Fashion Dress the Bump With Our Edit of Must-Have Maternity Dresses The aptly-named Hatch is our experts' go-to for the bump, breastfeeding and beyond. By Mischa Anouk Smith Published on September 6, 2022 @ 12:25PM Pin Share Tweet Email In This Article Expand Jump to a Section Our top picks Reviews Your Questions, Answered We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Asos, Hatch Thanks in large part to Rihanna, maternity dressing has been, quite literally, thrust into the spotlight. Once limited to smocked dresses and capacious bump-hiding silhouettes, today, maternity dressing is — rightfully — whatever you want it to be. Of course, with that comes a lot of options, which is why we spoke to a load of literal hot mama’s about #dressingthebump. Hatch, Bumpsuit, and ASOS were style expert Charmaine Daudu’s go-to labels — her feed is filled with styling hacks to take you through every trimester — while Ganni’s Brand Editor, Rosie Metcalf, opted for non-maternity brands like COS, Tove studio and Matteau, and, of course, the Scandi brand itself. With a punny name like Hatch and a dedicated edit of maternity essentials for pregnancy to post-natal, Hatch’s The Esme Dress was our tried-and-true winner, but as RiRi would want it (we assume) there's at last, plenty of styles to choose from. These are the best maternity dresses to buy. Our Top Picks Best Overall: Hatch Hatch The Esme Dress at Hatchcollection.com Jump to Review Best Splurge: Hill House Collector’s Edition Ellie Nap Dress at Hillhousehome.com Jump to Review Best value: Mamalicious Maternity Maxi Dress at Asos Jump to Review Best Plus-Size: Never Fully Dressed Trapeze Dress - Curve at Co.uk Jump to Review Best Petite: ASOS Design Maternity Bandeau Beach Mini Dress at Asos Jump to Review Best Mini: Bumpsuit Maternity Dress at Bumpsuit.co Jump to Review Best Maxi: Farm Rio Maxi Dress at Farmrio.com Jump to Review Best Bodycon: Ganni Ruched Mesh Midi Dress at Ganni.com Jump to Review Best Party: ASOS Design Maternity Satin Midi Tea Dress at Asos Jump to Review Best Lounge: MAMA Cable-Knit Dress at Hm.com Jump to Review Best Overall Hatch The Esme Dress Hatch View On Hatchcollection.com What We Love: The cutouts enhance breathability and show off your bump.What We Don’t Love: The nature of the design means you can expect some fraying along the raw edge. “Floaty dresses are a great option in the warmer months as these styles allow a little bit of extra wiggle room for you and your growing bump,” advises stylist and diversity advocate, Emelia Morris. Morris recommends billowy styles that you can throw on - they'll keep you cool in the warmer months or as your body naturally gets hotter towards the end of your pregnancy. “I was heavily pregnant in the summer, so airy, light fabrics were key — nothing too tight on my new, ever-changing body,” recalls Metcalf. In versatile black or wild orchid, Hatch’s tiered maxi is spun from lightweight silk charmeuse that feels cool against the skin. “Having a floaty option will also allow you to wear these pieces post-pregnancy too,” notes Morris. And if the idea of cutouts doesn’t appeal to you, Hatch offers a simpler pull-over dress in the same colors. Price at time of publish: $258 Size: XS - XL | Material: Lightweight Silk Charmeuse | Color Choices: Black, Pink Best Splurge Hill House Collector’s Edition Ellie Nap Dress Hill House Home View On Hillhousehome.com What We Love: The lightweight tulle will ensure maximum comfort.What We Don’t Love: It’s sheer, so you might want to layer yours over a slip or bodysuit. Hill House’s viral Nap Dress is such a wardrobe hero — last year they were selling on average 276 Nap Dresses a minute — that the brand continues to reimagine their signature style in new colorways and luxe fabrics, like this Collector’s Edition. Crafted from tulle (there’s also silk and lace versions), it boasts the same eternally chic A-line silhouette — a universally flattering shape, as Daudu notes — and fluttery sleeves as the original but with a more voluminous skirt. Though not technically a maternity style, the signature smocked bodice has made it popular with expectant mothers. “I really love square-neck dresses under the knee. I imagine one with lace or vintage details from the French market.” says former buyer Laura Roso Vidrequin, who launched Kids O’Clock, a marketplace for second-hand kidswear. Many reviewers note that it does look sheer, though, so we recommend layering it over a slip or bodysuit (we’ve heard good things about this Blanqi one) if you would like a little more coverage. Price at time of publish: $275 Size: XXS - XXL | Material: Tulle, Lace or Silk | Color Choices: Powder Blue, Pink, Black, White, Red, Lilac, Dark Blue Best value Mamalicious Maternity Maxi Dress Asos View On Asos What We Love: It’s made from a super soft, stretchy jersey.What We Don’t Love: The long length isn’t ideal for petite women (though the stretch fabric means you can ruch it around your bump to lift the length). “Having a stretchy bodycon style is a great way to show your beautiful bump off, and will also allow the garment to grow with you so you're not having to upgrade your clothing too much as your pregnancy progresses,” notes Morris. Designed to fit from ‘bump to baby’, Mamalicious’ streamlined style is a perfect throw-on-and-go piece that you can layer with knitwear as the seasons change. As Vidrequin says, “accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!” If your belly hasn’t popped up