Navigating the all-new world of dressing a baby bump and need some advice? Our maternity columnist, Jennifer Caira, gives you her top tips for not breaking the bank on your pregnancy threads
Lead image: jumpsuit from bumpandmilk.com
No one tells you when you get pregnant that the changes to your body happen almost immediately. In fact, the biggest change that alerted me to my potential pregnancy was my boobs – once a modest 32C, they seemed huge to me (still probably only a 34C, but even these little changes feel significant).
I started on my maternity journey a little naive, thinking I’d probably be able to wear my own clothes for most of it. Now, at 32 weeks, I have picked up some key pointers that might help you if you’ve recently found out you’re pregnant. Here are my tips and tricks for making it through nine months of growth – and beyond –without breaking the bank:
Consider the seasons
I experienced my first two trimesters over the spring and summer, when I could hide my little bump in summer dresses I already owned, then still feel comfortable as my bump got bigger in the second trimester with loose, floaty dresses. I was lucky that I already owned a few dresses that saw me through the hottest part of the summer (stretchy on the top and loose on the bottom!) so I only invested in a few transitional pieces to take me into autumn. Pair a summer dress with tights and a jumper and – bingo! Something like this tiered mini-dress from Mint Velvet would work a treat.
Equally getting pregnant in winter is still stylistically advantageous, as you can hide signs of a changing body (until you feel ready to share the news) under gorgeous chunky knits. My big tip is: think about the season you are going into when buying new clothes, and if they are going to fit what your bump might be like in a month’s time.
Buy pieces you’ll use post-pregnancy
Full disclosure: I don’t love maternity trousers. I’m 5ft 2 with a short torso and the material is always too long, plus until your bump is big enough, those trousers just don’t stay up. The initial stages of pregnancy when my jeans were starting to get uncomfortable but I couldn’t get on board with being a full time legging-wearer yet were awkward, so I decided if I was going to start buying new things, I wanted clothes I would still like to wear once normality resumed.
Step forward the jegging – namely Next’s jersey denim leggings, which have been my saviour and definitely an item I will keep wearing post-partum. They come in seven colours (I bought three pairs) and are super soft and more importantly stretchy – something I know will come in handy when I need to be more flexible running around after a wee one. Who needs buttons and a zip anyway?
Another great source of non-maternity maternity clothes is ASOS. They do have their own maternity range but, again, unless you’re planning on having more kids in the near future you’re not necessarily going to be able to reuse those clothes. With ASOS, you have so many brands at your fingertips. I searched for smock-style tops, selected one I liked the look of then scrolled to the ‘you might also like’ carousel at the bottom to get more ideas. I’ve ended up with a couple of basic peplum tops which have been perfect for the past couple of months.
Think about renting
One of the most challenging parts of dressing for pregnancy has been what to wear to work. Trying to look smart while also being comfortable is a challenge even without a big bump getting in the way, and I really didn’t want to spend too much money on clothes I’d only get the use out of for a month and then never wear again.
I came across the gorgeous brand Isabella Oliver when searching for smarter trousers that would be suitable for working in an office. I love their sustainable ethos. Their packaging is plastic-free and biodegradable, they’re carbon negative, and they also use at least 85% responsibly-sourced fabrics and fibres. The best part is, they offer maternity clothes to rent! Have an important evening event coming up but don’t want to splurge on a dress you’ll only wear once? You can rent a lovely black dress from as little as £23 for two weeks. Or check out their Pre-Loved scheme, which includes second-hand maternity clothes in perfect condition, with 50% of net proceeds from any sale donated to a selection of maternal charities.
If you do feel like splurging on some of the maternity-specific brands – like Seraphine or Bump and Milk – pass your goodies onto a pregnant friend once you’re done with them! I’ve had lots of hardly-used pieces gifted to me from friends, which has been so helpful in filling in the gaps when I suddenly found my favourite jeggings didn’t fit anymore!
Follow Jennifer on her maternity journey on our social media @scottishwomanmagazine #swmaternityjourney