Ana Santi is the deputy editor of Drapers magazine and has worked in the fashion industry for over eight years. She is currently expecting her first child and plans to look fabulous whilst pregnant. All the images used are of Ana wearing our Dove Grey Multiway Maternity Dress at her sister’s wedding.
It was the water cooler that did it. Whilst refilling my glass, a fellow officer worker did a strange double-take at my stomach: an expression somewhere between surprise and embarrassment. “That was one hearty bowl of pasta she must have scoffed down at lunch” were probably her thoughts.
In fact, I was 21 weeks pregnant and, jeans aside, I was still wearing my normal clothes. But I knew then that it wouldn’t be long before I needed to buy new stuff, and the thought scared me.
I’m a fashion journalist, so what I wear matters. I also like tailored clothes. Two factors that, when combined, don’t make for easy, carefree maternity dressing.
So I decided to consult my pregnant friends and those who already had children. They told me: Invest in skinny jeans. Avoid skinny jeans. Buy normal clothes a few sizes bigger. Don’t buy normal clothes a few sizes bigger. Buy cheap maternitywear – you’ll be sick of the sight of it after the birth. Invest in quality.
At first, the mixed messages were overwhelming, but I soon realised that they made perfect sense. These are friends with their own, individual styles. They dress to suit their tastes and body shapes. They like to – and do – look good, and did so whilst pregnant, but without altering their pre-pregnancy style.
From then on, I actually started to get quite excited about a maternity wardrobe and showing off my bump in a proper pregnant way. Whether I’ll regret it later on, I’ve decided to go for quality (I may have a second child later on) and buy several key pieces for each season. Any excuse to buy new clothes…
But the first thing I did was go through my existing wardrobe. I counted two short, loose dresses that I can wear with tights right from winter through to summer. I found, right at the bottom of a drawer, another short black dress that I haven’t worn for years (don’t ask me why, it’s still pretty) with a sort of empire line (but without being billowy; silhouettes that are too loose-fitting can actually make you look much bigger than you are) that will be perfect for smart work occasions. My legs are probably my best feature, so I realised that shorter lengths on skirts and dresses and skinny jeans would be good investments.
Still in my wardrobe, I saw that a floral print skirt with an elasticated waistband would be perfect for spring, as will several loose fitting tops for summer. One friend pointed out the brilliance of blazers – they maintain a fitted silhouette and you can still fit into them. I have a couple of those in my wardrobe.
I then made a list of clothes to buy. I’ve invested in three pairs of skinny jeans: black for winter, grey for all seasons and cropped white for spring and summer. I’m considering buying just normal blue jeans too…
Also on the list but not yet purchased (buy in stages as you don’t know how big you’ll get how quickly) are stretch jersey or cotton tops. I’ll be buying these as soon as the weather allows me to put away my jumpers and the bump gets too big for existing tops. Figure-hugging maxi dresses and a pair of shorts are also part of the summer spree.
Finally, don’t just think about clothes. Flat shoes are on-trend right now and will be next season too, so invest in those. Several of my friends swore by great pedicures during pregnancy. And experiment with make-up and jewellery.
But the most important thing is to be yourself. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you care enough about how you look during your pregnancy, so have fun with it. My bump won’t flatter a jumpsuit this summer, so I’m considering some dungarees instead. Every cloud…
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