yet, highlight it with belts and accessories. Made from organic and traditional cotton, it’s blended with plenty of stretch. “I’m a fan of breathable fabrics, so I often look for pieces that are cotton with a spandex blend,” advises Daudu. Price at time of publish: $40 Size: XS - XXL | Material: Jersey | Color Choices: Black Best Plus-Size Never Fully Dressed Trapeze Dress - Curve Never Fully Dressed View On Co.uk What We Love: It has adjustable straps and a shirred back panel so you can find your perfect fit.What We Don’t Love: They don’t currently offer free returns. “Never Fully Dressed does a wonderful job of featuring bump friendly dresses that also accommodate nursing for your postpartum needs,” notes Daudu. You can balance the swishy trapeze silhouette with strappy sandals or a pair of espadrilles for that eternally covetable French Girl look (baguette underarm, optional). The ice white hue — though a little risky postpartum — exudes an air of summer ease (even if inside, you feel the opposite). A foundational piece, thanks to its timeless shape and blank-canvas shade, it’s spun from 100% cotton, so it’s extra breathable. Daudu recommends having fun switching it up with accessories and layering pieces like printed robes, textured knits, and bold blazers. The flouncy waterfall hem will look more pronounced as your bump grows. Price at time of publish: $115 Size: S - XXL | Material: Cotton | Color Choices: White Best Petite ASOS Design Maternity Bandeau Beach Mini Dress ASOS View On Asos What We Love: It comes in all of ASOS’s fit ranges: ASOS Curve, Tall, Petite and Maternity.What We Don’t Love: The fabric is ever so slightly see-through in certain light. Ok, I’ll admit it, this one made the list because it’s a doppelganger for the one SJP wore in SATC when she was hiding her IRL bump (that was a lot of acronyms). It exudes a laid-back California circa 1960s vibe so it works as a cute beach cover-up. The elasticated bandeau neckline means it'll stay snug as your body changes and take you seamlessly from bump to breastfeeding. “They are very easy to throw on,” says Morris, recalling her preference for flowy silhouettes when she was pregnant - “for the more petite gals, you might want to go for something shorter”. At five-foot-three, Sarah Jessica Parker proved that this off-the-shoulder mini is a failsafe wardrobe staple. Price at time of publish: $37 Size: US2 - US16 | Material: Cotton | Color Choices: Lilac Best Mini Bumpsuit The Lexi Maternity Dress Bumpsuit View On Bumpsuit.co What We Love: It proves that your style can stay the same even when your body changes.What We Don’t Love: The off-the-shoulder sleeves restrict your movement. It’s hard to imagine this maternity dress existing even five years ago. For decades, maternity dressing has been dominated by folksy floor-length dresses and overalls, so it’s refreshing to see brands embrace the undeniably sexier side of pregnancy. Founder Nicole Trunfio said she created Bumpsuit out of a desire to feel confident and supported during her own pregnancies (she launched the label while expecting her third baby). Designed to make women feel “chic and supported,” every piece can be worn pre-, during- and post-pregnancy as the fabrications are specially formulated to move through all the stages of womanhood. The stretch matte fabric is lightweight, quick-drying, and enhances and supports your natural curves - no matter what stage of life you’re at. Price at time of publish: $160 Size: XS - XL | Material: Stretch Matte Fabric | Color Choices: Black, Pink, Mint, Lilac, Off-White Best Maxi Farm Rio Neon Pink Maxi Dress Farm Rio View On Farmrio.com View On Modesens.com What We Love: In partnership with One Tree Planted, Farm Rio donates the dollar amount equivalent to one tree to be planted for every purchase. What We Don’t Love: There’s no stretch in the underbust. “I love Farm Rio, even though they aren’t necessarily maternity, their styles can work with a growing bump, and they’re super comfy,” says stylist Daudu. Hung from adjustable spaghetti straps, Farm Rio’s hot-pink maxi falls to tumbling tiers of billowy broderie anglaise - look closely and you’ll spot fig leaves. The underbust isn’t elasticated but you can loosen the side zip to accommodate your growing bust if needed. Price at time of publish: $315 Size: XS - XL | Material: Viscose | Color Choices: Neon Pink Best Bodycon Ganni Ruched Mesh Midi Dress Ganni View On Ganni.com What We Love: It’s made from 91 percent recycled nylon for a lower environmental impact.What We Don’t Love: The fitted skirt can feel quite restrictive. “Stretchy bodycon dresses are very popular,” notes stylist Emelia Morris. She advises opting for jersey or lightweight fabrics for warmer seasons and ribbed knit dresses in the cooler months. “If you're fuller down the bottom like me, and you're not a fan of wearing something super tight that might cling to the body, these dresses can still absolutely work,” she says. Morris advises thinking about bodycon as a layering piece — you can build on the look by adding a linen shirt or coats and blazers when it gets colder. Because this Ganni made this dress from a lightweight nylon and features sheer sleeves, it won’t feel too hot in the warmer months, yet the style allows it to easily transition into the cooler seasons. Price at time of publish: $150 Size: US0 - US14 | Material: Mesh | Color Choices: Black Best Party ASOS Design Maternity Satin Midi Tea Dress ASOS View On Asos What We