Styling the Bump: Third Trimester Tips (And Loads of Style Inspiration!)


IMG_0659 This post is the last in a series of posts on styling the bump through all stages of pregnancy.   Also check out Styling the Bump: First Trimester Tips (How to Style, What to Buy) or Styling the Bump: Second Trimester Tips.

By the time I got to my third trimester, the realization was just sinking in:  I was pregnant.  And the baby?  He’s growing.  There were no more strange looks, no mistaking my belly for extra muffins or a tumor…whether I was ready or not, the baby was coming in three (or, in my case with babe #1, two) short months.  Yikes.

And this time around?  I think I had belly amnesia.  Cause I’m surprisingly HUGE.  But looking back (pic of me on NYE with babe #1)…I think that this is simply how I look during the third trimester: a little girl with a huge, huge belly.

(Which is what I would’ve said yesterday, given the chance, to the man who yelled out of the car, “Lady, that baby is gonna FALL right out!”)

So what do you do when styling a bump of epic proportions?

Not.  Much.

My philosophy in these situations is simple:  if you’re going to do it (and there’s no going back now) then rock it.  Own it.  Flaunt it.

Trimester Three – Flaunt the Bump

1.  Flaunting the Bump…High Heels Help


Gang, meet Jen.  Jen is the author of a very fabulous blog, Jen Loves Kev, who has spent the last nine months chronicling her pregnancy style.  Her blog is a great source of inspiration for us pregnant gals.

(And Jen – I see that congratulations are in order!!  LOVE the name Rowan!)

I love Jen’s whole outfit…but let’s look specifically at her footwear.  When sportin’ a third-trimester bump….heels help to balance out the proportions (and lotsa leg doesn’t hurt either).

To keep yourself steady, try a pair of solid, chunky heels like Jen’s, or reach for your wedges.

While I realize that heels aren’t going to be your footwear of choice if you are simultaneously chasing a toddler while sporting the bump…just keep it in mind for date night.  You’ll just feel a little less huge.

Which brings me to my next point….

2.  Don’t be Afraid to Sex It Up A Bit

232323232-fp-85-nu=3239-957-582-WSNRCG=339352659-339nu0mrj I asked my husband if there was anything inherently wrong with a pregnant woman looking sexy.  “Uh…no?” was his initial response.  “But…you feel like an a-hole checking her out…” he clarified.

This is probably the only time in our lives we can dress as hot as we want without having to worry about leering looks from guys.  That’s good enough for me.  (NOTE: If you live in Denver, a visit to the Dazbog Coffee across the street from ‘Queen Soopers’ will garner the same effect, pregnant or no.)

But in all seriousness, there is nothing sexy about giving birth, and nothing sexy about recovering from birth.  Beautiful?  Yes.  Amazing?  Yes. Sexy?  No.  In fact, many moms will spend the next several months? years?  trying to bring their sexy back. So enjoy it now.

Take a cue from our crazy-hot Becoming Mother’s model (pictured above in a green maxi dress).  Her boobs look fab in the halter, her belly is full-on display…it’s third trimester flaunting at its best.

3.  Fitted is Your Friend

232323232-fp-79-nu=3239-957-582-WSNRCG=33935265;-339nu0mrj As we discussed in our Second Trimester Bump Styling Series, bumps look best when highlighted.  Whether you highlight the top of the bump (like Jen and Ella above) or the bottom, the key to flaunting a third trimester bump is to show it off.

Hands down, my very favorite look for flaunting the bump in the third trimester is the fitted top.  As I’ve mentioned before, Isabella Oliver makes my favorites, but I’ve also heard good things about Ingrid & Isabel camis, and, in the very spirit of flaunting, Bloom Maternity tees (shown at right on our Becoming Mother’s model Posha), which are not only fitted, but show off the bump with a cool, handmade design by local Denver gal Gabrielle.  Want one?  Call Becoming Mothers in Boulder, CO.

4.  Consider Sprucing Things Up With a Very Non-Pregnant Gal Item

I love when pregnant women mix things up a bit by throwing one 4974376961_145d599bae fabulous pre-pregnancy item into their outfit rotation.  For example, Jen is rocking her third trimester with a leather bomber jacket from Zara.  Love.

And in case you didn’t catch Posha’s full outfit above, she’s wearing her Bloom maternity tee with a pair of jean leggings.  Love again.

My current favorite items are an old J.Crew moto-inspired sweater (here’s one that’s close) and a Miu Miu cropped trench (pictured below).  Both look cute worn open (or partially buttoned) over my plain maternity camis, and serve to keep me looking (and more importantly feeling) like a gal with style.  A seriously hot shoe (or boot) also goes a long way.

5.  Feeling Huge? Go Monochromatic

IMG_0156 Visually, wearing all of one color can help you look taller, simply by fooling the eye into seeing one long column of color.  While this advice is usually reserved for dark colors like black, I wanted to show that even a lighter color like white can work.

My initial instinct says to stick with rather neutral colors – white, black, navy, gray…lest you end up looking like a giant blueberry.

BUT…for every fashion rule out there, there is someone who can, while pregnant, wear bright blue from head-to-toe and look fabulous.

So for days where you are feeling huge, try a monochromatic pallette (of any color) and see what happens.  No risk, no reward, baby.

