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Style tips for moms-to-be at every stage of pregnancy

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Flowy or fitted? How do we layer? Check out these tips and photos for ideas!

One of the many challenges of pregnancy — aside from morning sickness, backaches, sleeplessness, and maneuvering The Belly through economy aircraft cabins — is fashion. Of course, if we all had the budget of a Jessica Alba or a Natalie Portman, plus access to a personal trainer and a paleo chef, we’d be all set. But it’s just us. And the closet full of clothes that no longer fit.

But don’t despair! It’s not as hard as it seems to dress your changing body in a flattering way. These six tips can help.

1. First and second trimester: Let it flow

Flowy silhouettes, especially in tops, are a great way to dress the bump in first and second trimester. You won’t be wasting your money by investing in some cute tops with genius draping: in the post-partum months when your belly is still getting back to its normal size, you’ll be grateful for that more forgiving silhouette. So go ahead and invest in flowy tops and dresses with full confidence that you’ll use them again. Just balance the flowy tops with slim-fitting bottoms like leggings or skinny jeans with an elastic waist.

2. Third trimester: Go snug

In third trimester, flowy tops can quickly lead to a tentlike silhouette, which is not most women’s favorite look. Try switching to form-fitting silhouettes like pregnancy tops with stretch and ruching. At this stage, simple form-fitting dresses with stretch can also be a versatile option, especially in black or navy. In addition to the ruching and stretch, look for fabric with a soft, breathable feel.

3. Try a wrap dress silhouette

The wrap dress silhouette — either in a real wrap dress or in a skirt and top combo that gives you a neatly defined midsection above your bump — is also an elegant option if you prefer not to show too many bumps.

4. Any trimester: Layer it up

Whether you’re in first or third trimester, layering is your friend because it adds visual interest and can disguise problem areas — or just make you feel more put together. Use simple camisoles, tees, or dresses as your base and layer over a long cardigan or duster. You could also use a denim button-down shirt, or a blazer, jacket, or lightweight trench. Too hot to even think about adding more layers? Then go with just a wispy summer scarf or a long necklace.

If you need more shape in your layers, try wearing a skinny belt just over your bump. You can also separate boobs from belly by tying the ends of your button-down shirt just above your bump over a flowy dress, or by knotting a tee just over the belly of a fitted dress.

5. Stick to a harmonious palette

Riotously colorful wardrobes are fun, but sometimes having too many colors can make it hard to put outfits together. (Nope, turquoise and purple don’t work…) Aim for a base of simple neutral colors (like white, cream, navy, black, or beige) that flatter your skin tone and that work well with accent pieces in fun, vibrant colors (like coral or turquoise) or harmonious neutrals (like navy and gray). If neutrals seem boring to you and color is your jam, remember that you can always wear a bright scarf or fun red shoes to jazz up that neutral outfit.

6. Invest in great maternity jeans and leggings

The two pieces you will wear more than anything else in your wardrobe are your maternity jeans and leggings. Go for good quality pairs that will withstand lots of wears and washes without losing their shape or going all baggy-butt. The only way to pick out the best pants for you is to try them on, because every woman’s body is different — a brand or type that works well for one woman could be all wrong for another. Bear in mind that a trusty pair of go-to pants will give you peace of mind: you will only have to think about the top half of your outfit once the bottom is secured.

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