This will be our third (and likely final) baby. Each pregnancy has required me to re-learn how to dress a constantly changing body, especially since my shape has been different every time! Regardless, there are some style lessons that have stayed the same that I’ve been able to rely on to get me through pregnancy … and beyond!
Here are 6 style lessons that I’ve learned from my 3 pregnancies:
1. A good bra is everything
My upper half didn’t change too much with my boys and I didn’t have to buy any new bras until the very end. However, after nursing my second son I never really went back to my previous configuration. I continued to wear nursing bras long after he weaned because they were by FAR the most comfortable option in my closet and my other ones didn’t fit quite right anymore.
Right before I got pregnant with baby #3, I finally went to a department store and got a new bra that was pretty much the same as my nursing bras minus the actual nursing access (it’s by Bali in case you’re curious). It has no underwire, fastens in back, and has sort of a loose sizing situation (Small fits A-B cups, Medium fits B-C cups, etc.). It was the best $40 I’ve ever spent. I’ve *ahem* grown quite a lot this pregnancy, and this bra has fit me comfortably every step of the way, from six weeks on into the third trimester! If your bra isn’t fitting well then, get thee to a bra-fitter at a department store that carries a wide variety of sizes and styles (like Nordstrom). It will make such a difference in your comfort and confidence level!
2. Get dressed even if you don’t feel like it
I’m one of those unlucky people who gets significant morning (all day) sickness. Mercifully, I managed to avoid having to get an IV this time around but the vomiting lasted for over four months. That’s a LONG time to feel like junk. As a stay-at-home mom, there is a HUGE temptation to just skip clothes and makeup and sit around in my sweats and oversized T-shirts feeling sorry for myself.
However, looking like junk seems to make the overall junky feeling that much worse. Most days I forced myself to get dressed and put on at least SOME makeup. My hair was often in a top-knot (a vomiting necessity), but a decent shirt and some concealer helped me feel slightly prettier during a very un-pretty time. This holds true for the squishy postpartum period and beyond! Sick, tired, whatever — it’s worth your time to shower and put on some mascara.
3. Pregnancy and trends are fleeting, so spend money wisely!
I break pregnancy down into three periods that DON’T necessarily correspond to trimesters:
1. Fitting comfortably (or semi-comfortably) in my normal clothes
2. No longer fitting comfortably in my normal clothes but not big enough for my maternity clothes
3. Big enough for my maternity clothes
That second period defines 6 out of my 9 months. There are some SERIOUSLY cute maternity pieces out there but, the truth is, I only end up wearing them for a very short period of time. Is it worth it to spend $60 on a shirt I’ll only fill out for eight weeks?
Unless you REALLY love it or you’re planning on having six kids, then the cost per wear for a lot of maternity clothes may not be worth it. It’s okay to rotate through the same few tunics and steal a shirt or two from your significant other’s closet for those last few weeks. We’ve all done it. We’re not judging.
TRENDS can be just as fleeting as those last few weeks of pregnancy! I have the same conversation with myself about current trends as I do about maternity pieces: “Do I REALLY love it? What will the cost per wear end up being? Is it worth it?” Get a few pieces you love and wear them frequently.
4. Shop your closet FIRST
A couple of years ago one of my friends asked me to come over and help her go through her closet. I introduced her to pairings and ideas for outfits she hadn’t noticed before. One skirt in particular she pulled out and told me that she only ever wore it with this one shirt. I looked at her with raised eyebrows and said, “Do you realize that this skirt goes with almost ALL your tops?” I showed her all of the different pairings she was missing. She was flabbergasted and it helped her get excited about her existing wardrobe again.
My point is that sometimes we forget what we’ve got and how usable our existing clothing can be if we’re willing to look for different combinations. This is especially true with pregnancy! You may have to get a little creative, but odds are good that you can continue to wear a lot of what you already own.
If you can’t see the possibilities yourself, then ask a fashion-minded friend to come over and help you. Another set of eyes can be invaluable! Spend some time on Pinterest looking for ways that people have styled pieces similar to what you own. After you thoroughly assess what you’ve already got, then you can be a lot more honest about what you might need to buy and therefore limit unnecessary purchases.
5. Fit and comfort matter
I’ve had pieces that fit me PERFECTLY one pregnancy, but weren’t remotely flattering or comfortable during another. It’s okay to admit defeat and go buy replacements, especially if you’re looking at basic wardrobe building blocks like jeans, a solid pencil skirt, or a classic button-down top. If something just plain doesn’t work, then don’t force it! That’s why I work so hard at not spending money on stuff I don’t need … so that when there’s something I DO need, then I’ve got the budget for it!
When you do buy new stuff, make sure it fits well and is comfortable. That seems obvious, but I constantly hear: “I need a new ____. The one I have doesn’t fit right!”
I’m one of those people who takes forever in the dressing room because I try something on and then sit, stand, bend over, and generally put each piece through its paces. If it gapes, sags, or isn’t totally comfortable in the dressing room, then I know it will bother me even more when I try to wear it out and about. Don’t settle! A good, comfortable fit is worth waiting for. That can be hard when it comes to maternity clothes since your body is ever-changing, but most maternity boutiques have belly padding in the dressing rooms so you can make sure something will fit two months down the line. Be SURE about the fit before you pull out your credit card!
6. Splurge on ONE thing that makes you feel amazing
I patiently stalked this dress until it went on sale at Nordstrom almost six years ago. Even on sale, it was more than I wanted to pay, but I snapped it up and I’ve never regretted it. The print was outdated about five minutes after I bought it but the silhouette is perfect for my middle-figured shape. It’s pretty stretchy so I can wear it pregnant, nursing, or none of the above, and it always fits me and makes me feel long, lean, and comfortable. This is the dress I reach for when I need to feel good about myself, especially when I’m seven months pregnant, gaining weight EVERYWHERE, and catching a side view of myself in a reflective surface makes me want to cry a little bit.
Everyone should have something like this dress in their closet: a piece that fits, flatters, and can be relied upon when you have nothing else to wear. A splurge piece that makes you feel like your very best self!
What have you learned from dressing a constantly changing body while pregnant? Do you agree with my lessons? Have anything to add? Share!