Guys, I’ve done it. I’m in my first maternity piece of clothing! I know, I know I put it off for as long as I could manage but despite my initial scepticism, the comfort I felt when I put this Asos jersey skirt on (as recommended by Jen – whose pregnancy style I adored btw) for the first time was immediately welcomed. Dare I say it, I might be converted.
When I put a photo of this outfit on Instagram this week announcing my first foray into maternity wear, so many of you commented ‘OMG I’ve been in maternity jeans since week 14!!’ and I’d just like to reassure everyone that I could have been in maternity much sooner, but for various reasons I chose not to be.
Black maternity wrap skirt – Asos | Bag – Vintage
Sunglasses – Rayban | Trainers – Adidas Stan Smith
Now first off, let’s just acknowledge the fact that dressing for pregnancy is a VERY difficult task in itself, and retaining your own style and personality at the same time can often feel like a losing battle. So I applaud ALL women for however they choose to tackle it. There’s absolutely no judgement over here. Quite the opposite in fact, I spend most of my evenings scrolling Pinterest and reading blogs and wondering how on EARTH some people manage to look so damn cool and stylish when housing a sizeable baby bump. My hat (or maybe my shoes – I’m pregnant) comes off to you all, honestly.
But the thing is, we’re all different people, with different body shapes and sizes, and our bumps will grow at completely different rates. There’s often no sense at all comparing yourself to others and attempting to recreate the looks you might see others pull off so seamlessly, because chances are they’ll look ridiculous on you. We’ve all got to find our OWN way.
And for me, my way was to try and avoid specialist maternity clothing for as long as I possibly could, and considering I wore my first piece at 24 weeks I think I did pretty well. Again, that isn’t an attack on those who choose maternity from the word go, or for those who manage to wear their own clothes right through to D-day, or for those who opt for comfort throughout – each to their own. But ever since I got pregnant, I told myself I’d only go down the maternity route if and when I had to, and not go crazy shopping for an entire new wardrobe from the off.
Shop the Outfit…
Why I’ve avoided maternity clothes…
1. My main reasons for this choice were the fact that maternity clothing is expensive, and shopping for it takes time (you often have to try on a whole lot of stuff that doesn’t work before you find one thing that does). Oh and as people like to remind you often, babies are expensive too. So right now, having just moved house and with funds a bit tight, we really want to put all of our spare pennies towards baby (and getting the house ready for baby) and not my wardrobe (which let’s face it is already burgeoning as it is).
2. Then there’s the issue that you wear the pieces for such a short period of time. I’ve only got three months left of my pregnancy and am only now buying maternity items, so the life span of those clothes is extremely short and I’ve hated the thought of spending a lot of money on things that I’ll only wear a handful of times. Ideally I want clothes that can see me through pregnancy, those early days after the baby is born and still not be out of place in my wardrobe six months down the line – asking too much? Maybe.
3. And the final reason (which you may or may not agree with) is that I do honestly feel like there is such a lack of bump friendly clothing out there that can really appeal to young, modern and stylish women these days. For example, who decided that we all want to wear black the minute we’re pregnant? Slimming I know, but for us colour lovers pretty depressing. And where are the trend led things? Being pregnant doesn’t equal a personality transplant that makes us switch from wanting to wear sequins and velvet flares to being at home in ‘classic wrap dresses’ and ‘butterfly print A-line skirts’. High street brands like Asos and Topshop are trying to address this, but in my opinion they’re still not quite there yet. The range is either far too small to cater for everyone, or the materials are made so cheap that it leaves the clothes uncomfortable (when both comfort and style are high on a preggo’s agenda).
Anyway I could rant forever about the problems with maternity clothing but I’ll save that for another day. To get back to the point, for a long time I managed to make existing clothes in my wardrobe work, or to size up one in pieces and just wear things slightly baggy. This doesn’t work for everyone I know, but for me it did. Mainly because the early stages of my pregnancy occurred in summer, which meant it was really easy to just throw on a floaty dress and be done with it. My bump also fluctuated in size a lot but generally sat low for a long time, giving me more of a wide middle than a protruding bump. This wasn’t the most attractive of shapes so wearing bodycon maternity pieces a la Kim K wasn’t really an option, and I preferred hiding behind baggy clothes. Ironically, at that point I kept wishing my bump would pop more, and now it has and I’m like ‘how do I dress you!!’.
I also found that maternity pieces were just too big for a long time. Most of them are designed for later pregnancy and made to accommodate a wealth of bump sizes, so when your bump is still small they can drown you somewhat. The skirt I’m wearing in this outfit for example I actually had to buy in a smaller size than usual as my normal size in maternity was huge. The idea that as I’ve got larger, I’ve actually had to get smaller sized clothes doesn’t quite make sense but maternity cuts are so different it can mean trying lots of sizes on until you find the right one.
