By Julie Weingarden
Pregnancy doesn't have to mean hiding under shapeless shirts and leggings or tent dresses; the trick is to find a look that spells confidence and comfort. Here, four women share their favorite apparel picks.
Name: Sandy Frinton
Hometown: Poughkeepsie, New York
How far along: 28 weeks
Favorite look: Jeans
I'm a preppy, classic dresser, and I typically wear clothes from the Gap, Eddie Bauer, and L.L. Bean. My husband likes me to wear the kinds of things I always wear. He doesn't like "pregnancy clothes." I don't think he's used to my new body.
My favorite maternity clothes are my husband's old Levi's jeans from college. I found a bunch of them when we were cleaning one day. They're in all different sizes so I can grow into some of them. His big jeans were a great find because I'm still too small for maternity jeans. His Levi's are baggy, long, and so comfortable. You can't beat the fact that they were free. I don't want to invest money in clothes until I'm skinny again.
People say that I look cute in his jeans and I like that I don't look as big to the outside world as I really am. I top the jeans with his old oxford shirts—white, pink, yellow, and pinstriped. I just throw them in the washer and dryer and roll up the sleeves. With his clothes, I'm sporting bigger sizes, but I feel confident knowing I've kept my style.
Name: Jill Holder
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
How far along: 36 weeks
Favorite look: Power suit
I'm very short, so I'm conscious about looking round and stocky. I like to wear clothes that give me a shape. Most maternity clothes are "tenty," like smocks and baby doll dresses. I just can't do the look where clothes balloon out over the belly.
So my best find has been the business suit I bought for less than $50. It's charcoal gray and has pants, a skirt, and a jacket with a zipper down the front and two pockets on each breast. The jacket also has a clip so I can taper it in the back. I like that I can switch off between the skirt and the pants. Everything is made out of cotton jersey, so it's comfortable and machine washable.
I spice up the suit with a pair of black leather mules. It's easy to forget I'm pregnant because I look so chic in the outfit. I can walk into a meeting and be taken seriously. One guy at work didn't even know I was pregnant. When I wear bulky maternity clothes, people just look at my belly. When I wear my suit, people look at my face.
Name: Angie Tucker
Hometown: Garden Grove, California
How far along: 26 weeks
Favorite look: Stretchy separates
It's difficult to find stylish clothes that I'd wear if I weren't pregnant. It's bad enough that you gain weight, yet don't look pregnant until the fifth or sixth month—the last thing you want to do is wear dorky clothes.
I'm normally thin and big-busted with an hourglass shape. I like to dress sexy and wear fitted fashions, and pregnancy is no exception. My favorite look is a long, black stretch polyester-blend skirt with a black short-sleeve top. The top was $14 and the skirt was $20. The shirt is stretchy and snug. It shows off my belly and has a scoop neck that looks great, especially when I wear a little choker necklace. The skirt has a drawstring waist so I can roll over the top to make it shorter if I want. I wear black slides to show my toes. I get a lot of compliments when I wear my sexy outfit. It's nice to know I can be pregnant and keep my personal style
Name: Jadie Gamble
How far along: 31 weeks
Favorite look: Bathing suit
I'm kind of chubby, and I got bigger sooner than other women. When I was six months pregnant, I probably looked like I was at eight months. I'm really big now and people ask me if I'm having twins. But I'm not worried about the weight gain—I think I look pretty good all around. In fact, I like showing off my pregnancy.
I bought a great black one-piece swimsuit with spaghetti straps for $35. It has a skirt that makes my thighs look nice, and its scoop neck shows off my cleavage. The other day I felt so good in it, I pranced around the pool.
I actually feel more confident in a bathing suit when I'm pregnant than I do when I'm not expecting. In a bathing suit, people definitely can see that I'm pregnant. My husband likes when I show some skin, too. He says I look like a really cute pregnant chick.
Julie Weingarden is a writer based in Royal Oak, Michigan.