Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it. How things could and would have been different if only I had been able to go back and tell my pregnant self what I know now.
I hated being pregnant, yep there I’ve said it. I’m fully aware that you’re not supposed to say such a thing and there is a part of me that cringes as I write this. I had crippling heartburn, my knees and back ached and I gained a whole load more weight than I intended to. But most of all I hated the fact that 90% of my wardrobe became redundant as the months passed and I was limited to the same revolving cycle of items of clothing as my daily uniform. I felt stagnant and highly uninspired which wasn’t so great for the day job.
Several individuals had told me not to bother spending any money on maternity clothing since I wouldn’t be pregnant for very long in the grand scheme of things and suggested instead that I try to repurpose items of clothing from both my own and Ste’s wardrobe. Whilst this advice was shared with good intentions I have to say that on reflection this approach didn’t work for me.
I really wished I’d actually invested a decent amount of money at the very beginning on buying some key maternity basics that would have made me feel a whole heap better than shoehorning myself into existing clothes that just weren’t going to fit or spending little bits here and there on pieces that were actually pretty shoddy (and which I ended up replacing before the maternity jaunt was up). I know now that I would have saved myself a whole heap of heartache and my precious pennies too.
It seemed only fair then to share with you lovely ladies my top seven maternity basics for your pregnancy wardrobe. Below is a list of those key items that I either wished I’d purchased or I did manage to buy during those nine months or that I serendipitously managed to find in my wardrobe and felt nearly normal in.
I was lucky enough to have a super loose-fitting blazer already resident in my wardrobe when I was pregnant with Hector and I pretty much lived in it towards the end of my pregnancy especially when all my other coats and jackets became too tight to mention. Granted the loose fit turned into more of a slim fit but I managed to stick with it until the day Hector was born. Blazers are so incredibly versatile; perfect for lunches out with the girls paired with jeans and flats or equally with figure-hugging dresses for nights out. Plus you don’t have to do them up over a burgeoning bump for them to look good!
If I hadn’t already had owned one then I would most definitely would have invested. I particularly love this relaxed style version from ASOS which is a snip at £22!
If you’re anything like me and hate shopping for jeans when you’re not pregnant then I’m telling you finding a pair with a bump is like wading (waddling?) through treacle. Topshop’s maternity version of their Leigh jeans was my go to option and I purchased them in both black and dark blue. On the plus side they were very comfortable and for their price tag did the job adequately. If I’m being picky though I did find that the seam on my left leg did tend to annoyingly twist round on both pairs and my dark blue set did wear out before the nine months was up which meant I had to purchase a replacement.
If I could go back and invest more in any of my maternity basics then this would have been one of them. I’ve heard brilliant things about Isabella Oliver’s stretchy Zadie skinny jeans which are currently in the sale at £80. Yes I know…they aren’t cheap but for me at least they’d be worth it for the feel good factor alone. Alternatively I had some friends who raved about H&M’s Mama skinny jeans too. Have any of you had any experience with any of the suggestions above?
The Basic Tee
GAP’s maternity offering was actually a bit of a godsend for me. Available exclusively online usually with free delivery and often three for two offers on too, I found I’d order one day and it would be on my doormat the next morning. How about that for service!
I really rated both their maternity long-sleeved t-shirts and their sleeveless tanks for layering depending on the time of year. They were good quality, super soft and washed well too. I’ve actually transferred most of them into my gym kit now because you can still get away with wearing them without them screaming maternity and they’ve still got plenty of wear left in them. Available in a range of colours with that essential bit of ruching down the sides for more bump room I guarantee they’ll be a staple in your wardrobe.
The Oversized Shirt
One of the best tips that Charlotte shared with me from her own pregnancy wardrobe was to wear a super flattering fitted t-shirt or vest and then overlay this with an unbuttoned oversized shirt on top. This way you get the lovely streamlined silhouette without feeling like you’re exposed or on show.
I’ve recently purchased this shirt from Topshop and can attest to its fab quality and superb fit. Whilst it’s not designed for pregnant women, the oversized style is perfect for the kind of styling I’ve mentioned above. COS was also my saviour when trying to find items to fit a growing bump – this super fluid long shirt is no exception. It comes in black, grey and pink and would quite easily last for the full nine months. In fact I’m loving most of their new Spring/Summer range and there are a number of items that I can see slotting into a maternity wardrobe such as this and this.
The Slouchy Trousers
I so wish I’d invested in some slouchy trousers for those days when I just wanted to let everything to fit a little bit more loosely so to speak. A pregnant friend came to visit last summer and looked amazing in a pair of silk drawstring trousers, remaining cool and unflustered despite the heat. I hadn’t really considered any other option on the trouser front aside from jeans during my own maternity and felt a bit of a fashion fool.
My trusty dungarees kept me going until about month five when they become too snug for me to be as mobile as I needed to be. I’d definitely recommend investing in a pregnancy pair as they give that little bit of extra room for a growing bump such as these from ASOS complete with tie rather than buckle straps. In fact ASOS have a really rather fantastic range for mums to be and I’m loving these washed grey joggers with biker detailing around the knees as well. They’re currently in the sale priced at £18 with all sizes still in stock.
The Dressy Dress
Not investing in a decent dress is definitely one of my pregnancy wardrobe regrets. With several nights out, my sister’s graduation and two weddings to attend I thought I could cleverly purchase a non-maternity dress in a floaty style, a size larger than my normal dress size. Obviously then I could wear it post-birth with a belt or even taken in if necessary. How WRONG I was. In reality I looked like a beached whale and it didn’t help that the dress was grey to boot. Even now I can’t look at it without grimacing slightly and I know that I really should just close the door on the whole chapter by giving it away.
Next time I’ll buy something like this dress from Isabella Oliver…in black of course. Its jersey composition means it will be comfy and I love the elegant square neckline too. For daywear I’ve fallen in love with this crepe and jersey panel dress from Topshop. Hell I’d even wear it now I like it that much! It’s edgy whilst retaining the comfort factor too but you’ll have to move fast as some sizes have already sold out.
As soon as a proper bump started to form around the 20 week mark I found that I needed some extra support particularly with my back. These bump bands from Topshop were recommended by a friend and wore them then all the way through to the end of my pregnancy. I’d definitely buy them next time round too.
Another underwear staple has got to be maternity tights especially if you’re pregnant in the depths of winter and want that little bit of extra coverage when wearing dresses or skirts. Good old John Lewis came to my rescue with their super comfy opaque version and from the reviews it seems like lots of other women rate them too.
The other classic maternity must have has got to be a pair of leggings. Slap them on underneath a dress or skirt and you still feel like everything is secure and in place however floaty your frock is on top. You can buy these from pretty much anywhere but I liked this jersey pair from Isabella Oliver.
So how did you/are you finding the whole pregnancy wardrobe fandango? Are there any basics you’ve found you couldn’t live without? Perhaps it’s a piece I’ve not included above…we’d love to hear all about it. Why not share your thoughts in the comments box below…