When you’re dressing with a bump, it can become quite an expensive exercise if you end up buying an entirely new wardrobe to accomodate your changing shape. Given that you’re pregnant for such a finite amount of time, it pays to be the quite strategic with what you purchase in order to save on costs, and also to avoid blowing your budget completely. After all wouldn’t you rather save your hard earned fashion dollars for clothes that you’ll be wearing for longer than 9 months? If you’re currently navigating pregnancy dressing but don’t want to spend a fortune, here are my tried and tested tips.
For both my pregnancies I borrowed clothes from my husband Luke’s closet. I wore his shirts and jumpers as they were oversized on me and could fit over my belly. Great for me, not so great for Luke! If raiding your partner’s wardrobe isn’t feasible then look to friends who have had a baby and see if there are pieces that they’re not using anymore that they wouldn’t mind you borrowing for a few months.
Go up a size
Maternity clothes have come a long way since the big tent dresses of days gone by and are quite on point but they can also be expensive. So eschew “pregnancy clothes” and instead look to your fave high street brands and go up a size instead. Look to places such as Cotton On, Target, Kmart, H&M and Zara which stock basics at a reasonable price and simply go bigger with the sizing.
I’ve not tried this myself but think it’s such a great concept! Clothing rental sites such as Glam Corner, Bump Style, and Your Closet hire out maternity clothes so you can keep new pieces in your wardrobe rotation without having to spend a fortune. This is particularly great if you’re going to an event and don’t want to buy a dress that you may only wear once.
Work with your existing wardrobe
You’ll be surprised at what pieces you have in your wardrobe can accomodate a growing bump. Anything stretchy is perfect for the later stages when your stomach is bigger — think jersey dresses, skirts and tops. You can also use oversized tees and utilise your existing pants by buying a pants extender which is quite cheap but will allow you to have use of things such as jeans and slacks further into your pregnancy. Also anything with a drawstring or elasticated waist will quickly become your best friend.
If you’re currently trying to navigate the tricky fashion terrain that is dressing while pregnant then you’ll know that it can become quite the style conundrum when you have no idea what to wear and a slowly diminishing wardrobe to boot. Having been through the experience twice, I totally get it!
The thing I found with pregnancy dressing was that I wanted to stay true to my style but I was faced with having to accomodate an ever changing body shape so all my usual go-tos weren’t all going to work. However it was such a finite amount of time that I didn’t want to spend a fortune buying an entirely new wardrobe. So here are a few ways that I managed to do it without spending a lot.
Use a pants extender
Investing in a pants extender or better yet just using a good ol’ fashion hair elastic if you’re wearing a long enough top can allow you to use a lot of your pants (or anything that has a button up waistband) well into your pregnancy. If you can use most of the bottoms you already own that’s half the battle right there.
Shop your closet
Check out what you already own that you can use to accomodate your growing belly. Look for anything with a bit of stretch such as a jersey dress or is a roomier fit like an oversized blouse — these can last you through various stages of your pregnancy.
Borrow men’s clothes
I borrowed a lot of Luke’s shirts and jumpers when I was pregnant as they were roomy enough and long enough to work with my new belly. If you’re able to grab a few pieces from the resident males in your life such as your partner, your brother or even your dad then make the most of it as these pieces work great during a pregnancy.
Buy cheap basics but size up
During both pregnancies I bought basic tees and tops from ASOS and these lasted me the entire time. As with your regular wardrobe, if you have staples like t-shirts, singlets and stretchy dresses you’ll be able to use these as the core part of your looks but elevate them with the right accessories. You don’t even have to buy maternity specific items, just buy a few sizes up to accomodate your bump.
Elevate looks with accessories
When you’re wearing pretty much the same things throughout a pregnancy it’s easy to get wardrobe fatigue. So enlist the help of some great accessories to inject a bit of new life into your looks. A beautiful scarf, statement earrings or fun sunglasses are all things that can instantly transform your look.
Layer, layer, layer
I would often wear things like vests, cardigans or blazers over what I was wearing as I felt it helped give me a little extra coverage, plus it just made everything feel a little more chic. I’m a fan of layering in my regular wardrobe so doing so throughout my pregnancies allowed me to feel that I was dressing like my usual self.
