Pregnancy guide > You > Mums to be > Maternity wear > Dressing your bump

Dressing your bump

Advice on choosing maternity wear to keep you looking fabulously stylish and comfortable throughout your pregnancy.
Great news; in terms of looking good there has never been a better time to be pregnant. The fashion industry have come to realise that just because a woman is 'with child' it doesn't mean that she wants to hide away in tent like clothes. As a consequence almost every major high street store now offers a stylish maternity range so that you don't have to miss out on looking good in the latest fashions just because you have a bump!

Why maternity clothes?

There is no two ways about it, babies can be expensive and buying maternity clothes can seem extravagant at a time when you want to save for your baby's arrival. However, by investing in some well-made maternity basics early on in your pregnancy you will not only look much better (baggy t shirts are never flattering!) you will also feel much better too.

Maternity wear is specifically designed to flatter and accommodate your changing body shape, this not only helps you to feel better about your new curves but also avoids the uncomfortable feeling of wearing the wrong sized clothes and provides much needed support for your bump. Even if you only invest in a few pieces throughout your pregnancy you will be glad you've done so!

When to buy maternity clothes

When shopping for maternity wear you should initially focus on the basics - a great pair of jeans, a couple of flattering pairs of black or navy trousers and some comfortable 'yoga pants'. Wrap dresses also made a great investment as they can be worn throughout your pregnancy, provide a whole outfit in one and can easily be dressed up or down. If you work in an office environment then investing in a 3 piece maternity suit should take you through until you go on maternity leave and will allow you the flexibility to mix and match outfits.

Once you have your maternity basics you can combine them with the clothes that you already have in your wardrobe (and still fit into!) to help keep your original style and avoid shelling out too much. Regular tunic or wrap tops are flattering and great to wear throughout pregnancy. Empire or a-line tops are also incredibly flattering and help draw the eye upwards emphasising your blossoming cleavage. Stretchy vest tops, t shirts and ribbed sweaters are also great as they can be easily worn, will go with almost anything and will grow with you.

Most on-trend fashion must haves diffuse through to high street maternity ranges too so if you want to go for a big spend up then you have no need to feel like your missing out. Buying a great jacket or a must-have outfit will help you to feel great about yourself and allow you to feel comfortable at the same time!

Choosing clothes made of natural fabrics such as cotton or stretchy jersey will not only help you look great but will also be less likely to make you overheat or irritate your sensitive pregnancy skin. Clothes that can be easily washed and dried are great as they help you to spend more time relaxing and less time doing hand washing! You should also go for well made items as you are likely to get a lot of wear out of your pregnancy basics, so seams should be strong (to avoid pulling or splitting) and the material should appear tough.

How maternity clothes work

The great thing about maternity wear is that its specifically designed to accommodate your growing figure and offer you as much wear as possible. Most maternity ranges work on a pre-pregnancy size basis and add extra room in the places you are likely to need it (not just your bump but your chest, shoulders, hips and thighs too). For this reason, when shopping for maternity clothes, your pre-pregnancy size is a good place to start. However, it is important to remember that just like non-maternity clothes, sizes are not standardised across all retailers and while you may fit into your old size in one shop, an equivalent size may feel tiny in another shop. When choosing maternity clothes you should go with what feels comfortable rather than what is written on the label.

Many maternity clothes are designed to be worn in the first few months after you have your baby, until you begin to regain your figure and fit into those elusive pre-pregnancy jeans once more! Clothes of this nature provide you with even more value for money and stop you having to worry about 'slimming down' until you are completely adjusted to being a new Mum.

Keeping your style

Just because you are pregnant it doesn't mean that you have to become a different person - the way you dress is part of who you are and you shouldn't feel like you should change just because your having a baby. If you enjoyed showing off your figure before you became pregnant there is no reason that you shouldn't continue to do so. If you preferred to dress more conservatively that's fine too. Whatever your style, with the huge range of maternity clothing now available you should be able to continue to embrace it throughout your pregnancy.

Never underestimate the importance of accessories - they ca help transform your look, especially if you are sticking to a few clothing basics. They can also help to draw attention away from your body if you are feeling self conscious and really stamp your individual style on an otherwise plain look.

With the huge selection of maternity clothing available on the high street (and even in supermarkets!) there is no reason you can't embrace your growing figure and look and feel fantastic about your body throughout your pregnancy.

