be maternity — just under-belly,” Macdonald says. “Wear them under a long sweater or tunic while pregnant, and then post-pregnancy when you’re nursing so you can lift up your top or dress without exposing your entire thigh and underwear.”
One to try: Ingrid & Isabel Belly Leggings, $52, DoulaShop.com.
A Belly Band
A stretchy, supportive tube like Ingrid & Isabel’s Maternity Lace BellaBand ($26, DueMaternity.com) can help hold up your pre-pregnancy pants once the zipper gives way, can hold up too-loose maternity bottoms, and can cover a popped out belly button. “It’s also great after you’ve given birth and you can’t quite get the zipper up,” says Macdonald. “The BellaBand is absolutely key to stretching out your wardrobe.”
“It takes us many months to really feel at home in our bodies again, so you want shapes that will flatter a busty or curvy form, and skim over parts that you’d like to keep hidden,” says Macdonald.
Feel like you’re lugging around a couple of melons? Go for V-necks and other open necklines. Yes, you might show some cleavage, but Macdonald insists that they actually minimize the look of your bustline. (If you’re breastfeeding, these will make for easier access too.)
One to try: Olian Nursing Knit Hoody, $74, BetterMommyFashions.com.
Another goodie: Olian Berry Deep V Top, $76, BellyDanceMaternity.com.
Stuff That Suits Your Style
“The key is not to buy maternity fashion that looks out of place in your wardrobe. You absolutely don’t have to give up your sense of style when you’re pregnant,” Macdonald insists. “Good maternity lines will follow seasonal trends or adapt classic cuts.”
If you don’t compromise your own taste, you’re much more likely to get your money’s worth out of your purchases. (Even better, you’ll still get to look like YOU.)