I’ve got to be honest I haven’t found it the easiest dressing a bump and as a stylist that’s quite difficult to admit! In fact I’ve found it quite hard at times. So as requested by so many of you, I thought it would be useful to share what I’ve learnt along the way before I soon say bye bye to be Mumma for a little while ( 6 weeks to go!)
After struggling to get pregnant for so long I thought I would be so elated at my body changing and developing and whilst I felt grateful every single day at what was finally happening I did need to get used to my body looking different. Very different! While I thought I would be all up for embracing my new curves I found it hard to drastically change my style. I’ve never been into body con, or stretchy things; always preferring looser silhouettes, good tailoring and a boyfriend jean day in day out. And it seems that 90% of maternity wear is stretchy dresses with rouching at the bump, longline tees, super skinny legging jeans and too many unflattering horizontal stripes to count! And I think that’s my first and main point…don’t focus too much on maternity wear if it feels totally different to your style, if you invest in a few maternity staples to see you through there are lots of non maternity, bump friendly pieces that work with a bump too.
As a rule I didn’t & haven’t bought that much maternity wear, mainly because I don’t like that much (!) and also because I don’t see the point. From early on jeans were a necessity, I was never one of those people who could but a hairband on the waistband of their jeans and be good to go. I was quite big early and jeans were my first purchases! I also found t-shirts and camis were also important as the regular styles just became too short after a while and looked and felt uncomfortable. Coats & jackets still worked especially if they were more slouchier, looser styles and I didn’t feel the need to buy into maternity blazers or anything like that. Plus who actually does up coats/ jacket these days?!
Thankfully I found it quite easy at the beginning to stick to my preferred style during my early pregnancy, I drove myself mad searching for the perfect maternity boyfriend / straight jeans and I’m pleased to say that I found them (my faves being from Isabella Oliver – boyfriend style, Asos – Kimmi leg & Topshop – straight leg.) As with my day to day jeans when I’m not pregnant, I genuinely don’t feel the need to invest in higher end styles. The high street offering is so good especially once I knew what I was looking for. I found that the boyfriend fit / straight leg were still my silhouette of choice I just needed to make sure the jeans were cropped at the ankle so I always went for a shorter leg. I found it was definitely more flattering to show off a bit of flesh at the bottom of the leg. That said, I did find a pair of skinnies I loved – the F&F maternity contour pair (sadly you can no longer shop F&F online but they are in store!) I can confirm that they gave my swollen legs a little bit of shape! I found a few pairs of jeans that I alternated, one ripped, one dark blue and one washed out black and I felt like that was enough to mix and match.
I felt most comfortable teaming my jeans with slouchy tees, sadly the tucking in days days were over & so after working my way through all the tight, longline maternity styles on the market I finally found some godsends on Asos that were shorter, looser and ‘cooler’ lol! The longline tees that seem to be THE shape really didn’t work with the boyfriend/ straight style jeans. On top structured blazers and fluid dusters or trenches were my choice and a pointy flat or low heel for the most flattering finishing touch. And not forgetting a slouchy striped top or two!
MATERNITY STRAIGHT & BOYFRIEND JEANS
MATERNITY TEES & CAMIS
However as l I got bigger and the heat wave begun I genuinely couldn’t bare the thought of wearing jeans. I found them too hot, too constricting and genuinely uncomfy despite the over and under bump options. Funnily enough I had a mix of both over and under the bump and found both styles equally as comfy. And, other than a plethora of jeans, I never found many other trouser options (that I liked!) in maternity wear. While I’m all for a legging on a Sunday, Philippa treated me the Seraphine bamboo ones which are the comfiest things in the world, they weren’t quite acceptable for work or a night out & I was stooped. Then came my obsession with dresses mainly due to the boiling hot English summer that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere! I always feel cool & breezy in a frock and there’s no thought required, just throw on and go!
So now onto my main maternity style of late, dresses. It’s the item I’ve worn the most and felt the most comfy in throughout the 7 months so far. And I’ve got to say only about 30% are maternity wear. My general rule of thumb is to buy 1/ sometimes 2 sizes bigger than my regular size. At first this did feel like a bit of a shame but at least it gives me the option to wear the dress again. If I really loved it I could have it taken in after I give birth to fit me whereas if I bought loads of maternity dresses I may never wear them again!
When it comes to slouchy silhouettes I am often still wearing my regular size. So ultimately my advice would be that you need to try on a few sizes to see what fits! I really believe that once you find out what styles and shapes work for you & your bump you can shop the high street through most of your pregnancy by looking for clever cuts that work.
MATERNITY DRESSES WORTH BUYING
BUMP FRIENDLY DRESSES
Firsty I found anything with a bit of stretch in was a winner. Stretchy panelling on the back of this season’s button down dresses was a fab option or even a stretchy waist band on this season’s off the shoulder dresses worked so well for me & I feel like that is my shape of choice! Sadly though if there is no stretch in the back then a button down dress won’t work at all! Some of the loose fitting shapes were an easy go-to especially in the earlier days & I found some great ones in H&M. But, as I’ve got bigger I’ve realised that too oversized & tenty can actually be unflattering. So as I’ve got further into my pregnancy I’ve needed a bit of shape especially at the waist, whether it’s with a stretch waistband or a tie detail. Although take note, if something comes with a tie and it’s meant to fit around your ‘waist’ which has gone due to your bump (!) tie it above your bump instead! Since it’s been the season of the dress I’ve been really lucky to be able to stick to high street dresses & I’ve found so many to choose from!
Sadly I can’t say I’ve had the same luck with shoes, the relentless heat has given me Kim K ankles and there’s not much I can do about it! I was really lucky up until about 6 months when Havianias and a couple of pairs of wide fitting slides have been my go to options. Thanks goodness it’s summer!
I know this was a bit of a longwinded post but hopefully I’ve answered lots of your questions and given you some inspiration on dressing that bump!