How To Buy Maternity Apparel

If you are pregnant, getting dressed every morning is probably becoming quite a challenge as you try to keep up with the exciting changes that are happening to your body.  The good news, though, is that maternity clothes are more stylish today than ever before and the choices are endless. With some smart shopping and a little creativity, you can keep looking--and feeling--great through the entire pregnancy.  Here are some things to keep in mind as you shop for maternity clothes.

  1. Buy pieces that fit well but have room to grow with you. Many current maternity items are fitted but have panels that will stretch to accommodate your changing shape.

  • Avoid buying very oversized, shapeless pieces, which will only make you look larger than you are.
  • Follow today's trend of showing off the bump if you feel comfortable enough. If you are in relatively good shape, you can buy fitted styles that reveal that you are pregnant and not just gaining weight.
  • Think of comfort, especially in the later stage of pregnancy. When you have Braxton Hicks contractions and your feet swell and you have heartburn to boot, you will want to wear things that are easy to put on and don't constrict you anywhere.
  • Shop in a variety of places. Specialty stores that carry moderate and high end maternity items are a good place to get some of the basics you will need. You can also fill in with less expensive items from discount houses like Target or Walmart that feature maternity lines.
  • Look for sale racks. Maternity items go on sale frequently toward the end of the season, so you can shop ahead. Just don't overdue it, as it is hard to predict your size too far in advance. But some of the basics, like stretchy pants and cardigan sweaters, can carry you through the different seasons and trimesters, and will also come in handy afterwards before you fit back into your regular clothes.
  • Stick a stuffed "belly" pillow (available at most maternity stores) underneath the clothes to see how they will stretch over your increasing bulk. Try positioning the pillow at different heights to see how the clothing will look with different shapes. There is no predicting how high you will carry since every baby is different, so you want to be sure the clothes will work with you in various ways to be ready for anything.
  • Invest in some high-quality pieces made of nice fabrics that you can wear for a variety of occasions. Some simple black pants and a nice black top can be appropriate for work with a simple necklace but can be jazzed up with a shimmery shawl or layers of beads and strappy shoes for a night out on the town or a formal dinner.
  • Don't retire your high heels if you don't have to. Many pregnant women opt for flat shoes, but this can make your already rounded body look more squat. Unless swollen ankles and feet are a real problem for you, elongate your look with a high heel. If you can't manage the heel comfortably, try pointy flats to make your legs look longer instantly.
  • Remember to accessorize. You can call attention up to your face by wearing bold earrings, necklaces and scarves. In addition, you can change the look of your basic pieces by pairing them with different accessories.
  • Don't limit your shopping to the maternity department. Depending on your size and shape, many regular clothing styles in today's stretchy fabrics will work through most of your pregnancy. Also try low-rise pants that fit below the belly and might be able to work with your pregnant shape.
  • Maintain your style standards. If dressing well is important to you when you are not pregnant, don't sacrifice this now. There are so many trendy maternity items to choose from this year, and many popular designers have now branched out in maternity wear so it is easier than ever before to buy clothes that will look great.

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