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Maternity dresses should be selected with comfort, fit, and fashion in mind. Like all maternity clothing, dresses should be made from comfortable fabric and be able to expand to accommodate a growing belly. Most maternity dresses are cut longer in the front than in the back so that the hem hangs well when the dress is worn. Dresses can be any length, from mini to maxi, and range from casual to formal in style.
Comfort is the number-one factor expectant mothers should look for in a maternity dress of any type. Maternity dresses that are not comfortable will not be worn often, making them a poor investment. Fabric that is lightweight and doesn't cling is best for most casual maternity dresses. Comfortable fibers like cotton, stretch knits, and linen work well for warm-weather maternity wear, while sweater knits and wool are good choices for cold weather or cool climates.
Casual maternity dresses can be long or short, and are often made from cotton or jersey knit. Dresses can come with a built-in shelf bra for extra support or with sleeves or straps wide enough to cover a maternity bra. Regardless of length, casual dresses can be worn with sandals, flats, or boots, depending on the time of year and desired look. A few neutral cardigans or long-sleeved shirts can be used as layering pieces to extend the life of maternity dresses, allowing them to be worn year-round.
Pregnant women don't have to miss the fun of a formal event; most maternity lines offer a few formal dresses. Some even offer maternity dresses for brides and bridesmaids. Formal maternity wear should still fit well and be comfortable, but it doesn't have to be something comfortable enough to wear every day; sacrificing a bit of comfort for fashion is acceptable for a dress that will be worn for a few hours on a single occasion.
Maternity dresses can be fashionable as well as functional. Choosing a maternity style that also works well for non-maternity fashions can help expectant mothers create an up-to-date look. Dresses with empire waistlines, ruching, or peasant necklines all work well for maternity wear, but still look fashionable. Choosing a print or fabric pattern that appeals and works with a pre-pregnancy wardrobe allows a new mother to expand her wardrobe options and get more wear out of each item she needs to purchase.
Maternity pants can offer the comfort you need for casual wear. You can choose different fabrics like jeans, cotton or flax. Accessorize with a tank top, an oversized necklace, a bracelet, a pair of flip flops and a handbag and you will look great.
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