The other day my friend called, upset that someone asked if she were pregnant (she’s not that sensitive so it wasn’t devastating but she wasn’t super excited about it either). And guess what? I knew exactly what she was wearing – an empire waist dress. Unless you are skinny or very young, this cut often makes people think you’re pregnant because it’s always what they make for pregnant women. Before I was pregnant I would see these cute elastic waist stretchy jeans that looked so comfortable. Upon closer inspection I saw they were maternity jeans. Why, I thought, do pregnant people get more comfortable jeans than the rest of us? Now I understand the need for extra comfort when pregnant - but does that mean if you’re not pregnant you can’t wear the extra comfortable clothes too? No. So when this same friend came maternity shopping with me as I grew larger, we asked the same question. And even though she in no way needs larger or fuller styles (she runs marathons), she bought a comfy but cute maternity dress with super soft fabric. It became one of her favorite dresses. And unlike with her empire cut dress, no one ever even asked her if she were pregnant.
Since then I’ve been looking for comfortable styles that can be worn if you are pregnant or not. For example, when pregnant I was always looking in the maternity section for clothes – which is very limited. Here’s what I found. If you don’t want to or can’t spend the $ on the following brands, look for designs that are similar to these:
Max Studio This brand NEVER fit me before. I would try everything because it looked so cute on the rack but nothing ever came of it. When I got pregnant everything Max Studio looked good on me. And now things also look pretty good in smaller sizes (I’m not quite as tiny as I used to be so somehow it works).
Helmut Lang I have this silk Helmut Lang top I’ve worn with over jeans a number of ways: With a wide belt at the hips, with a short skirt underneath (someone actually asked me about my “amazing dress”), and alone with leggings. It’s a brand that drapes and shapes in just the right places.
Joie I never looked at Joie until my friend said it was one of her favorite brands. I’d stand idly by as she tried on different Joie clothes I’d never pick out and then she’d try them on and they looked cute.
Rebecca Taylor I got something from Rebecca Taylor when I was just beginning to have a stomach. It looked cute then and it looks cute now. So subsequently I have shopped for more of her pieces.
Alice & Olivia This designer seems to make a lot of wide band pants and shorts that look pretty good if you need your stomach held in. And a lot of the tops are blousy enough they are loose without looking pregnant.
Yummie Tummie Finally, if you want to try shapewear, there’s Yummie Tummie. I have never been a fan of shapewear because the idea reminds me of corsets and female Victorian restrictiveness. But I gave one of the tank tops a go. It’s nice because it’s mostly soft cotton and long enough to not ride up around when you’re trying to keep things comfortably “supported.”