6 Women Deliver Their Best Pregnancy Dressing Advice

6 Women Deliver Their Best Pregnancy Dressing Advice

By Alexandra Whiting   |  

How they dressed to celebrate their bump and found a way to feel like themselves, while they were carrying someone else.

In 1991, Demi Moore made pregnancy feel sexy. In 2022, Rihanna made pregnancy feel cool. Both, with fashion. Moore’s Vanity Fair cover and spread shocked the world and positioned pregnancy is something that should be seen, not hidden. Rihanna’s fresh pregnancy fashion hasn’t been about accommodating or compromising, it’s been about expression, energy and making the most of it. A parade of crop tops, oversized coats, low-slung jeans, belly chains. Maximalism at its most captivating. Joyous and celebratory. As it should be! Even if you don’t have a wardrobe of Balenciaga and Saint Laurent. Here we asked six women with inspiring style how they dressed to celebrate their bump and found a way to feel like themselves, while they were carrying someone else.

How did you approach pregnancy dressing?

“I only started thinking about it seriously after my first trimester. I was highly anxious from experiencing pregnancy loss in the past. Once I got through the first trimester I started to relax and assess what I have in my wardrobe that could work before buying anything new. I went on Pinterest to see if there are any inspo of pregnancy style that aligns to my own personal style. I am a fan of the stylist Monica Rose, and went down a rabbit hole of her own style and tips On Pinterest, I made a board and realised the pins are already what I like: Rib knits, drawstring bottoms, blouses, loose summer dresses and silk midis. I am also a fan of Meghan Markel’s pregnancy style: a mix of polish and casual. Most importantly, I admire her wearing heels throughout and was inspired to do the same.”

What worked? What didn’t?

“As per Monica’s tips, and my Pinterest board, I realised one doesn’t need to sacrifice her personal style just because she is pregnant. You can still be yourself. I looked at some maternity brands but I’m not a skinny, tall model wearing a fake bump (some brands still do this!). I know my body. I am small, petite and gaining some water-weight around my cheeks and arms. The only maternity items I bought are my Spanx seamless over-the-bump shorts (the best investment ever), everyday high waisted maternity underwear, nursing bras (because my chest size grew), new activewear like a pair of nursing sports bras and the best leggings I could find, and one pair of good maternity jeans. That was the hardest purchase. I went through some trial and error. My friends advised me not to spend too much on jeans but affordable brands like H&M and Asos are just too big on me. I was happy to spend more on jeans so I did some research on Hollywood celebrities' favourite maternity pieces and found a UK brand, Seraphine, that does petite sizes for jeans. I believe Anna Hathaway and Kate Middleton are big fans."

What was your favourite pregnancy look?

When I was around 5 months, I could still fit into my Isabel Marant Naomi skirt, which I love pairing with T-shirts and a Soleil Luna blouse that has drawstrings. When I was feeling self conscious about my arms, I always have an oversized shirt from Wardrobe NYC. Another of my fave items are a rib knit set from The Range NYC, the skirt eventually got too tight as my bump grew. I also liked pairing a sweater over a silk/satin midi skirt with elasticated waistband. Midi dresses from Silk Laundry are also a good investment because their silk has some stretch. As for heels, the highest I could go is my 4 inches open toe sandals from Bottega Venetta. They are very comfortable. My By Far Tanya sandals and Manolo Blahnik are lower and super comfortable.

How did you approach pregnancy dressing?

"I wanted to feel like myself. So I tried to wear as much of my wardrobe as I could and not buy too many maternity pieces. Keeping elements of your normal style can help you stay connected to yourself, which is important when your body is given over to someone else. I only wear dresses, so I wasn't worried about jeans or anything like that, I usually wear A-line dresses, which I couldn't wear, so instead I wore a lot of floaty, empire-line, nap dresses with the elasticated rouching at the top. I also wore what are essentially pajamas. A lot of brands have comfy ensembles that are basically sleepwear for wearing outside."

How was it different to what you expected?

"My boobs didn't really grow, and I didn't have the real round 'perfect' bump, so the knit dresses and fitted stuff a lot of pregnant women wear didn't work for me. I could actually wear more of my existing wardrobe for longer, but I bought a lot more than I thought I would. Some of which made me look like an adult toddler. There was this one short denim dress that I thought was really cute, but I honestly looked like a giant preschooler. The maternity clothing scene is quite dire. I did buy some maternity leggings which were good for later but my regular Lululemon tights were fine for most of my pregnancy. I found the summer hard. It was so hot. If I was pregnant in winter I would have just worn leggings and nice coats."

What was your favourite pregnancy outfit?

"My favourite outfit was the La DoubleJ multicoloured dress I wore to my babyshower in Sydney. It had spaghetti straps and yellow feathers. It was also quite a lot more money than I should have spent but it was in the Net-a-Porter sale and I think I could get it tailored and wear it again. It was fabulous."

How did you approach pregnancy dressing for your third child?

