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Maternity styles to avoid and what to wear instead

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If this is your first time as a pregnant mama, you’re probably feeling pretty bloated right now, and likely pretty tired and sick. If you’re not, then, well, we salute you! But for the rest of us mere mortals, the first trimester can be challenging. While it can feel like you have a long way to go, you’ll find that a whole lot of other priorities take precedence before it comes to pregnancy dressing. You might also be putting off buying new things because it can get so expensive. Before you know it, you might be reaching for the first baggy dress or drawstring pants you find, having realised that you’re not quite ready with your own stylish wardrobe.

Luckily, we’re here to help stop style mishaps in their tracks and hopefully help you gain a whole lot of confidence you didn’t know you had. And what better cure for feeling bleh than a whole lot of confidence. So let’s jump into this style guide for new moms, dispel some of the boring go-to maternity clothes you might be tempted to choose and show you some great options that will supercharge your style and save you precious time when finding something to wear at any stage.

1. Maternity styles to avoid: Non-Maternity Tight Clothing

Avoid tight clothing made from non-stretch materials that aren’t specifically maternity or designed for curves. Now, this is a “loose” rule (sorry, not sorry) as some crop tops and stretchy pants can easily accommodate most people – not to mention give Rihanna, who we adore. What we’re talking about here are things like tight waisted jeans and pants, constricting skirts or tightly buttoned tops. These garments can be restrictive and uncomfortable as your body changes and they may also not flatter your new shape as well as clothing designed for pregnancy.

What to wear instead:

Opt for maternity-specific clothing that offers stretch and support. Look for items like maternity leggings, stretchy dresses, and tops with ruching at the sides, which can expand as you grow and provide comfort without sacrificing style.

Sadie Adjustable Tailored Trouser - Cream
Credit: Apero Label

Sadie Adjustable Tailored Trouser – Cream

Frankie Pant | Coffee
Credit: On High Rotation

Frankie Pant | Coffee

2. Maternity styles to avoid: Complicated fastenings and closures

Outfits with complex fastenings, like intricate zippers, hooks, or buttons, can become a hassle as your belly grows. These can also become uncomfortable, digging into your skin as you sit or move. Not to mention the fact that as you grow, you’ll need to pee so. much. more. Honestly, how annoying are complicated clothes?

What to wear instead:

Choose clothing with simple, stretchy closures that are easy to manipulate and wear. Wrap dresses, maternity overalls with adjustable straps, two-piece easy sets, and slip-on dresses are great options that combine ease and comfort.

Lomé Stripe Oversized Shirt Green, White, Purple
Credit: Apero Label

Lomé Stripe Oversized Shirt Green, White, Purple

Ivy Stripe Wide Leg Pants - Black / White
Credit: Apero Label

Ivy Stripe Wide Leg Pants – Black / White

Gianna 3/4 Sleeve Dress Black
Credit: Soon Maternity

Gianna 3/4 Sleeve Dress Black

3. Maternity styles to avoid: Super High Heels

As pregnancy progresses, your center of gravity shifts, which can affect your balance and make falls more likely. High heels can exacerbate this issue and also contribute to back pain. It’s just not worth the risk.

What to wear instead:

Stick to flats or low, stable heels to maintain comfort and safety. Ballet flats, loafers, and supportive sneakers are excellent choices that can keep you stylish without compromising your balance.

Block Heel Glitter Pumps Silver
Credit: Arket

Block Heel Glitter Pumps Silver

Slingback Leather Pumps Black
Credit: Arket

Slingback Leather Pumps Black

The day twist heel Canvas
Credit: Everlane

The day twist heel Canvas

Jayda Mid Heel Sandals Tan Leather
Credit: Jo Mercer

Jayda Mid Heel Sandals Tan Leather

4. Maternity styles to avoid: Heavy Layers

While layering can be stylish, overly bulky or heavy layers can add unnecessary weight and discomfort. This can be particularly taxing as you carry extra pregnancy weight and your temperature runs hot.

What to wear instead:

Opt for lightweight, breathable layers that are easy to add or remove as needed. Lightweight cardigans, open-front sweaters, and breathable scarves can provide warmth without the bulk. Alternatively if it’s very chilly where you are, choose one warm coat and keep it light underneath.

