How to Buy Maternity Clothes That Actually Fit

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Preggers? Shopping can be tough, but I’ve had years in the industry and have a foolproof guide to how to buy maternity clothes that actually fit.

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how to find cute maternity clothes

How to Buy Maternity Clothes That Actually Fit

Shopping for cute maternity clothes is much different in the year 2012 than it was when my mother was having children. Things have definitely gotten much cuter and more shapely than they were 25 years ago. Today, women want to show off the bump, as they embrace the pregnancy, rather than hiding the bump with a tent-like dress. And if you are an active mama, there are even countless cute maternity clothes in the athletic category so that you don’t need to miss out on anything you love and that is part of your normal healthy life during your pregnancy. 

Now, I’m not currently expecting, but the fashionista side of me took lots of mental notes when I was pregnant 3 years ago with my little man. So now I’ve decided that its finally time to put it all into a post. After all, I’m sure that there are plenty of Mamas out there battling with their new little bulge (psst, it keeps getting bigger!) as they try to figure out what will look fabulous on them during this amazing and emotional time while your body is changing on a daily basis.

How to Find Cute Maternity Clothes


Start with the basics. Some of my must-haves during my recent pregnancy with Blake are:  the Bella band, the ah-mazing BDA leggings from Belly Bandit, Ingrid and Isabels’s Everyday Camis, and if you need them – work clothes. Otherwise, maternity yoga pants are awesome! Separates are a great way to go. Then, buy new pieces periodically as needed. With a few key purchases, like skinny pants with a waist that allows you to grow, there will be no need to buy an entire maternity wardrobe once you move into your second trimester.

Tips to help you buy maternity clothes

  • In Alterations and Fit 101, I recommend using the seams of clothing as a guide for fit. The same rule goes for maternity clothing, with one exception. You only have the one option of using the shoulder seams as reference, since everything else is a little distorted at this time. Use the shoulder seams as a guide, and if it is fitting properly there, then it is most likely laying right everywhere else, too.
  • Don’t buy a size up just because your belly and breasts are getting bigger! So many people make this assumption, and it could  not be any more wrong! Most maternity designers gauge their sizes based upon your pre-pregnancy size and allow for growth in their design. Don’t size up unless you know that you gain in a certain area, or are pregnant with multiples.
  • Speaking of being pregnant with multiples: you may want to avoid things with buttons!
  • Having problems with your belly button turning from an innie to an outie? Have no fear…nipple covers should become your new BFF…check out your favorite lingerie store! While you’re there, grab some new pretty yet comfy undies, since your style and size of lingerie may have to temporarily change as well…thongs, bikinis, camisoles, and demi bras just don’t fit or feel the same on a pregnant body.
  • If you are feeling a little bit self-conscious, try shopping for some Mama SPANX...they smooth out problem areas without putting ANY compression on your belly!
  • Buy yourself at least one dressy outfit that you can feel good in.  Now that you are eating for two, you can indulge more now than you have allowed yourself to eat in years!  So when you go out to dinner, you might as well look spectacular, too. And indeed, many men seem to be fascinated with pregnant women who exude that special glow, so you might as well enjoy the special treatment!

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  • Keep in mind that buying a size or two up in regular clothes isn’t the same as buying maternity clothes; the proportions just aren’t right.
  • Don’t feel discouraged by needing to buy a size up! (Refer to “Size Matters?” for some special Mama advice.)
  • Stick with patterns and colors that you loved before you were pregnant. Don’t feel the need to change your style just because you are pregnant; remain true to yourself and you will feel great getting dressed with your new figure. (But, if you think that red sailor dress with the big bow around your neck looks awfully cute in an adorable sort of way, ask a friend before purchasing!!!)
  • Be prepared that by your ninth month, nothing at all seems to fit or look good! Even your shoes may feel too small now! You are in the final weeks…so grab whatever ghastly item still fits, and wear a smile on your face; it’s the ONLY thing that will still look good!
  • Lastly, if you’re on a budget, use my tips for building an epic maternity capsule wardrobe.  I promise that it’s doable as long as you are mindful about the pieces that you are buying. 

Ultimately, when you are pregant, you have a special glow, beyond how you feel in your clothes.  And many, many people will comment on your blooming state.  But also remember that while nine months seems like forever, it is a relatively short time in your life.  So, try to embrace all aspects of the amazing changes, within and without! And one day soon you will again be wearing a form-fitting L.B.D. (little black dress) like your BFF is strutting around in while she pats your tummy!

I hope that my advice will serve you pregnant Mamas well and that you find the cute maternity clothes that you’re looking for. If you have some suggestions that I have overlooked, I would love to hear about it!

Fashionably Yours,



  1. Nice post shared by you. It is difficult to find the comfortable maternity clothes but this post is very helpful for us. I think when you select your maternity clothes you should consider they are comfortable and stylish.

  2. Linda Somma says:

    I am the Mama that wore the sailor like maternity dress with the red bow 25 years ago!! Arghh!!! What I would give to wear the clothes available today when expecting, and show off that proud baby bump!!!

  3. Allison Cooper says:

    I think its also important to note that sometimes Mamas will wear maternity clothes months after they have their wee ones…it takes a little while to get the body back into shape!

  4. Anna Weston says:

    Well yes, its really difficult to find maternity dresses. I am very thankful for these fabulous tips. Thanks a lot for such helpful post!

    • Allison Cooper says:

      So happy to help Anna! Feel free to email me anytime with questions! I love talking shopping tips!

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