Penny Goldstone

Fashion Editor at Marie Claire

:KM Muse


Maternity Style: How to Dress without Investing in Maternity Clothes

I’m currently expecting my first child - a daughter - and for the first few months I patiently waited to start showing, endlessly asking my husband if I looked pregnant. But as soon as the bump arrived, I realised it meant it would mean a whole new approach to dressing… or would it? Like many women, I baulked at the idea of spending a small fortune on clothes that I would only wear for a few short months. Plus, if I’m honest, I hadn’t seen any maternity styles that suited my tastes, and whilst I could compromise on losing my waistline, I certainly couldn’t on losing my fashion sense. So, I decided to look at what I already owned, which styles could work, and which I would need to store until post-baby.

Fortunately, I realised that a lot of my current styles were not only suitable, but could practically work for both my first and second trimesters (I’m currently six months pregnant). It helped that I already had a penchant for oversized knitwear and loose tailoring - if you’re a big fan of skinny jeans, then you will just have to bite the bullet and invest in a pair of maternity jeans.

As my belly has gotten rounder, I’ve maximised on my chunky knits, and even bought a couple of roll neck jumpers in a size larger than my usual, since they will work perfectly for next winter too. In terms of bottoms, I’ve teamed them with knitted trousers, worn either over or under the bump, or high waisted skirts. Knitted dresses have also been my friend, and I’ve worn these in my usual size.

As we transition into spring, and I into my third trimester, my wardrobe full of floaty dresses will come into play, so I’m not too sad to store my slip skirts and shorts safe away for next year. They’ll allow my skin to breathe a little bit more and require virtually no effort: I’ll simply throw one on, add some chunky sandals and a basket bag and voila.

All in all, I don’t really plan on buying any maternity wear other than underwear, and I think that’s totally manageable. If that’s what you’d like to do too, here are some pregnancy styling tips for you, as well as some suggestions of non-maternity fashion buys you could purchase if you do fancy a little new season wardrobe refresh.

Elasticated bottoms

Just because you have to bid farewell (for now) to your favourite pair of jeans doesn’t mean you need to ditch trousers altogether. The secret here is an elasticated waistline, since it can work either above or below your bump depending on your preference. I’m personally taking a leaf out of Rihanna’s book and opting to wear my trouser waistline under the bump, bearing it with a cropped cardigan or open shirt - why shouldn’t we show off how amazing the female body is?

Try these Karen Millen satin elasticated waist trousers, teamed with a silk camisole or oversized shirt.

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Oversized shirts

Penny Images

I’m a big advocate of stealing your other half’s shirts on any given day, but even more so during pregnancy. That said, if it causes arguments, it’s just as easy to buy your own. Do make sure to go a couple of sizes above your usual one. Not only will this accommodate your belly, but it makes the shirt look way more expensive than its price tag suggests. Style your Karen Millen shirt with leggings for now, and elasticated waist shorts during the summer. It also doubles up as a great cover up over a maxi dress.

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Tailored outerwear

When it comes to trans-seasonal outerwear, a good trench coat should be able to see you through every phase of your life, including your pregnancy. This is also a style that I tend to buy a bigger size in, since it looks more premium that way. The beauty of it is that you can wear it open over a dress or tied above your waist to create a beautiful silhouette. While leather styles are incredibly chic, steer clear of them in pregnancy, you ideally want a more fluid fabric that has more give to it.

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Floaty dresses

Penny Goldstone

Roomy dresses have been a wardrobe staple of mine for years. I find them flattering and versatile, since I can add a belt if I want a more hourglass silhouette. Again, I would go a size or two up here, depending on the style, since you also want to avoid a gaping neckline. If you’re unsure, order a couple of sizes to try and home and return the one that doesn’t fit right. As an example, this shirred cotton dress in olive hits all the trends for this summer, and leaves plenty of room for a bump:

If you want something a little more fitted, don’t be afraid to go for a slinky knitted dress, simply go up one or two sizes.

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I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of dungarees. I find them to be a total maternity cliché, however I can absolutely get on board with jumpsuits, their more stylish big sister. If you don’t want to buy a specific maternity style, go for one that has a high waist, and fabric that has a little give, like a fabulous woven jumpsuit, which would look great paired with wedges this summer.

I hope this maternity style guide has shown you that with a little bit of flexibility and imagination, you don’t have to change your wardrobe completely to still look your fabulous self at any stage in your pregnancy. And remember, it’s all about having fun, you might find yourself reaching for bolder prints and colours as you embrace your changing body.

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