When it comes to being pregnant and stylish, it seems women are held to a few too many rules. But rules were meant to be broken — or at least reconfigured. Liz Lange, of the popular website the Bump (and founder of Liz Lange for Target Maternity), offers her advice for dealing with maternity style myths.

 

Myth No. 1: You can get by with clothes you already own.

Reality: Go ahead, shop from your closet (and your hubby’s) for the first two months but, at some point, maternity clothes will just fit better. Of course there are exceptions. For example, leggings and loose cardigans (worn unbuttoned) will work for most of trimester two.

 

Myth No. 2: Expensive maternity clothes are a waste of money.

Reality: We’re all for bargain buys, but since these items are pretty much the only things you’ll wear over the next nine months (read: they’ll take a beating), it’s a smart idea to invest in a few well-made, quality pieces.

 

Myth No. 3: You can’t wear sleeveless.

Reality: Self-conscious about your arms? Don’t be. This is the best time to bare them. Your baby bump creates an optical illusion — the bigger your tummy gets, the smaller your arms will look.

 

Myth No. 4: A long dress will look like a muumuu.

Reality: If showing a little leg isn’t your thing, you can pull off a strapless or sleeveless maxi dress (yes, even if you’re petite). To avoid a bulky look, choose one in a lightweight fabric.

 

Myth No. 5: Empire waists are always flattering.

Reality: Sure, this waistline works for lots of moms-to-be but, for some, loose tops just add extra heft. Form-fitting styles (we love side-ruching) will hug your new curves and actually make you look smaller.

 

Myth No. 6: Bold patterns and bright colors are a bad idea.

Reality: You can still wear most prints. Add them in small touches with the right fit, like a striped sweater dress or a graphic top with jeans. And subtly work little pops of color into an all-black wardrobe.

 

Myth No. 7: You must make over your look.

Reality: Don’t ditch your personal style just because you’re pregnant. If you usually wear casual jeans and tees — or sexy black dresses — you should definitely continue to rock those looks while you’re expecting.

 

Myth No. 8: Flats are your only footwear choice.

Reality: Teetering in 4-inch stilettos is never a good idea (plus, high heels can cause serious back pain), but don’t be afraid to sport a small stacked or kitten heel for a little extra height. Just remember to choose a delicate pair. Chunky heels can make your legs look bigger.