You may know you’re pregnant, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to share it with the world. For a variety of reasons, a lot of women keep their exciting news private until they’re fully comfortable disclosing the life changing, beautiful experience of pregnancy.
Everyone is different, but for me, twenty weeks is when I felt comfortable. That gave me a good 140 days to keep a low profile and dress myself in a way that didn’t call attention to my changing body. The two most important parts to this were one, not changing up my style in an obvious way, and two, finding and styling the right pieces to create an optical illusion and/or cover me up in all the right places.
Everyone’s body is different and pregnancy looks different on all of us, but here is what worked for me when trying to conceal the bump (I’m five months pregnant in all of these photos).
11 Style Tips for Concealing a Bump:
1. Keep your style consistent
Wardrobe and styling changes are a big giveaway early on. Keep your style as consistent as possible and adjust things accordingly where you need to (lots of tips below on how to do this) to work with your growing belly. The reason this works is because wearing your usual clothing throws people off. Change is what raises eyebrows.
Plus, early on, it’s totally normally to think you’re showing much more than you actually are (I was super guilty of this!), so chances are you don’t need to make any adjustments right away. If you aren’t sure if you’re as exposed as you may think/feel, ask your partner for a second opinion. Usually, if it’s your first baby and you’re three months or less (second babies are a whole other ballgame, you tend to show much earlier), people probably can’t see much (my husband certainly couldn’t despite me asking every single day) or they may just think you’ve gained a little weight which WHO CARES! You are growing human life!
2. Oversized blazers & jackets
Fall 2017 is THE season for oversized outerwear so take advantage! A boxy blazer or leather jacket helps conceal the sides and front of your belly so they’re a major win. I love wearing mine over a slip dress, with jeans and a vintage tee with layered necklaces or leather leggings with a thin boyfriend sweater. These have been my go-to uniforms most of my pregnancy.
3. Empire waist
An empire waist dress/top/jacket cinches you just below your chest then darts out to give the garments intended cut. The reason this works is the high-waisted cut and loose fitting lower half gives room for your belly and hides your goods in all the right places. Thicker, non-clingy fabrics are best or anything with strong shape or a drapey cut. You can also create an empire waist yourself by belting a garment just below your chest.
4. A-line cut
Don’t go crazy with this one as it can start to read a little maternity but as you get bigger in month four or five and are running out of options, this is a good one to throw in the mix. Similar to the empire waist, an a-line gives you wiggle room as it covers your bump simply by the way it’s cut. An a-line dress or top with a high-waisted pencil skirt is great for work.
5. Fabric choices
Chose your fabrics wisely as they are not all created equal. Some fabrics will cling to your developing body and others won’t. Opt for things like knitwear (wool, cashmere, etc.), denim, linen, thicker silks, structured cottons and the like.
6. Prints & Patterns
Mixing prints is a great distraction to the eye so don’t be afraid to test out mixing things like vertical and horizontal stripes or florals. And if that doesn’t feel right, black is always safe.
7. Size up
Tight dresses aside (these are absolute no-no’s when trying to conceal), going a size or two up in pieces that you would normally have purchased if you weren’t pregnant can be really forgiving and will give you room to expand as your body so beautifully will. Just try to keep anything oversized chic and not sloppy looking.
8. Trousers & pants
I found that wearing belted, high-waisted trousers with a shirt tucked in, an oversized blazer and a little bit of a heel to elongate my body fooled just about everyone – it’s a shocking optical illusion when looking straight on. The reason this works so well, optical illusion aside, is because pants are not something people associate with pregnancy, so when they see women wearing them, it doesn’t raise any red flags.
To make this work, go up a size or two so that your belly isn’t constricted and the extra fabric helps conceal. Trousers with a built-in belt are even better, and if they don’t have a belt try adding one, this helps break up your mid-region so you appear smaller than you are and it takes attention away from your belly (sounds counter-intuitive but trust me). Adding the oversized blazer on top, either worn on or off the shoulders, is key to this look because it hides the side view which is the real giveaway.
Scarves and bags are a great additional way to hide your belly. Scarves because the flowy fabric will lay over your stomach and bags because you can hold them in just the right spot to cover yourself up. The other thing that helps are things like over-the-knee boots or high heels because they’re not your typical pregnancy shoe of choice. It’s all about dressing like you aren’t carrying.
Everyone’s body is different but maternity jeans usually come into play around the 3+ month mark so before then, don’t box up your old jeans. The reason wearing your regular jeans works, besides the fact that they probably still fit, is that again, wearing the clothing that you normally wear throws people off like we discussed in #1.
Try wearing your regular jeans (not your skinnnnny skinnnnnny jeans) as long as you’re comfortable. If you own any or can buy a pair in one size up, go for it. To really drive this home, wear them with a half tucked or tucked in shirt so people see the top button. If they do think you’re pregnant, they’ll be looking for maternity jeans and this will prove their assumptions wrong (sneaky!).
11. Skip the boho dresses & maternity clothes
Lastly, going off what I said in #1, bohemian oversized dresses can be really cute, but unless that’s your day-to-day personal style, they can read very maternity. Suddenly wearing the flowy frocks may raise curious eyebrows. Early on, try keeping overly boho dresses to a minimum and save them for when your tummy is huge and you have little choice but to wear them. Same goes with maternity clothes – skip them all together for as long as you can. Truthfully, there aren’t a ton of cute lines and a lot of them can look matronly.