Anyway sizing up worked for a while… until, well… it just didn’t anymore.
I’d say around weeks 18-20 I started to get a whole lot more uncomfortable in things. Jeans had to be totally relegated other than one particularly stretchy pair that I could almost get away with if I didn’t do the top button (I know – what was I thinking?). Tops and jumpers started to ride up a little around the middle and never felt long enough and those dresses and high waisted skirts started to stretch awkwardly or dig in around the waist. By the time the weather turned and floaty dresses weren’t an option anymore, well, I was out of options.
When it gets colder, all you want to wear is jeans and jumpers and I began to realise that I didn’t have any of those. There were a few things that I really really missed, and realised I’d have to go maternity for.
The maternity items to invest in…
Jeans – jeans have always been a staple ‘casual’ look for me and while in summer I could give them up, in winter I realised I couldn’t. I need trousers that cover my ankles god dammit! There really is no other way to wear jeans when pregnant other than to opt for the maternity, elasticated waist styles and so I invested in a couple of pairs. I’m planning a full post on maternity jeans so I won’t go into it too much here but the whole experience was a bit of a revelation for me. Even though they look weird and feel like they’re falling down all the time, BOY are they comfy (might keep them as Christmas Day trousers for years to come!).
Knitwear – jumpers are difficult because often knitted fabric can stretch and personally I don’t want to risk stretching any of my good pieces out. I seem to own a lot of cropped jumpers (which I used to wear with high wasted jeans or skirts – sigh) so the majority of my knitwear collection is now simply un-wearable. The jumper I’m wearing in this post is by Gap and isn’t maternity, just a slouchy design. This does work to an extent but I do feel like getting the size big enough for bump means items can be a little large on the shoulders for me. Also where are all the long jumpers??? Everything rides up on me or clings around the bump (showing off the stretchy band of your maternity jeans – not a good look) so there comes a point where you simply need longer length, and the only way to do that is with maternity.
Tights – Tights very quickly become hugely uncomfortable, itchy and fall down constantly/ droop at the crotch. If you want to wear dresses and skirts over winter (which most of us do, as it’s the only way to feel a little dressier than jeans and a jumper) you need actual maternity ones. The same goes for leggings really, if you want to avoid builders bum all the time.
Occasion wear – Again, this deserves its own post really but as I began thinking about Christmas party dresses or something nice to wear over the festive season, I came up short. I have a few stretchy dresses, that I’m hoping I may be able to do a Kim K and squeeze myself into still but the reality is if I want something that’s proportionate and actually fits, I’m going to have to choose maternity as come Christmas I’ll be almost 32 weeks pregnant. That’s the thing – your belly gets bigger but the rest of you doesn’t necessarily. I still have narrow shoulders for example so often things which are big enough for the bump are falling off me at the shoulders.
Shop my maternity essentials…
The skirt I’m wearing in this outfit has been a surprise favourite, as I think it’s really more of a summer style (that split to the front is a tad breezy on colder days) but the soft jersey fabric and elasticated waist make it super comfortable, and considering Asos is generally on the cheaper end of the scale for maternity basics, I didn’t mind even if I do just wear it around the house.
So, that’s the situation I’m in right now. I’ve not switched to maternity wear completely and am going to try and still intersperse some of my own pieces here and there, but I have accepted that certain items of clothing, I simply have to go specialist for. And you know, since I’ve made that decision and adjusted my outlook and approach slightly, I have felt a lot more comfortable day to day and altogether happier about how my body is looking right now. It’s a learning curve and my biggest lesson was changing my mindset to shop for a new body, because I still walk into stores and shop as if I’m not pregnant. I can’t help but gravitate towards the high waisted skirts and skinny jeans that I used to love, and then feel down when those cute little tops don’t stretch over my bump or things look awkward with my new shape, which is an easy way to instantly feel like your identity has been stripped completely.
It’s taken me until this point (26 weeks, 24 when these photos were taken) to accept that, yes I am pregnant, and yes, I am going to get bigger and my body is going to change, and no, I can’t wear all the things I used to wear with as much ease, but maybe that’s ok. There’s dresses I can’t wait to get back into after the birth of course, but for now I’m trying to embrace this new style journey I’ve found myself on, and I’m definitely not giving up the sequins just yet.
Have you had to tackle maternity wear? I’d love to hear any tips from fellow preggo’s on where to shop for what!
P.S I’ve started a Pinterest board to collate my favourite maternity looks, come join!