Put Down the Mom Jeans

As if finding maternity vendors wasn’t bad enough, the maternity clothes that do exist have a wide variety of cuts; sizes are not at all consistent, not even within the same brand. The biggest culprit is with pants. I found so many different cuts of pants I couldn’t believe it. Not styles, but varying cuts of the same style. So here’s how to find the right fitting pants and how to dress up your pregnancy wardrobe.

I found this gal, who wrote a great blog about how to pick a good fit of jeans. It’s not necessarily about which style to pick, but what to look for in any pair you pick up (particularly the placement of the butt pockets). I’d highly recommend her blog to anyone, pregnant and not. She’s also done a plus size blog here. The very best thing about her blog is that she uses real women with real bodies. She explains how to make the clothes fit your body, not how to get a body that fits your clothes.

To summarize her post, here’s what you’ve gotta do:

  1. Pockets: Your pockets need to fall squarely over your rump. Not too close, not too far, not too big and not too small. Ideally they should look like the interior of a photo frame on your rump, complimenting its shape.
  2. How tight is too tight? Usually jeans that are moderately form fitting on the top are most flattering to ladies. Look for a size that hugs but doesn’t suffocate your form. Your pants should not look as tight as leggings.
  3. Flare/No Flare: This one depends on your body shape. Essentially you want flare to match how thick your thighs are. If you have thin thighs you’ll probably look best in skinny jeans. If you have wider thighs, flares or boot-cuts might be the way to go. You can also use boots to create a wider proportion at the base of your leg.
  4. Color: It’s best to peruse her blog to see the visuals here, but I’ll give you the skinny. Darker jeans will thin your form, vertical lines can minimize your hips, and light texture on the jeans can break up the monotony of a solid color.

Pants aside, how do you dress stylishly with this big ol’ bump you’ve never had to work around before? Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science.

Choose flattering cuts.  “Gee, I’ve never heard that one before.” Your body is changing and you’ll need to adjust accordingly. Showing a little skin can be flattering (and is nice and ventilating in the summer months), but if you’re getting a little more skin than you’re used to in some areas, make sure that you’re not showing too much. Here are a few ideas for cuts and styles.

The empire waist stops just below the chest, allowing fabric to flow freely from there down. It looks very stylish over a bump and it’s comfy too.

Pleats, gathers, and other fun bunches of fabric can create interesting designs in solid colored maternity wear.

If your bump is juuuust starting to show, but you’re tired of covering it up, use the ol’ horizontal line trick and wear a shirt with thick stripes running through it. It’ll accentuate your bump and people will think you popped overnight.

Use stretchy materials for both fashion and comfort. Although it’s not as comfortable to flaunt your bump until it’s a solid “bump” not just suspicious chub, once you hit the bump stage don’t be afraid to wear something form fitting over top.

Layer. If your pregnancy is anything like mine you’ll be changing temperature constantly. Layering is practical and also creates a depth of texture to your ensemble. I like to layer a cami with a thin sweater and maybe a butterfly-style thicker sweater over that. It gives me plenty of options of warmth so that when I’m sweating over my pizza I can shed a layer and put it back on when my ice cream has chilled my stomach.

Monochrome. I see monochrome ensembles suggested frequently to detract from your bump. While you don’t want to pair orange with green (ever, regardless of your gestation or lack thereof), pairing complementary colors in healthy doses can greatly benefit your appearance. If you’re not comfortable pairing a yellow or orange top with your blue jeans, stick to shades of the same color in your outfit and consider accenting with jewelry, or bags, or scarves, or whatever accessory tickles your fancy.

Get a bra that fits. Your chest size will likely increase during pregnancy up to 3 cup sizes. Keeping up with your size is important for your comfort and support. It’ll also keep you from having bulges on your back or sides (or at least lessen them). If you’re large chested you may find a better fit in a nursing bra at your local maternity store rather than at a department store.

Support your body. Your body is shifting and gaining weight. Buy support bands as you need them, or get pants with support bands. I was really surprised that as early as I am in my second trimester wearing a pair of pants with a form fitting band really helped alleviate aches and pains in my joints. If you can aid your body in supporting the weight you’ll have better posture, attitude, and confidence that will really make you glow.

Use existing fashions to your advantage. There’s been a recent trend going around of extremely short dresses, many of them either form-fitting or empire waist. Buy a few to wear as shirts. Your bump will eventually give them that high-low look and people will wonder just where you got your sassy style while you smirk at your savings from the clearance rack. They’re also super handy when you’re wearing maternity pants with a band that starts really low.

Pick out some comfy and safe shoes. You will know your own limits here better than anyone else. If you’re used to wearing 5″ heels, you might wanna knock it down to 3″. Your feet might not swell at all, but perhaps you want a flatter shoe for less strain on your joints.

Seasonably speaking, florals and bold stripes are in. Belly bearing shirts are also in (if you’re feeling super edgy) and lace is in full swing. But if you’re not concerned with maintaining seasonal trends, be sure to get a baseline of monochrome pieces with a few pops of color. Remember you can always add color in your accessories if you want to maintain a neutral toned maternity wardrobe you can wear through many seasons of pregnancy (and multiple pregnancies).

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