10 Style Secrets of the Chic and Pregnant

Posted by Liza Elliott-Ramirez December - 6 - 2012
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Avoid 40 weeks of frump with these tips from style expert Amy Tara Koch, author of Bump It Up: Transform Your Pregnancy Into the Ultimate Style Statement.

The Basics—Part 1

Start with neutrals. Your (mostly black) basics can be mixed and matched to work for anything from a cocktail party to a trip to Wal-Mart. Must haves? A super-long black Lycra tank top is a must-have layering piece for jeans and skirts. The longer bump-enhancing tanks are chic on their own and allow you to wear cropped sweaters and jackets. Add black leggings for the perfect slimming foil for a voluminous top or dress.

The Basics—Part 2

1) Dark denim pregnancy jeans are key. Dress them up with heels and boots or slip on ballet flats. 2) Soft, jewel-neck, to-the-thigh tees in white and black can be worn alone or layered. 3) The empire dress—the shape accentuates the rib cage and disguises bottom heaviness. And don’t forget a basic black jersey bias-cut dress; a stretchy, black, maternity pencil skirt; and above-the knee shifts are cute, comfy, and au courant.


Bling It On!

Baubles make a basic outfit pop. Eclectic accents—Indian bangles, a chain belt, cool Tibetan pendants—add a provocative element to your look. A chocolate wrap dress becomes an It-girl ensemble with onyx beads, a knuckle duster of a cocktail ring, fish nets over opaque tights, and black boots. Jewelry should mirror the bravado of your bump. Bold baubles—cuff bracelets, chandelier earrings—amplify your style quotient.


Nothing “frumpifies” more than lack of proportion. Some guidelines: 1) If it’s big on top, it should be narrow on bottom. 2) If it’s narrow on top, add some volume with a skirt or wide-legged pant. 3) Dresses should be above-the-knee or sweeping the ground to elongate the body. 4) Legs are slimmed with black tights and a boot or heels. 5) Big blouses are countered with fitted skirts or tapered trousers. 6) Tailoring is critical.

Get High!

A heel visually lengthens your silhouette and, in turn, balances out your tummy-enhanced proportion. You don’t need 5-inch Carrie Bradshaw stilettos. But, with the watermelon in your belly, a little height will balance out the bulge, elongate your body, and add that soupçon of glamour that transforms dumpy into diva. You will have the most stability with mid-range stacked heels, wedges, and kitten heels.

From Innerwear to Ready-to-Wear

Roomy black satin slips make comfy chic dresses. Long, bias-cut nighties—especially those with interesting swirls of color or prints—make glam cocktail frocks. Little Pucci-esque robes can be belted and worn with a heel. How to get the look? Make a pit stop at some of your chic relatives’ homes and mine their lingerie drawers. Nab gauzy nightgowns, caftans, “bed jackets,” and slips. Flea markets and vintage shops are nightgown nirvana!

Viva la Vintage!

Nothing says “wow!” like an unidentifiable retro accent. Accessories are an inexpensive entry point to vintage. A quirky woven leather and gold belt gives shape to drapey silhouettes. A huge tribal medallion adds panache to a dark caftan. Sleek old school logo belts—think Dior and Gucci from the 70s—are a whimsical under-the-bump flourish. Ethnic touches—Indian bangles, wooden cuffs—are unadulterated global glitz.

The Empire Strikes Back!

Start your love affair with the empire waist. This genius silhouette gathers under the breast and falls loosely to the hip, knee, or floor, covering bulging bellies and butts with cascading fabric. The empire waist also put the focus on the arms and shoulders, places where pregnancy weight does not manifest itself.

Get Waisted!

Aside from being decorative, belts are a functional style element that deliver the illusion of a waistline. A flashy belt below the belly is a way to draw attention to your bump and away from other areas that you may not be so fond of at the moment. A stretchy belt can be used below the bra line to create an empire waist. And a thin leather belt can be added over a cardigan to add polish.

Scarves and Shawls

Scarves are the ultimate layering piece. During the first trimester, these they camouflage a bulging belly. For trimesters 2 and 3, drapey scarves deliver verticality to the somewhat stumpy pregnant silhouette. A silky scarf delivers insta-cool and adds verticality. For the office, work a 60s graphic into the look so that it peeks out from inside a slouchy jacket or cardigan. A colorful fringed scarf adds a daring Gypsy element to a black dress.

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