When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I remember walking into the maternity section of a high-street brand, seeing racks upon racks of ruched jersey dresses and tops, and promptly walking right back out again. I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to change my style just because I was pregnant.
Falling pregnant doesn’t have to mean pressing pause on your wardrobe, or sense of style for nine months or more. Dressing a bump is actually deceptively easy if you know a few key tricks. I know this because I spent four years as editor of a site which curated a collection of non-maternity clothing from brands such as Valentino and Alexander Wang that would work for pregnancy and the fourth trimester. The key is understanding the details that will make pieces work with your changing shape.
I would advise avoiding ‘maternity wear’ and instead investing in styles you love, that you can wear both during and after pregnancy. For example, if you like sharp tailoring, it is completely possible to continue to wear streamlined pieces when pregnant – simply look for oversized blazers like this (single breasted is generally best) or suiting trousers with an elasticated waistband (surprisingly much more common than you think!) like this.
I always suggest holding off running out and buying new clothes until your bump reaches the point just before you no longer fit into your normal waistband. When you reach this stage, set aside time to do an edit of your wardrobe and take out anything that no longer fits (store it away until a few months post-birth – I always loved being reunited with my old clothes!) Then work out any gaps in your closet you’ll need to fill for the coming months. For example, if you are heading into cooler weather and don’t have a cover-up that will accomodate a bump, a chic wrap coat with a tie belt or a classic cape will prove essential. Whereas at the point we are now, breezy summer dresses (Cecile Banhen’s pale lemon yellow maxi is the dream), oversized button-ups and silky drawstring trousers like these, are smart buys which will see you through the third trimester and beyond.
When shopping, keep in mind three things: silhouette, fabric and detail. It is these elements that make a non-maternity piece perfect for expectant dressing. Take Rhode’s Ella mini dress. Although it is styled with a cinched waist, the relaxed silhouette, lightweight cotton and removable belt make it perfect for the second trimester – simply tie the belt above your bump.
I do also have a disclaimer to my points above:Jjeans and lingerie They are the two items you unfortunately cannot cheat when it comes to maternity wear. Denim with an elasticated waistband is a must-have for the last few months (and for the weeks after-birth too as it might be some time before you fit into your normal jeans again) and maternity lingerie is important, as a quickly growing bust (and expanding ribcage – yes this does actually happen!) needs proper support.
I know it must be an extremely surreal and difficult time to be pregnant right now, so hopefully you can find something from this edit for a little fashion ‘pick-me-up’ that you’ll love post-pregnancy too.
Photo credits: @claiborneswansonfrank, @rocky_barnes, @vanessabreuer1), @emelinaah, @saasha_burns