Chances are you’ll make it — or have already made it — through your first trimester with just a couple of fashion adjustments (like unbuttoning your jeans when they’re threatening to bust) and no new purchases (except for ever bigger bras). Regular clothes, albeit slightly roomier-than-usual ones, generally fit the bill — and that tiny bulge of a belly — through the end of the third month, maybe longer.
During months four and perhaps five, sizing up may be a good solution (if you’re usually a Medium, buy the Large), as might borrowing your partner’s shirts once in a while. But by the sixth month (possibly a lot sooner if you’re on the slight side), no matter how big your man is, you’ll probably outgrow him and all of his clothes — plus you’ll probably want a look that’s a bit more feminine (and professional if you’re headed for the office). Yes, the big day has arrived: Bring on the maternity clothes.
But before you shop till you drop, keep these maternity style basics in mind:
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.
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