It’s funny how I’ve spent the past decade working in the fashion industry, but the experience of being pregnant has left me totally flummoxed as to how to dress. I’ve attended catwalk shows, interviewed designers, styled shoots and written about how to interpret each season’s trends to suit your personal tastes, but when it comes to my own maternity wardrobe I’ve been struggling!
My normal look is quite classic with a bit of a twist; my favourite designers are Paul Smith, Margaret Howell and APC – all labels who excel at making androgynous, wearable clothes that mix masculine and feminine elements. I like juxtaposing plain, simple pieces – chinos, cotton shirts, blazers and brogues – with red lipstick, black liquid liner and delicate gold jewellery. Such is my love of menswear, I often find myself shopping in the men’s sections because their knits and tees give a better fit, are more durable and are actually cheaper – what’s not to like?!
But how to translate that to a stylish – and more importantly, comfortable – maternity look? I’m not going to lie, it’s been a challenge. For the first few weeks I was wearing my normal clothes but as time went by I found myself relegating more and more items to the back of the wardrobe – those high-waisted jeans that were starting to pinch, that skater skirt that cinched things in a little too much – and relying instead on an ever-shrinking selection of baggy khakis and low-rise jeans.
I didn’t want to abandon the style that I’ve spent years refining – just because I’m pregnant, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to feel like me – so I’ve got to adapt my wardrobe to accommodate my expanding shape. I’ve never worn ‘bodycon’ clothes before and I don’t have a very ‘girlie’ look which could easily adapt to pregnancy, so it’s been a challenge. Slowly, I’ve learned what works best for me and now I’m into my second trimester I think I’m starting to get my pregnancy style sorted, both for day to day life and special occasions.
I work from home which means I can take an afternoon nap whenever I need to (I had no idea pregnancy would make you this sleepy!) so I tend to live in leggings, a soft cotton tee and oversized v-neck sweater. Then for meetings with PRs and press events I’ve been wearing white skinny jeans like this Seraphine pair with espadrilles, a Breton top and navy blazer. It’s a timeless look that accommodates my bump while staying true to my pre-pregnancy style.
IF the weather ever warms up, I’ll be opting for loose, simple shift dresses which will be a departure from my usual retro ‘50s style (I love a vintage sundress), and wearing them with flat sandals or espadrilles (my favourites are by Toni’s Got Sole). I also love these black city shorts from Seraphine – they were the first bits of proper maternity wear I invested in and the stretchy waistband is ridiculously comfortable. They’ll go perfectly with bump-skimming, embroidered smock tops and crisp, cotton men’s shirts with the sleeves rolled up.
Phoebe is a freelance writer and editor with ten year’s experience working on websites including Glamour.com, GLAM UK and Stylist.co.uk. She has written for the Guardian, the Sunday Times, Elle and Stylist magazine and runs the post-feminist fashion blog, pamflet.co.uk.