How to Dress to Hide Your Baby Bump: The First Trimester

his approximate size at the conclusion of the first third

You don’t want your pea-sized person and her plushly padded apartment to alert the public to her presence before you’re prepared.  Following is a checklist to cloak your secret or simply slim what is not a surprise.


First, harvest from your existing wardrobe.  Buying new is a last resort.  Save your budget for the fuller blooms of gestation.  For now try all potential candidates on and create a mini closet from which you will recruit your ensembles.  As you swell your closet candidates will wane, so try to trim any insufficient talent from the cloth pool at the weekly anniversary of your pregnancy.

Next, borrow from a friend, about one size larger than yourself. And although your husband’s side of the closet may look tempting, be extremely discriminating.  In order to succeed, he must share approximate borders with your own width, and you must cuff, tie, and/or thoughtfully pair each item for stylistic and architectural balance.

Finally, buy whatever key pieces you still lack.  Try to consider items which will also serve you post partum when you’ll be nursing and/or retracting.


Dainty Unders

  • You’re going to need a new bra.  Before your tummy even promises protrusion, your lady eggs enlarge.  And in all likelihood, your pregnancy bra may not survive the swells and strains of gestation. It’s dangerous to pay more for a nursing bra that could expire before your due date, and may not even latch once la leche lands.
  • Long Tanks will prevent the exposure of your own flesh filled doughnut and can serve you all the way to the delivery room and beyond. Now, raise your right hand and promise me you will not pull its hem beyond the hipline and across the decline of your derrière.   This enacts two tragedies, first it creates the illusion of two puppies fighting in a bag, as seen from the back, second it immediately widens your hips many inches.
  • Another tool to combat tummy creep and secure trousers without squishing your unborn child is a transition band.  Pants plus band offers security sans a fastened button and zipper.  But should necessity arrive before your belly band does, feel free to employ an old fashioned rubber band.  Loop it around the button, through the hole, then back around the button.
  • Button-up blouses offer the right amount of structure and flexibility, effortlessly concealing the rising bun in your oven.  Liberally sprinkle your belly muffin with prints which keep the eye moving, veiling abdominal variations.
  • Ruffles, ruching, and other embellishments, including peplums, tastefully disguise organic undulations as folds of fabric.
  • Straight up and down tunic blouses, which end generously below the bump line, feel architectural rather than suspicious.
  • Bright long sweaters and lightly hued boxy jackets layered over dark underpinnings enact a forcefield of mystery.  Longer is leaner, so stretch and flatten your torso with layers that extend to at least the hipline
  • Future wishing empire blouses create a prematurely plump present.
  • Tucking in encircles your insecurities with added emphasis.
  • Stripes are visual measuring cues.  That means the wider breadths of your buxom bosom and burgeoning belly will be enlarged and optically calculated.
  • It’s not just your waistline that’s blossoming.  Be sure if you wear a oxford blouse minus peek-a-boo buttons. If closures gap from any angle, employ a safety pin or keep it unbuttoned and wear a tank underneath
There are multiple smart ways to skin this cat.
  • First, buddy up with a friend one waist size larger than yourself.
  • Second, enlist afore mentioned belly band and/or rubber band to expand the waistband and usable life of your existing wardrobe.
  • If necessary invest in a minimalist lower body wardrobe with hopes of reusing in the “fourth trimester”
Skirts & Dresses:
  • Few silhouettes are more slimming than a uniform flow, shoulder to toe maxi dress.  Opt for some mystery near the waist: a print, ruching, pleats..
  • Straight sheath dresses skim the entire silhouette avoiding cling around any new developments
  • A-line skirts and dresses actually make your waist appear proportionately when compared with the resulting flounce and flare below.
Skirts & Dresses
  • A lightweight scarf can be tied to camouflage bust and belly simultaneously.
  • A wide stretchy belt worn at your widest borders can corset in the beginnings of birth.  Just don’t cinch it in too tight.
  • Channel your inner celebrity-evading-paparazzi, by holding a statement purse in front of the baby-to-be as you stroll.
We’ll continue to grow our pregnancy fashion knowledge throughout the week.  Add any first trimester tips in the comments.
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  1. Anonymous says

    Great tips but as the friend that usually has the larger waist line, although I’m glad to help, it does hurt to see my bottoms fitting one smaller persons gestating body. Please use caution on that tip as not to offend.

  2. says

    This post is perfect- so helpful! I am in love with that aqua lace shift dress. so pretty.

    I agree, the button ups have been treating me well as of late.


  3. says

    Step one of my pregnancy was for all of my pear parts to expand – hips, a bit of tummy, and thighs. Clingy items – anything jersey – were immediately not flattering for me. Button ups made my tummy immediately obvious as well – not to mention drawing attention because I don’t typically wear them! Early investment in maternity dress pants with stretch & a panel were a must. Another investment – maternity jeans version of my favorite AG jeans. On a cost-per-wear basis, even in my second trimester, they’ve been worth every penny. I live in them, and they make me feel a little more human.
    New bra and underthings? Haven’t needed them yet – I’m well into my 5th month and have been measured, and the “girls” are the same size. My ribcage is ever so slightly bigger, but my current bras have been deemed a continued good fit. I suspect I’ll need a new one at the end of this, but will not be nursing, so it won’t be for long.
    As long as your underwear sit comfortably under the tummy, your regular ones are fine!
    Every woman is definitely different – even with buns in the oven!

  4. says

    This was such a great post and very much enjoyed! I think this is a great standard for everyone. I love how you posted a list of items as sometimes i feel clueless! Fabulous!!

  5. says


    I agree, every body, and every pregnancy is different. What I included here is a generalization of what happens to many women, but I’ve also written about the different pregnant body types here:

    Best to you in your pregnancy,

  6. Bettie says

    Raise the waistline if you have a defined one (I am heavy chested) and push everything south below the belly button in 2nd trimester.

    Loving circle skirts with a lot of fabric or ones with double layers (petticoat sown in) cinched tight with a high waisted shirt. Yes the peplum top or button down work wonders, but defining the natural waist and having a full a-line or tuliped skirt works wonders.

    I am also wearing a tight shape undergarment my top half. I let the girls out and trim in the top of my belly with spanks that are really tight without any discomfort. I am looking for a job, so it’s CRUCIAL that I pass as just a little heavy. So far not a person knows and I am 20w and docs say very healthy.

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