How to Stylishly During Pregnancy
Well being 22 weeks pregnant myself, I feel I am pretty well placed to write an article about how much of a nightmare it is to find stylist, comfortable maternity clothes that feel like ‘you’. Anyone else out there having problems finding clothes that you like and WANT to wear AND that fit your ever-expanding bump?
I’m sorry but I for one am NOT Kate Middleton – I don’t do prim and proper girly style, and have never worn a wrap dress! It really does bemuse me how maternity brands think “hey she’s pregnant, she’ll want to completely change her style and wear a wrap dress now!” Seriously.
Well I’ve tried to put my expertise as a stylist to good use during this tricky and testing time in my wardrobe’s life so that I can a) Feel as good as possible about myself during my pregnancy when us girls are dealing with enough with enough changes! and b) Invest my money wisely.
So here are my top tips for a maternity style that looks and feels great and gives you enough options to see you through your 9 month (and beyond!) journey. We’ll get there together girls!
1) Long Black Vest
First thing’s first, invest in a long black stretch vest. This will be the answer to your prayers! It works in all seasons – spring through to winter, and allows a great base to work with. I love the Isabella Oliver Layering Ruched Maternity Tank, £45 – I have never had it off since the early weeks of my pregnancy.
It’s great as it’s a wonderful base layer underneath jumpers, blouses and shirts that are a little snugger than they once were, and layered under things it covers your bump so it doesn’t get cold, without detracting from the overall look of your outfit.
It’s also long enough to be worn in summer as a little dress with flat sandals and a kimono or cardigan over the top, so it really is super versatile and will help you to get the most from your maternity wardrobe. People gasp at £45 for a black vest top, but in reality it isn’t a black vest top – it’s an essential capsule piece that I for one, could not be without.
2) Add Some Bling and Zing!
The easiest tip I can give to women about dressing to look stylish during pregnancy is to buy basic tops, tunics, shirts and dresses that can be transformed with different accessories. For instant using our little black vest above, here are examples of how to accessorise it to look different: -
a) Add a statement necklace and team with a blazer and leather leggings for glam day wear
b) Add oversized earrings, a clutch, blazer and platforms for a night out with the girls
c) Add a colourful scarf with flat loafers and a cardigan / jacket for smart-casual daywear. For more info read our blog on how to tie a scarf
d) Add opaque tights, a statement necklace and bangles and your favourite red lippy for a meal out with the hubby.
3) Dare I Say It? The Black Leggings?
This is my second capsule piece that I would not be without. Even though leggings are not the most exciting of all pieces, they are super versatile – and if you are looking for a strong capsule maternity wardrobe with lots of options, you’re going to need leggings. Not to mention, they’re super comfy! And that’s one thing I can’t be without right now.
So don’t just think ‘boring leggings’. Think of leggings with tunics and blouses or layered shirts with short jumpers and statement necklaces over the top. For more information you can read our blog about how to do layering in a stylish way. Again in summer or spring, the humble legging can be transformed with a beautiful tunic or sleeveless blouse, and fun flat sandals – just bling them up with accessories. Just because something is simple and may lack the sparkle and dazzle of a top, doesn’t mean it’s not worth investing in.
For maternity leggings you can get them from most places such as Mothercare, Mamas and Papas etc but I like ASOS Maternity. ASOS also have some more fun options such as leatherette, wet look and printed leggings if you fancy going for something a little more edgy.
4) Figure-hugging Dresses
Often women can find that their new body opens up different style options to what they have been used to in the past. For instance, a bump can often mean that women can get away with wearing more clingy styles that they have in the past as the bump is quite taught, wereas usually a woman needs a very taught, toned belly to feel comfortable in anything figure-hugging. Try a figure-hugging midi dress on next time your in the changing rooms – you may be surprised!
