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.
Something like this black ribbed one from H&M, or this stripey one from ASOS.
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.
Thank you SO much for this, it is very timely as I am 21 weeks pregnant but a lot of the bump is cake this time round (when you don’t lose the baby weight from the first time and then get knocked up again…) and everything that worked last time is looking awful now. I have discovered that Zara now do a maternity range and have queued up £200’s worth in my basket, I am very hopeful. X
do they now?!?! good old zara
If you are pregnant and it’s your last baby and you can’t be fucked to spend a lot of money on clothes you’re just going to ruin with amniotic fluid, PEACOCKS maternity wear is not bad
Thank you Dex. As always, practical and just the right amount of gross xxx
My Amie joggers from Hush saw me through the last 3 months of my 2nd pregnancy. God I hate them now, but we’re probably going to have a third so I’ve packed them away ready. Not looking forward to seeing them again tbh.
I know that feeling. like “yeah, probably see you later you motherfucker”. I wouldn’t have a 3rd if you paid me x
I had a stretchy black wrap dress from phase eight that I was able to wear throughout my entire pregnancy with maternity tights or leggings and a vest.
For Southern Hemisphere mothers to be there is an online shop called Egg that does brilliant basics – I worked up to 38 weeks and lived in their dresses and leggings https://www.eggmaternity.com
It’s all great and very ‘capsule wardrobe’. Also these days Bonds do a good range of underwear and vests. Their jeans were great too and so comfortable!! Not cheap but cost per wear means they work out to be good value.
Ohh I’ll check out Egg. I’ve just been griping about how rubbish maternity clothes are here! 🙈
When I was living in Sydney pregnant with the eldest, I had to go to a special shop in the WHOLE OF SYDNEY to find maternity jeans ffs. Glad it’s better now.
Thanks Esther, am pregnant with number 5 and this couldn’t have come at a better time (20 weeks, too fat for anything reasonable, gave away all my maternity clothes after our fourth baby before my hormones got the better of me).
The only thing I would add is just how good the H&M maternity range is now – it was totally heinous when I had my first baby 8 years ago but they’ve upped their game now (although they call it the MAMA range and I am really sick of the whole ‘mama’ thing now – or is that more hormonal fuelled rage). Anyway their leggings are the best things I own. Xxx
thanks Hannah this is really helpful… number FIVE?!?! I will leave it there. No the whole “mama” thing got on my nerves right from the start and now I have to quietly count to ten and whisper “no judgment” to myself whenever I hear/read it
Monki have some cool stuff and come up really big. I lived in some of their shirt dresses and jumpsuits. Also wearing jumpsuits means you never forget to do your pelvic floor exercises because going to the toilet is such a faff!
Thanks so much for doing this, it’s so helpful as I am still finding the whole thing an utter minefield….. I’m still buying the massive dungarees too though…..
the worst thing is that you keep bloody changing shape!!
Shout out for Clary and Peg made by the gorgeous Eddie Grieve. https://www.claryandpeg.co.uk Amazing vintage inspired stuff. I still wear my jumpsuit three years after my last baby!
Such good timing as I am expecting number 3 and my maternity wear has gone through 2 pregnancies and been lent to several friends..in a word, it is grim.
The H&M maternity jeans are excellent- very comfortable, hold their shape and cheap!
Seraphine have actually got some acceptable dresses in this season, as you say so long as you avoid the floral wrap dresses which are far too long and make everyone look matronly. Some cute jumper-on-top/dress-on-bottom things which are a bit like the stuff you get in Cos I think.
Any recommendations for casual coats? I have a smarter one for work but I’m thinking more parka/playground type thing? xx
I read this last night for a little flashback to pregnancy dressing and woke up BROODY!!!!
Or like me you could just wear all your maternity clobber from last time, which means today I am rocking grey skinny jeans and a Breton top like the last 5 years never happened.
