I wasn’t going to address this, so traumatised am I by the remembrance of having to put clothes on while pregnant, but in fact I have been asked about it and it’s a good subject.
I’d like to say that maternity wear has moved on since I was last pregnant (5 years ago) but it hasn’t. There are still roughly the same options, which actually makes this job very easy as I can confidently list for you here the basic things you need if you are pregnant right now.
And just pray that you don’t, like me, put on 4 stone each time and by the end are able to fit into nothing except a ginormous dressing gown.
I’m laughing now just remembering asking my husband at 7months pregnant why the patterned shirt I was wearing looked totally wrong and he said that I looked like a dart’s player with a beer belly and he was SO RIGHT.
He didn’t say it meanly, don’t hate him. Being pregnant is so awful, I needed all the laughs I could get.
Anyway here we go.
1 Leggings. The pregnant woman’s best friend and also worst enemy. You need them but you will grow to hate them by the end of the road. I didn’t wear leggings for a year after I had Sam. But at the time there’s really no way around it. You will need a LOT. I would say get 3 x under-bump leggings and 3 x over the bump.
I rate TopShop for quality and value. Their maternity leggings are sodding all sold out at the moment, (this is the sort of thing that drives one into a blinding rage with PG and quite rightly), but unless you are very pregnant you can just buy their regular ones a few sizes up for the moment. Can you put your email alert on for new stock? Do that.
Ugh all the “premium” ones are sold out on ASOS too these unutterable bastards!! is it not bad enough to be CARRYING THE FUTURE but we are denied clothes?? Fuck them all to hell. You can actually still buy over-the-bump less-premium ones, still in a lot of sizes.
God so I suppose we’ll have to go to Isabella Oliver will we? And spend £39? If you want to, here are their maternity leggings, which get good reviews on the site. They also have an over-the-bump option.
A subsection of this is joggers – I’m told by a reliable and exacting source that Hush’s Amie joggers are the ones to go for right now.
2 Sleeping bra. I have slept in a stretchy bra EVERY NIGHT since I got pregnant and my boobs are still with us, I put it down to that. These from ASOS look great and very comfy.
3 Bump Band. For when things get really bad, a bump band will bridge the gap between the top of leggings or maternity jeans or skirt and the bottom of your shirt. This plain bandeau top from Topshop will do exactly the same job (Thank you to Laura Welsh for this very helpful tip.)
4 Maternity tights. I still wear mine sometimes when we have to go out for a tasting menu! I like the look of these from Seraphine.
5 Maternity jeans. Is there a more terrifying phrase than “maternity jeans”. Oh god almighty above, save us. I don’t think I’ve ever been as uncomfortable as I was pregnant and in maternity jeans. But when I was pregnant “boyfriend jeans” didn’t exist, but now they do! Ha haaa!
If you are going to get some maternity jeans, it is worth spending some money and getting yourself a few options as 9 months is a fuck of a lot more of a long time than you think it is and you will need to wear them for a good 4-5 months (years?) after having the baby so you might as well like them. Here are some famously good ones, from Seraphine again.
J Brand have a special “Mama J” range of maternity jeans – I mean, these don’t look to me like they’ve got nearly enough give in them, but you may be very slim and not need a huge amount of room in your maternity jeans. If so, get these.
And of course there is always a good range of different maternity jeans styles at good old TopShop.
6 Black tube skirt. Literally any one will do, but make sure it’s nice and long so you can hike it up over your bump if you feel like it that day. Here is one from ASOS you can trash. You could wear it with a long top and a denim shirt open, over the whole lot.
7 Tube dresses. To be worn at any time, but they come in to their own when you have a visible bump rather than just at that chubby stage with your knickers all digging in.
7 Big Shirts. Your bottom half is almost always the main problem when you are pregnant because it’s all just such a weird shape. With your top half you can basically more or less wear normal tops in a bigger size, just make sure they are nice and long to stretch over the bump. Anything that cuts off in the middle of the bump will make you look like Humpty Dumpty or those creepy twins from Alice and Wonderland.
A classic pregnancy outfit is leggings, trainers and a big shirt (definitely not Hawaiian print or you will be mistaken for the ghost of Eric Bristow, god rest his soul.) I really like this pink one from French Connection or here is one in white . I rather love this wine-coloured one for Autumn and look this is a good blue one, or another blue one here from Topshop if you didn’t like that other one. Do not make the mistake of wearing a man’s shirt – the shoulders will be too wide and the cuffs too deep, there will be too much material and the whole thing will really piss you off.
8 Smart dresses Why oh why when I am pregnant would I want to go about in a knee-length dress covered in flowers? I am a badass and wouldn’t wear that at any other time in my life, why when I was pregnant? I am the kind of girl who likes to dress to make people think that I *might* be a lesbian. A knee-length v-neck dress covered in flowers has the stench, to me, of death about it.
ASOS has some fantastic dresses which retain a faint air of badassery about them. I like this leopard print one (to be worn with denim, khaki or leather jacket), I really love this one, and this little cocktail dress is very clever.
9 Coats If you are pregnant now and heading into winter, you just need a nice, massive cosy one like this one from Hush, which I have and it’s great. This checked one from Hush is new in and also looks good.
You can, also, invest in something leopard print (to be worn over e.g. a black tube dress) to distract the eye from the bump. My favourites at the moment are this one (Hush again) or this slightly more affordable one from Boden.
9 Shoes. Pregnant women are incredibly lucky right now that smart trainers have become acceptable footwear everywhere except the smartest places, so I don’t think you need my help in that department. But I would say that come January or February, when you will be freezing cold and probably too fat to bend down and put your shoes on, make sure you have some UGGs or UGG style boots. By all means just get UGGs. Something classic, don’t go nuts with all those hormones and buy pink ones or anything with any bloody ribbons. Just some UGGs that you can jam your feet into while fleeing to the hospital one freezing March morning. You can thank me by calling your child “Esther” (even if it’s a boy. Especially!)
Personally, I like a company called Celt Boot for a cosy boot – it’s a British company, they are more affordable than UGGs and they also have a service where they will recondition your knackered boots for a small fee, which I feel is admirable. These are even water-resistant so you can wear them on rainy days.
Last of all, I know it feels lame, but look at Isabella Oliver, Seraphine and Nine in the Mirror for outfit inspiration, even if you’re not actually buying anything from there. And don’t forget you CAN be your same old badass self when pregnant. Wear beanies and stamp about in bovver boots and military jackets; wear rad trainers and things with skulls and studs on them. It’s okay.