Whether inexpensive or designer, overalls over a growing belly is surefire hit.

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“You look really cute,” the coffee shop barista said to me, handing over a pastry.

“You just look so cute,” my co-worker said when I came into our daily meeting. “Can I hug you? I have to hug you. You’re just so …” My friend’s voice trailed off.

But she didn’t have to finish the sentence. We both knew. I looked cute.

Had I gone on a makeover show? Gotten a fabulous hairstyle? Splurged on some amazing new designer? No. It was late November, I was six months pregnant and wearing $15 overalls.

It is not an overstatement that I found myself on the receiving end of more positive attention for my looks during that first week in overalls than at any point in my life.

After months of near-daily clothing experimentation, I can say that maternity overalls guarantee a remarkable emotional response from their beholders. They are adorable in the same way that puppies and kittens are adorable — in a primal way.

A growing trend

This is not news to those who sell them. New York Magazine’s The Cut has made a special guide to buying maternity overalls; online retailer ASOS introduced them in 2015 and sales have risen every season since. When Ariane Goldman began Hatch, her upscale maternity company, in 2012, she had a onesie in the original collection of 12 items.

“It was a street stopper,” she says. But it wasn’t until 2016, in a collaboration with Current/Elliott denim, that Hatch began selling overalls. Immediately, the pieces sold out, a fact that Goldman says was, frankly, a bit surprising, given the price tag of $378. For spring, Hatch offers no fewer than five new styles of jumpers, in a multitude of colors and fabrics.

Cute and comfy

Maternity overalls offer many tangible benefits. They are comfortable, with a lack of waistband and adjustable straps. They can be quite economical for a piece that serves as both top and bottom (starting at $48 on ASOS, for instance, with has a variety of styles).

Some people, like my friend Jessie Cohen in Los Angeles, just adapted non-maternity overalls for even more savings. (“I cannot tell you how many compliments I got.”)

Others, like lifestyle blogger Caroline Harper Knapp, see a future filled with overalls even after birth. “My only disappointment with these maternity overalls,” she said at the end of 2015, “is that I didn’t order them earlier in my pregnancy. I am obsessed.”

Over time, of course, my overalls’ magic ego-giving power has dimmed. My friends and co-workers stopped paying attention to them, likely through the sheer repetition of their rotation in my wardrobe.

But, still, just last week, I walked into a Starbucks near work. The woman gave me a long look while ringing me up. “You look really nice today,” she said.

I beamed, spilled some coffee on the overalls and dumped my wallet’s remaining coins into her tip jar. Still got it.