Courtesy of DeElizabeth Gleason

This Off-The Shoulder Floral Dress Is The Best Maternity Dress Ever

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Let’s be very, very honest about this — pregnancy and childbirth change your body. Regardless of what tabloid headlines about celebrities’ post-baby bodies and Instagram #fitspo posts might tell you, the reality is that your body’s going to look and feel a little different after having kids — which means your clothes will probably look and feel different, too. Luckily, you don’t have to wear your maternity jeans and your partner’s ratty old college sweatshirts forever (unless you want to!). Mom Jeans is Romper’s guide to helping you figure out your postpartum wardrobe during the first few months postpartum and beyond.

It’s starting to get hot out, and I’m a few weeks away from my third trimester. For most of my pregnancy, I’ve been able to get away with wearing my favorite pair of maternity jeans, but I’m almost at the point where I’m getting just a little too sweaty to deal. Thankfully, I found the perfect floral sundress to wear during pregnancy. It's not only on-trend, but it's also sexy and comfortable as hell — and you better believe I'll be wearing it all summer.

Before I got pregnant, I usually spent most of the summer wearing sundresses or comfortable maxi skirts. The good news is that you can still wear these styles with a baby bump, but the bad news is that the maternity versions of these clothes can be incredibly expensive, and most of my pre-pregnancy clothes are a little too snug for comfort. And with several months left to go, I’m only going to get bigger — and it’s only going to get hotter.

With that in mind, I set off on a Target adventure last weekend. To be honest, every time I scan the maternity section at Target, I always feel slightly disappointed. There are only a few racks of clothes, and they’re certainly not as cute as the dresses scattered throughout the regular women’s section. I tried a few dresses on, but I was lukewarm about most of them. So I decided to venture beyond the maternity section, thinking that I’d just try on a size larger than my normal size and see what happened.

What happened? I fell in love — with a dress.

Courtesy of De Elizabeth

Women's Smocked Maxi Off the Shoulder, $30, Target

I’ll come clean: I found the maxi dress in the Target juniors' section, but I have no shame about that. The second I pulled it off the rack, I knew it was going to become my favorite summer outfit of 2017.

When you’re sharing your body with another human, it’s important to hold onto your own identity — and for many people, that means maintaining your sense of style.

The dress was dark blue, with tiny pink flowers on the skirt and bodice. Although it wasn't a maternity dress, the top was made of a puckered stretchy material, so it fit comfortably over my bump. It was off-the-shoulder, so it was super on-trend, and it had a little drawstring at the waist. And the best part? It had pockets.

After trying it on, I was convinced that I’d struck gold. It was comfortable and roomy, and it also looked just like the kind of dress I’d wear pre-pregnancy. And that was super important to me.

Courtesy of De Elizabeth

Pregnancy is literally one of the biggest changes that can happen to a person’s body, and it’s easy to feel like you’re a stranger in your own skin. When you’re sharing your body with another human, it’s important to hold onto your own identity — and for many people, that means maintaining your sense of style. Of course, every person feels differently about the experience of being pregnant, but I’ve come to value the significance of just being able to look in the mirror and like what I see, or at least feel like I'm the same person that I was before I got pregnant. This dress helps me feel that way.

With that in mind, I have a feeling that this dress is going to become a staple of my summer wardrobe. I’ll wear it out to dinner, or to nights out with my friends. I may even just wear it on a lazy Sunday when I have no plans at all, and just want to feel like my best self. And the best part is that I’ll be able to wear it after my baby is here too. The stretchy, forgiving fabric makes it perfect to wear postpartum.

A good maternity dress is one that transcends the "maternity dress" label and just makes you feel confident, regardless of whether or not you're pregnant. One day, this dress will simply become another dress that hangs in my closet, like all my other dresses that have marked different chapters in the past. And above all else, it will always just feel like me.