As someone with an ASOS Premier account and three full-to-bursting double wardrobes, maternity clothing was always going to be a big part of my pregnancy. There are many women who go for nothing but comfort during their pregnancies, and I salute them. There are also many women who can make their existing clothing work throughout pregnancy, and I salute them, too. I am neither of these women, and I have spent rather a lot of time and money on my maternity wardrobe.
The thing I’ve found about being pregnant is, I want to feel like myself. My body is no longer my own – everything I eat, everywhere I go and everything I do now affects more than just me, and that’s quite hard to accept. Clothing is one area where I can please myself without thinking about potential repercussions… although it’s not entirely without consequence, as opinions on what pregnancy women should and should not wear are rife, too. But I digress. This is a post about how I’ve approached dressing my burgeoning bump throughout the first half of my pregnancy, so let’s get on with it.
When I’m not busy growing a baby, I live in jeans and probably have about 10 pairs. But 10 weeks into pregnancy I found that jeans were just deeply uncomfortable – I didn’t really show until about 14 weeks, but as I favour a skinny style, everything just felt so tight and restrictive. I gave bump bands a go for a while but they just rode up until they sat in a useless bunch around my stomach. So from about 12 weeks, I was in maternity jeans.
I’ve had four pairs of maternity jeans and to be honest, none of them are particularly great. Aesthetically speaking, my faves are the Topshop Jamie’s pictured above (nicely slim right down to the ankle, stylish rips) but they’re an under the bump style and they literally just fall off me whenever I walk anywhere. Maybe they’ll fit better when my bump is bigger, who knows. For now, though, they’re relegated to days when I don’t have to move about much. I also have two pairs of over the bump jeans from New Look – one blue, one black. These were super cheap at £17.99 a pair and they look perfectly fine, but the extra fabric around the belly is just too much for summer and they make me hot. So again, relegated. Jeans, it seems, aren’t great during pregnancy.
Day to day, I wear leggings. In true blogger style I don’t have many pictures of me wearing leggings, but I have a few maternity pairs from ASOS, some regular ones from H&M and a denim-like pair from Topshop that are all super comfy and reasonably priced. Leggings paired with an oversized shirt, t-shirt dress or smock tends to be my daily outfit because it a) is comfortable and b) makes me look like a stylin’ Danish mother-to-be. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.
I stick to basic colours like black, white, navy and grey and finish off my outfits with a big necklace, cool bag, denim jacket and pair of trainers. The great thing about this kind of dressing is you’re not restricted to specific maternity clothing – an oversized shirt or smock dress will accommodate your bump (maybe size up if you want it to last throughout) and won’t come in the standard butterfly print many maternity retailers inexplicably think pregnant women want to wear. I’ve had great success with pieces from ASOS, Monki, Zara, Cos and Topshop – these pieces will last me beyond my pregnancy and there’s not a floral pattern in sight.
When I’m not slobbing about at home and I actually have to go out into the world, I like to show off my bump in more form-fitting pieces, and this is where it gets a bit tricky. Firstly, let me point out that I’m a straight-sized woman who has no problem dressing herself from the high street – I can’t speak for petite or plus size women, for whom I know clothing in general is difficult, never mind with the added element of pregnancy. If you know of any bloggers with different body types who are writing about maternity clothing, please do link them in the comments and I’ll include a list at the end.
Even from my privileged position, dressing to ‘show off’ a baby bump is bloody hard work. I’ve found that aside from the oversized look, regular clothing does not work for me – I can’t just buy a stretchy dress from the normal range, because my bump pulls it all out of shape. So it’s maternity clothing all the way, and what’s out there is dire. There are only three places I shop for maternity clothes – ASOS, Topshop and H&M. ASOS is my current favourite because there’s lots of choice, it’s reasonably cheap and in general, the offering is stylish (although there are a few suspect ‘hands off the bump’ type t-shirts). Topshop comes in second as their maternity range is just a replica of their regular range cut for a pregnant body, so everything fits really well (bar the jeans) and looks great. Sadly it’s pretty pricy and there isn’t a huge selection, but still worth a look. H&M I’ve found best for basics – long-cut t-shirts, stretchy vest dresses and comfy pants have all been top buys, and cheap to boot.
When dressing to say ‘hey look, I’m having a baby!’ I like to wear bodycon or A-line midi dresses, a maxi skirt with a tucked-in top or skinny jeans with a fitted t-shirt.
The final thing I want to cover is maternity occasion wear. I’ve been to two weddings so far this summer, and finding an outfit for each was such a struggle – and that’s just in the first half of pregnancy. If I get invited to another formal occasion later on I’ll probably have two options – admit defeat and wear something with ribbons or just not go (preferable tbh). Maternity occasion wear is, quite plainly, awful. From my extensive searching, ASOS is the only retailer that offers anything halfway decent when you need to be a bit dressy and even then, a lot of its scuba-fabric dresses are horrible quality. Why the vast majority of maternity retailers seem to think pregnant women want to look like trussed up sausages squeezed into sheaths of lace when they attend a wedding, I don’t know.
The printed dress above and the navy lace dress further up were found after hours of searching and endless returns – thank GOD wedding season is almost over. If you know me in real life and are planning to invite me to a formal event in the next 2 months, please tell me now so I can spend every waking hour searching for something to wear.
So! That’s my experience of dressing during pregnancy, up to 26 weeks. I’m planning to do a part two later on when the bump’s much bigger and dressing becomes even more of a challenge but for now, if you have any maternity clothing recommendations leave ’em in the comments and let me know your own trials and tribulations.