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When is the best time to purchase maternity clothes?

Pregnant and confused as to when to start buying your maternity wardrobe? Check our style tips for mums-to-be and guide on what to invest in...

Posted: 25 August 2010
by Kyrsty Hazell

Look blooming gorgeous with these essential style tips

When you’re in the early stages of pregnancy, maternity clothes may seem HUGE, but don’t buy small. Try using a small pillow when trying on clothes to get an idea of what you’ll look like in your third trimester.

Opt for clothing with design extras like drawstrings, elasticated bust and belly areas and adjustable waistbands. These will all give you extra room when you start to fill out. Also consider more flexible fabrics like cotton jersey or a bit a spandex, as you'll find it'll give your maternity wardrobe a longer shelf life.

Clever maternity fashion tricks

  • Don't try and squeeze your blossoming shape into your non-maternity clothes. They might look like they'll fit, but once your tummy starts to swell, the more flattering of looks will be those that accommodate your growing baby bump... and legs, arms and boobs!
  • During the early months of your pregnancy, you will experience slight weight gain and your abdomen will swell slightly, therefore your normal clothes may still work. However, it's best to start thinking about investing in some maternity staples - like jeans, trousers and maybe skirts - because your normal clothing might start to feel a little snug.
  • You might discover that you don't need to buy maternity clothes at all! The season's fashion is always changing, but with trends such as the multi-seasonal maxi-dress, maxi-skirts, tunics, mannish tailoring and layered knits, you might find that you can still wear these styles in non-maternity sizes.
  • However, maternity jeans and trousers are a big must-have. Your waistband is one of the most obvious, and rapid, areas to grow so keeping comfy in trousers or jeans is a no brainer. Choose styles with soft (and stretchy) waistbands either over or under the belly. Choose wide leg if you have swollen ankles or boot cut to flatter a blossoming bottom! There are loads to choose from - just check out our maternity jeans fashion special!
  • Opt for stretch materials as they are quite versatile and may even be able to be worn after you've had your baby. You can always style it with a belt to cinch it where it matters post-baby!
  • Plan your wardrobe carefully. Pick up items you can mix and match as much as possible - you can do this by choosing neutral, classic and staple items that can be teamed with other pieces from your wardrobe. This will make you feel and look like you have more outfits than you actually do.
  • Don't forget your underwear! Bras and knickers will definitely start to pinch when you begin to blossom, so invest in some maternity styles as soon as you start feeling your undergarments getting tight. There is a wealth of beautiful maternity styles, such as this lush maternity lingerie collection from Cake! It's really important to be fitted and measured regularly, too. Many places offer a free fitting service, so don't avoid it thinking you can't afford it.

Are maternity fashion sizes different to pre-pregnancy sizes?

When you come to buy your maternity clothes (around the second trimester, but everyone is different and it varies from woman to woman) get them in your pre-pregnancy size rather than a few sizes larger. Maternity clothes are specifically designed to give you extra room where you need it and are adjustable.

Footwear in pregnancy

By the time your third trimester arrives, you'll need to think about buying new shoes. Your feet might start to swell or ache, so comfy shoes are vital. Opt for cute ballerina pumps, soft lined boots or if you refuse to let pregnancy take you out of your heels, choose the ever-so-trendy mid-heel style.

Maternity fashion must-haves

Leggings, jeggings or maternity tights

These can be worn under dresses, tunics, long t-shirts, blouses - pretty much with anything and everything! The best styles are those with a soft waistband and enough stretch in the leg to keep you moving with ease. Try Mamas & Papas for a wide range of leggings and jeggings (jean leggings!).

If you're still at work or like to cover you legs, Daylong offer loads of different styles of maternity tights to keep you circulation flowing and your bump comfortable.

Comfortable nightwear

As you get nearer to your due date, you'll find sleeping more tricky. Your bump will get in the way of you tossing and turning, and you might find you need to go to the toilet a lot anyway. Keep cool and comfy with loose fitting garments in soft cotton and breathable fabrics. Opt for a nightie if it's warm enough as it'll keep you feeling cool, or if you wear trouser bottoms, choose lightweight fabrics with soft elasticated waistbands. Mothercare and Figleaves are just two of the brands that offer lovely maternity nightwear.

Well-fitted shoes

As your feet begin to swell, squeezing your feet into narrow shoes might not be such a great idea! Keep heels at a minimum and choose wide fitting styles from stylish shoe retailers like New Look and Evans. These will help reduce swelling of the ankle, too, as less pressure will be applied to your feet. For the winter, check out VivaLaDiva for wide calf boots.

A special dress

With your body shape changing from day to day, it's important to stay in high spirits to boost your self-confidence. This is why, as well as your everyday staples, it's important to have that special dress or outfit to keep you feeling and looking fabulous. Topshop Maternity offer stylish and funky maternity dresses, as do ASOS Maternity.

Good fitting trousers/jeans

A well-fitting pair of jeans or trousers will get you from day to day. When choosing the perfect pair of maternity jeans, make sure your baby bump is comfortable and well covered. The waistbands can go over or under your bump, so decide which suits you best. The length should sit an inch below your ankle and the bottom area should feel snug, but not tight. Check out Mamas & Papas or Dorothy Perkins for a great selection of fashion-forward maternity jeans.

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pregnancy, mamas & papas, mothercare, vivaladiva, figleaves, maternity, style tips, dorothy perkins, maternity clothes, when to buy, pregnancy fashion, maternity bras

Discuss this story

I think the best time to buy maternity clothes is when you actually need them, when it is imposible to strech your t- shirt over your bump and dificult to button up your pants.i spent a lot of money on maternity clothes before my bump was big and then my bump didnt really get any bigger, being only petite myself i still fit into my size 8-10 clothes right through so it was a waste of money.another tip is to only buy essentials and not replace your whole wardrobe as my friend did that also turned out to be a waste of money as she could of spent it on nappies :)

Posted: 13/11/2010 at 21:40

I Have just purchased my first pair of maternity jeans on ebay..... I am about 6/7 weeks and am coming out of all my trousers (size 16)!!! not sure if this is just bloating, but for less then a new pair of jeans i was able to buy maternity ones (£6.75) mamas and papas under bump!! I would highly reccomend any one looking at ebay!!!

Posted: 19/06/2012 at 14:06

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