I have reported, presented and blogged about fashion for some years now, but an area I haven’t really been involved in is maternity fashion. Now that I am pregnant myself, I’ve scouted high-street stores & websites for fashionable yet comfortable clothes & was shocked by the little I found! Although the likes of ASOS & Topshop have slightly more contemporary clothes to choose from, the vast majority of stores like Mothercare were fuddy duddy, basic and boring with a very limited range to choose from. Choosing clothes that flatter a growing bump is also a challenge, so here is my quick guide to what to look for.
My best purchase was a lose fitting faux-wrap top. The Asymmetric line draws the eye to the side of the body away from the stomach, the deep ‘v’ neckline slims the figure highlighting the most flattering part of the torso – the neckline, whilst the excess material around the stomach serves as fabulous disguise. There are a number of these tops in the stores at the moment fro Zara to M&S which you can wear after being pregnant so make a great investment!
Blazers and waistcoats
To streamline the silhouette, wearing a blazer or waistcoat is an easy item to get great effects. Like a bodycon dress, it gives the illusion of cutting away the sides of your body, elongating and slimming your torso.
Skinnies & straight cut trousers
Although it is tempting to follow the trends and go for wider leg trousers or 70’s flairs, these trends generally only work with shorter, tighter tops to balance out the proportions. Being preganant with a bump means you can’t get away with it, so instead, wear loose tops/dresses combined with skinny or straight leg trousers.
Patterned tops make a great disguise when you have a larger stomach, especially tops with a darker background. Floral prints that are not too busy give a feminine look, work well with pencil skirts & smart trousers and are favoured by celebrities like Blake Liveley, Kiera Knightly & Fearne Cotton.
Dresses will be your go-to piece in your last trimester when trousers are just too restrictive. The great thing about dresses is that you don’t have to rely on frumpy looking maternity ones as the majority of styles in normal high-street stores have elestaine in them. As above, look to emphasize either your neck & shoulders with either a ‘v’ or strapless neckline or, if you have slim legs, then wear a shorter hemline that shows them off to counterbalance the large bump. Also, look for dresses with an empire line that highlights your thinner upper torso and has excess movement around the stomach.
Don’t be afraid to raid your boyfriends wardrobe or buy oversized shirts. They wont make you look big if you style them correctly and will also give a nod to the androgenous trend we’ve been seeing on the catwalks. Make sure you roll up the sleeves to show the most flattering & slimmer part of your body; your forearm and wear the shirt either with bare legs (in the warmer days) or with skinny trousers to balance out your proportions. By adding subtle elegant jewelry it will also give you a more feminine edge to the masculine look.
Belly belt/Belt band
My biggest tip is to buy some belly bands. These are a lifesaver to extend your current wardrobe especially if you like wearing jeans. You will find going up in size on normal high-street jeans doesn’t work as the fabric is increased across the entire trouser making for flabby bottom & legs! And some maternity jeans may not be your style, so by wearing an elasticated belly band over the top of your current jeans/trousers, you can still walk around with them completely unbuttoned without them falling down and nobody will be the wiser! They also work well in the interim period when your tops become a little too short due to your extended bump. Places like Topshop sell belly bands in black & white.
I was initially confused by these when I bought them online as I couldn’t understand how you know what size to go for if your belly is constantly growing? But maternity trousers are quite clever; you buy your normal size (before you were pregnant) and then use the elasticated straps hidden inside the waistline to expand the waist and button in place each time you grow. Companies such as La Redoute do smart, stylish maternity trousers. Though just a warning, if you like to tuck your tops in, then the built in belly band you often get with maternity trousers will prohibit you from doing this.
Be creative! If you purchase some loose fitting dresses, don’t be afraid to highlight your bump by wrapping a scarf around your belly like a belt. It will prevent the ‘tent’ look by slimming your torso & will add your own twist to the look.
Hopefully you have found this useful!