One of my favourite things about being pregnant is indulging in a brand new wardrobe. I know it’s frivolous and maternity clothes aren’t forever, but if I can find something to wear that helps me feel like less of a hippo and more of a graceful earth mother, then I’m OK with that.
My main problem with dressing a bump is my own warped perception of my body. In my head, I am Gwen Stefani or Gisele – lithe, thin and with no evidence I am pregnant other than a perfectly round, football-shaped bump perched beautifully on my middle. The reality, however, is somewhat different.
I never looked like Gwen Stefani or Gisele before I was pregnant so goodness knows why I suddenly think I’ll look like them at six months gone. Instead, I am a great deal shorter shorter at 5ft four and three quarters (don’t forget the three quarters) and two dress sizes bigger, at 10-12 rather than 6-8.
This means that some of the maternity clothes I love the look of online would actually make me look like a cross between a whale and a barrel. Not flattering.
Which leads me to my main gripe about maternity wear – why is it all online?! There are only a couple of stores in my nearest city that stock maternity clothes (H&M is my favourite) and all the others that I like (New Look, Next, Topshop) only have ranges available to order online. This is all well and good if you instinctively know how to dress your changing shape, but what if you need to try something on?
Anyway, I’ve got pretty good at knowing what suits me this time around – as well as what to avoid. I like over-the-bump skinny jeans, for example, fitted vests and maxi dresses that hug the bump but not my expanding backside. I don’t like smock dresses (as much as I wish they suited me) as they make me look like a walking birthing ball.
As I’m pregnant in a different season with this baby to the one I carried Frog in, I’ve been pretty short on summer maternity wear. Shorts are not my friend at the moment, so I’m relying on a few staple dresses, a hugely comfy pair of loose boyfriend jeans from Next (rolled up) purchased on eBay and a couple of ASOS maternity vests.
This is the bit where I apologise. I’ve been thinking desperately about how I can write a post about my summer bump wear without including a load of selfies and I’ve come up short.
I could post a few pics of my clothes on hangers, but then you wouldn’t get the real lumps and bumps or cankles that come with my very real pregnant body (as opposed to the non-pregnant models some stores use – a whole other gripe I have with maternity wear).
So, sorry for the selfies. Especially the swimwear one. If you’re of a nervous disposition you might want to look away now.
My two favourite summer maternity dresses are both midi length, which is no coincidence. I like the covering they give, but the fact they are still cool enough for a hot day (WHY IS IT SO HOT?!!!). I’m not particularly in love with my legs at the moment – or ever, come to think of it – so skimpy skirts, dresses and shorts are out for me this summer.
The one above is a grey jersey maternity dress I bought reduced from ASOS. I love the slight gathered detail under the bust, in a nod to the empire line without going to the extreme. My delightful husband calls this my Roman Toga Dress, he really knows how to make a woman feel good in her hour of dramatic body-loathing.
In case you were in any doubt, I am most certainly not a fashion blogger, so please forgive the dodgy lighting and slightly crazed look in my eye here. Still, it’s the dress I wanted to show you. A bargain from H&M, it’s another midi favourite with some gathering under the bust. It’s also (which is rare I find) not see-through and in a bright pink shade that detracts from the cankle action below.
Best. Trousers. Ever. I discovered these maternity trousers in Topshop on a recent trip to see my best mate in Bristol. They’re loose, with an elasticated waist that I have no doubt will remain loved far longer than the end of this pregnancy. I’m even considering wearing them to a wedding in August with a posh top and some pretty sandals. And they cover the cankles. Win.
My Birkenstocks are proving invaluable as the heat makes my feet go puffy. These ones are the two bar white sliders (Arizona design) that are comfier than actual slippers. Fact.
This dress isn’t actually a maternity dress – in fact none of my maxi dresses are. It’s just stretchy, has a flattering cut and helps me con myself into pretending I still have some sort of style. It was a pre-grocery purchase at Sainsbury’s last summer. Classy.
And, finally, the beachwear. I warned you there was a swimwear shot. (Sorry.)
This is a polka dot tankini by Mamalicious at New Look. I was sent it to review and, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. In the past, tankinis I’ve had have annoyingly ridden up and floated around my chest area when I’ve gone swimming, so I thought this one may do the same. But it hasn’t – at least, not as much as past tankinis I’ve had anyway.
I like that I can roll it up to get some sunshine on the bump if I want to. Although, be warned, if you try to take a photo of yourself doing this you will actually look naked – evidence here:
I promise I wasn’t sunbathing starkers here. Honest. The pants are dead comfy and sit snugly under the bump, but not so low I have to invest in a terrifying Brazilian or any such nonsense. And the best thing – the thing I like most of all – this tankini is not striped! What is it with maternity wear and horizontal stripes? I think some shops are hell bent on dressing us in THE most un-flattering print of all time, just when we need all the help we can get.
Anyway. Sorry for all the selfies. But, you know, if you’re short, suffer from puffy feet and occasional cankles like me, then this post may prove useful.
Normal non-selfie service shall resume shortly.
I have those topshop trousers they’re amazing! Actually bough a similar pair from their non maternity range today and the fit is almost the same.
They are SO flattering aren’t they? I can see myself wearing them long beyond the baby is born!
Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) says
Loving this post and you look fab! Gwen Stefani eat your heart out 😉 The pink dress is gorgeous! I’m with you on the online only maternity wear, there’s hardly anywhere round here that sells anything in store and they only have a limited amount. So then you have to judge what it looks like based on some skinny, not pregnant models! Doesn’t make dressing the bump any easier does it? xx
No it really doesn’t! x
Oh it’s your comment on the stripes that got me giggling – seriously what is it with maternity wear and stripes! I don’t mind a few here and there but there are times when it feel like everything comes in nice narrow navy and white or pink and white stripes! I think technically it’s supposed to show off our nice little netball-up-the-jumper bumps but like you I’ve got a bit more of a real life bump!!
You look like you’ve found some lovely bits and bobs for the summer though, and yes Birkies are the way to go – anything that feels that comfy and doesn’t require me to bend over to do it up is a win in my book!
That naked photo made me laugh. So. Much.
Thanks. I needed that. *wipes a tear*
Louise @ Birds and Lilies says
You look great! I especially love the grey dress with white Birks, and the blue trousers. This is how I would have liked to dress when I was pregnant (except it was winter), but I think I mostly looked like the whale/barrel you describe! Go you naked sunbathing! 😉 xx