I hadn’t really intended to write any posts about dressing my pregnancy bump for two reasons – first that the internet is awash with advice, tips and recommendations on maternity attire and second that from the get-go, I had wanted to adjust or change as little as possible with regards to my wardrobe. There’s no nice way of putting it . Mainstream maternity wear by and large, sucks. It can generally be summed up with horizontal stripes, faux kimono wrap constructions and copious amounts of cotton jersey (scroll through #Bumpfie on Instagram and your eyes adjust to that linear striped pattern). In other words, clothes that I wasn’t prepared to spend actual money on.
But as my due date has been and gone (yes, I’m STILL pregnant) and I’ve weirdly adjusted to this bulbous formation that has been with me, more or less since August last year, I realised I had gathered up a personal arsenal of tactics that has enabled me to largely avoid the dull horizontal stripy jersey maternity hole. Therefore here’s one last set of outfits in my largest, most rotund state, that pretty much sums up my mat wear approach. I can’t say there’s any legit wisdom that other pregnant person can take away seeing I can only speak for my own changing curvilinear bod, but anyhow, here goes… the most specific and therefore least useful bump-dressing advice that has been ever been administered…
Enjoy! Or not as the case may be…
– Layering need not be abandoned. In fact the bigger I got, I think the more layers I put on just because once it was evident I was pregnant, nobody was going to really mistake three layers of skirts with two jumpers for a food baby. When I wore a voluminous skirt with an extra puffy Coach shearling coat over it, I did get a male nurse at UCLH asking me, “Are you pregnant or is that just fashion?” Chortling, I replied with, “It’s both!”
– There are obvious designers that aided me through the months. Molly Goddard’s gatherings of tulle, smocking and elastic that got me through dressier occasions. Simone Rocha’s generous proportions of beautiful fabrics, which “swaddled” my body, as it did hers when she was pregnant with her own precious daughter Valentine. Sturdy outerwear from Coach to keep the final trimester months warm and cuddly. Then there were less obvious culprits. Thanks to Selfridges’ support of Fashion East designer Richard Malone, I overwore his use of ribbed jersey, asymmetric cuts and apron-esque constructions. Vetements’ floral dresses – either in oversized bonded cotton or stretchy viscose – were also hugely useful. Yes, wearing all that hype may have added extra weight but it would be churlish to fault the design or the roomy sizing…
– Wrap skirts that had several button settings or kilts that had different buckle distances can be worn when fastened “incorrectly” and worn over trousers, almost like a pelmet. I had to look longingly at my rack of zippered skirts but wrap skirts were fortunately game.
– All hail the knitted trouser. Ribbed knit trousers sort of became my equivalent of the legging. Yanking and peeling off huggy sports leggings has become virtually impossible in the last two months without my partner helping me out but not so with the knitted trew that flops to the floor once waistband has been eased down . Topshop and ASOS both did some great ones that were either made more interesting with a flare shape or cropped proportion.
– Speaking of elastic waistbands, not all are created equal alas. The prize for the bestest of elastic waistbands goes to a pair of Comme by Comme des Garcons red velvet trousers, which festively doubled up as Santa Pants. Plenty of give in the waistband despite it being a size SMALL and no painful digging in to the belly. Topshop’s Lucas maternity jeans were the one exception to the no-mat-wear rule as the soft ribbed waistband also proved too comfy to forgo. And leather trousers miraculously worked for most of my pregnancy thanks to J Brand’s cropped matte leather trews that came with a very forgiving elasticated waistband.
– It goes without saying that roomy dropped waist flapper dresses and bias cut slip dresses were also my salvation. Except I’ve stretched a few of them out at the belly. Bias cut pieces in particular seemed to skim over the bump most pleasingly. Therefore browsing on eBay/Etsy/Kerry Taylor and on Camden Passage and Alfie’s in London was still viable.
– My love of flatforms was sustained all the way through pregnancy, with ankle straps and buckles tied at their largest size to allow for any swelling. The key is weight of the shoe, illustrated by these Coach resort ones where the creeper sole is surprisingly light, with the added benefit of being about to have a bit of bounce in the step when the time comes to get the baby head down. Fortunately my feet didn’t swell up so most of my flat shoes and trainers were by and large still wearable.
– Jumpers and sweaters have not in fact been ruined by their stretching over a bump. I’ve come to be quite fond of the way they ride up at the front revealing a slither of bump to the world in all its stretch marked glory. But just in case of the odd uncomfortable stare from sniggering teenagers on the bus, like I said before, there’s the layering thing with long shirts and tunics that can go underneath the riding up knitwear.
– I’m thanking the statement jackets and outerwear that I could still fling on if I did end up defaulting to shambolic lasagne-stained t-shirts underneath. The zanier the coat or jacket, the better it made me feel in fact. Volume! Colours! Print! Embellishment! Looking like an overly decorated sausage roll was precisely what I was going for.
– Oh, and lest there are any holier-than-thou zenned out mothers or mothers-to-be, thinking that I dedicated far too much thought to what I wore during what is supposed to be this beautiful and magical time, to ponder the miracle of life that is growing inside of me, time sloooooowed to a snail’s pace. Every minute became more pronounced and elongated, even more so when I did eventually begin to wind down work-wise. All the better to devote time towards sifting through dropped waist flapper dresses and experimentally yanking elasticated waistbands up and down my body…
Wearing Coach four pocket leather jacket, Coach cut out creepers and Coach patchwork Rogue with Richard Malone top from Selfridges, 2ndDay patent skirt and ASOS flared trousers
Wearing Coach Wild Beast cropped coat, Coach Car sweater, Coach haircalf cut out creepers and Coach Rocket Rogue with Prada sheer dress and Topshop knitted trousers
Wearing Coach Western Moto jacket, Coach car sweater, Coach patchwork Rogue and Coach cut out creepers with Vetements floral dress and Paskal sheer skirt
Wearing Coach car sweater and Coach haircalf cut out creepers with Ryan Lo blanket coat, Comme by Comme des Garcons velvet trousers and Low Classic shirt