Occasion dressing – by royal correspondent, Camilla Tominey

Camilla Tominey is royal editor and columnist of the Sunday Express and a regular contributor to national and international news outlets including NBC, BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and Sky. She is married with two children, aged 4 and nearly 3 with a third baby on the way in August.


DRESSING for an occasion can be a headache at the best of times but when your belly is the size of a small planet and your calves have merged into your ankles to form cankles, how best to do it?
While the temptation to swamp oneself in a Seventies-style smock can seem overwhelming in comparison to the prospect of wearing anything remotely tight, it is possible to be comfortable in something slightly more tailored than a tent when pregnant. The right dress at the right price can make you feel a million dollars, especially when you probably haven’t felt sexy since the night you conceived.  Pregnant with my third baby, I faced the dilemma of a summer season packed with “dressy” events but nothing to wear to the ball.


Reluctant to splurge on what is definitely my FINAL pregnancy (take note, darling husband), I went on eBay looking for second hand frocks but found the best ones were going for close to their original retail price.
As the royal editor of the Sunday Express, I tried to take inspiration from the Duchess of Cambridge, but soon realised it is impossible for any pregnant women to look THAT good without a full-time hairdresser and dressmaker (being chauffeur driven to and from work is also preferable to staring into a stranger’s armpit on the Tube while seated passengers pretend not to notice your bump). Having made do with non-maternity dresses with a bit of “give” in them, it fast became apparent as I approached my third trimester that I was running out of wardrobe options. So imagine my delight when the lovely ladies from Seraphine  contacted me to offer me the loan of a couple of their dresses?


I chose two frocks from the LUXE Collection – one to wear at Trooping the Colour and another to Royal Ascot, both of which I have to cover every year for work. I opted for the Front Drape Silk Shift Dress (£135) and the Dark Navy Luxe Dress (£169), both in size 10, and without sounding like a show-off, I had many compliments on both (they may have been out of pity, since I was also wobbling around in high heels). I don’t know about you but I have a couple of bug bears when it comes to maternity wear. I can’t abide anything that cuts me across the middle, or skirts that ride up as you are walking along.


The great thing about these particular dresses is that the skirt part starts above the bump, which actually has the effect of making you look smaller than you are.
The lace dress was so nice that I would love a non-maternity one for after I’ve had the baby in August!


My only request to Seraphine – bring these dresses out in a few more colours. In my experience, women tend to experiment with colour a lot more when they’re pregnant, daring to wear something different safe in the knowledge that only a very brave partygoer would question their choices.


So after three pregnancies, what’s the best style advice I can offer? Definitely go for comfort over catwalk but remember: although you might feel like a member of the Roly Polies, pregnant women do naturally bloom and boast better skin and hair than non-pregnant ones. So rather than feeling like the Sugar Plum Fairy, find a frock that flatters your newfound curves and party in pregnant style. Good luck!

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