What to wear when you are pregnant

It’s been eight years and 362 days since I was last pregnant.

If I’ve done my maths correctly then that equates to my youngest child turning nine on Monday.

Those nine years have disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Before then I hadn’t been pregnant for further nine years.

SO MUCH had happened in terms of maternity wear since my first pregnancies and even more since my last pregnancy.

Thankfully what has happened has been an all-encompassing move towards maternity wear that is flattering … maternity wear that’s not afraid to put the growing bump on show.

I’ve been asked recently about maternity wear and have felt completely out of the loop in regards to referring people towards stores and brands that suit them.

Thankfully though, there are a number of women taking part in the #everydaystyle challenge who are pregnant right now and have some great tips on what to wear when you are pregnant.

These women are of all shapes and sizes and have a lot of advice to share.

I’d also like you to have a read of Not Just a Mummy’s post about the best budget maternity finds as well as Mama Stylista’s winter maternity style post.

My hot tip: show off the bump, don’t hide it AND buy a pair of maternity jeans (unless you’re pregnant across the height of summer, of course).

31 maternity wear tips

These tips have come from @icurvy, @mamastylista and @samillem (who are pregnant right now) and @theplumbette who had third baby a week ago (photos of these four women below) … and @workingwomenaus, @styleandshenanigans, @redcliffestyle and @kimbalikes who remember what it was like and have some gems to share.

1. Only buy a couple of maternity pieces and mix/match them with regular items. I saved a fortune buying tops from regular stores in a larger size and using a belly band toward the end. I found some maternity lines can be very overpriced.

2. My frustration has been that a lot of maternity clothes are swing style. As someone who has been plus size my whole life, wearing clothes that “tent” out from my (ever increasing) bust just doesn’t sit we’ll with me. Instead I embraced my changing shape and actually looked for a tighter fit and empire line clothes. Those styles are harder to find but I found them much more flattering. 

What to wear when you are pregnant | Inspiration from iCurvy

iCurvy

3. Harem pants have been my saviour. No need to buy maternity pants – with harem pants in style at the moment, you can save a tonne of money.

4. Kmart actually do really great maternity basics. There’s no need to spend a fortune on maternity clothes that you are only going to wear for a short period. The long sleeve maternity basic tops (black, white and jewel colours) for $9 are brilliant for layering or wearing on their own. Their maternity jeans (dark or black wash) are $20 and super soft and comfortable for wearing everyday.

5. I bought most of my maternity gear from Old Navy (US), Big W (they have the Bonds maternity range which is great), a few investment pieces from RIPE and Target (which was surprisingly exy). Metalicus was also good until halfway.

6. You can also get discounted maternity wear through the Sids and Kids shop – plus all proceeds go to the charity.

7. Don’t have to compromise your style because you are pregnant. I still wear the same things I would usually. I just get bigger sizes in tops and dresses and I always buy with stretch.

8. I found Jeanswest maternity jeans to be the best so far. They are comfortable and on trend. I just bought a leather look pair in the sale.

9. I always check out the ASOS maternity sale section. I don’t want to spend too much on maternity clothes so I look around for bargains. New Look and Next have a great cheap range too. Esprit has also just a launched maternity range online.

What to wear when you are pregnant | Inspiration from Mama Stylista

Mama Stylista

10. Mix and match with maternity and regular clothes and accessorise. Have fun styling your bump!

11. Maternity clothing is very hit and miss with more miss than hit. If you are lucky enough to be a small build then you can find pieces more easily that are just larger sizes. However, if you are not petite it can get tricky.

12. I splurge on some good dresses (Sacha Drake has some fabulous options) and then buy cheap and cheery basics from the chain stores such as Big W and Kmart.

13. You will need a great pair of jeans to get you through pregnancy and my favourite are from H&M.

14. I cannot wear any of my “non pregnant” clothes past about three months because I seem to stack on weight and fluid as soon as that little test comes back positive! However, it is a special time that goes so quickly and I am happy to pack away the high heels, underwire sexy bras and pretty much my entire wardrobe until I return to pre-baby weight in the future.

