Pregnancy: Carry it off in style

You can be a fashion siren even when you're expecting. It's just a matter of picking up clothes that make you look and feel good

Expecting woman in trousersWe’ve seen them on television, in magazines and in our immediate circles of friends, family and colleagues. Their glowing skin radiates happiness and natural beauty. These are gorgeous women on their way to bringing little bundles of joy into the world. If you haven’t already guessed, we’re talking of moms-to-be!

With the changes your body is going through, a disturbed sleep-wake pattern and banes like morning sickness, you anyway don’t have it easy. And the last thing you need is to feel uncomfortable in your clothes.

But there’s good news for you. You can put together a comfortable and simple maternity wardrobe that can take you through those nine months feeling both relatively carefree and chic! Yes, it is quite possible.

Status check

To begin with, banish the images of those boring old ‘maternity dresses’ and smocks our mammas and aunts wore. Pregnancy does not mean leaving fashion behind. While you can always seek refuge in the good old salwar-kameez, these will work for you only for the initial few months. After that, they get too small for you to carry off comfortably. So, spend some time exploring newer options that not only make you look chic, but also make you feel great about your body!

Expecting woman in blue topBefore the pregnancy bulge starts showing, go out and pick a few easy dresses or tunics that make you happy just wearing them. Make it a mix of a few cheerful, solid colour pieces and some energizing prints. Keep in mind that when those numerous baby hormones kick in, your moods are likely to be all over the place. Won’t it be grand to simply throw on a chirpy dress that instantly lifts your mood? A simple remedy that!

Rule of the empire

A good sartorial option for expectant mothers is something called an empire dress. An empire dress is quite simply a dress that cinches you at the under-bust and billows out gleefully thereafter. If you learn to pick them right, the empire silhouette will be your best friend. To decide if a dress is a good-buy or a let-go-by, pay attention to the fit.

A well-fashioned empire top, dress or tunic must cup you well north side [around the chest] while giving you enough room to grow on the south side [around the belly]. Look for ones that have elastic backs or under-bust, as these will accommodate you as you grow. They are good to wear even in the early months.

Opt for soft, natural fabrics like cottons and linen as they are skin-friendly and moisture-absorbent. Polyesters and silks trap heat making you feel uncomfortably warm.

Avoid too much embellishment. You don’t want to tire yourself lugging around a dress that weighs close to a tonne or get irritated by a swatch of beads and baubles when you reach out to feel the baby.

Also ensure that your dresses are well-lined so that they don’t irritate your skin. You may even invest in a few camisole-style slips to do the job. Empire dresses are available in various styles, including with or without sleeves. Choose the kind of sleeve you are most comfortable wearing and enjoy your new look.

While expectant celebrity moms can be seen sporting ankle-grazing empire dresses, that length is not very practical for most moms. You need to be able to walk with ease, without a mass of fabric at your feet. Mid-thigh, knee or calf-length dresses are ideal for everyday wear.

Cover up

If you feel chilly in air-conditioned environs or if sporting a dress is new to you, a neutral coloured cardigan, stole or shrug jacket can provide an ideal ‘cover-up’. Shrugs come in beautiful wrap styles these days that cling to you just right giving you enough warmth and ease of movement. The cardigan-over-dress look too is very in-trend adding a soft and feminine elegance to an otherwise simple outfit.

Expecting woman wearing a dressStoles are my personal favourite cover-up, but you might find them bothersome to manage if you move around a lot.

Legging love

Leggings come in so many varied styles, colours, opacities and lengths. What’s more, a legging embraced leg makes sporting beautiful knee or calf-length summer dresses a breeze! You might prefer an elegant vintage touch in leggings that are finished with a lace-edge or opt for more no-nonsense ones. You could go semi-sheer or stick with opaque ones as per your comfort levels.

Undercover support

A well-planned maternity wardrobe is incomplete without the right inner wear. Don’t skimp on the recommended under-clothing. Ensure you wear the correct size as you keep growing. This will not only keep you looking your best but also minimise any pain and discomfort you may feel with your new body.


The comfort of your feet is another important aspect you must not forget. As your pregnancy progresses, your feet will need to bear more and more of your weight. Shoes with a good arch support are essential if you want to maintain those lovely arches.

Also, put away those tricky heels, no matter how low they are, and invest in sensible and comfortable [again!] footwear. Your feet are likely to experience some swelling so pick shoes that can stretch a little and accommodate your feet at their varying size.

Remember, it’s all about feeling good, even now.

Fashion and feeling

Research indicates that at least 80 per cent of women are unhappy with their body image. In another study, up to 80 per cent of women over-estimated their size. Research confirms that the focus of dissatisfaction for most women is the size and shape of their bodies, particularly their hips, waists and thighs—the very parts that begin to lose shape during pregnancy. Not being able to fit in their regular clothes, further affects womens’ self-esteem. Women particularly conscious about their looks pre-pregnancy are more likely to get affected by their figures during pregnancy and are more likely to look after their looks. It is observed that women who looked good during pregnancy, felt good too.
— Team CW

Meera Mittal is a Mumbai-based fashion designer and consultant.


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