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Maternity Clothes

Your belly is expanding but your pants aren't. Now is the time to explore the world of maternity clothes. Thankfully, that doesn't have to mean sacrificing style. In the past, the words "maternity fashion" were an oxymoron. Pregnant women were forced to wear styles that ranged from frumpy to frilly and they were usually a floral print, had a big bow and a "Peter Pan" collar or the words "Bundle of Joy" printed on them with an arrow pointing to the expectant mother's belly. Thankfully, maternity clothing isn't as gruesome as it once was. Most maternity clothes today are just reshaped versions of the hottest styles seen on the fashion runways.

Most women will begin wearing maternity clothing around four or five months into their pregnancy. This will vary from woman to woman. A woman carrying her second or third baby or a mother of multiples may need to slide into maternity clothes earlier than a first time mother. In the beginning, as you begin to expand and need bigger clothes, you can usually make do with hiding unbuttoned jeans under a big sweater, or wearing clothes that are a little big on you or have an elastic waist. But later, as the baby grows, you will need to go for real maternity clothes.

There is no one perfect wardrobe for every expecting mother. Maternity clothes can be expensive so you will want to maximize your wardrobe. Here are some guidelines to help you put together an attractive and comfortable wardrobe for the coming months.

  • Retain your own fashion style if you want to look and feel attractive. Women who live in jeans and t-shirts should stick with jeans and t-shirts. Those who go for a crisp business look with flair should strive for that look.

  • Don't buy a closet full of maternity clothes! Select just a few basics tailored to your style and build around those pieces. A great choice is a pair of leggings, a tunic, a dress and a skirt - all color coordinated for extensive mixing and matching.

  • Wear as many of your regular clothes as you can. If you purchase a maternity tunic or jumper you can continue to wear many of the tops you already have as long as they're comfortable.

  • Check thrift shops, consignment shops and garage sales for unbelievable bargains! Maternity clothes rarely wear out in the course of pregnancy so there's a lot more life left in those donated items.

  • Buy as you grow. You don't know exactly how big you will be three or four months from now or even how you will be carrying the baby (this does affect how clothing will fit). Keep purchases to a minimum. You can always add pieces to your wardrobe as you grow.

  • Accept offers to borrow maternity clothing. Family and friends are usually happy to pass their favorite maternity clothes down the line to you. Enjoy their clothing and be thankful for their thoughtfulness. Borrow from your husband's closet, too. A crisp over-sized white shirt looks great with black leggings or a navy skirt.

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