When it comes to pregnancy style, it’s best to take advice from the pros: moms. We interviewed soon-to-be mothers and mothers who already have a pregnancy (or a few) under their belts to discover the best maternity and post-maternity clothes. We learned that when it comes to mama style, it’s all about versatility and longevity. We asked, and here’s what they said. After all, mama knows best.
Comfort is necessary when dealing with morning sickness and a growing belly. Fold-over yoga pants and soft fabrics are a pregnancy fave. Krizia, Verily’s lifestyle editor, recommends jersey, Lycra, or 100 percent cotton. “They’re comfortable, breathable, washable, and stretchy,” she says. Here’s what other moms have to say about their maternal must-haves.
1. Fold-over yoga skinnies: “Any pant or skirt that has a fold-over, yoga-type waistband is great for pre-, during, and post-pregnancy. I live in my yoga pants and black fold-over skirt.” —Emily, New York, mother of three
2. Stretchy pencil skirt: “I still wear a ton of my maternity bottoms, like my black maternity pencil skirt from ASOS.” —Krizia, New York, mother of two
3. Wide-leg pant: “The new wide-leg pant trend is such a pregnancy lifesaver. I love that they feel like pajamas. It is perfect for when I’m feeling super-preggo but want to look stylish and effortlessly cool. I bought a maternity pair and found myself wearing them way after I was pregnant. Nobody knows they’re maternity!” —Ann, Florida, mother of four
4. Fold-over maxi skirt: “I really liked stretchy, more form-fitting skirts or maxi skirts. They are easy to fold down under a blooming tummy. For postpartum, they are really nice for the first couple weeks while your body is healing.” —Emily, Canada, new mother
Long tank tops, such as the one above from Target, were a resounding favorite among these experienced mothers. Coupled with looser-fitting tops, these make for easy breast-feeding access while still looking put-together.
1. Tulip top: “Tulip tops are super-functional for nursing. Because of the looser fit, they are easy to wear with a stretchy tank top underneath, which is ideal for nursing (my little guy doesn’t like to have a nursing cover in these 100-degree days).” —Emily, Canada, new mother
2. Button-up: “For the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, button-ups made me feel more put-together even when I felt super-bloated and out of shape. They aren’t so great for the third trimester because the buttons begin to pull unless you find a very loose fit. Button-ups are also great again for postpartum and nursing.” —Margaret, Pennsylvania, mother of three
3. Long tank: “Fitted tank tops underneath your clothes are great as your belly grows.” —Jill, New York, mother of four
4. Peasant blouse: “Boho-style tops are a lifesaver for during and after pregnancy! Especially for the time period before announcing.” —Emily, Canada, new mother
There’s nothing like a beautiful pregnant tummy in an equally beautiful dress. Show off your newfound silhouette in a flattering wrap dress or a floor-length cotton maxi.
1. Tent dress: “Look for silhouettes with more volume that will adjust to your transitioning shape. Try tent dresses or roomier shirtdresses that you can cinch with a belt to highlight your waist. I bought an Anthropologie dress on sale for a wedding—it’s a huge, triangle tent shape, and I plan to tie a black satin bow around my waist for an empire-dress look while pregnant.” —Janet, Pennsylvania, expecting mother
2. A-line maxi dress: “My wardrobe go-to is my A-line maxi dress in stretchy, soft cotton. I wear it when making dinner, running errands, going to church, or chasing one of my kids around. It’s not technically maternity, but I find that it’s very versatile during pregnancy and after because it’s so flexible and long.” —Kate, Pennsylvania, mother of eight
3. Gathered material: “On a whim I bought a non-maternity dress that had fabric gathering to the side. I was not sure if it would work during pregnancy. It ended up being my favorite dress during the first and second trimesters. I found the gathering to be accommodating of my growing bump, but it also made me feel elegant and classy.” —Maria, Virginia, mother of one
4. Wrap dress: “Try wrap-style, cinched, or gathered-waist dresses that are non-maternity.” —Erin, Florida, mother of two
It’s important to feel confident when going out, even if you aren’t feeling so great. You won’t be pregnant forever, so you won’t want to spend tons of money on clothes for just nine months. Instead, buy a few staples, and add accessories that switch up your looks and last long after your bump is gone.
1. Blazer: “Jackets are amazing for offering a bit of shape to a woman’s body when it’s easy to feel that one is losing her shape. A bit of tailoring can go a long way.” —Emily, Canada, new mother
2. Chic oversize bag: “To escape the ‘diaper bag’ look, I began using an actual oversize purse after my first kid. The one I use now is white leather with silver buckles, and it doubles as a great going-out purse. When I’m on Mommy duty, I throw in a onesie, a diaper, wipes, and I’m set.” —Emily, New York, mother of three
3. Comfortable shoes: “Comfortable shoes, flats, and wedges (no more than 2.5 inches recommended) are your best friend and can still look super-cute while running around after kiddos or strolling (aka waddling) about while preggers. I wear my Birkenstocks almost every day.” —Janet, Pennsylvania, expecting mother
4. Waterfall cardigan: “I still wear my maternity cardigans. Two are open in the front and drape, and another has a waist tie, so they fit me at any size. They’re also great for nursing because they’re loose enough that I used the extra material to cover me when I was nursing.” —Krizia, New York, mother of two
These moms prove that maternity style doesn’t necessarily have to come from the maternity section. With these helpful tips, shopping for your changing body can be just as fashionable and fun as pre-pregnancy. You and your bun in the oven will be stylin’ in no time.