Seconding H&M for non frou-frou stuff (especially decent jeans/leggings with pleasingly high bump bands) AND they carry at least some of the range in-store which is frustratingly rare at a time when you have no idea what things are going to look like on your ever-changing bod.
I really loved two Aussie labels for my recent pregnancy- Bae the label and Legoe. They’re not cheap but some can be worn post pregnancy and it’s not just floral wrap dresses (which I didn’t wear Pre pregnancy so why would I wear them when I’m feeling fat and swollen?!)
Some of those floaty embroidered blouses from Zara are great for mat wear, though I’m a season behind in Australia and we’re coming into summer. Thank fuck Asos ship out here because of you think maternity wear in the U.K. is dire, try sourcing maternity wear in this backwater. (I’m Australian so feel justified in that comment.)
I’m due in February which is our hottest month…I can probably just get around in a bikini then, right?
Seraphine over bump bamboo leggings. Best, most comfortable NON SEE THROUGH leggings out there. Fact. Spenny for leggings but worth it I promise. I too would not have another one if you paid me. 2 in 15months put paid to that 3rd child whimsy.
Having had three children who are now almost teenage (urgh, kill me or at least take me back to the toddler days. 12 year old girls are THE WORST) I’m never ever doing it again BUT I was in New Look last week and they have some terrific things in their maternity range, would be perfect if you are on a smallish budget or need something covered in sequins or similarly flashy for a party etc that you would definitely only wear once.
Another vote for Seraphine. I got most of my mat stuff from there (a few years ago now). I think K-Mid also had stuff from there and if it’s good enough for her ..
Also in just looking on the Seraphine website I have just seen Pippa Middleton is pregnant. Who knew!
Ha ha! Linda! EVERYONE knew! It’s just only a few people were interested xx
Hannah B says
I have been waiting for you to do maternity wear for aaaaaaages. Now 35 weeks pregnant so will resist the urge to follow your advice.
Echo the H&M comments above – they do things in COLOURS which makes me happy because with my first pregnancy 2.5yrs ago everywhere only seemed to stock grey, navy and black things. Because why would a pregnant woman want fun clothes?! However things seem to shrink a bit in the wash (not just that I’m getting bigger… sleeves on tops getting noticeably shorter one week to the next etc)
First time around I lived in Jojomaman nursing dresses and leggings for the first six months after birth because it was just easy to have a very predictable wardrobe that I knew I could feed in. In fact, can I request a breastfeeding style guide soon? (like in the next five weeks 😁)
Sorry Hannah I am really tardy on this. I might have to refer you to the millions of Instagram breastfeeding style accounts as I didn’t really knock the breastfeeding thing out of the park
If you’re due quite soon, bf clothes should be a piece of piss – literally wear a strappy top under whatever you would normally wear. Yank it down to feed. DONE. Those clippy vests are a pointless con imo x x congrats on your imminent arrival! <3
All you need is a long vest and then normal, loose-ish tops, pull the vest down and hike the top up and you’re good to go as the baby will cover the rest! Also normal bras are fine as long as the wire stays flat against your ribs. Good luck!
I wore John Lewis -brand leggings in a size 14 throughout the last months of my pregnancy, and they were wonderful. As a bonus, they are the slightly thermal kind, and got me through winter. Those and my fabulous H&M maternity jeans solved most issues, because, as you say, you can just wear whatever on top. I had two (non-maternity) Gap Breton-striped tunics that I just wore and wore and wore, with a scarf and a denim/khaki jacket, and Blundstones. It was a uniform, and it was comforting, comfortable, and easy to wear.
Excellent timing! I’m 12 weeks with my 2nd and just at the fat stage! I may have been a bit chubby to start withbut have had to buy trousers in a bigger size to tide me over until I actually fit maternity wear!
My issue with maternity wear is pretty much nowhere caters for the tall amount us (im over 6foot). 3 years ago I struggled and it would appear it’s got worse! Plus I was pregnant over the summer last time and this time this ones due Easter time so completely different seasons! All hail the tube skirt and dress though.
