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.
Oh Jen I can’t echo your sentiments enough… Who wants to wear wrap dresses, wrap tops and awful ‘eating for two’ smocks?! I’ve been at the exact same 3 shops in rotation, am feeling your pain on the jeans front and can honestly say have had 3 small cries in changing rooms (on the rare occasion I can FIND maternity clothes in store that is). Even my husband remarked in the middle of Mothercare while I was looking at swimwear ‘Why do they think all pregnant women want to dress like pensioners? None of this is YOU’ which, quite frankly, is why am so glad it is he who knocked me up in the first place.
God bless ASOS and free returns. Even the DPD delivery driver has been on bump watch since week 15 with me and I only told colleagues two weeks ago! Nearly 26 weeks and still no idea how to style it out….
Take care, so enjoying feeling like am sharing this experience with you and your fab blogs
Oh Hels! It’s so nice to chat to women who just understand, isn’t it? 🙂
I didn’t even approach swimwear in this post because I would’ve lost it completely. I’m going on a beach/pool holiday in September and I have ONE tankini thing from JoJo Maman Bebe which I don’t even like that much. Even my trusty ASOS can’t help me here, because apparently they seem to think pregnant women need no boob support?! Awful! Let me know if you find anything decent, I need more than one option for a 7-day break! x
I just bought this bad boy …. but have yet to swim in it… and sized up from my usual size 10 to last me another three months and to accommodate my, er, rack. Am not sure support will really be offered but oh so pretty!
Hi Jen, thanks for this post. It’s good to know that I’m not the only pregnant woman who cares about what she wears! Pinterest has a lot to answer for – photos of women wearing lovely skinny jeans with a big oversized T-shirts look so cool. In reality where do you get these elusive jeans from?! I’ve done quite well in the River Island sale, just buying things two sizes too big.
Anyway, I look forward to reading the next blog and I will give the New Look jeans are try.
Where DO they find these skinny jeans? To be fair I have my Topshop ones on today but I don’t plan on doing anything but sit at my desk! Will definitely check out the RI sale, great tip. x
Do you think it’s because the Pinterest ladies just keep still that they look so fab?! I have Topshop Jamie under the bump which look great on legs but fall down by the time I’m at the end of the street. This is useful when you’re having a ‘fat day’ but I have to wear a belt if am going far!
Have you tried H&M? Mainly far too long for me but good price & colour selection online so have a peek there too x
Jen, i’m a few weeks behind you (currently 23 weeks) and at my wits end when it comes to maternity clothes. I can’t even share your love of ASOS, I must have ordered from them four (?) times and returned the lot. Sigh. However, I have got Topshop Leigh Jeans (over the bump) which I am super happy with. Yes, too hot on some days, but they don’t fall down. I sized down, which maybe helps with keeping them up?
This is my best buy, which i’ve been wearing over leggings as it’s quite short: http://www.topshop.com/en/tsuk/product/clothing-427/maternity-456/maternity-pinspot-tea-dress-5531308?bi=100&ps=20
Despite my good buys from Topshop, I am enraged at the person who designed so many of their maternity dresses with spaghetti straps – WTF! I also can’t with wrap dresses – gross.
Anyway, thanks for the post. It’s so nice to know you’re not alone!
I will check out the Leigh jeans – thank you!
Also, spaghetti straps. WHAT. I have a gorgeous sequin camisole from ASOS Maternity which I love but it has these skinny little straps that do nothing to conceal my industrial bra… and of course, strapless bras are literally out of the question. So annoying! x
Hi Jen, I totally agree with all the above! Having just had a baby a few months back and like you, into fashion and clothes, I hated all maternity clothes and couldn’t find much that I enjoyed wearing!! Was so glad to get back into my old clothes, it was like having a whole new wardrobe as it had been so long since I had worn most of it!
Since having my baby, I’ve found a good maternity clothing brand that I am sure I would have purchased from, although quite pricey, would be good for a couple of staple pieces or a special occasion – it’s called Just Polly. I think you would like it!
Enjoy your pregnancy! X
Even though I LOVE being pregnant, I’m so excited to get back into my regular clothing! Thanks for the heads up about Just Polly – someone else mentioned them on Twitter last night and their stuff is beautiful! Hope you’re doing well with your little one 🙂
You’re great 😘
SO ARE YOU <3
Wonderful post, you look great!
As a non-pregnant woman, I’d just like to say how much I enjoyed this post! I think you’re doing a fabulous job of rocking the mama-to-be look Jen, and even pregnant you’re a bit of wardrobe inspo for me! x
Thank you so much, Lorna! That’s so nice to hear 🙂 x
Don’t even get me started on suitable clothing for nursing mums! Asos bless them seem to think that everything nursing appropriate also needs to be maternity. Erm asos, when you are pregnant you aren’t going to be nursing and when you are nursing you are no longer pregnant!!! Makes my blood boil, it’s so hard to find decent stuff. No wonder women are inspired to start businesses on maternity leave!!