Myth: It’s okay to start wearing maternity clothes in the first trimester.
Truth: It’s not good to wear maternity clothes in the first trimester.
You’ve found out you’re pregnant. You’ve found a caregiver and you’re learning as much as you can. You’re eating right and exercising. But it’s only a few weeks and many of your regular clothes don’t fit you anymore. So you think it’s time to run out and get maternity clothes.
Not so fast.
From me, you get the truth.
At this stage, maternity clothes are not good. Real maternity clothes are cut to fit a real baby belly, which you do not have just yet. Even if you try tucking in those tops, there’s too much fabric there and you’ll just look overstuffed. What’s more, most women do not want to announce their pregnancies until they’re already into the second trimester. Wearing maternity clothing too early is too much of a giveaway. On the other hand, you are getting a bit bloated and bigger and many of your regular clothes are too tight. What do you do?
The first step is to weed if you haven’t done that already. Go through your current wardrobe and see what you have. I’ve already listed the various categories of clothing and what to do with them, but here’s another. If you have items that are otherwise good but that are one or two sizes too big for you, set them aside for maternity. These regular clothes will serve you well. Depending on how you carry, you may even use the tops while you’re showing. I found a lot of oversized tops that made me feel stylish and normal during my pregnancies.
Once you’ve weeded and you’ve set aside those slightly-too-big clothes, it’s okay to shop if you need a few more things, but don’t go overboard. Just get about three elastic-waist skirts and some slightly bigger tops to go with them. There are also lower-waist skirts that will fit under the tummy. You’ll need longer tops to wear with them, but those work too. It’s best if these transitional clothes are in classic neutrals because they’re easy to mix and coordinate. You can also make them look different with different accessories.
One maternity-wear designer calls these slightly-too-big clothes “transitional clothes.” These are the clothes that you wear when you’re in between regular and maternity. They accommodate the slight bloating and weight gain without screaming out that you’re pregnant. However, the key word here is slightly. You do not want any clothing that’s more than two sizes bigger than your normal size. If it’s too big, it will make you look too big and unhealthy. Always go for a more fitted look wherever possible.
There’s also a smaller trick to use with fitted skirts that button: use rubber bands and large safety pins at the waist closure to accommodate your bigger waist and just wear your tops untucked to cover that. Be aware that this trick won’t work very well once you’re actually showing (I’ll explain why in another column), but it works great in this transitional time.
When I mentioned accessories earlier, I wasn’t kidding. Not only do they allow you to make your basic neutral outfits look different, but they can even help camouflage. Great earrings draw attention to your face and smile. A great necklace can draw attention upward, but it’s best to keep it by the chest and no longer. Draped oblong scarves can not only draw attention upward to the face, but when draped just right, they can camouflage the tummy bulge. I had a great black regular dress that I wore into the first trimester and I just draped a long oblong scarf around my neck and allowed the ends to hang in front. My tummy bulge visually disappeared. After I started showing, I just wore the scarves draped higher so that they drew attention upward without hiding anything.
The first trimester isn’t so easy what with the nausea, the fatigue, and the bloating. And this in-between stage with clothes doesn’t help. But if you keep it simple and work with what you have, it will be easier and you’ll look great.
To be continued…