Hi! Hello! And welcome to this week’s episode of You’re Pregnant, Now What TF Are You Gonna Wear? JK, that’s not a real show, but it should be, considering it’s hard as frick to figure out what you’re going to clothe your body in as you grow a human in your belly. Insert me, your postpartum (I have a 10-month-old now) sartorial guru, who had to figure out this very mathematical equation just under a year ago.
Allow me to present 17 hacks that helped me—and prove the very theory that you can make what you already have in your closet work for you so you’re not shelling out a shit-ton for new outfits. Don’t worry, you can take me out for drinks later with the money I saved you.
1. Say yes to bodysuits, since tees ride TF up.
Bodysuits won’t ride up and show your belly like your normal T-shirt turned crop top will whilst pregnant (unless that’s the look you’re going for, I don’t judge). I was into bodysuits even when I wasn’t pregnant, so I was all for this option and I highly recommend it to others who may be nervous about belly skin peeking through.
2. Bra extenders > buying new bras.
Bra extenders expand the back of your bra, so unless your boob cup size has runneth over, buying a few of these handy items rather than purchasing an entirely new bra is a great idea. It prolongs the amount of time you’re able to wear your current bra and ultimately saves you money.
Chanie 3 Hooks Bra Extender amazon.com$9.99
$5.99 (40% off)
3. Use your prepregnancy jeans longer with the hair tie that’s always on your wrist.
Me: Yes, you one hundred percent *can* squeeze the last bit of wear out of your favorite jeans.
You: Um, how?
Me: Feed a hair tie (or a rubber band) through the slit in the waistline of your jeans, then loop it around the button to keep your pants done up as your belly grows. Note: When this hair-tie trick becomes uncomfortable, it’s time to look into maternity jeans (some of my favorite brands with built-in belly bands are H&M—shown below—Paige, and Citizen), but until then, wear your usual pants as long as your bump allows.
4. Tailor your bathing suit to your body size with a string bikini.
If your pregnancy falls during the summer months and the thought of buying lots of new bathing suits to fit your ever-growing bump sounds worse than trying on new bathing suits when you’re not pregnant, try string bikinis (like the one below). You’ll get more wear out of them since you can customize their size thanks to the tailor-able ties, and then you can wear it again after you push the tiny human out.
5. If you’re gonna shop, buy dresses you can wear during *and* after pregnancy.
Let’s be real: You own a bodycon and/or a flowy floral dress, so consider them contenders for your new pregnancy rotation. Bonus: You can wear them again after you give birth and knock a few purchases off your to-buy list, which will be as ever-growing as your new belly. Why are these options great? Because the fabric of the tighter dress can snap right back into its original shape, and the looser, more oversize dress (they’re trending, issa bonus!) will look chic during your pregnancy and after.
6. Slip-on booties stretch with swelling. Chic, I know.
Okay, I love a good boot, but here’s why sock booties will change your life when you’re pregnant: They continue to fit your feet and around your ankles, even if both happen to swell over the course of the day, whereas regular leather boots that you zip up just won’t give as easily. Chelsea boots, which have flexible paneling on the sides, are also a good bet, FYI.
Claire Black Sock Bootie
Steve Madden amazon.com
7. Choose oversize coats for easy closure.
If you’re pregnant during the fall and winter months, go for an oversize jacket. That way, you’ll be able to close it throughout your entire pregnancy.
8. Orrr accommodate your ever-growing figure with a wrap coat.
When you’re pregnant, you never know how big your belly is going to get because it grows for 10 months (YES, 10, not 9…it’s 40 weeks, people, you do the math). So to make sure you’re covered, literally, get a wrap coat that you can tailor your look with as you go grow.
9. Choose strappy shoes over pumps (because, honestly, nothing else will fit).
You know what isn’t fun when you’re pregnant: trying to stuff your bloated feet into the same pair of stilettos you used to wear. My advice: If you must wear them—like, for an event or what have you—opt for open-toe styles that have an adjustable strap or lace so your foot will still fit into them at every point of your day.
10. Use kinesio tape for belly support.
Betcha didn’t know this: Using kinesiology tape supports your bump by taking the pressure off your lower back (praise hands!). You can thank my physical therapist for this bit of info.
Superbe Precut Kinesiology Tape amazon.com$19.99
$13.99 (30% off)
11. Belly bands can bunch up—see above tips for SOS.
Speaking of kinesiology tape, apply it to your belly for a seamless look that’s also super supportive—rather than using a belly band, which can get bunched under a tight dress or top.
12. DIY a belly band from control-top stockings.
I’m not totally saying to nix belly bands—they’re actually amazing under a looser sweater, because they can protect your tummy from itchy fabrics, or dress, to protect it from getting drenched in the stretch-mark-prevention oils and creams you’ll have to lather on. Just so you know, though, you don’t have to spend on a belly band. Instead, you can DIY your own in a pinch. Simply fold a pair of control-top stockings that you have lying around in half, then cut them right at the crotch. This creates a belly-band-like accessory that can be worn under your clothes. Genius.
13. Swap your shoelaces for elastics.
Bending over every single time you have to tie your shoes becomes impossible at some point, so when your partner gets sick of tying your shoes for you, use shoelace replacements, like Hickies. They help you slip on your sneakers without having to tie them and are a godsend.
Hickies 2.0 No-Tie One-Size Fits All Elastic Shoelaces amazon.com
14. Adjustable bras will become your new best friend.
Instead of buying multiple bras that will fit you at different stages of your pregnancy, get adjustable ones that can grow with you, like these workout and nursing options—these ones from Molly T. are pretty stinking great. If you plan to breastfeed, you’ll have to buy them anyway!
15. Polyester pj’s won’t soak up pregnancy oils (which you need to actually stay on and absorb into your skin) like cotton ones will.
Rather than ruining all the cotton pajamas you own, choose the polyester-blend set you have stashed in the bottom of your drawer (like the ones I’m wearing in this pic) or get a new set from TJ Maxx. The fabric won’t soak up the stretch-mark-preventing oils that you may use at night, and when you wash them, the fabric comes out like new.
16. Tops that tie can and will grow with you.
If you’re pregnant midsummer, choose tops you can tie to fit your growing boobs or DIY a top by tying a few scarves together to make a shirt when it’s hot out. I have personally used this scarf trick and am very into it—you should try it, IMO.
NUWEERIR Womens Large Satin Square Scarf Silk Feeling Hair Wrapping Gift Designer Scarf 35×35 Inches
$9.99 (50% off)
17. Nipple covers come in handy to conceal and protect your belly button.
If your once-innie belly button starts becoming an outie—and gets sensitive from rubbing up against your clothing—lean back in a chair or lie flat on your couch and apply a disposable nipple petal or reusable, silicone nipple cover over it. This keeps your belly button in a neutral position instead of protruding outward and protects it from scratching against irritating fabrics. Try the ones below or a silicone option for light to deep skin tones found here:
Hollywood Fashion Secrets No-Show Disposable Nipple Concealers amazon.com
Stylist: Aeyung Kim; Makeup: Fatimot Isadare; Hair: Jerrod Roberts
Carly Cardellino was the beauty director at Cosmopolitan.