Maternity Fashion: How to style your pregnant belly

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I am in that age demo, the one where all my friends are having babies. I have never been pregnant, so my knowledge of how to dress a baby bump is limited. I have recently had multiple friends reach out to me and vent their frustration with maternity clothing. Despite the fact that I have never been with child, I do understand how to dress different body types, and "with child" is a body type, is it not? Anyhow, I did a little research, because let's face it, this isn't my particular area of expertise, but I feel confident that I have taken only the best preggo styling tips and put them in a very user friendly guide below! Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, I love a big 'ol belly, but often the woman carrying that thing does not feel  beautiful. I can't fix your swollen ankles or your pregnancy mask or your pregnancy brain, but I can help you dress your shape, and hopefully make you feel just a little bit sexier ;)

Before I jump into the 4 different pregnant body types, I want to just say that no matter what shape your body takes during pregnancy, the ultimate goal is to draw attention to your face and lengthen your body. There are various techniques for doing so, dark wash-boot cut pants, empire waist blouses/dresses, large accessories and a careful color palette. Also note that throughout your pregnancy, your shape my shift. You might start out carrying high, and then around 8 months become big all over.

The first preggo body type is "Big All Over." Even if you're not big all over, you often feel that way! This body type comes with swollen ankles, a puffy face and fat in places you didn't know you could fit there. If you're big all over, you probably identify with Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson's pregnancies. Both  fashion forward ladies, but they've had some flops of their own.

How to Style Maternity

This first look I styled for you utilizes the most universally slenderizing color: black. You should know this by now, black makes every part of your body look better! A dark silhouette will lengthen your body and take the emphasis off your midsection. Note: rounded toed shoes are a big No-No when pregnant. A pointed toe (even a hint of a point) will elongate your legs. Also, strive for looser fitted tops, they will not only be more comfortable, but will also cascade around your bump, rather than hugging it.



How to Style Maternity

The second look I put together for the rounder gals, is based on a draped sweater. With this look you'll want to start with a fitted, dark colored top. Then, you will want to layer a long draped sweater in a lighter hue. The dark top will emphasize that you do in fact have a shape under that belly, but the sweater will hide the extra weight. Keep your shoes pointed, and utilize a large handbag to offset the size of your belly. Just think, a big handbag will soon transition into a diaper bag.


How to Style Maternity
The second pregnant body type I will be addressing is, "Carrying High." Let me just say I am a firm believer that girls are always high, and boys are low... but that's just an old wives tale (which I believe). Now, if you're carrying high, there is a good chance your boobs and belly have merged, creating a lollipop on a stick effect. In order to combat looking like all your goodies are smooshed into one, you'll need to cinch in your waist (well technically under your boobs, seeing as how you've probably lost where you're real waist is). You can add definition with a gathered top/dress, or you can utilize belts. I love the idea of adding a belt, because you don't have to run out and buy new clothes, you can just belt the ones you have.

How to Style Maternity


Another way to even out a high riding baby bump is the utilization of color. Color blocking can be really helpful in differentiating the different parts of you torso. A belt is probably the best way to go thought when separating your bust from your baby bump. I love the idea of pairing bright and bold accessories to create interest within an outfit. You can wear simple and neutral clothing, but spice it up with fun accessories.

How to Style Maternity
The third body type is "Carrying Low." If you're carrying your baby low, then your first goal is to even out your proportions and draw attention elsewhere. Start by lengthening your legs with a dark trouser. The slight flare will offset the weight in your midsection and elongate your frame. Something to try, is a kitten heel, to add a little extra height. Then, you still want to draw attention upwards, so wear a blouse with an interesting neckline, or add a cool accessory.

How to Style Maternity
Another way to approach your low belly is by showing off a little leg. Just because your pregnant doesn't me you have to be all covered up. A shorter, flared skirt is not only going to balance your proportions but it will show you have more than just a belly under your clothes. If possible, I suggest a cute wedge, which will further elongate your legs. 



How to Style Maternity


The last body type is, "Small All Over." First of all, if you're small all over, do not whine. I am going to guess most other pregnant women would give anything to look like they swallowed a basketball, but didn't gain a pound anywhere else. The fortunate thing about having this body type is that nothing is off limits. You can wear bright colors and prints and they won't make you look wider. If you're worried about your bump overwhelming your figure, pair a large tote with your outfit to balance your proportions.

How to Style Maternity 
If you're small all over, you can probably still fit into most of your non-maternity clothing, which is a huge money saver! You will have to buy longer tops, and perhaps a couple pairs of stretchy waistbands... but you're clothing options should be endless. Just remember, even when you're small all over, you still want to lengthen the body and draw attention to your face (instead of your mid section). 

These are pretty easy rules, implementing them might be a tad bit trying, but with a little practice I'm sure you'll figure it out! Let's just reiterate the rules: Lengthen the body, Define your waist (boob from belly), Create Interest around your face with accessories, and try not to kill the man who did this to you. Okay, the last one has nothing to do with fashion, but it's still true ;)  
* I sourced an article from the Baby Center to help write this, you can check out their post here.


If you're looking for affordable Maternity Clothes, check out the following retailers (all images are linked):




 



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