You really do need to buy maternity clothes. Unfortunately, we as a society are so bombarded by the “thin is in” ideal that women somehow feel inferior when they need to buy maternity clothes. It is in fact just the opposite.

Good news for you: you look smaller in your maternity clothes than you do stuffed into your regular clothes.

Depending on your budget, you may find it hard spending money on clothes that you’ll only wear for 4 or 5 months. Think of it this way. Can you go shopping, work, gym in your bra and underwear? Of course not, so buy your clothes, enjoy pampering yourself a little, and if this is the only child you are having, give the clothes away to a community center or the Salvation Army. You would be very surprised to know how short these organizations are on maternity clothing.  And who knows – you might just find something for yourself!

Depending on where you buy your clothes and from whom, you can probably get away with buying clothes twice during your pregnancy. Try to buy from knowledgeable sales staff who’ve had children and understand about fit. If you find yourself stranded in a store without much help, look for the following: make sure the clothes fit you with room to spare in the hips and thighs, or upper arms and bust.

 

Top 10 Must-Haves for Pregnancy Fashion

1. A twin set: You feel warmer during pregnancy, so layering is key. Choose a sleeveless top and long-sleeved cardigan so you can peel off a layer while looking pulled together and chic. You can also drape the cardigan over your shoulders for another look.

2. A wrap sweater: These tunic-length knit tops wrap around with an adjustable tie that you can fasten tighter early in pregnancy and looser as your belly grows. The soft lines create a flattering silhouette.

3. A classic T-shirt: From shorts to skirts, a classic tee goes with everything. Choose the style you prefer (i.e., crew or V-neck) but make sure there’s a bit of stretch in the material so it’ll grow with you.

4. A knit tunic top: While fitted across the shoulders and arms, a tunic provides plenty of room where women need it — across the middle, to accommodate growing bellies, and in the length, to cover expanding hips and bottoms.

5. Black stretch pants: They go with everything and can be worn from your first weeks of pregnancy through your postpartum months.

6. A slim-fitting skirt: These are more flattering than a full skirt. The length you choose will depend on your height: If you’re shorter, opt for a knee-length hemline. If you’re taller, experiment with a little more length — try a mid-calf line.

7. A men’s-style button-down shirt: Borrow one of your husband’s for a casual look, or choose a tailored maternity style (narrow through the top and shoulders with plenty of room for your growing belly) for a more polished feel.

8. A black dress: Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean this timeless and classic fashion staple is off-limits. It’ll take you anywhere, from a dinner date with your mate to an evening out with friends.

9. Comfy undergarments: You’ll need a couple of new bras to accommodate your larger-than-usual breasts. Don’t be embarrassed to let a lingerie saleswoman help you get the proper fit. It’s important that your breasts get the support they need and that you’re comfortable. As for underwear, loose is key. If you wear briefs, you may prefer over-the-belly maternity underwear. Or buy your favourite thongs or bikinis a size or two larger and let the waistband rest under your tummy.

10. A few cool accessories: You can really punch up an outfit with a colorful scarf, chunky necklace, funky shoes, or hip handbag. An added bonus: If you splurge on accessories, at least you know you’ll be able to wear them after the birth.

11.  A pair of trendy flip flops  or slip on shoes:  For the summertime, these are ideal.  Even for just lounging around the house.  The last thing you’ll feel like doing is bending over to tie your shoes with your growing belly.

 

Dressing for Work

Choosing a work wardrobe can be a nightmare for many pregnant women. Depending on what you do, and the rules of any corporate dress policy, finding the right clothes to suit your professional image can be a challenge. But it doesn’t have to:

1. If you stick to solid colors and similar fabrics you can get away with fewer pieces. Choosing darker colours means more wear from each piece, plus it detracts from your growing size. Simple basic pieces in black, navy, brown, camel or grey can be easily changed and accented with scarves, jewelry, hats and shoes in bright colors or prints.

2. Avoid becoming a fashion tent. While choosing extra large, full cut tops and dresses may seem as if you can more easily hide your size, doing so will actually have the opposite effect. Remember, the larger the tent, the bigger the circus, so shop for clothing that is slim cut with some shape.

3. Trendy fashion jewelry. If pregnancy is keeping you from wearing this season’s trendiest outfits, remember, for each new style there’s a coordinating accessory, so going for half the look will help keep you looking up-to-date.

4. Never underestimate the power of a great jacket for a polished corporate edge. Start with any full cut blazer you already own, leaving open the bottom buttons. Later on, invest in one or two full cut maternity jackets in an unconstructed style. Add a long scarf tied loosely in the front, and no one will even notice what you’re wearing underneath.

5. Never underestimate the power of shoulder pads! While the broad-shoulder, power suits of the 1980’s may be long gone, neat, well balanced shoulders can do miraculous things for your pregnant figure, and help give balance and proportion to your body.

6. Choose clothing in substantial fabrics. Whether you are pregnant winter or summer, opt for fabrics with a substantial “hand” and body such as boucle, twill, gabardine or cotton. During pregnancy, a crisp, woven cotton shirt, for example, will look infinitely more professional than a flimsy knit top.

7. To complete your polished, professional look choose a shoe with at least a one and half inch heel. This will not only give your look a more stylish edge, it’s actually better for your back than flats.