Maternity wear – a phrase that conjures up images of floral smocks, vulgar muummuu’s and swollen ankles. It doesn’t sound particularly sexy does it? But pregnancy doesn’t have to be all about stretch pants and t-shirts. Just look at all these recently pregnant celebrities and you’ll see that being pregnant is no reason to leave your skinny jeans and biker jacket in the closet.

In fact, Victoria Beckham, Beyonce, Natalie Portman and Hillary Duff look like they’ve never even seen the inside a maternity store. Pregnant friends and relatives of mine don’t seem to have much time for maternity wear either; mostly making do with leggings, a lot of jersey and slightly larger sizes. However, a handful have invested in a pair of maternity jeans (the stretchy kind with an adjustable waistband) and are surprisingly happy with their purchase. Here are some tips for dressing your bump:

Jersey girl

Jersey fabric is a pregnant woman’s best friend. It is the ultimate fabric because it transcends the seasons, is wrinkle-resistant and can easily be dressed up or down. It also lets your skin breathe, hugs your curves, is quick and easy to wash and dry and of course, it is unbelievably comfortable. Look for jersey skirts in basic colours; they’re comfortable and can be worn with pretty much anything. Likewise, long and short sleeve tops, singlets and dresses in jersey are easy to layer and work for warm and colder months alike.

Dress to impress

Maternity dresses don’t have to be unflattering floor-length sacks. There are a plethora of options for pregnant women looking for a flattering dress. Maxi dresses not only hide swollen ankles but are a comfortable and stylish fashion staple that can easily take you from day to night. For a wedding or special occasion, team them with some embellished sandals and some chunky jewellery for a glamorous look. Wrap dresses are universally flattering on any figure and are great because they expand as you do. If you’d rather draw attention away from your bump, dresses with an empire waist will accentuate your chest instead.

Comfort is key

Obviously comfort trumps everything else when you’re pregnant, but comfort and style don’t have to be mutually exclusive. By keeping your look clean and simple you’ll always look stylish. It’s hard to fail with basic block colours, layered loose-fitting singlets, black leggings and ballerina flats. Add some simple accessories like a lightweight scarf and a beautiful tote and you’re ready for anything.

Doing denim

Jeans with an elasticate waist don’t have to be hideous and there are some great maternity options out there. Look for jeans with an adjustable waistband and comfortable stretch fabric. Boot or straight leg cuts will help balance out your figure and can add length. It’s worth investing in a comfortable pair of jeans because you’ll probably wear them for a while after the baby is born. And don’t wait until you’re popping out of your normal jeans before you buy a maternity pair, you’ll get more value if you buy pieces that will grow with your body.

Top tips:

1. Avoid anything too baggy and sack-like. Clothes that fit and gently hug your bump will actually make you look smaller and are more flattering.

2. Get a proper bra! Maternity bras are designed to accommodate your breasts during pregnancy and during breast feeding, so it essential that you get properly fitted and invest in a good one.

3. Being pregnant doesn’t mean you’ve suddenly become a completely different person. Don’t forget your personal style; mix and match some basic maternity staples with pieces from your wardrobe and your favourite labels and stores.