15. Instead of buying clothes when I am pregnant I will splurge on a fabulous lipstick or a necklace.

What to wear when you are pregnant | Inspiration from Samille Two Mad Rabbits

Samille – Two Mad Rabbits

16. If you are trying to hide a baby bump, a long scarf works wonders.

17. I loved fitted tops etc when pregnant. Usually I try to hide my belly, so it was great to flaunt it.

18. Stealing my husbands work shirts and wearing with tights was great. This looked so cute with ballet flats or sneakers. 

19. My hair and skin were great (for once), so I focused on bringing attention to them. Plus, don’t do anything dramatic with your hair in a crazy pregnant moment. We aren’t thinking rationally.

20. I had an enormous belly, right out the front, and boobs that went from C to DD overnight. I showed very early too because of the IVF procedures and my double placenta. Because of this, I preferred to wear over the bump pants, jeans and skirts with fitted tops. For the support! 

21. I bought a couple of expensive pieces from Egg and Ripe that I still wear now. A stretchy lace tube dress and a ruched tunic. 

22. My belly belt was useless. I used a hair elastic looped through my jeans button instead. 

23. I bought a lot of tops in the next size up from chain stores like Sussan. Sussan now has a maternity range.

24. I had some midi-length skirts in a flowing shape or tube shape that I pulled up over my belly. 

25. I embraced the bikini for the first time in my life and it took me three or four years to put one back on. 

26. Find clothes that will serve well during pregnancy and post pregnancy. I didn’t want to invest in new clothes that would be worn for only a year or less.

What to wear when pregnant | Inspiration from The Plumbette

The Plumbette

27. Look at your existing wardrobe and see what you can utilise during your pregnancy. For example, to make existing button shirts wearable during pregnancy, I would wear a bonds maternity singlet underneath and wear the shirt open. I also had a few kaftans and stretchy tunics that could be worn over maternity leggings to create a few different outfits.

28. During my pregnancy this year I invested in wearing printed pants with an elasticised waist. My go to online shop for gorgeous pants is Erin Louise. The reason I love her pants is because she has lovely prints and her sizes can accommodate a growing belly during pregnancy, as well as post baby. They are effortless to style as I would wear a maternity t-shirt with a  scarf or necklace to make the whole outfit come together.

29. Metalicus was also another great brand where the ‘one size fits all’ bill works really well for a  growing bump and also post baby too. I mainly bought Metalicus dresses that flowed from just above the waist down to accommodate the bump. Not all Metalicus tops or skirts would suit my shape, so I chose their dresses and found styles that wouldn’t fit me like a glove.

30. Maternity basics like jeans, pants, leggings, breastfeeding tops and pyjamas were all bought from Target or Big W. Don’t get carried away with going to boutiques and spending a fortune on a maternity wardrobe. I did this with my first pregnancy and most of the items didn’t last the distance to my second pregnancy even though I allowed for weight gain.  

31. For special occasion outfits during pregnancy I would go to ASOS online and also trawl through eBay as they would offer stylish dresses, at a great price.

Shop the look

This is a maternity wear outfit idea that includes many pieces that can be worked with other items in your maternity – or non-maternity wardrobe. All will serve you through your pregnancy and beyond.

What to wear when you are pregnant

1. Jeanswest maternity jeans $41.99 (on sale) | 2. ASOS maternity top (this is one in a pack of three) $29.39 | 3. Sussan scarf $39.95 | 4. Metalicus jacket $169.95 | 5. Sportscraft bag $189.95 | 6. Frankie4 Footwear loafers $219.95 | 7. Poup’ke necklace $89.95

Do you have any maternity wear tips to add?

Join in

Want to join in #everydaystyle? Simply upload a photo of yourself showing your everyday style to Instagram or Facebook, use the #everydaystyle and tag @stylingyou so I can find you. Don’t feel you have to post every day. Post when you can.

More inspiration

Check out Wardrobe Wednesday with Kim-Marie on Kimba Likes. Over 30? Rach from Redcliffe Style links up with other style bloggers each Thursday for 30+ Style.

