Put together great work outfits without breaking the bank.

By Lauren Kenney
October 03, 2005

It's hard enough to find a work outfit that looks great, but when you're pregnant, you have the added worry of dressing your expanding belly. We talked to the experts and compiled a list of work-wear ideas that will make your mornings easier. Here are some great ideas:

1. Buy clothes of the same fabric and color. Stay basic, suggests Cherie Serota, coauthor of Pregnancy Chic (Villard) and cofounder of the Belly Basics clothing line. Steer clear of patterns and bright colors. Instead, concentrate on core essentials in darker colors for maximum wardrobe versatility. If you want to invest in clothing that you can wear repeatedly, buy darker colors (black, brown, navy) because they mix with almost anything.

2. Wear clingy pieces. Anything that fits closely to your body looks cleaner, neater, and more flattering, says Liz Lange, owner of Liz Lange Maternity.

  • Skirt: Invest in a tapered skirt made from a high-quality stretchy material: cotton/Lycra for casual, or stretch wool or gabardine for a dressier look, says Lange. A knee-length style is best, because you look professional, but are still showing a little leg. Black is slimming and can be worn with any color shirt.
  • Stretch pants: Opt for slim-fitting pants with a boot cut bottom -- they're more figure-flattering, Lange advises. Wear nonmaternity leggings until you outgrow them, then switch to maternity leggings with a built-in panel.

3. Believe in the blazer. Wear your fitted jackets as long as you can, simply unbuttoning the bottom buttons for extra room. Unbutton more as you grow, until you're finally forced to keep it open. Then buy a maternity blazer, says Serota. Look for one that's "unconstructed" -- with no closures so it just drapes over your belly, giving a fluid line.

4. Get a basic black dress. Worn alone with accessories or under your blazer, the black dress is the perfect simple-yet-elegant item to throw on when you're in need of a quick, no-brainer outfit, Lange notes. Cotton/Lycra, although less dressy than, say, wool or rayon, is easier since you don't have to dry-clean it. Empire-waist styles are flattering since they have a high waistline, and show off your curves.

5. Dress it up with color and details. Now that you have your essentials, dress them up! For these items, the opposite rules apply -- you can have fun with prints and colors. Lange recommends you pair your basics with brighter blouses, sweaters, and silky tank tops.

6. Buy the right shirts. Although you can get away with wearing T-shirts under your blazer for most of your pregnancy, if you want to wear a shirt alone, invest in a tunic blouse, says Lange. Wear shirts with a collar that will accentuate your collarbones, like a scoop neck, V-neck, or boat neck. These, paired with a blazer, will make your neck appear long and lean.

7. Stock up on stockings. Create a slimming monochromatic line with stockings that match your skirt. Lange advises that if your skirt or dress is black, wear sheer black stockings. If you're experiencing varicose veins, opt for opaque tights, but otherwise, show some skin. (Again, your legs are your most valuable asset, so show them off!) Queen sizes can probably take you through most of your term, but look for maternity hosiery if they grow snug.

8. Shop for better shoes. When it comes to shoes, go for anything that feels comfy, Lange counsels. Flats are the obvious choice, but if you prefer to have a little height, try a chunky, thick heel for extra support. Trade in high, skinny heels for shorter heels -- they'll give you extra balance and support.

But most important, remember that there are no rules, Lange adds. Be yourself, and if you can, wear what you'd wear when you aren't pregnant.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

American Baby