During both my pregnancies I had to attend a few big events and particularly during the last pregnancy I also had to navigate Fashion Week which was certainly a challenge for my wardrobe! Whether it’s a wedding, a birthday or now that we’re heading into the festive season a slew of Christmas parties dressing up with a bump can admittedly be a little trickier than when you’re you’re usual shape. Here are some things I learned about event dressing when pregnant…
Consider going a size up
Keep in mind that you don’t have to specifically buy a maternity dress you could also consider going a size up to give you more room for your stomach. This is great when you want to buy something from one of your fave labels as you like their styles but don’t necessarily fit into your usual size. I remember buying a dress from Scanlan Theodore who are one of my go-to designers as I really loved the style but I simply bought a bigger size to accomodate my belly.
Voluminous isn’t always good
It can be tempting to go for a billowy dress that simply just “hides” your belly but it’s not always the most flattering silhouette for a pregnant figure. I find that you still need to maintain some degree of shape to what you’re wearing so often something in a stretchy fabric that is quite figure hugging and that shows off your bump is the best style. It’s also super comfortable which is a plus.
If you prefer floaty dresses try adding a belt under the bump to nip in the dress a little and give it some added some shape.
I found adding a blazer or jacket over a dress really helped to give my outfit some structure which in turn looked more flattering. It also gave me a tether to my old wardrobe so helped me feel more confident and “myself” in what I was wearing.
Accessories are key
The one area of your wardrobe that definitely doesn’t get affected with a burgeoning bump is your accessories. A great pair of shoes, a pretty clutch and amazing jewellery are all great for topping off an outfit and giving it a bit more oomph. Plus you know no matter what it’s definitely going to fit!
Don’t spend a fortune
Yes, you want to look great but you also don’t want to spend a fortune on a particular outfit if it’s something that you definitely won’t wear post-pregnancy. I find that ASOS has some great maternity dresses specifically for events that are both on-trend but also budget-friendly. The upside with buying from a maternity range is that whatever you buy, you know it’s been cut to accomodate a bump so there are no issues with fit. Aside from that they also do great casual and work clothes for pregnancy so definitely check out the range if you haven’t already.
Always remember your style
Just because you’re dressing with a bump in mind it doesn’t mean you have to completely change your style. If you usually wear black from head to toe then do it. Yes, your shape may be different but it’s important that you always anchor what you’re wearing back to your usual tastes and style. Remaining true to your wardrobe aesthetic will definitely make you feel more comfortable in anything you wear.
Stuck for event-appropriate pregnancy look ideas?
Here’s a look back at a few What I Wore looks that could definitely work for a big occasion – just tweak and adjust according to your own style!
During pregnancy your body goes through a million different changes so it’s only normal that it’s going to take time for it to settle and go back to its usual shape. I remember trying to squeeze into dresses in my wardrobe post-birth before I realised that it was definitely something that was going to take time and that was okay. Your body has gone through such a massive process over the last nine months, not to mention the birth so it’s just a given that it’s going to take time for it to settle down. Embrace your shape and just marvel at the fact that you’ve done something incredible by growing a tiny human inside of you.
So, how to tackle post-pregnancy dressing? Here are some of my tips:
Wear your maternity clothes
I truly believe that after giving birth there’s absolutely nothing wrong with delving back into your maternity wardrobe. I actually still buy maternity clothes even though I’m not pregnant because I find even if you didn’t put on a lot of weight during pregnancy, especially for me, my hips expand so much and my ribs expand so much so I’m just not my normal shape. I often turn to my maternity jeans and just wear a longer top for an easy go-to look.
Comfort is key
You’ve got a newborn, you’re running around, if there’s ever a time to be comfortable this is it. I love pieces from bassike, especially their loose pants and tees which I find are really comfy but good quality too. There are now some great loungewear options out there so you can be at home in casual clothes but still feel pulled together.
Take your time
Your body is continuously changing the year after pregnancy so there’s no need to rush back into fitting into that corset dress or skinny, skinny jeans. I found when I had Sophia I lived in Bonds maternity singlets. If you’re breastfeeding you can just wear them under something and a nice top over the top and you’re good to go. Slowly over the next few months just wear your maternity pieces and re-introduce your wardrobe back into your style repertoire. It’s a process but you will get there!
Trying to find pre- and post-pregnancy pieces can sometimes be tricky which is why I particularly love this TOME sleeveless trench coat which I can wear open now and wear buttoned up as a dress after the baby arrives. It’s quite a statement piece so I usually opt to keep everything else quite pared back.
