Loving your own look doesn’t mean you’ll automatically know what works when you’re pregnant, says style writer Laura Atkinson. But rework your wardrobe and you can find your own fashion formula
1. Keep your personal style
When faced with an ever-changing body, it’s tempting to ditch everything you know. Pre-pregnancy, I lived in pencil skirts with fitted jumpers, and the first mistake I made was to think that I had to ditch my signature look.
All I really needed to do was adapt it, think stretchy skirts with waistbands that sit under or over the bump worn with heels and an oversized shirt. ‘I bought Topshop maternity jeans and paired them with big silk T-shirts. For nights out, I added heels and jewellery,’ says Melanie Rickey, founder of Fashion Editor At Large, and mum to Horatio, one.
The moral is experiment, find a formula that works for you – and stick with it.
2. Discover maternity wear
Stretching my current wardrobe as far as I could (literally) was good during the first half of my pregnancy, when my bump was pretty underwhelming. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go shopping, too. When I started looking for fashion hits, Topshop and Asos maternity worked for me as they’re so up-to-the-moment.
And there are lots of maternity brands doing exciting things, too. For New Year’s parties, check out Keungzai’s chic, jersey pieces, In Pig’s 60s-style dresses and Isabella Oliver’s stretch basics.
3. Avoid clothing clichés
Everyone assumes you’ll head straight for huge, shapeless pieces. No, thanks. They might look super-comfy, but they make me feel like my fashion identity has gone. If you wouldn’t usually wear it, don’t try it now. ‘I preferred leather-look leggings and chunky boots – things I’ve always worn,’ says Erica Davies, of Modern Mums Must-Have, who’s mum to Charlie, three, and Lila, 18 months.
4. Think big
If you really can’t face the thought of maternity ranges, head back to your favourite stores and go big. The key is to find a shape that works for you and move up a couple of sizes. For me, Cos, Whistles and All Saints are particularly good. I’ve gone for shift shapes that I know I’ll be able to belt after the birth.
If you really can’t face the thought of maternity ranges, head back to your favourite stores and go big
And, just because you’re pregnant, it doesn’t mean you can’t still buy into the seasonal trends. This winter, oversized statement coats – from M&S or Hobbs – are the big must-have and will work seamlessly with a bump.
5. Get into your skinnies
If you only buy one thing now, make it maternity jeans. The right ones will be comfortable and look good all the time – I wear mine with everything from heels to slippers. There are two types – ones with a stretchy band that goes over your bump, and one with a band that sits under it. I’ve found that, for nights out, Topshop’s under-bump cropped Leighs look great with heels, while Mamas & Papas over-bump skinnies are a must for daytime.
6. Go mad for accessories
Whatever you wear, bags and shoes will finish off any outfit. I soon realised that, not only will these items last well beyond pregnancy, but the details are now key to taking my look that extra mile. ‘I bought a new bag for a high-fashion frisson,’ says Melanie. For me, it’s been shoes – I’ve snapped up brightly coloured Topshop trainers and LK Bennett heels.
And don’t forget the other details, like jewelled hair pieces, bright lipstick and nail art. Now’s the time to experiment with the smaller aspects of your look, but don’t mess with your innate sense of style. Pregnancy and motherhood should never shift that.
How have you made maternity fashion work for you? Let us know in the comments box below.