What to Wear When You’re Pregnant

In our Dress Your Shape series, we showcase chic women who live by my number one style rule—without fit you don't have style—and give you the shape-specific tips to get it right, every time. This week we’re highlighting an especially tricky body type: The pregnant frame. Jessica Quirk, the blogger behind What I Wore and author of What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes for Personal Style, found her pregnancy a particularly challenging time to get dressed. “It was so completely different from my shape before that I had to learn all new rules—it was a bit of an identity crisis!” she exclaims. These are the style tricks that work for Jessica. P.S. Click on each photo to learn more about the outfit!

MORE: Dress Your Shape… Busty, Petite, Curvy and Tall.

Embrace Your New Shape

1. Embrace Your New Shape

Sure, your waist may have been the smallest part of your body before—but with your tummy (not to mention breasts and thighs) expanding, it’s time to dress for a new silhouette. “Not all of your old clothes will work, especially things that are tailored to your waist,” says Quirk. You should be able to wear knit dresses or ones with an elastic waist for a while, but once your figure changes, flatter your new assets: If you’ve got major boobs, opt for a higher V to lessen the va-va-voom (or don't, if you want to feel sexy!). If you’ve suddenly developed a curvier butt and thighs, look for an A-line silhouette to downplay them. (Here's a refresher on styles to flatter different body types, if you need it.) And don’t forget to adjust your accessories: “I also found that a bigger bag worked better with my bigger tummy. Who knew?!”

Accentuate Your Smallest Part

2. Accentuate Your Smallest Part

Throwing on a muumuu isn’t a solution, it’s only going to make you look bigger. On most pregnant women, the area just under the bust, above the tummy, is her smallest part—put a belt on it! “You’ve got to create the new horizon,” says Quirk. If you’ve got slender legs, wear a top that skims your tummy and floats above skinny jeans. If your butt is smaller than your tummy, by all means embrace the pencil (maternity) skirt. And follow a tried and true trick for looking taller: Wear a nude shoe (or black shoes with black pants or tights) to lengthen your body and offset that width.

Wear Comfortable Fabrics

3. Wear Comfortable Fabrics

Maybe this goes without saying, but now is not the time to wear anything itchy, super-structured, or that requires a girdle. Give yourself room to grow with fabrics with stretch in them and room to breath with open-weave fabrics like cotton. “I loved knit maxi dresses, especially because I was pregnant during the summer,” says Quirk. If you’re on the fence about a size, go higher so you have room to grow. Which leads me to…

Don't Buy Everything at Once

4. Don’t Buy Everything at Once

Your body may change in unpredictable ways, so if you do all your shopping the minute your tummy expands, you may be struggling in the third trimester. “Pregnancy is already such an emotional, hormonal minefield—you don’t want your clothing to add to your anxiety,” says Quirk. These days maternity brands mimic your pre-pregnancy size, so it’s fairly easy to know what to try on—and don’t get tied to one number—fit is the essence of style, and no one’s looking at your tags.

Invest in Accessories

5. Invest in Accessories

“You don’t have to miss out on a whole year of fashion!” says Quirk. She suggests buying less expensive dresses and tops (Target and Asos were favorites of hers) and spending your money on a great new bag, flats in an amazing pattern or a hot pair of statement sunglasses. “Having great layering pieces will make you feel fashionable after you’ve worn the same dress for six months straight,” she says. Makeup can also do wonders, “Bright lipstick can be your best accessory to draw the attention up to your glowing face—and when in doubt, remember that at least your hair looks great!”

MORE: How to Rock a Berry Lip

What to Wear When You're Pregnant

You know what's awesome? When you're super-excited to meet someone and she turns out to be just as smart and sweet and chic as you hoped she'd be. That's Danai Gurira, whom you might know as Michonne on The Walking Dead! Tune into @abcthechew tomorrow to see us have some fun in the kitchen! #twd #thechew #fanboy

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