What To Buy

1.  Nursing Bra (if you plan on Nursing)

Gp327206-04p01v01 Don’t go crazy with nursing bras yet.  For some, nursing can be hard to downright impossible, and it mostly depends on your baby.  Your attitude, etc. can help or hurt…but at the end of the day, the kiddo will latch or…(in R’s case) he won’t.  We somehow figured it out eventually…but it took 2-3 months.  I’m not completely sure how (or why) we made it through, but I’m betting that I won’t have nearly as much time or patience with baby #2.  But you never know.

The point?  If you think you want to nurse, then buy a crazy-soft, crazy-comfortable nursing bra sometime in your 8th month.  I recommend a soft-cup in black.  The soft-cup is because you will be sore (and there’s NO reason to deal with under-wire or molded cups yet) and the black?  Because colostrum stains.  No amount of oxi-clean will get that stuff out.

I like the look (and price) of Gap’s Soft Cup Nursing Bra, $30, shown above.

Once nursing is well-established, go nuts with the gorgeous nursing bras on the market.  I’ll post my favs later.

2.  Diaper Bag

Finally, I’m recommending a diaper bag purchase!  Personally, I have more luck in the not-an-actual-diaper-bag arena, but as Lane astutely pointed out in her fabulous article on diaper bags….diaper bags (and what you put in them) are a reflection of both your personal style and your mothering style.  Have fun with this one!

3.  Desperation Items

If you didn’t follow my spot-on advice for the first and second trimesters (I’m joking, of course)…you may end up making some desperation purchases for maternity clothes in your third trimester.  When pregnant with R, my desperation purchases were a few more Isabella Oliver camis (I was sick of accidental belly exposure at work), as well as a pair of Raven jeans, 3 sizes bigger than my pre-pregnancy size.  Was a $200 pair of jeans (that would eventually be given away) worth it?


I wore the Raven’s almost daily for those three months, then again for the next 5-6 months.  Even if consider only half-time wear, you’re looking at a cost-per-wear of $1.60.  So let me ask:  Would you pay $1.60 a day for the next 8ish months to wear a pair of jeans that are both comfortable and cute?

The point is, don’t beat yourself up if you need a desperation purchase.  It happens.

Experienced Moms — am I alone in the desperation purchase department?  Did you have some?  Or was there a non-maternity piece that you couldn’t live without during your last trimester?





  1. Although I couldn’t wear them all the time at work, I found dresses of any kind to be essential throughout my pregnancy. I didn’t have to worry about growing out of them or misjudging if my belly would show (can you hear the voice of experience talking…). Not to mention they made bathroom trips a lot quicker in those last few weeks! It’s also easy to find babydoll styles so you’re not paying exorbitant prices for strictly maternity clothes, and you don’t feel weird for wearing them postpartum as well.
    Love your blog! It is hard sometimes to find the time to be stylish when working full time and coming home to an energetic one year old. Your posts are much appreciated 🙂

  2. As I near the 38 week mark tomorrow (and I am begging Jameson to get excited to move on out and have that time frame be less), I have found myself in a dire state of panic and disgust. Last week, my desperation purchase happened with only 3 weeks left. I have been obsessed throughout my pregnancy with this dress from Gap ( I bought it in gray and black and have dressed it up, down, and sideways along with several other sundress styles. I realized last week that my legs all of a sudden disgusted me. I don’t mean the kind of irritation where it bothers you when you remember that you are feeling a bit swollen – its the kind where it is painfully clear that your knees seem to be just a slight pinch from your puffy legs and the same goes for your ankles. I had made it almost to the end with minimal, if any, swelling and then I suddenly found myself at work, sitting at my desk and just staring at the tree trunks holding me up. I may have even made an extra few trips to the bathroom mirror to stare at them in horror. While I had promised myself that at this stage, there was absolutely no point in buying any new clothes because HE WILL be here soon, I found myself leaving work a few minutes early to rush to the nearest Gap Maternity and find ANYTHING that would cover my legs. While not an extravagant purchase, I bought the most comfy pair of jeggings (which I swear I’ll wear after the fact) and a super long tunic to wear under boyfriend cardigans. S – you look adorable, by the way!

  3. JennyOH – Girl, you bring up a great point: dresses and bathroom breaks! Love it! And thanks for the kind words on the blog!
    Amanda — I cracked up for at least 10 minutes after reading your comment! I think your desperation purchase was a good one – the leggings are seriously cute. But I love the honesty about the “tree trunks” AND the number of bathroom breaks required to fully obsesses. Isn’t pregnancy such a strange state? I always feel a bit like “alien”. Anyway…am counting the days for you, Chicky! Wow – you are SO close!!!!

  4. I bought a maxi dress at Forever 21 at 36w, because summer arrived all of a sudden, and I had nothing but long pants and office-appropriate skirts to wear.
    It ended up being a very smart purchase, because three weeks later, I’ve been wearing it non-stop: I can’t wash it fast enough to put it back on. And I might even be able to wear it post-partum, if it doesn’t fall apart till then.

  5. i’ve also done really well at forever 21. some of my favorite tops are from there. i’m at 31 weeks now and finding something to wear is getting worse. i might have to get a few more tops to get me to the end. ugggg.

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