Can we all agree that dressing to look nice in late pregnancy is something of a naïve pursuit? When there’s only a handful of weeks left before baby makes his or her debut, an expecting mom’s focus tends to be on preparing for said newborn, while concern for our own appearance more or less goes out the window.

With a month left until my own due date, I find myself resorting to a uniform of a handful of overused work ensembles for day before I come home and slip on a t-shirt and stretchy pants. It’s not ideal, but it’s a livable system for a few more weeks, right?

The problem with the let-it-be school of thought is that we don’t stop being human beings when we’re close to welcoming a new family member. Personally, I still want to go to brunch, attend a wedding and browse the mall without relying on pregnancy as an excuse to look…well, haggard. One could even argue that with a due date impending, it’s an important time to savor personal enjoyments and social events.

The solution is simple—black and white, really. A functional, patterned blouse paired with any number of bottoms and outerwear has proven to be a reliable, feminine ticket. Accessories provide welcome pops of color. Best of all, a shirt like Angel Maternity’s Petal Front Mid-Sleeve Nursing Top extends from pregnancy into nursing, yet somehow manages to look neither too maternity nor obviously intended for breastfeeding.

nursing top

The benefit of being super pregnant is that the belly acts as a sort of ultimate accessory. It doesn’t take much to look put together—jeans cut just right and classic shoes are wardrobe staples all the time, not just for nine months.

nursing top

If you’re like me and working up until active labor kicks in, office attire may be something you have to work into the rotation even late in the game. Black on black on black is my personal safe zone, especially since the lovely hormones making my muscles and joints relax are also responsible for daily spills on my clothes. A (decaf) coffee stain is less-than-welcome at board meetings.

Nursing Top

Some of us fall into the leggings-as-pants camp and some simply don’t. I’m sure many of us can agree, however, that a little elastic is a welcome alternative to less forgiving fabrics. This outfit is about as simple as it gets—blouse, leggings, flats. But a little minimalism really allows the flattering three-quarter sleeves and non-linear pattern to shine.

nursing top

Layering. Oldest trick in the book and the best way to make the most of some pre-pregnancy favorites like a long, cozy sweater.

nursing top

Despite the urge to look and feel cute as much as possible, I’ll be the first to admit that support is usually the overriding priority. Much of my shoe collection is gathering dust while I resort to sneakers as often as possible. Taking a cue from New Yorkers on their daily grind, I’ve learned that a good pair of athletic shoes, especially in a fun color, really look just fine with a non-athletic outfit. And who can argue with a girl in a leather jacket?