4) Cropped Tops with Tube Skirts
I’m not talking about revealing your bump for all to see, just a different type of style to try that looks stylish and cool with a bump. If you’re sick of wearing jeans and leggings, and are lusting after a pencil skirt, opt for a tube skirt with a short jumper / tee over the top. It looks really current and is a great option if you’ve got the sort of lifestyle where you are going out a lot in the evening for drinks / dinners with work or friends as you feel feminine, comfy but also on-trend.
With this particular style of cropped tee or jumper you can also wear layered over a collared shirt / blouse and add a statement necklace for a fun look.
5) Get a Versatile Pair of Seasonal Shoes (depending on what you’re in)
Shoes are going to need to be flat (or lower) due to your new balance issues thanks to bump, and also quite roomy so should a little water retention or swelling occur, it doesn’t stop you from leaving the house. Make sure they are easy to get on and off, because as you get bigger, it gets harder to reach your feet!! Alternatively call on the other half for emergency shoe removals!
In winter, a lovely pair of comfortable biker and riding boots can ensure you have both a casual (biker) and dressy (riding) option. In summer, a nice pair of jewelled sandals will ensure your toes look perfectly accessorised at all times whilst keeping your feet cool. For Autumn, a lovely pair of loafers will provide a smart option to wear with jeans, trousers and leggings.
Get your shoes in a colour that will go with the majority of your maternity wardrobe. Black is usually the best option for most women for winter, and metallic or nude colours for spring and summer.
6) Shop In One Go
It’s far easier when shopping for any wardrobe (maternity or otherwise) to shop for the season ahead all in one go. This allows you to construct a shopping list of must-haves, and ensure you are buying the right things for the most mix and match potential – essential for a maternity wardrobe that you get good price per wear!
So when shopping for your maternity wardrobe get your staples first such as black leggings, skinny jeans, a black blazer and boots / shoes. The start adding in your pretty tops, shirts, layering pieces (jumpers / cardis / kimonos / jackets) and your funky accessories if you don’t have them already.
You may find that ‘normal’ jackets and cardigans and some jumpers from your wardrobe still fit, and with your new layering long vest, you can continue to wear them throughout your pregnancy.
7) Don’t Skimp on Maternity Wear!
I meet a lot of pregnant women who are reluctant to spend money on maternity wear because they see the clothes as ‘short term’. I do not agree with this philosophy at all! You will most likely be in your maternity clothes for at least one season e.g. Summer or Winter.
Think about how much you usually spend during a 6 month period on ‘normal’ clothes – be honest!!! AND I bet you don’t buy a verstaile mix and match wardrobe when you do – more likely just buying spontaneously as and when. Look at last season’s wardrobe – did you waste money on clothes you never ended up wearing or wore once? From my experience many women waste a lot of money on clothes they never wear normally, but when it comes to pregnancy they cling on to their money and don’t want to part with it. Even though they feel they are losing their sense of style and hate what they are wearing or feel uncomfortable, they still fight off buying a maternity wardrobe as it’s a ‘waste of money’.
For £200 – £500 you can buy 10 – 30 nice pieces of maternity wear (including accessories) and know that you don’t have to worry about ‘what to wear’ during your bumpy months along with everything else from nausea, headaches, tiredness, weepiness – shall I go on?
Plus if you pick carefully, a lot of what you buy can look good when you go back to your pre-pregnancy body!
8) Indulge Yourself
This is a time in your life you should enjoy and have fun experimenting with the ‘new you’. Yes it’s a temporary physical state BUT the mental effects of feeling like a sack of spuds for at least 6 months can last for years after birth – I’ve seen it first hand.
Do what ever you can to feel indulged and treat yourself to manicures / pedicures / hair appointments / make up. For instance, I’ve just dyed my hair bright red because I felt I needed a lift in this grey weather – plus my skin is a little ropey during this pregnancy and bright hair helps to detract from that!
Whatever makes you feel good. If you feel good, you feel more confident and relaxed with your pregnancy and this can only ever be a good thing. We all know how much our wardrobes can stress us out, so don’t resist buying maternity wear as in the long run, it will lead to the inevitable wardrobe drama of ‘I’ve got nothing to wear’.