The Wolford Fatal dress is amazing for being pregnant in. Honestly worth the crazy price. And good for breastfeeding, if you end up doing that. I wore it with open khaki/denim etc shirts and big jumpers when it got colder. Oh god I’m honestly getting anxiety remembering being pregnant it was sooooo shiiit.
Controversially I didnt bother at all with jeans when preg. I didn’t wear jeans for work, and wanted to be in comfier clothes for the weekend, so didn’t seem an essential purchase. Tons of long vests and tube skirts from H&M were my staples, and still going strong now.
Look at all these pregnant Spikers! We should form a support group. I’m 14 weeks into my second pregnancy now and getting a lot of sideways glances at work but it’s all cake at the moment, ha!
Last time round I was lucky enough to buy three v v v v v cheap maternity dresses in the sale from JoJoMamanWhatsit (god I hate that name) and BY CHRIST I was SICK of them by the end but at a fiver each I wasn’t going to complain. (I am one of those people who loves a good v-neck knee-length dress covered in flowers.)
BUT I have such rage remembering how short they were!!! I’m 5”3 so by no stretch statuesque and they were barely even mid (podgy) thigh. My wonderful mum managed to add a good six inches to the hem so I could decently bend over. Nobody wants to see that!!!
By the way for anyone looking for good breastfeeding options, SHIRTDRESSES ALL THE WAY. Or just a shirt if you’re not a 1950s housewife as I clearly am. I bought some cheap cotton ones from Lindybop, which do mad prints and NCT bright colours. If you don’t want to wap your baps out you can wear a camisole (a normal one or a breastfeeding concealed flap one) under it, but to be honest I mostly just undid the buttons and vaguely wafted a muslin over the offending flesh. I mean, I’m absolutely not waving my tits in anyone’s face but I didn’t want to contort myself to hide everything when you shouldn’t be looking in the first place, you get me?
“you get me”! LOL. you are a true spiker x
I found nice maternity clothes everywhere I usually shopped, Asos, H&M etc…. No time at all for Jojo Maman Bebe, their maternity range contains such horrible clothes that I’m not even sure I could find a whole outfit in any collection of the past five years that I could be seen in. I mean, you may as well just wear crocs and a Joules fleece and give up altogether.
I personally found leggings a no-go as my thighs became disproportionately enormous while pregnant. I found a tube skirt good but a maxi skirt even better. They’re excellent for hot weather and/or if your ankles swell. Oh the glamour.
COS!!! COS! Oversized shirts, merino knit dresses, much of it “oversized”. You can wear chelsea boots and black opaques and still look normal as long as you get the baby out by June and there isn’t another heatwave. I still wear a lot of my pregnancy COS outfits (although I am an art critic so it’s okay for me to dress like this). A lot of their jumpers have weird splits and flaps which are handy for breastfeeding too.
Thank GOD of this. I’m 17 weeks (18? Not sure…second baby) weeks pregnant and wafting between the just fat/maybe pregnant stage and there is fuck all in the shops. I honestly don’t think the styles have changed since I was last pregnant, 15 months ago. Thus inspired, I now venture towards the most aggressive options in the shops (biker boots, inappropriate leopard print, LEATHER) just to prove that I’m still me.
We def need a support group. The pregnancy rage is brutal this time round. My husband only needs to look at me for me to spin into a rage that HE isn’t the one who has to get fat, carry the baby, and keep it alive. HE can’t even dress the first one in a semi-normal outfit, but instead expects me to lay out the baby’s clothes the night before so the baby doesn’t look like a mental patient. Anyway, I digress…
Loving all these. Once I had got through the first six months vomiting stage of pregnancy I found the clothes thing really suited me – was almost like being back in school uniform – didn’t have to think what to wear all the time. And the best bit was that everyone expects you to look HORRIFIC so when you look half way decent then you get loads of compliments. Which as we know, once you are a mum – no one ever compliments you again.