The Basics of Maternity Wear
Stay dark. Dark colors are slimming. Okay, this isn’t rocket science — and it’s not like you haven’t heard it before (but when has it ever been more fitting, so to speak?). But black, navy blue, dark brown, or charcoal can all create a slimming optical illusion, minimizing body bulk and giving you an overall trimmer appearance — even if you’re wearing a T-shirt and workout pants.
One shade fits all, better. Here’s another optical illusion you’ll want to tap into: Wear one color from top to bottom, and you’ll look longer and leaner. If you wear a different color on top than you’re wearing on the bottom, it’ll create a break in your figure, causing the eye to stop right at the color change (and possibly right where your butt starts).
Adjust the spotlight. Draw attention to the spots that look great (think cleavage!) and away from places you might be less inclined to show off — such as those swollen ankles (keep them under pants or dark opaque maternity tights).
Watch your lines. Feeling vertically challenged as you widen? Remember that vertical lines cause the eye to move up and down, creating height (and that longer, leaner look you’re trying to draw). Horizontal lines cause the eye to look side to side, creating width you almost certainly don’t need. So skip the nauticals (and any outfit with horizontal stripes), and favor clothes with vertical stripes, vertical zippers, vertical stitching, and vertical rows of buttons.
Stay fit. With your clothes, that is. While you’ll definitely want clothes that have room to grow in the bust and the belly, look for tops — shirts, sweaters, jackets, and dresses — that fit you well in the shoulders (probably the only part of your body that won’t be widening). Hanging shoulders will give you a sloppy (and bulky) look.
Tighten up. Sure your inclination might be to go loose and flowing when you’re ballooning out, but bigger isn’t better when it comes to maternity clothes. In fact, clingy clothes actually make you look slimmer than baggy clothes. Plus, they give you a chance to show off exactly what’s causing all the ballooning in the first place — the growing baby in your belly.
Of course, most fashion rules are made to be broken — at least some of the time. Being true to your style is just as important as following the maternity clothes curriculum — and you need to feel comfortable in the skin (and outfits) you’re in. So if you’re happier in hot pink, shocking lime, or bright combinations of patterns (or even those naughty nauticals) than you are in black on black ensembles — go for it. It’s your belly!