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  • Pingback: Pregnant? Check this out – Styling and footwear tips from the experts. | FRANKiE4 Footwear

  • Sophisticated Mumma

    Some great ideas here! I had a gap of 12 years between my last pregnancies, you’re right so much does change. I bought maternity jeans but as I was pregnant through last summer 2013 I ended up in dresses due to the heat. I treated myself to a fab Belabumbum breastfeeding dress and still wear it, the cut is amazing. Definitely worth the odd splurge to combine with cheaper basics.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      I think the odd splurge with cheaper basics is always a good idea – not just while pregnant!

  • Stacey

    Great post Nikki. My little girl is 6 weeks old now, but I loved my pregnancy wardrobe. It was surprising to see how much of my existing wardrobe was suited to pregnancy – shop your wardrobe ladies!

    I didn’t buy too many specific maternity clothes, but did buy clothes from the following brands which I can also wear post pregnancy.

    – Camilla, a fantastic pair of wide leg silk printed pants with an elastic waist. These saw me through the warmer months and I will be wearing them after pregnancy. I got these heavily discounted in the post Christmas sales.
    – Mister Zimi, great flowy tops and dresses in funky patterns. Again, can be worn post pregnancy.
    – Equipment and Bettina Liano silk button up printed shirts. Great for work and can be paired with jeans and dressed up with scarves and jewellery. Purchase one size up from your normal size, can be worn as oversized shirts post pregnancy.
    – Topshop kimono jackets and shawls. I paired these with basic black stretchy dresses from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe and wore them to work (semi-corporate).
    – Sass & Bide tees. I paired the dressy ones with black pants for work and the casual ones with jeans on the weekend.
    – Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses. I bought two of these on sale and they fitted me until 30 weeks. Great for work paired with heels. Again, purchased in the post Christmas sales at a great price.
    – Extra long black and white singlets from Kmart and Target. I wore these constantly under pieces from my wardrobe and later on in pregnancy with various printed jackets and blazers to work.

    I bought these specific maternity pieces:

    – Just Jeans maternity jeans in black and dark blue. My normal J Brands fit me until approximately 34 weeks (with belly bands) but after this I needed maternity jeans. These were 2 for $109 and as it was coming into winter during my final weeks, they got a lot of wear.
    – Target maternity ponte pants. Cannot praise these enough. I also wore them in the hospital after my baby was born, they were extremely comfortable. I think they were $40.
    – Isabella Oliver black ruched wrap dress. This brand is quite expensive, but I wore this dress more than anything else I bought. I wore it to work at least once a week and paired it with different coloured scarves and jewellery so it always looked different. IO has sales online quite often, so keep an eye out.
    – Various pieces from Asos Maternity. Mainly oversized t-shirts I wore with printed pants and jeans.
    – Seraphine black seamless maternity leggings. Extremely comfortable!
    – Pea in a pod black maternity harem pants. Another winner in the comfort stakes.

    I wore heels until 38 weeks, but did favour a wedge heel towards the end of my pregnancy. Breastfeeding singlets, basics, pyjamas and other bits and pieces I bought from Kmart, Target & Big W.

    I spent less on clothes than I normally would in this period, but focused on trying to buy items which I could wear post pregnancy. The specific maternity pieces I did buy will last until next time (if there is one!).

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Oh Stacey, this is invaluable information! Love that most of your purchases are just now a part of your regular wardrobe. Hope you’re enjoying being a mum and getting some sleep!

  • Liz Poke

    At 26 weeks, this is beautiful timing! Thank you ladies! Where I live we are sorely lacking any specific maternity clothes shops so I’ve bought tops, singlets, jumpers and jackets in a size or two bigger from Jeanswest and Kmart to get me through. I have to say I’ve been stalking some of these gorgeous ladies on Instagram to get some fashion ideas and help me feel more comfy about showing off the bump. Thanks again!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Happy stalking – so good to get real-women inspiration. Good luck with the rest of your bump styling!

  • Petra

    When I was pregnant 13 years ago, I wore fabulous maternity clothes from Pumpkin Patch – not sure what their clothes are like now but I’m glad for preggie mums that there is so much more choice now!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      I wore some of their clothes 9 years ago – so much more choice now!

  • Mumma Fly

    So lovely to see Icurvy showcasing out beautiful blue expression maternity shop. Being a small business in Melbourne we appreciate being amongst the big company’s that do mass production. Mumma Fly want to thank you for showing a picture with one if our maternity tops that you can happily wear post pregnancy due to the side ties.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Fantastic! I love great small business stories.

