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Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe shares secrets to a great pregnancy wardrobe

If you’re new to pregnancy — or even if you’ve been down this road before — maternity style can feel like an inscrutable challenge: The old stuff doesn’t fit and a whole new wardrobe just isn't in the budget with a little one on the way.

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Rachel Zoe with her husband Rodger Berman and their two sons.

In addition to being a designer and celebrity stylist, Rachel Zoe is also a mom to two boys and has been pregnant twice in the Hollywood spotlight. And she’s got a new maternity collection out this summer with Pea in the Pod — so she knows a thing or two about dressing the bump with grace. TODAY Style spoke with this hot mama as she promotes her appearance in Barilla's web series "While the Water Boils" to find out her top pregnancy fashion tips.

Find your uniform

“Find things that really work into your life that you know are a safe bet — and you know they look good,” Zoe said. So, instead of expensive, special-occasion items, buy a few hard-working staples that fit your lifestyle and wear them on rotation.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
Rachel Zoe admires the baby bump on actress Molly Sims at an event in Beverly Hills, California.

Maybe it’s that perfect pair of black leggings, a breezy versatile tank or mixing go-to black trousers with comfortable boots. It’s about streamlining your wardrobe without filling your closet with clothes you’ll only wear for a short time ... and avoid overspending in the process.

In the winter, Zoe said, the key is layering these pieces so that you can always find that comfort zone when your body surges from too cold to too hot unpredictably. But what about those of us suffering through third trimesters in the blazing heat of summer? If that sounds all too familiar, decide what makes you feel comfortable and confident and simply embrace it, Zoe suggested.

“You have to decide, ‘Am I going to wear form-fitting things and embrace and show off my bump?’ Or, ‘Am I feeling just bigger all over and wanting to wear lightweight, flowy things with movement?’”

Jason Merritt / Getty Images for ELLE
Rachel Zoe arrives at ELLE Women In Television event at Soho House on January 27, 2011 in West Hollywood, California.

There’s not a right or wrong approach, she said, because no two pregnancies are the same. “It’s hard to put one rule on a pregnancy — I carried so differently with both of my boys,” she said. “It’s very much about how you feel and what your body is looking and feeling like. (Both approaches to style) look equally as good. Pregnancy is beautiful!”

Play favorites

That said, she allows that pregnancy doesn't always feel beautiful. So if you’re uncomfortable with changes in one area of your body, play up another instead.

“Always accentuate your best part during your pregnancy,” she said. “I had friends who had bigger busts and swollen arms — so they wore mini dresses all the time because their legs looked great. If you have edema, you might want to cover your legs and show your neck, shoulders and décolletage.”

Be bold

Beyond that, she said, stay true to your personal style — and spare your wallet — by turning to accessories.

John Shearer/Invision/AP
Rachel Zoe arrives at the Second Annual Baby2Baby Gala honoring Drew Barrymore presented by Harry Winston, Porsche, Net-A-Porter and Kayne Anderson, on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 in Culver City, Calif.

For a dressy event in Los Angeles late in her pregnancy, Zoe remembers wearing a simple navy dress with a “necklace that took up half of my upper body!” she said. “I was like well my clothes don’t fit, but massive jewelry (does).”

She suggests a statement bag or huge earrings can also serve to show off personal style — and pack a glamorous punch — even when few other things feel comfortable. And they’ll fit for years, not just weeks, in the future.

In the end, Zoe says that taking a few extra moments to dress that gorgeous bump in style will not only make you look better, but feel better and more confident at a time full of changes and, for many of us, insecurities.

The trick is to enjoy the fleeting phase of pregnancy. “Pregnancy does end — (so) embrace the beauty of that moment,” she said. “Just go with it and don’t get too caught up in the vanity of it all.”

Oh, and when in doubt? “Put on some lipstick,” she said. It always fits!

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of the lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

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