Maternity Style Essentials
by Anna Bastiaenen
Own up, before you got pregnant did you think you’d be able to avoid buying maternity-wear altogether? (“I’ll just carry on wearing the larger bits in my wardrobe!”). If so, I expect you’re aware of the reality by now: larger things become the smaller things very, very quickly. Pregnancy is a time of extreme change and it’s likely you’ll be wearing your maternity wardrobe for up to a year; double that if you have more than one child. However, financially rationalising a temporary wardrobe is majorly stressful. So where do you start? What maternity clothes do you really need?
*Before you hit the shops, it’s worth noting that maternity sizes work the same as regular clothing sizes; if you were a 10 pre-pregnancy then look for items in that size.
Maternity Essentials #1: Comfy undies.
Starting with the right foundations will not only make your clothes look and feel better, but because your boobs will become bigger (and more painful), you’ll need supportwear. Spanx crop tops, for example, are a godsend, and attractive nursing bras such as Heidi Klum Intimates, Cosabella and Hotmilk have never been easier to find. Top tip: get yourself professionally fitted for a nursing bra, you won’t regret it.
When it comes to knickers, you’re probably wondering whether to go under the bump or over the bump. You might find you like the feel and the silhouette of having the extra layer, particularly when wearing a floaty dress (it will also stop your new ‘outie’ belly button ‘outing’ itself), but when so many jeans and tights already have an inbuilt support band, there’s often no need to double up, so my advice is wait to see what jeans you buy first.
Maternity Essentials #2: Pyjamas.
You’ll be spending much more time at home now and the sudden urge to be cozy whilst nesting will be gaining traction (it’s a thing), so new maternity pyjamas or nightwear is a must-buy. Investing in breastfeeding or button-down styles now will make life much easier down the line.
Maternity Essentials #3: Vests & Tees.
Layering will become easy with a few great maternity tees and vests, what’s more, the breastfeeding tees will be your breastfeeding go-to’s. Throw on a checked shirt or a statement jacket and you’ve got an instant feeding-friendly look. Check out NINE+QUARTER’s low-maintenance maternity and breastfeeding tees if you want to inject some easy-to-rock style into your wardrobe.
Maternity Essentials #4: Leggings you can live in.
Don’t forget leggings! You’ll want a pair that’s supportive without being too tight or restricting — they should have plenty of stretch and be made of a breathable fabric.
Maternity Essentials #5: Denim: buy it well and buy it fast.
Jeans will almost certainly become your wardrobe staple, not just for the next nine months but (sorry to break it to you) during the first few postpartum ones too. During pregnancy it’s worth trying a skinny leg, it will keep your body in proportion with your growing waist. Two pairs should be enough to see you through.
Maternity Essentials #6: Soft dresses.
Dresses are key for keeping you cool in the summer heat because they are lightweight, airy, and perfect for layering. At a certain stage, you’ll probably find that tenting your bump isn’t the most flattering option; instead, try outlining it. Ribbed dresses and strategically draped jersey dresses will enhance your new shape instead of drowning it in fabric. NINE+QUARTER’s new range of jersey dresses are expertly fitted and flattering for a growing bump, they will also fit seamlessly into your wardrobe without compromising your style.
Maternity Essentials #7: Supportive footwear.
Your look doesn't have to change dramatically (or at all!) while you're expecting—though switching up your kicks for comfier, less vertiginous pairs is a worthwhile move (if you want to be able to walk more than three steps in trimester three). There are some great flats out there at the moment: if you are nearing the end of your pregnancy then go for a slip-on, like a leather loafer. Come September as the weather turns colder, chunky boots or sneakers will be really useful, especially once the newborn arrives and you will be out walking with a pram throughout winter.
Maternity Essentials #8: Shirts.
Oversize striped shirts worn untucked with leggings, are an effortless way to max-out on comfort (and style-points) in one easy manoeuvre. While you might not assume a maternity shirt to be high on your priority list when you can just size-up, a pregnancy shirt that doubles as a breastfeeding top is a smart investment.
Maternity Essentials #9: Accessories will become your BFF’s.
Not only because they’re the one thing you can’t grow out of, but because they instantly ramp up an outfit that you’ve been wearing on repeat for several months. And if the dresses or skirts you've been lusting after are temporarily off-limits, then why not shop for that statement bag or beautiful necklace instead? A well-placed belt also goes a long way; try a black ribbon belt over a dress or light coat to give a tailored silhouette.
So, there you have it: my maternity essentials for the ultimate pre and post pregnancy wardrobe. Investing in a few well-chosen staples that lift your mood will truly be lifesavers during a time filled with intense physical and emotional challenges. You just need to start shopping!
Found this interesting? Read Anna’s “Pregnancy Style Tips”
As Deputy Editor of luxury lifestyle publication Lusso Magazine and Interiors Editor for influential property journal PrimeResi, Anna draws on a decade of experience in the buying department at Harrods and previous to that Event Coordinator for London Fashion Week, fine-tuning her wisdom of what’s merely expensive and what deserves its high price tag. She now juggles journalism and a busy family life with her husband, three year old daughter and another little one on the way.