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Buyer's Guide to Maternity Wear

Maternity wear has undergone a fashion revolution, but do you really need it? And if so, what should you buy?

Posted: 7 January 2008
by Louise Rogers

Sometime in your second trimester, your clothes are going to start feeling that bit tighter. For once, it’s a welcome feeling, a sure sign that your baby is growing inside you. Just one little problem with your changing shape: what are you going to do when minor discomfort turns into out and out button-popping?
Welcome to the world of maternity wear…

Why buy maternity clothes?
Maternity clothes are clever – designed to adapt to your burgeoning bump, cut to flatter rather than emphasise, and above all built to keep you comfortable over the coming months. In the past ten years, the choice of maternity wear has expanded beyond recognition.
Gone are the floral tents sported by Princess Diana all those years ago, in are adapted versions of everyday fashions, from jeans and tops to party dresses to smart workwear, in a range of prices, so you’re bound to find something you can afford. You could just steal your partner’s shirts and wear clothes a size bigger, but if you want to look good and feel comfortable, proper maternity wear is definitely worth the money – and bear in mind that it will come in useful for any subsequent pregnancies.

Isabella Oliver
Maternity wear essentials
So, what do you need?
This is where that perennial favourite of fashion editors, the capsule wardrobe, really comes into play. Think about what you like wearing (and what you need to wear for work), and your usual colours, and make sure that whatever you buy will co-ordinate with at least one other item in your wardrobe, eg, choose tops that can be teamed with jeans or smarter trousers, or trousers that can be dressed up or down for any occasion.
Depending on what work wear you usually require and what kind of leisurewear you like to dress in (are you a jeans girl?), here’s a rough guide to what you need to buy:

Trousers/jeans: two or three pairs
These will be designed to fit under or over the bump, either with a big stretch fabric ‘belly’ or using adjusters at the sides. Go formal or casual, depending on what you normally wear.

Skirts/dresses: one or two
Dresses are probably easier to wear than skirts as they can float gently over your bump. Empire lines and wrap styles are particularly flattering. Skirts can sit over or under your bump.

Casual tops/T-shirts: four or five
Choose colours to co-ordinate with your trousers and skirts. Don’t worry if they seem a little large at first – you’re only going to get bigger!

Smart tops: one or two
You may need more if you need to dress up for work. With the current trend for kaftan and empire-line styles, there’s plenty of choice around.

Cardigan/jacket: one or two
Always useful as a cover-up on cooler days. Longer styles are very flattering. May even double as a coat – do bear in mind that you tend to feel warmer when you’re pregnant, so probably won’t need to buy a dedicated coat.

Nightwear: two or three
Pyjamas and nighties are essential for a good night’s sleep – and a must for when you head to hospital to have your baby, so do consider whether they are also suitable for breastfeeding.

Where to buy
Good value
Top Shop
JoJo Maman Bébé
Dorothy Perkins

Mamas & Papas
Blooming Marvellous
Fun Mum
Glow Maternity

Push the boat out
Blossom Mother & Child
Forty Weeks
Isabella Oliver
9 London

If you’re looking for nearly new, try where you’ll find high street and designer gear for less bucks.

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Discuss this story

I like HotMilk lingerie and SO does my husband......I feel sexy again!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted: 10/04/2008 at 21:34

I love hot milk too...when i had my son last year i was in plain old unsexy mothercare nursing bras but i went into blooming marvellous the other day and saw these and will be making an investment!

Posted: 10/05/2008 at 12:43

I have been using Morph maternity clothes during my pregnancy and after my delivery too. The tops from Morph maternity come with a leak proof layer which saved me from embarrassing leaks on so many occasions. It truly is a blessing!

Posted: 09/05/2013 at 08:19

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