Dressing your bump – my guide to maternity clothes

I’ve been pregnant three times, which means I’ve had a visible baby bump for about 15 months of my life (eek). On the whole I just didn’t “enjoy” pregnancy the way a lot of women say that they do, but I did feel there were some upsides.

Aside from the soppy bonding with baby and the kicks and the growing another person, there were the less publicised bits about being pregnant- the door holding, excuses to eat ridiculous food combinations at bizarre hours of the day and night and the justification for naps at all times of the day,  the one other thing that I loved about being pregnant was my maternity clothes.

Once I was obviously pregnant looking, (as opposed to the 12-16 weeks “has she eaten all the pies?” ambiguous look) I suddenly developed body confidence. Like, from nowhere. Now I blamed all the lumps and bumps on the baby, it simply wasn’t my fault.  Suddenly all of my clothes were on trend and in season. There were restrictions alright, and the battles to find a pair of maternity jeans that stay up can last as long as the pregnancy itself, but on the whole, I felt like I looked pretty good. In public at least. The less said about my couch clothes the better.

Because I had so few clothes that fitted me I had less choice as to what to wear, and that meant I spent less time staring at loads of clothes being unable to decide what to wear. (The one deficiency in this approach is that you need to do laundry very regularly or you run out of clothes).

Having done this three times, I think I’ve nailed the “maternity capsule wardrobe”. So, as always I thought I’d share what I’ve learned.

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One thing that you do need to know before you start is that the same clothes will not see you through the entire pregnancy, there will come a time when the jeans you’ve lived in won’t stay up any more, or your favourite top is suddenly too short. That’s because bumps grow and move, so move away from the top that is now a crop top, hide your bellybutton and get yourself a new top.

Here’s my essential info for dressing your bump.

The maternity capsule wardrobe

You will need

  • A black “take you anywhere” dress– mine was an investment piece from Isabella Oliver that I bought on their sale.
  • Another “take you anywhere” dress in a different colour (mine was blue, from H&M)
  • Maternity camis (x6, black, white, coloured), long cardigans (x3), skinny maternity jeans (x3) aka my maternity uniform.
  • A dressy top to wear on top of the skinny jeans
  • Then add suitable work attire depending on your work- mine was a black skirt, two other dresses and a white wrap shirt.
  • Low (not flat) shoes– flat shoes make it harder to walk, a low heel or wedge is best.

And here’s my rundown of where (in Ireland) to buy maternity clothes, a sort of review.

H&M– lovely fashionable dresses and tshirts, dresses around the €30 mark. Great cotton maternity camis that come in very handy for breastfeeding too, and some lovely tshirts. Small selection but always some nice pieces.

Mothercare – their maternity and nursing nighties are gorgeous, one of my best buys, excellent quality cotton and very reasonably priced. There are excellent bargains available in their frequent sales, mostly the Blooming Marvellous brand. I picked up a lovely tunic dress that got me lots of compliments.

New Look: New Look was king of jeans. I tracked down skinny jeans and ordered them online – you can return to a New Look store if they don’t work out. Their supersoft maternity jeans were my favourite.

Gap has great online sales on maternity wear, their long cotton maternity tanks are excellent quality

Mamalicious: From the people that brought you Nameit and Vila- a great quality maternity brand available in stores around the country, like my local Funges in Gorey. Their knitwear is very good quality and washes well, and dresses are perfect for work or going out. I loved their brightly coloured print tshirts too.

Mamas and Papas: Beautiful good quality clothes but very expensive for everyday high street wear.

Next – Next have stopped stocking maternity clothes in store but you can still order online and return to the store. I found their jeans and tshirts good but not being able to buy in store definitely put me off on my third pregnancy.

Asos.com: I got a few bits over the years on asos.com and was very happy with them in terms of quality for price, and they were always very fashionable.

Isabella Oliver: I noticed an ad for Isabella Oliver maternity clothes in the back of Marie Claire magazine and was hooked.the classy really well cut clothes, excellent quality, I bought two key pieces and wore them to death on all three pregnancies, and invested in a wrap dress for pregnancy No. 3 that I lived in. They have great sales and discounts online when you sign up for their newsletter.

Other tips

Chunky jewellery– Wearing chunky necklaces or interesting earrings draws the attention away from the bump.

Occasionwear – Check out second hand for these- I sold dresses I’d work to weddings on adverts.ie and donedeal, there are lots of lovely bargains out there as people don’t get a lot of wear out of maternity occasionwear.

Scarves: Scarves are great for hiding “not quite a bump yet” in the early days and jazz up any outfit, especially the skinny jeans, top and cardi combo.

Underwear: Get yourself fitted for a good bra, a few times during pregnancy. Maternity spanx are great for support and give the bump a lovely shape, I got them for a wedding and wore them loads.

Have you anything to add?

 

While I have you I thought I’d remind you yet again that voting is still open for the Blog Awards. My post about returning to work after maternity leave has been nominated for “best blogpost”.  If you liked it I’d really appreciate a vote – the voting page is here. (just click the little grey circle before “Bumbles of Rice” and then click “Vote” at the bottom of the page. You can vote once a week and I really need to keep the votes coming to stay in the top ten to get through to the next round where the judges decide who the winner is. Thanks in advance and apologies for the constant requests.

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11 thoughts on “Dressing your bump – my guide to maternity clothes

  1. A must have black maternity tracksuit bottoms from next. Next also do a great range of multipacks in terms of tops. Two pregnancies of my own and a friends . The tracksuit bottoms are the height a comfort – a pregnancy necessity

    1. You know I never got maternity trackies! I had a pair of yoga pants from Dunnes that fitted me all the way along (they were very very very stretchy). I also lived in fleecy pjs once I got home from work!

  2. I had four pregnancies. In two of those pregnancies my bump was enormous. I really struggled to get any clothes to fit me and to cover the bump, not to mention the protruding belly button which was something many could not avert their eyes from. Overall I was, to my mind anyways a v v unattractive pregnant lady and I envied pretty pregnant ladies. I used to see others dressed so nicely… oh dear, I don’t think I’m over it!

    1. My clothes were voluminous too, but I got ones that I liked. Note that I haven’t shared any photos of pregnant me in the post, I was like a whale, albeit a well dressed whale!

  3. I had to be talked out of buying another pair of my maternity jeans from Next 4 weeks post partum – literally lived in them, never found any others that fitted quite as well or as comfy! Long tops from Dunnes. I also relished the chance to wear dresses I’d shied away from before because they’d “made me look pregnant”. But in general, long hoodies, long tshirts, maternity jeans was my uniform (March baby and no need for office clothes!).

    1. I wore my maternity jeans for months after Laoise was born. After my first was born the jeans that I wore in wouldn’t fit me after he was born! I couldn’t believe it, my maternity jeans not fitting when my baby was already 4 days old! That’s true about the “not looking pregnant” once my tummy got hard I was happy to wear stuff stuck it it and blame the baby for the bumps

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