Being pregnant

How to dress your baby bump during wedding season

Karen discovers that finding an outfit for special occasions can be tricky.

Me and my husband, Barry.

We spent Sunday evening at our friends, Mike and Jamie’s, wedding. It was an event we’d been looking forward to since we’d celebrated their engagement last summer. They’re an adorable couple (who know how to throw a party!), so we knew it would be a fun and memorable event.

What I hadn’t anticipated was being five months pregnant for the big day. And, I had no idea of the challenges of dressing a pregnant belly for a formal event. Obviously nothing in my closet fits me anymore so all of my standby cocktail dresses were out of the question. This left me no choice but to shop for something new — that would fit and look great.

This may sound like a simple mission, but as you other pregnant ladies know, fashion and maternity don’t seem to necessarily go hand-in-hand. Everything I found online that I liked was very high-end (as in, expensive) and what I could get my hands on in my local maternity stores wasn’t to my liking. I was getting pretty discouraged.

Then I got some great advice from stylist Rachel Matthews, who’s working with us on a story for our fall issue of Today’s Parent Pregnancy. She suggested looking outside the “maternity” options for more fashion-forward looks. Any dresses in fabrics that stretch or drape, to accommodate the belly, and any other areas that might be expanding (!!), will work, she said. So I took her advice and, after a day of shopping, I scored some adorable jersey skirts and stretchy maxi dresses that will see me through the summer. I also found a classic LBD with rouching along the sides at Thyme Maternity that ended up being the perfect dress for the occasion — and at a very reasonable price. Yes, it was maternity, but I don’t think I would have even noticed it without her urging to consider stretchy fabrics. I paired it with some well-worn heels that I knew would be as comfy as possible and felt like a million bucks all night long.

Rachel gave me another great tip: If you have a special occasion coming up and nothing to wear but you don’t want to buy something new, consider renting a party dress. Toronto-based Rinse, Wear, Repeat might be the perfect solution for formal wear during and post-pregnancy.