When searching for maternity-friendly clothing, there are three dress styles that make the transition from barely bump to completely curvy a whole lot easier. Although stores such as H&M and Target have elevated maternity wear from frumpy tents to semi-fabulous frocks, the inventory is often limited. My solution? Skip the maternity section for as long as possible and check out dress designs that are more forgiving in both cut and material. Here are my three must-have maternity dress styles that should last you almost all the way to the finish line!

Wrap Dress

AGB Tie Wrap Dress: amazon.com, Gap Solid Wrap Dress: gap.com, Maggy London Print Wrap Dress: nordstrom.com

Is there any better style than a wrap dress for an ever-changing figure? The best type of wrap dress has long ties, truly wraps around and ties as opposed to a faux wrap dress, and has a straight hemline all the way around. The reason for the straight hemline is that as your bump expands, it lifts the hemline, which might become quite risque if it was already draped. Jersey fabric is perfect for this type of dress- it stretches and tends to create a smoother silhouette than cotton. Pair an extra long tank under the dress during later months if the neckline becomes too low-cut.

Shirt Dress

Merona Twill Shirtdress: target.com, L.L. Bean Knit Shirtdress: llbean.com, Calvin Klein Belted Roll-Tab Shirtdress: lordandtaylor.com

A shirt dress is an ideal style for the mom-to-be. I purchased a non-maternity shirt dress and was able to wear it far into my pregnancy, yet still felt chic and relaxed. A heavier cotton or twill lays well with this cut if you don't want something form-fitting. The length is imperative- make sure the dress hits you at the knee or below, especially if you plan on belting it. A few stores have the option to order dresses in tall, which would solve the length issue without having to go up a size.

Maxi Dress

Splendid Maxi Dress: piperlime.com, Dotty Large Print V Neck Maxi: boohoo.com, Old Navy Jersey Maxi Dress: oldnavy.com

Maxi dresses cover all manner of sins- I live in this style during the summer months. Unfortunately for many women, balance becomes an issue when pregnant and maxi dresses can cause a dangerous trip if too long. Make sure you are comfortable with the length while wearing flats; ankle length is great for breezy summer dresses. A wonderful way to define your shape is to find a dress that is color blocked to separate your bust from your bump. Also, ensure that you stay comfy through the months by selecting a maxi with an empire waist as opposed to one that nips in at your natural waist. Stretchy cotton is popular, and a bold print will minimize any additional lumps or bumps. Ruching on the side is a bonus- it gives you room for expansion!

What style dress do you prefer for chic maternity wear?

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