by Laura Sussely-Pope
Your career path doesn't come to a screeching halt just because you're pregnant.
You still have endless meetings, presentations to give, and conferences to attend.
You may be shuffling business lunches while scheduling your prenatal check-ups.
Throughout it all, you wish to continue to exude that professionalism that you have a reputation for!
Follow our suggestions below to build your business maternity wardrobe, combining comfort, room for "growth," and yet still having you look chic and in charge.
Shopping for maternity business clothes
Pare down your wardrobe
If you job calls for formal business attire, chose a few basic key pieces. Pants, a skirt, a jacket, a dress and a tunic top in similar fabrics and complementary colors go a long ways towards meeting your clothing needs.
You can combine the jacket with the pants, skirt or dress, pair the skirt or pants with the tunic or wear the dress on its own. Add an assortment of simple shells or blouses and a few accessories -- from the expensive to costume -- to expand your work outfits.
Monotones and soft hues
Choose simple ensembles in black, beige, brown, gray, blue or khaki tones. You'll be able to combine garments in these basic colors and cut your wardrobe expenses.
Darker tones are more practical and have a slimming effect, so your belly will look smaller than it is. While you don't need to hide your bulge, you may prefer to draw attention elsewhere.
If your profession necessitates your pregnancy be less obvious, avoid vivid colors, extraordinary combinations and tight-fitting clothes.
Accentuate your attractiveness with accessories
Brighten up your basic garments with bold accessories like scarves, head wear, jewelry and footwear. You'll already have many of these items in your closet or jewelry box.
One mom-to-be says that colleagues remain oblivious to the fact that she has worn the same outfits every other week for the past five months. Why? Because she switched out the accessories.
Test out a jacket
Wear your favorite one a few more weeks by undoing the lower buttons. Later, buy a maternity jacket. Its loose design hides your bump and leaves your figure looking more harmonious.
Helpful tip: Drape a long scarf around your neck and let it hang down. Leave your jacket unbuttoned. It's such an effective distraction that no one will notice your beautiful and expanding figure under the jacket.
Wider clothes do not hide your bulge
Tempting though it might be to use yards of fabric to hide your bump, it doesn't work. Baggy clothes make your figure look larger.
Opt instead for a soft silhouette, taking advantage of slightly stretchy fabrics.
Balance your shape
Slacks that flare downward can help provide some visual balance.
If you've got great legs, don't hesitate to show them off in a knee length, low-waisted pencil skirt.
You can be attractive, professional and pregnant!
What has been your biggest business clothing conundrum during pregnancy?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.