  • http://soniastyling.com/ Sonia from Sonia Styling

    Gorgeous, gorgeous ladies! x

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      They are!

  • http://Twomadrabbits.com/ Twomadrabbits

    Thanks for including Sami rabbit! And thanks to all the other ladies for their great tips. Thank goodness for maternity fashion moving with the times, finally! You all look great. Can’t wait to hear all the baby news in the coming months. XO

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      That could be another post! Breastfeeding fashion tips x

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I love these ideas ,all these women look beautiful and I agree Nikki maternity wear has come a long long way from when I was pregnant with my son and daughter back in the 80s I remember having to wear a horrible navy tent like pinafore to work when I was pregnant with my son and it was horrid I looked like a beach ball!
    I did have a pair of maternity jeans when pregnant with my daughter and I lived in those and they actually looked good.
    I have started reading your book Nikki and it’s wonderful,well done you x and have a lovely weekend with your family and your nearly birthday boy Xx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Lisa at least in the ’80s you were in good company with the likes of Princess Di! But those tents!! And I hope you enjoy my book xx

  • merliyn

    morning nikki! … they are looking beautiful in full bloom! … these women are carrying off their baby bumps ever sooo stylishly … different from those good old days hey anyone?!
    … go girls! cheers m:)X

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      So different!

  • Nina

    I have found that slightly longer cardigans especially ones with a “waterfall” style front and kimono style jackets are flattering and comfortable for pregnancy and can be utilised afterwards when feeding bubs.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Very good tip Nina!

  • The Plumbette

    What a great post! I will share with my friends too who are pregnant. It can be one of the most frustrating wardrobe dilemmas of having nothing to wear as the bump grows. But you just have to go shopping or think outside the square. Thanks Nikki for allowing me to be apart of this post too. X

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      I have loved watching your maternity style Bec x

  • Jill

    My youngest is 13 – lucky ladies these days have so many more options available, in both price and style, and more fashions that are considered acceptable for a pregnant lady. I’m all for having the bumps out and proud, but I can’t help but think that if you didn’t wear a stretchy tube dress pre-pregnancy as it was not flattering to you, chances are it still won’t be flattering now!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      It really depends on the dress I think Jill. I was able to wear fitting Metalicus stretch tops while pregnant and bump out and proud. Those same tops were only good as layering pieces after giving birth as everything was wobbly not a firm bump!

  • Kristie

    As I approach 34 weeks, showing off the bump is fun whilst fitting into clothes is tricky. I followed retro mummy’s advice and this pregnancy (my 2nd and sadly last) bought some lovely normal clothes in the next size up as some maternity is a bit ugly. These pieces will give a nice slouchy look once I’m bumpless. Jackets are a saviour and are enough of a winter cover to wear with a nice tshirt. Thankyou for introducing me to Sass and Bide and there oversize tees have meant I can still look nice as bump grows. Can’t wait for your book to go on sale!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      That’s awesome re the tees Kristie and they won’t be wasted!!
      I think this way of thinking works if you are a smaller size to start with but if you are taller or bigger, the next size up doesn’t always work and isn’t always flattering. Good luck with the final weeks of your pregnancy x

  • http://www.styleandshenanigans.com/ Vanessa

    What a fantastic collection of intel Nikki. Off to share with my pregnant friends!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks Vanessa and thanks for contributing!

  • Bec H

    I bought most of my maternity wear from Old Navy. They do a plus range that is really practical and still “on trend.” As an aside how great are the Frankie 4’s? After seeing them here, and having a foot injury, I purchased a pair of Ellies. I love them and want to buy more! Thanks Nikki!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Another vote for Old Navy! And yes Frankie4s are so amazing to wear. Glad yours are working for you.

  • Kathryn

    Maternity wear has come a long way since I was pregnant last – 28 years ago! I remember hearing someone say in a shop that I should have an apron over my dress to cover my stomach more, I went home in tears. It’s such a beautiful time in your life, all these ladies look fantastic!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Oh that’s just awful – thank goodness we’ve changed our attitude!