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Second Trimester Maternity Style: Dressing Your Bump

The right silhouette and fabric take vintage gear well into your pregnancy. Photo by Jan Jablunka via Flickr

Yay, you actually look pregnant! Choose outfits and accessories that celebrate your new shape.

Like it or not, your belly will be your main style statement for the next few months, so embrace it. Have fun with fashion but don’t over think it — keep silhouettes simple and non-constricting to create flattering lines and keep you comfortable.

If you missed my First Trimester post about planning a capsule wardrobe to save time and money, click here.

Flattering basics and streamlined accessories highlight your bump and make dressing easy. Photo by Emilio Horchada via Flickr

Step 1: Plan and Research: * Do the closet cleanse: See below for what to wear now and what to pack away. I know it’s painful, but try on every single thing you own. If it doesn’t fit now, it won’t fit until after the baby comes and there’s no point in taking up valuable closet space.

* Inventory and display your capsule wardrobe – Lay out the flattering basics you’ve assembled for your capsule collection to make sure you haven’t forgotten any important elements. This will make up your uniform. Then store all items so you can see and access them easily.

My sister Brynn wore her uniform of long-sleeved Ts, yoga pants and flats throughout her pregnancy.

* Consider seasonal additions: If you live in a temperate climate, you’ll be pregnant through at least three seasons. Your capsule wardobe will provide 75% of your layering pieces, but consider budgeting for a winter parka or a few flowing summer dresses to make your wardrobe go the distance.

* If you’re feeling uninspired, create a character: If you’ve always experimented with fashion, the idea of a uniform — while practical — may seem constricting. Try looking at items in your capsule wardrobes as building blocks for a new persona.

For instance, comfy yoga pants might be the gateway to experimenting with an athletic look featuring colorful sneakers, streamlined tops and sporty accessories.

Or look to pop culture for inspiration. All those gossipy celebrity magazines I read at the gym have me excited for warmer weather and a more California boho look — maxi dresses, flat sandals and a straw fedora.

A bohemian look is a flattering option for pregnancy. Photo by Jorge Mijia Peralta

Step 2: Wear items from your non-maternity wardrobe: * Stretchy leggings and tights usually still work — just keep the waistband above or below your bump. * Baby doll and empire waist tops and dresses are a classic pregnancy look * Stretchy skirts that are knee length or longer — just pull them over or under your bump. * Silk and jersey dresses will full skirts or side wrap closures will drape beautifully and grow with you. * Longer dresses, tanks and Ts  will show off your shape now that your pregnancy is “official.” Just make sure they’re not constricting and that you can’t see the bottom swell of your stomach underneath. If you can, it’s time to upgrade to maternity shirts. * Jackets, cardigans and button down shirts are great layering pieces, although you may not be able to close them

A little creative layering allows you to wear your pre-maternity clothes well into your pregnancy. Photo by via Flickr.

Step 3: Buy Strategically: * Invest in structured maternity items like pants, fitted skirts and dresses: Some freakishly lucky people — like my sister in her first pregnancy — can just go a size or two up and get by without maternity clothes almost until the very end, but going a size up just made me look sloppy. A proper fit for tailored items is essential, especially during pregnancy.

* Key Maternity Pieces: These will replace the pre-pregnancy staple items you wear the most — the ones you don’t feel like yourself without. You should have already planned for these, so you’ll have time and money to buy the best for your budget. Just make sure you’d wear them if you weren’t pregnant and that they fit your color scheme.

* Make a list and follow it: You’ll stay on task and save money when you buy only what you need.

* An exception to the uniform rule — special occasion dressing:  Good maternity wear isn’t hard to find, but it is hard to find when you need it. If you have a special event like a wedding, pool party or vacation coming up and you just happen to stumble across the perfect cocktail dress or maternity bathing suit, buy it and be done with it.

Pre-maternity dresses can work in your second trimester and can double as tunic tops as your pregnancy progresses. Photo by Meagan Jeanne Wooley via Flickr

Step 4: Wear these items right now and then pack them away: * Knee-length non-maternity dresses: Even if you’re lucky and your legs still look fabulous well into your third trimester your dresses will get shorter as you get bigger. Check for indecent exposure– especially pulling in the back — and wear them as long as you can. Then covert them into tunics or pack them away.

* Shoes that make you feel unstable: I’m all for wearing heels during pregnancy, but loose ligaments and a shifting center of gravity can make things dangerous. I could wear heels no problem, but kept wiping out in my favorite pair of super-low ankle boots, so you never know what style will give you trouble.

* Anything that hits above your natural waist: Loose or paper bag waisted skirts can be very flattering mid-pregnancy (see below) but once your belly starts to really swell, they can make you look huge, especially from the side. Wear them now, while you can!

High waisted skirts can look fantastic in early pregnancy — just pack them away once your bump starts to really stretch the fabric. Photo by MujerBoricua via Flickr

What were your maternity standbys?  What styling tips and tricks did you learn as your pregnancy progressed? What are the best places to buy maternity clothes?

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