and a maternity wardrobe
I started writing this post months ago and haven’t been able to finish it because well, things change so quickly during pregnancy, so honestly it’s been hard to keep up! I’m entering another phase now (that’s code for getting bigger) and while I feel like I’ve been wearing the same clothes for weeks now I’m going to share what I’ve learned about trying to dress my bump before it changes again.
When I first found out I was pregnant there were of course a million things running through my mind and one was, how was I going to dress like me with a bump? I started looking at maternity clothes and decided I was having none of it! I turned to Pinterest and felt a little reassurance in other people’s creativity and I was able to develop an image of how I was going to style myself during pregnancy. Are you laughing already? I now laugh at myself as you can probably guess that things didn’t go to plan. The other thing that didn’t go to plan was that I wanted to capture my ever-changing body and style with some beautiful photography but life has moved so quickly that you will have to put up with some less artistic selfies.
I made a few mistakes early on that have had a big impact on how I felt during the first few months. Normally, when I shop, I treat every piece like an investment but being pregnant meant it became the complete opposite. I couldn’t get my head around this and it didn’t seem financially sensible or practical to buy clothes that I would only be wearing for a few months or even a few weeks! As a result I didn’t buy any clothes. I persisted with what I had, squeezing (literally) into my existing wardrobe, leaving buttons open with the help of a DIY hairband-come-expander. Most days I was uncomfortable and very conscious that my options were getting fewer by the day. What I should have done, and this was my first mistake, was to buy a few basics such as leggings and vests. This would have allowed me to be more comfortable and get more wear out of a number of items already in my wardrobe. Lesson learnt.
By the time my bump was an actual bump and not just the result of a carbohydrate-fuelled meal I was a little more relaxed and happy to show it off. Like my ‘buy as an investment rule’, I had to reverse how I normally dress as my body shape was completely different. My waist had vanished so no more high-waisted skirts and I found that figure hugging clothes created a nicer silhouette in comparison to something a little looser which I was more comfortable with. This is where some basics came in handy. A decent pair of maternity jeans are a must, however I would suggest buying these once your bump is established. Any earlier and they just won’t make sense. I also bought some stretchy bodycon type maternity dresses (H&M, Lidl and New Look) which I have gotten the most wear out of as they have stretched with me. I initially wore them on their own and now in the cooler weather I layer up with leggings and cardigans.
Other pieces that have been huge fashion-savers have been some outer wear. If you can get your hands on a blazer, do so. I was fortunate enough to be given a black blazer with silk trim and it has worked wonders to give the illusion of a figure. Similarly I got my hands on a maternity coat in my local charity shop that is double-breasted and warm with a lovely exaggerated collar that doubles as a hood. It’s not waterproof or even anything I would buy if I wasn’t pregnant but it does the job.
People had suggested buying a size or two up and for some things this worked but for the majority of the time I found there was room for the bump but too much material everywhere else. I did buy some non-maternity items that have been useful in my maternity wardrobe that I will be able to wear once bubs is here. A few dresses and some plain stretch long sleeve tops that act as a base under blazers have been practical and also give way for a bit of fun. This blazer I mentioned earlier is great with a tee and one I wear often as I can mix things up with shoes and accessories. Speaking of which in an attempt to recreate my wardrobe I have relied heavily on existing accessories and some of my favourite pairs of shoes. At least these for the most part are non-pregnancy related and help me feel like my style hasn’t completely vanished.
Just when I was feeling on top of things, my body has changed again and so too has my wardrobe. When talking to other women, I get the sense we are lucky that maternity fashion is now a ‘thing’ and more stores are jumping on board. But not enough. Imagine, there are only four reasonably priced brands available to you and each brand has the mentality that all women look the same and wear the same clothes. For me that sums up maternity fashion. I’m looking to brands that I would never normally buy and none of my shopping decisions have been based on style or quality, mainly price. That is no way to shop. Thank goodness for charity shops and people’s generosity. I have been given some great pieces and I look forward to returning the favour when I’m done with them.
No doubt things are going to change again and again in the last ten weeks. I have a sense that the ‘loungewear’ part of my wardrobe is going to be worn more and more.
If you are pregnant and want a few more specific tips please get in touch as I have a lot more to say on the topic. Even if you aren’t pregnant and want to revise your wardrobe or need some styling for a particular event you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.