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this is an answer for the lady who is having problems with the bra. I went to mothercare as on off chance with a similar problem and they have some that fit and were reasonable if not try m&s cos thats another place i use
by 3Emma3 12th Aug 2010, 8:58am
I'm going to my friends eighteenth and it's a really formal affair and I can't found a nice dress that suits me or fits me because of my bump. Im starting to get frustrated because it's next weekend and I don't have anything to wear. Any suggestions as to where I might get a decent outfit? Nix xx
by KNEE 14th May 2010, 5:29pm
I like isismaternityThey have some really nice stuff ideal for working and also more dressy clothes and the prices look really reasonable, Their website says they have free delivery at the moment, so that's all good.
by stella123 14th May 2010, 4:34pm
i ordered some really nice maternity clothes from new look & they came within 3 days. Lolli100 new look had a really nice black dress with a front bow which would be nice for a wedding.
by stacymac 19th Oct 2009, 10:25am
does anyone know where to get nice maternity dress/ive got 2 wedding dos next month and want to look 5 months pregnant so need something comfy and something that i can still use after baby is born(for post baby belly!).thanxs x
by baabaabaa1001 26th May 2009, 12:41pm
When I was pregnant I used a great website they do a large range of maternity wear and lingerie and really cute and different baby clothes. It was great as I had nothing to wear to work and the delivery came the next day.
by lola51 5th May 2009, 12:19pm
i am 11+ 6 weeks pregnant and my clothes are getting tight - especially work clothes that I am in all day but I didn;t really want to go into maternity clothes just yet so bought two pairs of linen trousers in the next size up to what I usually buy - it gives me a little more room without making me be in maternity clothes for months on end!! It is my first child and I am so excited!! x
by mowgli22 3rd Apr 2009, 9:09am
i hope i can wear this one shirt my boobs got bigger and my belly to im now 17+3 weeks now
and my belly bump looks like 20 weeks prego but im having 3 babies so ya
by jessii 23rd Feb 2009, 1:07pm
hi im 15 weeks +5 and i just purchased some maternity clothes as i put on my old jeans thatt i wore last week and they were too small at my belly i was gutted in a way but please lol i recommend m&s there good value and quality and they wash really well i got 1 pair of jeans and 3 tops and some jog pants things for round the house hope this is helpful
by nicolastewart 17th Feb 2009, 9:46am
I like They cater for the long leg, short leg. I got a good bit of my casual clothes on the site. They do beautiful dresses too, for special occasions. They do workwear (suits, shirts etc) & swimwear. They are quiet reasonable too. I also like Next online.
by Natasha10 21st Jan 2009, 5:29pm
Go to they do pretty good stylish stuff. I am a 6ft and now plus size mum of two. This is my third pregnancy - yey.....Mothercare are actually pretty good. Other than that funmum are funky - primarkish sometimes , but nice enough. They also do a longer leg.
I know most of you will want to go and try on , but I'm in China , so I have to send off and hope for the best!!
Good luck ladies - hope you find what you like.
by mamalou27 5th Jan 2009, 9:24am
Thanks Sue G. I'm 6 foot so was worried about finding longer length trousers. I'm off down to Next !!
by JuliaGoolia 15th Dec 2008, 8:55am
I'm only in my 11th week but all my jeans are too tight, so i was trying to buy maternity clothes, but they are massive and i'm petite. does anyone has the same problem?
by tcheskinha 19th Sep 2008, 8:55am
Hi i am 5"10 and wondered about clothes being long enough too, next do long leg in maternity.
by SueG 11th Jul 2008, 9:02am
can't find anything to fit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

by baileysrtg 4th Jun 2008, 9:06am
I'm 5 feet 11 inches tall and although most shops now have a 'tall' range, they dont do longer leg lengths in their maternity sections. I'm only 9 weeks pregnant but already I'm a bit bigger and in need of new clothes that accomodate me, but I dont want to spend my pregnancy in too short trousers, tops that look like crop tops or jackets that appear to be 3/4 length sleeves! Any ideas?
by brungoo 4th Jun 2008, 9:06am
anyone know where to get fashionable maternity clothes ? im a young mum and everywere i look the maternity clothes are old fashioned or a bit to old for me!!!!
by leecall 17th Mar 2008, 8:39am