I decided to write a post on this as its something which has been more relevant with this 2nd pregnancy, and I think i’m a bit more clued up on it this time round. Getting nice clothes when you are pregnant is really difficult – so to make it easier for you I’ve picked out 5 different shops each with different things to offer.
So firstly before we get started… Maternity clothes… Hmmmm… My discovery has been that there are a few categories of maternity clothes:
- REALLY expensive stuff (great if you have money to burn) from specialist maternity boutiques
- The High St.. AKA an absolute bloody mindfield
- Online shops.. AKA try it on, hate it, then go through the faff of sending it back
- Pre-owned (ebay etc)
I think its defo worth investing in some – even though it does seem a bit of a waste of money as you wont be wearing them for very long – its quite tempting to think “sod it” and slouch round in baggy bits and bobs from your wardrobe but when you feel like crap in that 2nd & 3rd trimester, having something nice to wear that is a comfortable fit really makes you feel better about yourself! Something else that has dawned on me now I know what is coming after the birth, is that maternity jeans and leggings with a high waist band are unbelievably handy for that post baby tummy – no one wants a muffin top and these babies hold the whole lot in nicely!
One thing I will say is though “WHAT THE HELL IS WITH ALL THE HORIZONTAL STRIPES?!!!”… Hello?!!! Designers!! could we maybe not have something else? We already feel WIDE – we don’t need horizontal stripes to make it worse! Jesus – sometimes I think I need a “beep beep – this vehicle is reversing” noise when I look at my big stripey a*se in the changing room. I could understand vertical stripes, but horizontal?!!! OK – just wanted to get that off my chest..
My experience with maternity wear with my 1st baby was horrendous. I was living in a hot country for the most part so my outfits consisted of summer skirts, vests, dresses, kaftans or (horrors!) bikini with flipflops.. Easy. By the time I came back to the UK I was getting huge but was also very lucky as it was coming into UK summertime so I got away for the most part with what I had been wearing – plus a cardie – or wearing leggings just under my bump under a dress etc. We were quite skint after the move back so buying maternity clothes just seemed an awful waste of money seeing as I would only be wearing them for a month or so.
Anyway – in literally the last few weeks of my pregnancy I suffered a task which no pregnant woman should ever have to do at that stage of proceedings… Clothes shopping.
First I had to get an outfit for my sisters bday picnic – which would involve seeing loads of people who I hadn’t seen for a long time – feeling very very big, very self conscious and very pregnant. Then a few weeks after this we had to go to a bloody wedding (an old school friend of my partners) which was to be a very upmarket affair. I cannot even begin to tell you the dramas I had trying to get something suitable for both events – I looked online.. I had stuff delivered (and sent back), I tried stuff that wasn’t maternity – stuff that was… For the wedding outfit we literally trawled round the whole Westfield shopping mall all day (cankles to boot), it was hot – I was getting stuck inside clothes, I needed a wee.. You get the picture… Thank god I had my sense of humour that day!
I managed to get a purple maxi dress in a kind of jersey fabric from ASOS and a nice cardigan for my sisters bday which seemed ok, but on the long journey enroute (an hour and half on public transport) I began to realise it was clingy in ALL the wrong places… Serious fat a*se VPL situation going on – I was sweating buckets on the tube but didn’t want to expose my bingo wings to all and sundry by taking my cardie off.. Plus and I kept treading on it (I’m 5ft 1) so the top kept coming down and showing my bra, by the time I got there I just wanted the ground to swallow me up! Needless to say I will never ever wear that dress again!!
With the wedding outfit – by the time we had visited shop number 3,5600 – much to mine and my partner’s relief – I actually managed to get something really nice (a wrap tea dress with butterflies on it from Red Herring) in Debenhams and actually felt really nice in it on the day – I even managed to find a pair of sliver gladiator sandals whose strap and buckle was long enough to do up round my cankles.. Result.
So anyway – let’s face it – when you start to really NEED maternity clothes in the back end of your 2nd trimester, you already feel pretty sh*t so trawling round the shops is not really the one – I’ve picked out my top 5 fave shops (each with a varying purpose – going out, work, slouching etc) that I think do decent affordable bits, that wont make you feel frumpy and that wont fall about after 2 washes – so yeah – no Primark on this list (although can I just add that Primark have started doing packs of 2 nursing bras for £8 that are really, really comfy!)
A great all rounder – casual/work/smart/social:
My fave just for sheer all round nice stuff is H&M.. I really dig H&M anyway but their maternity range is really, really good and wont break the bank. They have everything from jeans to leggings, dresses, jackets, jumpers, tops, the lot. Casual/work/smart/going out – there is a good amount to choose from and its all really nice and modern so you wont feel a frump! Their underwear range is good as well – they even do maternity tights.
In this on and off cold weather I’ve more or less lived in their maternity leggings – so bloody comfy and only £7.99! they’ve got various styles in these with patterns etc too. I’ll defo be wanging these and the high waisted jeans on post birth as well – no muffin tops here thanks until I get my figure back in action!
2. New Look:
Great prices and a HUGE range
I was really surprised at New Look’s range – its blummin huge! There is honestly so much to choose from that I didn’t know where to start when I was looking online… Everything from more dressy stuff to jeans to
slouching around the house bits.
The prices are really good as well so you really can buy lots of stuff and wont care if you wont be wearing it that long. To be honest it was a close toss up between H&M and New Look being number 1 on this list.
For special occasion wear:
Lots of choice here as obvs being a department store they have several concessions with maternity sections (Debenhams, Red Herring, Rock-a-bye-Rosie, Freya, Beach Collection, HotSquash, Mantaray, Miriam Stoppard, Spanx.. etc) so quite a lot of choice. I have to say some of it is a little on the frumpy side in some departments (silken ribbons around the waist *barf*) – but I’d probably pick Debenhams for an actual “outfit” I needed to get for an occasion rather than your basic day to day wear.
They have their maternity range online but personally I prefer to go in and have a look in person!
Not the cheapest – but great choice esp for casual work clothes:
GAP have a really nice range of bits – I had no idea they did maternity clothes until someone told me (sort it out GAP marketing department!) you can’t get them in store but the range is available exclusively online. Not the cheapest option on this list but good quality as you would imagine.
Quite a lot of the stuff I reckon you could get away with wearing after the baby anyway as its not all empire lines and ruched panelling – on this note they even have a section which shows you some post baby styles – a trick a lot of these companies seem to be missing out on!
5. Top Shop
For funky statement pieces:
I’m not normally the greatest fan of Top Shop (being 30 something, not a hipster and not a size 6) but I was pleasantly surprised with their maternity range. Some nice fashionable bits – some of it is a little tooo clingy for my liking but with some clever layering that would be fine… Again I’d prob come here if I had to get something for a specific event rather than just day to day stuff as the prices are not dirt cheap either but great quality.
Some others which didn’t quite make the list but also have a decent range are:
So what has been your experience with maternity wear?