There literally isn’t one-size fits all when it comes to maternity wear. However, my experiences and those of many friends highlight common trends on what mums-to-be consider essential and, maybe even more importantly, non-essential maternity wear items.
When it comes to dressing your bump, the first two pieces of advice are:
- Don’t rush into buying maternity clothes too early in your pregnancy
- Gratefully accept second hand items from kindly friends!
In the early stages you can save money by adapting your existing wardrobe. Although bump bands drew a mixed reaction from my straw poll, it seems they are good for this stage when your usual clothes are on the tight side, but before you need that flowing kaftan! Your normal leggings or thick tights with baggier jumpers or dresses over the top are also great in the first - and a fair chunk of the second - trimester.
So, once you’ve worked your existing wardrobe to the max and have to go shopping what are the essentials?
- Maternity leggings and maternity tights
Good with dresses, tunics or jumpers. The over the bump leggings should see you through the pregnancy as they stay up no matter how big your bump gets.
It’s worth investing in at least one good (that is a bit more expensive) pair of jeans. You will wear them loads and can dress them up or down with cheaper tops.
- Pair of trousers
Black’s probably a must if you need to be smart for work otherwise cords or cotton are the more casual choice.
- Long strappy tops
Good for layering across all seasons (and good for breastfeeding afterwards). Layering is your friend and a strappy top is your foundation. You can strip off when you get hot, add to when you get cold and smarten up with an open shirt or jacket (which don’t have to be of the maternity variety).
- A couple of smarter tops
- A couple of dresses
Jersey material is comfy and low-maintenance and maxi dresses are a good summer choice.
Using jewellery, scarves etc to vary/dress up your look eliminates the need to buy too many items of clothing and can be used post-pregnancy.
Like many women, I spent a lot of pregnancy feeling hot. I therefore personally felt that a maternity coat was a waste despite being heavily pregnant in the winter months. Big cardigans, shawls and ponchos made good cover-ups and kept me warm, but might not be enough for everyone. I put on almost three stone when pregnant with my twins but was still able to wear my pre-pregnancy size 6, long belted cardi for the duration (minus the belt!).
The general consensus is that maternity jumpers aren’t that useful. In the earlier stages, bigger non-maternity jumpers do the job and later on cardigans are the more versatile option.
A few comments from friends:
“Definitely do not buy those trousers that tie at the waist. I lost count of the number of times I had to run for the train while holding them up.”
“I found the jeans with elastic didn't help as they were too tight so I used the ones with the extra piece of material that goes over your bump.”
“I bought a maternity support band which I never used – a waste of money. ”
And finally…. the favourite shops and brands:
- New look
- M&S - for maternity bras and tights
- ASOS (online)
- Tiffany Rose (for occasion wear)