My leather leggings (similar: ASOS) are my winter go-to and is the ideal piece for layering underneath more relaxed tops during pregnancy but will definitely be able to live on in my wardrobe even after I’ve given birth. As well as this ASOS maternity singlet, which has been an amazing staple. (For more of my tips on the building blocks of a great maternity wardrobe click HERE.)
I’ve topped this look with my Louis Vuitton scarf for extra warmth and paired it with my cut-out Givenchy ankle boots to help ground the look and give it some edge. I love anything that can be multi-purpose and myJerome Dreyfuss bag works well for day but can easily transition into evening wear with its metallic hardware.
Click below to see my shopping tips to style this outfit for yourself.
If ever there’s a time for layering it’s winter. When battling chilly weather it’s all about adding lots of cosy layers. It’s also a great way to maximise wear out of spring/summer pieces and transition them into the cooler weather. Case in point: I wore this Christopher Esber dress with scalloped lace insert over a Witcheryknit and added a Witchery sleeveless trench to give it a touch more warmth. Whilst the Christopher Esber dress is a great option for evening events it can easily be dressed down by pairing it with more casual footwear, which I did in this instance by opting for my patent Trenery Oxfords. It’s easy to get absorbed by monochrome looks throughout winter (it’s a stylish colour combination after all) so I wanted to add a pop of colour to this outfit to brighten it up. My colourful Chanel oversized clutch is a favourite of mine due to its vibrant jewel tones and it’s also the perfect size to carry my everyday essentials when I’m out and about.
Scroll below to see my favourite shopping options to recreate this look at home.
I love winter fashion as it’s all about layering, luxe fabrics and keeping cosy which is great as I am getting close to the end of my pregnancy and comfort is now definitely key. I have found anything loose now looks too bulky on my frame so more figure-hugging, body con dresses have been my saviour. I particularly loved this Fifth the Label ribbed dress from General Pants as I love wearing soft, neutral tones in winter because I think it’s easy to get carried away with wearing all black so it’s nice to break it up and wear some colour without wearing anything overly bright. This long-sleeved dress has some nice cut-out detail at the elbows and an asymmetrical hemline which gives it a definite point of difference. Plus it’s budget-friendly too!
Coats are obviously a necessity during the cooler months but as a bonus it’s great for throwing on over outfits when you’re pregnant. Wearing a coat gives you a really nice shape while keeping you warm, plus when wearing figure-hugging dresses I can sometimes feel uncomfortable wearing it on its own so coats are great for hiding everything away! Most winter coats tend to be black, navy, grey or camel so I think this Witchery coat stands out due to the beautiful soft beige colour.
Being eight months pregnant I’ve practically been living in flats so white sneakers like this pair from Witchery have become my trusty go-to. They’re very of-the-moment and are perfect for when I have a busy day of appointments or errands and need to have comfy footwear on. I am still loving backpacks as a great alternative to a handbag. It keeps my hands free (perfect for when I’m with Sophia) and it’s definitely easier to carry around than a heavy bag. The ash grey colour of this woven Country Road backpack definitely suits the season and provides a nice contrast to the rest of the neutral tones in my outfit.
P.S. As any mum-to-be knows when faced with an ever diminishing range of wardrobe options knows trawling the stores to update your wardrobe can be an exhausting prospect so I had a winning shopping moment when I realised I could shop all my favourite chain store brands at westfield.com.au without having to spend hours visiting various individual sites online. So believe it or not I actually managed to pull together the above outfit when I had a small window of time up my sleeve. I’m all about ways to save time and being super efficient these days so this was a pleasing discovery.
Pregnancy can be a tricky time for your wardrobe – you have a new shape to accommodate but at the same time you’re only pregnant for a few months so you don’t want to buy lots of new things that you may never wear again. If both my pregnancies have taught me anything it’s that it’s important to buy a few key basics that will work back with my existing wardrobe. I’ve found that armed with these, things like jackets, coats and vests are able to work throughout the entire pregnancy. It’s important to remember that a growing bump doesn’t mean you have to drastically overhaul your wardrobe. You can still maintain your pre-pregnancy style but it’s just about getting creative with how to use what you already own. I’ve honed my maternity shopping list down to a few key items and I guarantee that with these affordable basics you’ll be able to create multiple looks with minimum fuss. After all, you will have enough things to worry about during your pregnancy without throwing a wardrobe meltdown into the mix!