Gia Wrap Knit Jumper Black, Cream
Credit: Apero Label

Gia Wrap Knit Jumper Black, Cream

Margot Turtle Dress Black
Credit: Soon Maternity

Margot Turtle Dress Black

Melrose Teddy Jacket ~ Camel Faux Sherpa
Credit: Show Me Your Mumu

Melrose Teddy Jacket ~ Camel Faux Sherpa

The Renew Quilted Long Liner Cocoa
Credit: Everlane

The Renew Quilted Long Liner Cocoa

5. Maternity styles to avoid: Synthetic, Non-Breathable Fabrics

Fabrics that don’t breathe well, like certain synthetics, can make you feel uncomfortably hot and can lead to skin irritation, especially when your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy. There are lots of great event outfits for example that are made of poly or rayon, so no harm done in wearing these for a good time and not a long time, but when it comes to the day-to-day, choose natural all the way.

What to wear instead:

Choose natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, or linen, which are gentle on the skin and help regulate temperature. These materials are breathable and can keep you cool and comfortable.

Ribbed Bamboo Maternity & Postpartum Midi Skirt Lilac Stone
Credit: Kindred Bravely

Ribbed Bamboo Maternity & Postpartum Midi Skirt Lilac Stone

Wide-Leg Linen-Blend Under Bump Maternity Trousers Stone
Credit: Seraphine

Wide-Leg Linen-Blend Under Bump Maternity Trousers Stone

Sublime® Bamboo Maternity & Nursing Plunge Bra Oatmeal Heather
Credit: Kindred Bravely

Sublime® Bamboo Maternity & Nursing Plunge Bra Oatmeal Heather

Downtime Lounge Pant, Black
Credit: Boody

Downtime Lounge Pant, Black

Ribbed Bamboo Racerback Nursing Tank Grey Heather
Credit: Kindred Bravely

Ribbed Bamboo Racerback Nursing Tank Grey Heather

Bamboo Rib Feeding Top White
Credit: Soon Maternity

Bamboo Rib Feeding Top White

6. Maternity styles to avoid: Outdated Maternity Wear

Avoid sticking to outdated maternity styles simply because they are marketed for pregnancy. Many modern maternity lines are designed to be both stylish and functional, reflecting current fashion trends. Think daggy empire waisted items that aren’t flattering, or baggy boring clothes that aren’t your style. Pregnancy is a new opportunity to adjust your own amazing style, not have to wear what you think you should.

What to wear instead:

Explore contemporary maternity lines that offer fashionable yet practical options. Apéro Label, Soon Maternity and Ripe are just a few of the maternity specific brands we stock that offer modern, timeless and varied looks that will help keep you feeling like yourself. Look for pieces that mirror timeless styles or interesting trends but are tailored for maternity wear, such as chic maternity jeans, trendy tunics, and stylish sweaters or cardigans. Check out our postpartum section or shop brands that offer all their styles for before and after wear.

Ribbon Embroidered Panel Tee White, Forest Green
Credit: Apero Label

Ribbon Embroidered Panel Tee White, Forest Green

Comfiest Rib T-Shirt Midi Dress Black
Credit: Storq

Comfiest Rib T-Shirt Midi Dress Black

Heaven Slim Ankle Jeans Blue
Credit: Soon Maternity

Heaven Slim Ankle Jeans Blue

Mama Before & After Denim Shirt Denim Blue
Credit: H&M

Mama Before & After Denim Shirt Denim Blue

Alora Oversized Wrap Shirt Blue Stripe
Credit: Soon Maternity

Alora Oversized Wrap Shirt Blue Stripe

Styling Tips

When choosing what to wear during pregnancy, consider comfort, convenience, and how the clothing makes you feel. Maternity wear should support your body’s changes and boost your mood with styles that make you feel like yourself. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you have no choice but to wear something you absolutely hate, only because nothing else fits. By avoiding these less practical and flattering styles, and exploring brands and styles that are designed for the modern mama, you can build a maternity wardrobe that feels both modern and comfortable. Happy bump shopping!

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Author

Style Editor. Minimalist mama writing about capsule wardrobes. Inspired by French women yet also unafraid to leave the house with food on me.