By avi maxwel / in , , , , , /

When you’re pregnant, like I am, and your body begins to grow, one of the first challenges you face in a day—besides having to roll instead of step out of bed—is getting dressed. The go-to items in your closet stare back at you unworn and neglected while leggings and oversized sweaters bag to be plucked out for the fourth time in a week. Even though those comfy pieces have a time and place, does being pregnant and wearing maternity clothes have to mean sacrificing all sense of your fashionable self? I think not. With a few wardrobe additions and adjustments, I have found that dressing the bumps can be fun, freeing and full of style. Even when I attended New York Fashion Week last month.

As you can imagine, the pressure to look and dress well for NYFW is immense—add a bump into the equation and it can feel impossible. At seven months pregnant, concealing the bump wasn’t an option for me; all I could do was embrace it and curate the looks that highlight my changing figure. I knew I would be on my feet a lot, traveling to and from shows and heading to meetings, so I had to plan accordingly. Comfort was key to every look but so was style; I heavily leaned into color, pattern and fit to add a bit of fashion week excitement to my outfits.

Here’s how I navigated NYFW and the bump simultaneously, and what to keep in mind when you’re putting your own maternity wardrobe together.

Julianne Costigan attends the Tory Burch show at NYFW. Photo: Adrienne Dick

Embrace your pregnant shape and show it off

Billowing pieces that flow over the bump in an attempt to conceal it will only add bulk. For the Tory Burch show in New York I opted for the brand’s body-con T Garden Mockneck dress in a bold pattern and online color palette to highlight my figure. What I loved most about the dress was the long vertical line built into the pattern that helped to elongate my body. Look for details like this to help you feel confident. When it comes to body con, make sure the piece is stretchy and go with a midi or maxi length so you don’t have to worry about the hem riding up.

julianne costigan stylist
Stripes and a pop of color. Photo: Adrienne Dick

Go big on color and pattern

Don’t hide behind dark colors; use bright hues and great prints to your advantage. While heading to meetings between shows, one of my favorite looks was a striped knit dress from Zara layered with a brightly colored coat and coordinated with a lime green bag (this is a trending color for cpring) both from Tory Burch and my go-to loafers from Poppy Barley. Adding color to a look can be an immediate mood booster for yourself and the people around you and helps you walk into any room with a commanding presence. I loved seeing pregnant digital creator Jenny Cipoletti embracing both color and pattern at the Ulla Johnson show, combining the two perfectly with a red-printed maxi dress under a salmon-hued coat with knee-high boots.

Soft textures and bold hues. Photo: Adrienne Dick

It’s all about fabric

Another important element of pregnancy dressing to consider is fabric. At this point in my pregnancy, my bump is growing quickly and it’s become extra important that the fabrics I wear are soft on my skin. While out and about during this trip I knew I needed soft pieces that I would want to wear all day and would be comfortable in, such as a COS blue turtleneck dress made of plush merino wool. Moisturizing my skin well also helps to keep me from feeling itchy and tight; I love the HATCH Mama Belly Oil.

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

One of the major trends I saw on the runways were belts! When dressing a bump, belts should be your number one accessory as they help highlight the waist and create a defined silhouette when worn over sweaters, blazers and dresses. And on days when you turn to your cozy items, add a chunky earring or layer on a few necklaces to help elevate your look.

hannah bronfman
Hannah Bronfman and Julianne Costigan at Michael Kors. Photo: Adrienne Dick

Try cutout pieces

Rihanna paved the way for maternity fashion during her first pregnancy, wearing crop tops and cutaway pieces that exposed her bump, which led to more celebrities and influencers following suit. I saw the trend continue at fashion week, with the incredible Hannah Bronfman wearing a single-buttoned blazer with low-rise denim at the Acne Studios show to showcase her bump. I wore my interpretation of the trend to the Michael Kors show in the brand’s Stretch Knit Ring Maxi Dress that features three subtle cutouts around the waist. It can be as bold or as subtle as you like.

Embrace the dickey

Last year I decided to invest in a Veronica Beard blazer and it quickly became a go-to in my pre-pregnancy closet. I was devastated to think I wouldn’t be able to wear this wardrobe staple until after baby, but on this NYFW trip I discovered a simple styling trick that completely changed the pregnancy styling game for me. All I did was attach a denim dickey from the brand underneath, which worked like an extender. I discovered I could wear the blazer done up, with nothing but undergarments underneath, with my maternity jeans and their belly band acted as a camisole underneath. Game changers! If you’re crafty, you can DIY your own dickey for a blazer you currently own by cutting up an old denim jacket and sewing in buttons into the front part of it and to your blazer so you can attach the pieces.

Shop Julianne’s top maternity fashion pieces

COS dress, $185, costsores.com. Photo: COS

Shop Now

Abercrombie maternity jeans, $110, abercrombie.com. Photo: Abercrombie

Shop Now

Sonday the Label dress, $138, sondaythelabel.com. Photo: Sonday

Shop Now

Veronica Beard blazer, $998, veronicabeard.com. Photo: Veronica Beard

Shop Now

maternity clothes
Veronica Beard denim dickey, $255, veronicabeard.com. Photo: Veronica Beard

Shop Now

Poppy Barley shoes, $325, poppybarley.com
Poppy Barley shoes, $325, poppybarley.com

Shop Now