1. Long sleeve shirts
Perfect for layering under a jacket or vest. A jersey crew cut top andlong sleeved top both work perfectly with leggings for an easy fusion of fashion and comfort.
Another great layering piece is the good ol’ singlet which will work for every season. Just make sure you buy them in a stretchy cotton so they can accommodate your growing bump. You can team a singlet with pretty much everything whether it be a pair of shorts in summer or with a leather jacket in winter which makes it the ideal companion during pregnancy.
4. Stretchy skirts
The stretch waist is designed to accommodate all stages of pregnancy so prepare for it to become a key feature of most of your pregnancy wardrobe. I am a fan of this grey ribbedskirt which features flattering side ruching and a flat contrasting waistband that sits just below the bump.
5. Leather leggings
Black leggings are one of the comfiest things you can wear during your pregnancy but sometimes they may not work too well when you need to look a little more dressed up. My dressy alternative is leather leggings. I have lived in them during my pregnancy as the stretchy waistband is perfect for my growing stomach, plus there’s something decidedly chic about them so no matter how I’m feeling I can at least guarantee that my outfit will looked pulled together. Theseleather-look leggings have an over-the-bump waistband for comfort and support. If leather is not your thing a pair of stretchy black pants works equally as well.
I cannot tell you just how much of my pregnancy wardrobe comprises of dresses. I couldn’t survive without them! The best bit is there are so many styles to suit every taste and budget. The ASOS maternity shift dress with 3/4 sleeves is designed to flatter your bump and accommodate your new shape, plus it’s a particularly good dress for work. For a preppy vibe, look for a dress with finishes such as the scalloped collar and cap sleeves on this ASOS dress. Another chic and comfortable choice is this long sleeved dress with a relaxed rolled neckline and soft ruched sides.
Jeans feature heavily in my regular wardrobe so I couldn’t imagine going through pregnancy without them. Luckily there are now some great options for maternity jeans which still look every bit as stylish as their non-maternity counterparts.
Jeanswestdo a great range of maternity jeans which are designed to grow with you during your pregnancy. Thissoft indigo denim is ideal for going casual on the weekend, but they also have other shades such as black and indigo which look a little more dressed up. Best of all, they are available in short, regular and long lengths.
White jeans are great during spring/summer and these white low riseASOS skinny jeans are designed to sit under your bump but if you prefer high rise styles try these mid wash jeans. If you want a more relaxed fit boyfriend jeansare also super comfortable.
Keep your maternity look on trend
After you sort out the essentials, you can invest in a few key trend pieces that will work as maternity wear but will transition into your post-pregnancy wardrobe. Accessories such as a great pair of sunglasses or a lovely handbag can really elevate your look and keep it of the moment and the best bit it is it doesn’t matter how your body changes, they will still work. Case in point: below are some of the key pieces on my shopping list at the moment, and not only are they on trend, they’re also the kind of pieces that can update a maternity wardrobe and transition into motherhood quite easily…
This jersey ASOS shift dress has been a go-to for me during my pregnancy. Anything stretchy is esssential to accommodate a growing bump and it’s also super comfortable which is all I really want in anything I’m wearing the further along I get in my pregnancy. Grey marle has always been a reliable neutral for me as it goes with virtually everything which makes pulling together an outfit even easier. I’ve teamed it with a pastel Karen Millen leather jacket to add a pop of colour to the look and I’ve found metallic brogues perfectly offsets both pink and grey hues. These playful Karen Walker sunglasses are one of my faves and definitely makes a statement and the touch of pink picks up the pastel in the leather jacket. The Ralph Lauren Ricky bag is great as it leaves my hands free when I’m running errands and trying to get a million things done before the bub arrives!
Unexpected silhouettes and finishes are one of the things I always look for in a dress which is why I particularly loved the asymmetrical finish of this moss green Christopher Esber dress. It gave it a unique touch. I don’t often wear this shade either so it was nice to do something different. Accessories are always a key component to any outfit and it’s often what brings cohesion to the overall look, so with that in mind I thought as the dress is quite soft and feminine I wanted to team it with my cut-out Givenchy ankle boots to ground the look and give it some edge. A dark bag would have blended in a little too much for this particular look so I opted for a Givenchy Antigona in a nude shade to provide some contrast. My Ellery sunglasses and Eddie Borgo choker add a sense of modern sophistication to the outfit.
Love the accessories in this look? Scroll down to shop some of my ‘inspired by’ picks below.