Dressing Your Bump: 9 Hollywood Secrets

Our insider advice from the stylists who dress celebrities’ bumps for a living will keep you looking fab from the early stage of “Is that a food baby in there?” to the epic ending of delivery.

Blake Lively in Pink Maternity Dress Getty Images
1. You Should Still Be You

“Keep your personal style throughout your pregnancy,” says Seth Chernoff, a stylist who dressed his pal Tori Spelling throughout her pregnancies. “If you’re normally happy in skinny jeans, wear skinny jeans now! If you gravitate toward cute dresses, then wear cute dresses!” 

2. Remember Less is More

Ignore advice to accessorize yourself to death while pregnant. “Your bump is the best accessory,” says Micaela Erlanger, the stylist who dressed Jaime King, Hayden Panettiere, and Ivanka Trump during their pregnancies. While some of us may think accessories will draw attention away from areas we see as problems, Jason Bolden, the creative director of JSN Studio, disagrees. “Don’t try to hide behind anything,” he says. “When you overaccessorize, it just looks like you are putting all these ornaments on you for no reason. They distract from the main attraction—your bump.”

3. Definitely Flaunt It

It may seem counterintuitive, but opting for cuts and fabrics that hug your new curvy silhouette is slenderizing, which explains why bodycon, fashion-speak for tight-fitting, “body-conscious” clothing, is all the rage with pregnant celebs. “Bodycon dresses are far more flattering than oversize pieces that make you look frumpy,” explains Anita Patrickson, Chrissy Teigen’s stylist. “With Tamera Mowry, some of our favorite looks for her were bodycon dresses,” adds Bolden. “Whenever she put one on, you could see this great form of a pregnant body. There is something so beautiful and sure about that.”

4. Shop Your Closet

“Dressing while pregnant is not nearly as limiting or difficult as it’s made out to be,” says Erlanger. “The technology in fabrics today is amazing, as long as the non-maternity clothes you buy have stretch and give, you’re good to go.” This mantra works especially well for the first two trimesters when you can buy a size larger (or two or three) than you would normally wear. Even clothes you already own can work. They may fit differently—a dress may become a tunic that you wear over leggings—but don’t “X” anything out until you try it, says Bolden.

5. Live in Leggings

Comfortable, yet fashionforward, elastic-waisted wonder pants are a must for every stage of pregnancy. They’re just so super easy, says Bolden. “Throw on a pair of combat boots, a flowy tissue tee, and a motorcycle jacket—done.” The slim leg is elongating and creates the perfect silhouette to show off your bump without adding bulk from the waist down. Plus, elastic. Did we mention that part? 

6. Treat Yourself to Good Underwear

With growing breasts and new curves, now is not the time to try and squish into the same bra for as long as you can manage, says Patrickson. “Wearing the correct underwear can make an outfit go from frumpy to fab in a matter of minutes.” To find a bra that supports and flatters your shape, visit a bra shop to get fitted, and bring a variety of tops with you to see how different bras really look under your clothes. If you feel like the whole front of you is protruding out and you’re not loving that, try a minimizing bra. “Breasts can take on a life of their own,” says Bolden. “Wearing a minimizer, which can flatten and reshape your chest into a more manageable size, can help control your proportions and allow you to wear your pre-pregnancy clothes longer.” Finally, shop for soft, breathable panties—so much more comfortable during pregnancy! 

7. Don't Panic Purchases

Shop for clothes you need for this trimester, not the next one. “It’s hard to watch your body drastically change,” says Bolden. “But trying to shop for what you think will work later tends to backfire.” Instead, go out and buy what makes you feel really good when you try it on right now. Then wear it over and over—and over. Repeat outfits are an expected thing when you’re pregnant. Phew.

8. Show Some Skin

Baring your arms, legs, and neck is slenderizing, says Chernoff. “It gives the illusion that you’re not as big as you feel by removing some bulk.” For a night out, try a one-sleeve dress, a look that’s having a moment this year for all women, pregnant or not. “The one-sleeve style is flattering because it draws attention to your collarbone, shoulders, and neckline and creates an interesting silhouette with the cut of the dress.” Don’t have a need for dressy evening wear? To get the same svelte benefit in a more casual, everyday way, try wearing more V-neck tops and T-shirts instead of crewneck ones, suggests Chernoff.

9. Own Your Bump

No matter what you have on, pull your shoulders back and hold your head high. You’re a literal walking miracle! The more you remember that, the less it matters what you wear, agreed all of the stylists we spoke to. “Once a pregnant woman embraces her new form, all of a sudden she exudes a chic confidence,” says Bolden. “It’s as if you’re saying to the world ‘I am pregnant and I am going to rock this out.’ There’s nothing more beautiful than a woman who has reached that stage of acceptance. Trust me, nothing compares to that.”