How to Style A Bump Using Non-Maternity Items

Pregnancy maternity style from plus size blogger lolo russell @lolo_russell featuring aerie striped pencil skirt and band tee.

During my pregnancy I wanted to purchase essentials in maternity sizes, then work in items that were already in my closet or from non-maternity brands I love.  Why? There are a few reasons but the two biggest motivators were:

  1. Plus size maternity clothes are hard to find, so finding ones that are on-trend is like finding a needle in a haystack!
  2. Being pregnant during a pandemic meant I wasn’t going out much (if at all) so I wanted to get creative with what I had instead of spending a ton on maternity clothes no one would see.

This idea was a bit of a challenge, but I’m glad I did it because ultimately I saved money, gave myself more time to enjoy the items I purchased and it made shopping as a plus size pregnant woman a little less stressful because it opened up more options for me.  Read on for my tips and tricks for styling a bump using non-maternity items.

shop the look

Pregnancy maternity style from plus size blogger lolo russell @lolo_russell featuring aerie striped pencil skirt and band tee.
Pregnancy maternity style from plus size blogger lolo russell @lolo_russell featuring aerie striped pencil skirt and band tee.

First, stock up on all the maternity essentials that really can’t translate to a growing pregnant figure.  The essentials I suggest include:

  • tank tops (black, white, nude)
  • everyday leggings
  • activewear leggings
  • bike shorts
  • jeans
  • work pants (if you work in an office that requires it)
  • basic t-shirts (black, white, camo – because that’s a neutral for me hah!)
  • basic dresses (to wear alone or for layering)

shop maternity basics

Pregnancy maternity style from plus size blogger lolo russell @lolo_russell featuring aerie striped pencil skirt and band tee.

From there, I layered in non-maternity pieces that were already in my closet or new items that caught my eye online (I did not feel comfortable shopping in-store during the pandemic).  The KEY to working non-maternity clothing into a look is understanding how the items fit and if you will need to size up. 

Pregnancy maternity style from plus size blogger lolo russell @lolo_russell featuring aerie striped pencil skirt and band tee.

I recommend looking for tops, skirts and dresses with flowing silhouettes, trapeze shapes, empire waist, oversized fit or items with plenty of elastic (like this smocked dress).  Knits are usually a safe bet because they naturally have some “give” to them.  Woven fabrics are trickier – I stayed away from these unless I knew that it had plenty of room to grow or was a button front shirt that I could wear open with a tank underneath.  If you’re shopping your closet, it’s a little easier to try something on and see if you can make it work without any risk.  If you’re buying new, then it’s always safer to go ahead and order a size up.  This will help accommodate your growing belly and bust.  See below for more outfit inspiration and links to non-maternity items I recommend.

Flowing tiered dresses are an easy silhouette to wear with a bump – but if it’s woven (like the one above) you may want to size up! Original dress sold out, but shop a similar style here.

shop the look: sweatshirt // pants

This sweatshirt is a perfect example of an item that you can wear both during and after your pregnancy, but it’s non-maternity. It’s cross-over front detail makes it easy to wear with a bump and later on will make it nursing-friendly. With non-maternity pants, know that you have to be prepared to wear them below the belly, so tops need to be longer.

shop the look: similar dress // similar cardigan

shop the look: dress (low stock) // similar dress // similar jacket

The smocked bodice detail makes this dress not only comfortable, but also gives you room to grown in case you go up a bra size or two during pregnancy.

shop the look: dress

This knit spaghetti strap dress has plenty of stretch to accommodate a growing belly. The straps make it great for nursing later on, too!

shop the look: dress

Oversized shirts and dresses are great to wear before, during and after pregnancy! I was able to wear this shirt dress from See Rose Go my entire pregnancy, but if it got too snug I would have worn it unbuttoned over a basic black knit dress or jeans and a tank for something fresh. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box like this!

shop the look: dress // headband

This dress I definitely had to size up – it was a fashion item I knew I wanted, but that I probably would only be able to wear for a limited time because it’s woven and in the last month or so of pregnancy your belly will grow more than you might think!

shop the look in my blog post: COMFY + CUTE FINDS FROM CHIC SOUL

Trapeze and swing knit dresses are THE easiest thing to style with a bump, even if they’re not maternity sizing. They have plenty of room and are oh-so comfortable whether you wear them in the house or out running an errand. I got it from Chic Soul, which has a ton of comfy + cute items – check out my blog post for more!

shop similar items to those shown in this blog post below!

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