9 Maternity Fashion Rules You Never Have To Follow

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In the last century, maternity fashion has ranged from camouflaging a mom-to-be's burgeoning belly to tent dresses that seem to double her in size. What has remained constant is an outdated set of maternity fashion rules you never have to follow. Modesty is the understood mandate, fashion and style have always come in second.

As recently as the early 2000s, pregnant women were hiding their baby bumps under denim jumper dresses and overalls. T-shirts only came in A-line silhouettes, pastel colors, and often sported fuzzy cartoon bears or giant daisies. It wasn't until Rachel's pregnancy on Friends, that you were exposed to fitted tees, tanks, and sheath dresses as fashionable options for maternity wear. Unfortunately, maternity clothing was limited to what one could find at the tiny specialty store in the mall or at discount department stores, two racks down from the toolboxes and tires.

There was suddenly a market for maternity wear that didn't look like maternity wear, and until the designers caught up, pregnant moms started to transform non-maternity pieces into pregnancy-friendly outfits. This was the beginning of maternity fashion rule-breaking.

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But there are several more fashion rules you don't have to follow when you've got a bun in the oven. And here are just a few of them.

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1You Can't Wear A Bikini

erkillian5/Flckr

Gone are the days when being pregnant meant wearing a gigantic bathing dress to the beach or pool. Pregnant celebrities have been wearing bikinis for years. You may not quite fit into your pre-pregnancy bikini in your last trimester, but that doesn't mean that you are limited to the maternity section when looking for chic swimwear.

2Don't Wear Form-Fitting Dresses

Ish Frost/Flckr

Maternity dresses come in countless silhouettes today. A little side ruching makes a celebrity-inspired bodycon dress bump-friendly.

3No Horizontal Stripes

This is one of those ancient fashion rules that has been pushed on anyone over a size zero. Don't be afraid of the horizontal stripes.

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4Only Wear Flats

joan!ta/Flckr

According to Parents, your feet swell when you're pregnant and your center of gravity is a little off. Flats or flip-flop are the everyday solution. But, if you have a special occasion that falls within those long nine months and you really want to wear a heel, go for it! Consider wedges or kitten heels if you in your last trimester. And tuck a pair of foldable ballet flats into your clutch for later — just in case.

5Stick To Leggings

Reachel Bagley on YouTube

If jeans are a staple in your pre-pregnancy wardrobe, there is no reason why they can't be part of your maternity style. Skinny jeans are surprisingly flattering paired with a fitted maternity top.

6Put Away Your Belts

joan!ta/Flckr

Pairing a skinny belt with an empire waist will instantly dress up your maternity wear.

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7Cover Your Thighs.

Cammi Ruffino/Flickr

You don't have to limit yourself to Bermuda length shorts when you are expecting.

8Don't Expose Your Cleavage

Ariane Hunter/Flickr

Many women pay for the kind of cleavage that comes naturally with pregnancy. Embrace your new curves.

9Avoid Anything That Resembles Maternity Wear

Mario Emiliano Fernandez/Flickr

Just because you want to be fashionable while pregnant, doesn't mean that you have to abandon all traditional maternity wear. You can find trendy versions of maternity rompers, jumpsuits, and babydoll dresses.

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