One of my favorite parts of going on vacation is putting together my looks, but being pregnant for our anniversary trip this summer made things a tiny bit challenging.
Luckily, finding flattering clothing and putting together outfits has always been easy for me. But being pregnant and suddenly feeling like my body was somehow foreign and constantly changing was challenging, both literally and emotionally. I’m sure every woman’s personal experience is unique, but I find that most women don’t often talk about the struggle or difficulty of watching their body change. Perhaps it’s fear of judgment from others for appearing vain or perhaps for some, the joy of pregnancy overshadows any concern about body insecurity. But for me, it’s been difficult.
I remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom two weeks before vacation after trying on a giant online order that rendered only one piece that looked just okay and feeling completely overwhelmed and despondent. Nothing fit – sizing up didn’t quite work out as planned and the maternity options were limited at best. The only piece that looked okay was the simplest form fitting silhouette that had stretch, but being the too tight girl has never been my look.
Fast forward three more giant online orders later (and thankfully in time for our trip), I finally figured out a few silhouettes/style tricks that worked, So here are a few tips for expectant moms trying to dress their baby belly (cause it ain’t always easy or as cute as everyone says it looks):
- Stretchy dresses (without zippers) are your friend: I know, I haven’t been much of a bodycon girl since my clubbing days, but it’s true that tight can actually make you look thinner. I sized up one size (to accommodate my 6 month belly and haven’t had to size up again now that I’m into my third trimester).
- Steer clear from anything with a defined waist seam: Items constructed with a waist seam are not meant to accommodate a baby bump. I learned the hard way after a few too many uncomfortable days at work.
- Dresses that flow/cut away at your natural waist may work if you are carrying low: Your natural waist sits a bit higher than what you’d expect (certainly above your trouser/pant line).
- Belt a loose/trapeze silhouette top or dress: You’ve seen this trick time and again and now I know why – it works. Belting above your bump will create a waistline and add definition to your bump.
- Trapeze dresses and trumpet sleeves: If you are going for a dress that has a trapeze silhouette or a lot of fabric on the arms, be sure to create balance by showing off enough leg to not look like a blimp.
- Maxi dresses are always a good choice: If you love maxi dresses before pregnancy, I guarantee you will love them more while pregnant. But again, don’t forget to create visual balance by choosing a maxi dress that won’t swallow you up (especially if you’re petite like me). Choose one that is form fitting overall or if loose and flowy does not cover up too much of your chest and arms.
- Accessorize, accessorize, accessories: Because accessories always fit and can create visual interest when your outfit is otherwise simple, don’t forget the power of elevating your look with the right choice of accessories.
With all of the above tips in mind, I created one of my favorite maternity vacation looks for our trip to Portgual. I began with the most comfortable stretch, a-line maxi with floral details that I picked up from ASOS. To accommodate the bump, I simply sized up one size, but the stretch material did most of the work. This silhouette is particularly flattering because the top is tight and features a deep v-neck, giving the full maxi skirt some needed balance. For Lisbon appropriate footwear (those streets are steep), I wore white buckled flat sandals and carried a classic mini top handle Prada satchel. Now, let’s talk about the accessories, which are clearly the stars of this look – a round oversized brimmed straw hat, pearl cluster statement earrings and gold layering necklace from Ania Haie.