Love: It's less forgiving than satin but has the same lustrous sheen.What We Don’t Love: It's not very stretchy. What it lacks in stretch, it makes up for in style: ASOS’ retro-tinged tea dress cuts a flattering finish with its figure-skimming silhouette, slightly puffed sleeves, and open back. “Dresses are such a great option when you're pregnant as almost most styles can be worn trans-seasonally,” notes Morris. Work yours with strappy sandals for summer soirees and add a leather jacket and boots when the weather cools. Vidrequin suggests pairing longer dresses with flats for instant success — we can’t help feeling that this polka-dot midi lends itself to that eternally cool Parisian aesthetic. Price at time of publish: $68 Size: US2 - US16 | Material: Polyester | Color Choices: Red Best Lounge MAMA Cable-Knit Dress H&M View On Hm.com What We Love: The V-neck opening at the back of the turtleneck enhances breathability and ease of movement.What We Don’t Love: It feels slightly rough. “I love something cozy that highlights the shape of the body without revealing too much,” says Vidrequin, and H&M’s gray sweater dress offers exactly that. The wool is blended with polyester and acrylic, so it’s hard-wearing, but it doesn’t have the sumptuous feel of 100% wool - though you’ll be thankful for the hardy fabric once the little one has arrived. The cable-knit trims lend a timeless appeal, so you'll be reaching for this dress for winters to come. It’s spliced at the back of the nape to stop you feeling restricted while the ribbed trims accentuate the cozy feel. Price at time of publish: $60 Size: XS - XXL | Material: Polyester, Acrylic and Wool | Color Choices: Gray Melange What To Keep In Mind: Ability to rewear Even after your baby is born, you’ll want to consider re-wearing the maternity pieces you wore during pregnancy. (Besides maternity wear being extremely comfortable.) In fact, you’ll most likely be wearing your maternity clothes for a few weeks or months post delivery, so it is best to invest in clothing that you can alter, wear again, and turn into a closet essential. Look for dresses with a slight stretch or billowy non-maternity wear when shopping for items you’ll be able to wear again as they can easily be tweaked to suit your body and style afterwards or even for another pregnancy. Comfort Because of the many hormonal changes your body will be going through, thin and lightweight fabrics, such as cotton, modal, and bamboo, are best to invest in so you can avoid intensifying your body heat. These fabrics also are more comfortable to wear out and about, offer more support for your baby’s growth, and are less snug all around. Plus, you’ll want natural materials that won’t irritate the skin and make it difficult to move around or sit in. Size While you might be tempted to size up in your maternity wear (it is a common misconception many people have), you’ll want to stick with the size you were post-pregnancy. Maternity clothes tend to correspond to non-maternity clothes sizing, and are designed to constantly adjust with your body as you grow. But if you have a bigger bust or prefer a loose fit, you can always size up or two, depending on your comfort level. Also note that maternity sizing differs from brand to brand, so consider trying on clothing in-person if you're able. Your Questions, Answered What’s the most flattering shape for a maternity dress? “While personal style and body shape are key factors in finding your most flattering maternity silhouette, generally speaking, A-line, bodycon, and trapeze dresses are my top picks for a flattering maternity look,” advises Daudu. Unanimously, our experts opted for bodycon at various stages in their pregnancy as it gave them an opportunity to display their bumps - if there's one thing we’ve learned, it’s that dressing the bump is all about embracing your changing body, not hiding it. What materials will be most comfortable? Daudu recommends working with your new shape rather than trying to fight it. “Invest in a couple of great stretchy bodycon dresses or leggings and maternity tanks that can serve as foundation pieces (Blanqi makes great ones),” she says. Unsurprisingly, stretchy fabrics were a go-to, along with breathable fabrics like linen and cotton. COS — one of Metclaf’s go-to stores — has a great Linen Collection that offers laidback shapes in more responsible fabrications that are kinder to people and the planet. Their fluid shirt dresses are perfect for growing bumps, too. Do I have to buy a new dress each trimester? Short answer: no. Our experts were passionate about this. Metcalf stuck to styles she could wear post-pregnancy, preferring to shop at non-traditional maternity stores for dresses that were part of their regular rotation. “A practical way to make your clothes last through various trimesters is to size up so you grow into the pieces over the months,” advises Daudu. She suggests opting for styles with plenty of stretch, like Bumpsuit or Hatch — both are specifically designed to support your changing body. A key thing to think about is what seasons your pregnancy will span and shop accordingly for styles that can be layered when the weather cools or stripped back for hotter months. And if dresses aren’t your thing, there are always belly belts — as recommended by Daudu. Get creative and get following the countless accounts dedicated to hacking maternity dressing, from the time-tested hair band trick to more versatile #dressthebump styling tips.