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24 Sep 2017


By Gracie Carroll

7 Key Ways To Achieve Chic Pregnancy Style Without Maternity Wear

By Gracie Carroll


Figuring out how to dress a rapidly changing body isn’t exactly easy, and I remember frantically searching for ‘chic pregnancy style‘ inspo just after I found out I was pregnant. I mean, how was I going to navigate getting dressed with my impending bump? Searching through maternity collections often just made me feel depressed as hell and I couldn’t figure out why it’s so often assumed that women suddenly turn into frumpy lumps once they get pregnant. That was NOT the vision I had for myself as a pregnant goddess. Thankfully, I made the (what I consider to be) smart decision to avoid buying almost any maternity clothing throughout my pregnancy, and instead opted to pick up some key pieces as my body changed, paired with some strategic accessories. Here I’m sharing 7 ways (that have worked for me! So far at least) to achieve chic pregnancy style without succumbing to the maternity looks of your nightmares.

Keep reading for my top tips for easily achieving chic pregnancy style!


Find The Right Dress(es)

Okay I lied, there are actually two maternity pieces I’ve purchased so far, but, to be honest, it’s almost impossible to tell they’re actually “maternity”, they just both happen to from two very cool maternity brands. When I got pregnant, I became obsessed with the idea of wearing the perfect “little black slip dress” with pretty much everything–it was something I envisioned myself wearing for day and night looks throughout my pregnancy. The only problem was I could not for the life of me find a good quality slip dress that would actually fit my rapidly changing body (and now extra ginormous boobs). Then I stumbled upon The Ricky Slip Dress by Hatch at Ani + Wren (the only maternity store you need to know about, IMO) in Toronto. This gorgeous piece is cut on the bias which means it not only hugs your curves in all the right places, but the fabric is cut in a way that can expand as your body does too. While I ended up getting a “maternity” slip dress, you don’t necessarily need to. I knew I would want to wear simple black dresses, a lot, so I also ordered the Indie Silk Dress from Legoe Collection, which (bonus!) features zips at the side seams of the busts for easy breastfeeding access once baby comes. Again, it’s essentially just a straight black maxi dress so you don’t necessarily need to buy one from a maternity brand or shop–heck, you might even already have one hanging in your closet! Other than those two dresses, I’ve actually been able to keep wearing many dresses from my regular wardrobe thanks to a lifetime of buying loose sack dresses, along with some stretchy body con dresses from Kit And Ace and great wrap dresses from Ganni.


Pair with Cute Jackets and Blazers

I’m all about a style “uniform” in general, but it’s really played a huge part in how I dress myself while pregnant, and have very limited access to the items in my closet that still fit. I was so set on finding a few key “basic” dresses because I knew I would end up living in them, and that they would be easy to style with simple changes–for example, wearing a t-shirt underneath the slip dress, or, wearing a moto jacket and sneakers for a day out, or a blazer and heels for a meeting. Thankfully, if you’re looking for jackets and blazers to become part of a lewk (rather than a coat to actually keep you warm) you don’t have to worry much about being able to zip or button them up, so enjoy wearing what you’ve already got! Or use this as an excuse to pick up a couple of cute new options that you’ll be able to wear post pregnancy too. I had tried on a very cute cropped army jacket at Ani + Wren but didn’t want to spend $300 to own it, so, you know what I did? I found a vintage army jacket for $10 and cropped it myself by simply cutting it with a pair of scissors. Who says fashion needs to break the bank?

Style with Statement Sneakers

Normally I enjoy a good classic or simple sneaker, but everything changed once I had to develop my chic maternity style. Knowing that I was opting to stick to pretty simple staple pieces for most of my looks, I decided to splash out on a pair of statement sneakers when I came across a buckled and bedazzled Chloe version at Saks Off Fifth. Sticking to sneakers has been pretty key throughout this pregnancy to keep my feet happy, and I’ve loved having an option that felt more “dressed up” than an athleisure shoe and could work for meetings and events instead of a dreaded high heel. While I did opt to splurge on a designer pair of sneakers, you by no means need to do the same to achieve the same look–there are plenty of great statement sneakers out there available at every price range! What’s important is finding something that works for you, your budget, and that they’re actually comfy on your feet.


Wear The Right Undergarments

Wearing the right lingerie and undergarments can make a huge difference in how your clothes look and fit, and you better believe this is a whole other ballgame when you’re pregnant. While I was busy worrying about how to fit my bump into my loosest pair of jeans, I quickly realised that what I really needed to figure out was how to deal with my boobs that were now bursting out of my bras. Going up a full cup size wasn’t something I had anticipated, but I knew I needed to sort out my bra situation and fast. I headed to my nearest specialty bra store to be fitted by a professional (which I highly recommend, no matter what your cup size) and invested in a new underwire bra that actually fit my new preggy boobs. I was also fortunate enough to be invited by Anita Bras to a fitting at their showroom where, much to my surprise, I discovered multiple styles of their wireless maternity bras actually worked for my new F cup boobs–something I had never thought was an option for a bust like mine. Spending money on new bras may not be what you want to do during your pregnancy, but, personally, I think it’s totally worth it. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll look better in your clothes too. Another crucial item I would suggest (other than seamless underwear) would be these knock-off maternity spanx that my friend Joelle of La Petite Noob recommended. Not only are they super affordable at $18.99 but they’re hella comfy too. Since I got a pair in black, I actually wear mine like a bicycle short under tunic tops, not just hidden under dresses.

Bust Out Your Best Sunglasses

If you haven’t caught on already, my approach to great pregnancy style is really all about distracting with the right accessories. Going through or your closet or shopping for new clothes while you’re pregnant can be kind of sad and confusing (because lawd knows what will fit!) but you know what always fits? ACCESSORIES. Wear that comfy mumu but make it fashion with a fabulous pair of sunglasses whether they’re designer or just hella fun and trendy. Besides, making a human is tiring, and there’s a good chance you might want to hide those sleepy eyes behind a great pair of shades anyway.


Get a Great (Big) Bag

There’s nothing I love more than a great bag, and throughout my pregnancy I’ve learned that I’ve had to say goodbye (for now) to some of my itty bitty bag babies. Why? Well, because, to be honest, they can’t accommodate the snacks and beverages that must now travel with me at all times. I’m definitely not saying you should lug a gym or beach bag around with you every day, but find a great statement bag (or bags) that work with your style and can actually hold the things a pregnant lady needs in her life when she’s on the go (mainly a selection of snacks and beverages). In my case, I purchased a leather Mulberry bag that can also be worn as a backpack from VSP Consignment here in Toronto. The best part? I’ll be able to use it when #BabyG arrives too, since all of my mom friends have strongly suggested a great backpack for a diaper bag.

When Nothing Else Fits, Add a Hair Accessory

Great news for all pregnant women in 2019: hair clips are one of this year’s biggest trends. When that t-shirt dress (aka your man’s shirt) is all that fits you right now, turn it into a lewk by putting some trendy clips in your hair. Of course, you don’t have to only focus on clips–your hair (and head) accessories can include a great headband or fabulous hat! Personally, I decided to purchase some tortoiseshell hair clips from my friend Esther of This Wild Heart‘s online shop, and have been regularly wearing headbands by Montreal’s Gibou to help me feel extra cute.

Happy Shopping!



(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)



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