The first time I fell pregnant a few years ago was in December, so I was able to see summer out as normal—bikinis for the weekend and oversized shirts and slip dresses during the week. When winter rolled around, I was able to layer up in big, chunky jumpers or blazers teamed with skinny leg jeans and ankle boots. This time, I found out I was pregnant in May—that combined with moving to Byron Bay and working from home sent me into a real sartorial spin. My pre-pregnancy uniform was high-waist 'mom' jeans with a tucked in shirt or tee, but that all flew out the window when I could no longer do up the button on my jeans.
So I turned to my trusty friend, the interwebs, and I am surprised to say, that even with some of the world’s most stylish humans having had babies or being pregnant of late (I’m looking at you Veronika Heilbrunner, Leandra Medine Cohen, Eva Chen, Pandora Sykes, and Chiara Ferragni) Pinterest and Google searches returned far too many jersey, wrap or body con dresses for my liking. Of the images I did like, pinned and hoped to replicate, it seemed the product just simply didn’t exist.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to create full ‘fashion’ looks everyday—I work from home in a tracksuit and slippers most days, I just wanted to be able to work with my changing and growing body, feel comfortable, and even a tiny bit stylish. However, it seems the roster of maternity brands out there believe that the solution to those simple requirements is jersey dresses, leggings, and tube skirts.
After far too many hours of staring at my unwearable and uninspiring wardrobe, I made a list of looks I wanted to wear both now and beyond, and then looked to some of my favourite brands to find the pieces I needed. Apparently, there’s an old maternity ‘rule’ that says a woman should buy as she grows, so some may call me crazy for stocking up at this point in pregnancy (I am only five months in) but the purchases I’ve made to date have been with a growing belly in mind, and will hopefully, see me through the long, hot summer months ahead.
After hours of trawling (you can thank me later), here are my tips for what to wear when you hate maternity wear:
My boobs got bigger and my belly was bloated but there was no real ‘baby bump’. It was for these reasons I found the first few months the most challenging. I felt nauseous and exhausted, plus it was a changing season here in Byron Bay and I just couldn’t figure it all out. I tried to make my existing wardrobe work but all I could muster was switching out my high waisted jeans for boyfriend cuts, which I wore with existing Kacey Devlin wrap and silk blouses. And most days, you could find me in Topshop Dree Maternity Jeans which I started wearing far earlier than I should be admitting. I did invest in not one, but two Sleepwear Sets from Deiji Studios (because, sleep!!) and the comfiest damn bra I have ever worn from Juem (if you don’t know, now you know).
It’s just hit spring here in Byron Bay and I’m looking forward to being able to wear less layers and to start feeling more like myself. I’m generally a denim shorts and shirt kind of girl and thankfully, these next few months should work with my style just fine.
Dresses are an easy win when pregnant but I found the hunt quite difficult as it seems wrap, smock and tea dresses come in every print you can possibly imagine though very little in black, (which is an obvious choice for pregnant woman everywhere!). The other issue is that you either have super short mini dresses or midi dresses but nothing in between.
I am happy to report I finally found, bought and am loving a handful of killer styles that will see me through pregnancy and beyond (all of which I just bought a size larger than usual): The Henri Linen Dress and Rowan Knit Dress from MLM Label, the Tusk Dress from Maurie and Eve, the Riley Dress from Nice Martin, the Speckle Shirt Dress from Zulu & Zephyr, a couple of Button Up Tea Dresses from Glassons and I’m currently crushing on pretty much every shirt dress from Sir the Label. I tried to keep my purchases affordable and wearable, in styles that will see me through spring, summer and even post-baby.
For those of you embarking on pregnancy during the same seasons as me, I also think the following are foolproof essentials for both work and weekend.
- Oversize shirts. Wear them with maternity jeans, over silk skirts or with low-waisted knit shorts. Add a blazer for the office so you still feel polished. You can’t beat Anna Quan or the wide selection of shirting from The UNDONE.
- Dresses are a must! Find what style you feel best in - because though a lot of people steer clear of anything tight or fitted in ‘real life’, some find that shrouding the bump just won’t make you feel good in pregnancy. Me? At this point in pregnancy I’m going for loose and flowing but keeping it above the knees so I don’t feel frumpy.
- Never underestimate the power of a good accessory. If you’re feeling a bit flat, add a bit of bling to make you feel great again. I’m loving these Holly Ryan x The Undone Picasso Hoops.
- Underwear is everything. You’ll be looking for comfort in this area and nothing beats a wirefree cotton bra but trust me when I tell you there are slim pickings when it comes to feminine but not fugly. You need, I repeat need, every one of these styles from the newest brand on the block, Juem.