"I’ve spent the last six years either pregnant, breastfeeding or both, so my wardrobe has had quite the evolution! Knowing this would be my last pregnancy, I wanted to make the most of it. Rather than just “making do” and feeling a bit ~meh~ for nine months, I wanted to feel like the best version of myself. I was also really into colour this time around (but I think that’s more to do with the last two years… post-pandemic celebratory dressing is a thing!). This time I put more effort into getting dressed and just sized-up or found cuts that accomodated an expanding bod. Having a bigger gap between kids meant I wasn’t exclusively dressing for mum-mode, I was dressing for work and play too. It was nice to dress up — especially knowing I would soon be covered in baby spew and living in sweats. I bought voluminous dresses for special occasions (I lived in the puffy ones from Aje), knit shorts, oversized tees (Zulu and Zephyr, Nagnata, By Billie and Bassike), stretchy knit dresses (Anna Quan, Friends With Frank, Aere by The Iconic), oversized button-up shirts (Blanca, LMND), elastic-waisted pants (the silk pyjamas from Maison Essentiele are elite). I did buy some cute Juem breastfeeding bras too. Most things I’ll be able to wear postpartum, and anything I can't can be gifted to friends.

What was your favourite pregnancy outfit?

"A voluminous dress, sandals and a nice bag. Partly because if I was this dressed up, it meant I was off to lunch or somewhere without the kids!"

What's your best advice for pregnancy dressing?

"Wear what makes you feel good. Also, you spend nine months pregnant and a decent amount of time postpartum — you’ll get lots of wear out of everything you buy in a bigger size! I also celebrated my body more this time! Showed off some skin! Regular me wouldn’t be caught dead in a cut out or midriff but pregnancy confidence hits different."

How did you approach pregnancy dressing?

"In my first pregnancy I was definitely blind-sighted. I really struggled to find anything to fit me, which I didn’t expect. Pre-baby I wore a lot of tight clothing and whilst that worked in early pregnancy, the more pregnant I got, tight clothing became less appealing. I pivoted and thought I was going to be wearing beautiful flowy boho gowns, but it just didn’t suit me. This time around I decided I still wanted to feel like myself whilst pregnant. I like colour and fun clothing. I wore lots of oversized pieces and accessorised. I bought lots of bike shorts and oversized tees, co-ords and Blanca shirts."

What’s your advice for summer pregnancy dressing?

"I found summer a lot easier. I felt good in comfortable clothing and some great accessories. Not all bumps are the same either so dress to suit yours. Show it off."

What was your favourite pregnancy look?

"I bought a pair of maternity jeans and everything else I just sized up. My favourite look would have to be my Blanca shirt and a pair of emerald green bike shorts or my Araminta James hot pink co-rod."

How did you approach pregnancy dressing?

"While I was pregnant, I still wanted to feel like me and keep my usual style so I tried to wear the things I already had in my wardrobe that worked for pregnancy, and I purchased items that I knew I would wear during and post-pregnancy. I bought a couple of oversized shirts and lightweight knit jumpers and lived in them with bike shorts! For the days I needed to be a little more dressed up, I wore a Lita Studios dress that worked throughout my entire pregnancy no matter the size of my bump."

How was it different to what you expected?

"I was surprised how quickly I started growing out of my usual clothing and had to adapt to pregnancy dressing much earlier on than I thought. I also didn’t expect to get through the entire pregnancy without buying any maternity wear! My advice is to go for comfort. I do think it's good to treat yourselves to a couple of pieces that make you feel good — you pretty quickly start feeling different and unlike yourself so it’s nice to have some go-to pieces in your wardrobe that always work."

What was your favourite pregnancy outfit?

"Definitely my Blanca oversized shirts with bike shorts. It was comfortable and made me feel good no matter what."

How did you approach pregnancy dressing?

"I loved it! I really enjoyed the changes to my body and seeing it move, work and appear differently, ao my style evolved with it. It was very different to what I expected, I thought I’d be anti-bump, and want to cover it all up, but I really enjoyed embracing this new shape. I knew I’d only get to do it once, so it was very much a YOLO wardrobe in the end!"

What worked? What didn't?

"Alot of maternity wear felt too specific and too mumsie, not my style. I like being bold and playful with fashion, colours and cuts so I bought a bodycon dress, a couple of rib knit dresses and a pair of black rib knit pants, plus a few oversized shirts, all of which operated in high rotation. I am wearing those shirts exclusively for life with a newborn as they’re great for breastfeeding, so I’m appreciating the lifetime value. I also had a few friends gift some of their key pieces which was nice as it felt like I had something fresh and new to wear. I always felt better when I matched my clothes to how I felt, it’s all about balance. Some days I felt like being totally relaxed and casual in leggings and a big shirt, but then other days I really enjoyed dressing my body in ribbed knit dresses or bodycons with boots or sandals. I knew during the fourth trimester I wouldn’t have much of an opportunity to go glam, so I embraced it while I could! There are no rules with maternity, just go with your mood and remember, tight doesn’t mean discomfort, as long as you’ve got the right amount of stretch!"

What was your favourite pregnancy outfit?

"The Hatch Rib Knit Onesie. I chucked a blazer or jumper over the top and felt like cat woman. Would I have the confidence to wear it now postpartum, since things are less tight and a bit more floppy? Maybe not, but when I wore it pregnant, I felt like a boss."

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