The designer and mom of two offers tips for cultivating your personal style and feeling empowered through pregnancy and beyond.

By Maressa Brown
Updated March 19, 2020
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If you count pretty, flowy maxi dresses among your wardrobe staples (and who doesn't?), chances are you've come across Rachel Pally's stunning looks while shopping. The Los Angeles-based entrepreneur designs linen jumpsuits and crepe chiffon tops, but she's best known for her easy-to-wear, romantic, vacation-ready jersey dresses, which many of her fans love before, during, and after pregnancy.

That said, the designer and mom of two boys is seen as something of a maternity style guru. Pally shares confidence-boosting style advice for anyone dressing for pregnancy and beyond.

1. Don't feel like you have to abandon your personal sense of style.

"Your body changes so quickly," acknowledges Pally. "You feel different. You're emotional. It's so important to feel like yourself when you're pregnant."

For that reason, Pally encourages you not to feel like your style has to change at all. "You just need a little more room in the front of your clothes," she notes. "Stretchy dresses, flowy pieces, jumpsuits—you can really wear a lot of the same styles when you're pregnant."

This is a case for avoiding maternity-specific clothes (and why Pally's maternity styles are identical to the non-maternity versions). When she was expecting, Pally embraced this philosophy herself, avoiding maternity wear with the exception of one pair of jeans. "Therefore, I knew I would be able to wear the clothes during and after pregnancy," she notes. "I always accessorized with my usual jackets or hats or jewelry, so I still looked like myself."

You'll also do well to incorporate a few splurge pieces that make you feel amazing along with affordable basics that resemble pieces you'd wear anyway.

2. Reject antiquated notions of what maternity style looks like.

A major misconception about dressing for pregnancy is that it has to be "frumpy or specialized and temporary," notes Pally. "Just size up if you want and avoid anything fitted with a zipper."

3. Embrace sexy.

"Even though I didn't feel great when I was pregnant, I felt sexy," notes Pally. "I loved the way my body changed and really embraced it."

She did this by wearing fitted clothing, like leather leggings, which she wouldn't generally do beforehand. And after becoming a mom, she felt inspired to stick with the style switch. "I felt so empowered, so strong," says Pally. "It's important to not fall into the 'sweats and dirty hair' expectation for new moms. It's important to take care of yourself—even for just a couple of minutes—and keep yourself feeling good. Moms are amazing! Moms are sexy!"

4. Create your personal balance of practical, comfortable, and stylish.

On one end of the fashion spectrum, there's that "sweats and dirty hair" stereotype, and on the other, feeling like you have to look runway-ready. Your ideal, individual sense of style should most definitely fall somewhere in-between.

"I have definitely become more casual and comfortable in my style since becoming a mom," explains Pally. "That doesn't mean sweats. It just means more effortless pieces."

For the designer, effortless pieces aren't "too delicate" and can be worn with boots, sandals, and sneakers. "I like my clothes to be wearable—nothing precious," she says. "I want to go to an event, to work, to dinner, and to basketball practice, all in the same outfit. I like to be able to move and play, but also look good!"

5. Be open to inspiration.

Just like all other art forms, your personal take on fashion while pregnant or parenting can be inspired by moments and details you come across IRL all the time.

Pally's source of inspo for her styles? "Everything! Inspiration can be found everywhere. On family walks. In movies. On Instagram. Traveling. At the flea market. Magazines. Museums. Life inspires art, and the more I live, the more I am inspired."

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