Reader Rachael is due with her first baby on 9 January. She is having trouble finding maternity wear that suits her pre-baby style and taste. Rachael says ‘I own my own business, and like smart casual clothes with a bit of a difference. I love lace, velvet, silk, and something a little boho without being Mother Earth!’.
Finding affordable, stylish maternity wear can be quite a task. There are some beautiful pieces around, but not everyone wants (or can afford) to spend $250 on a dress you might wear for a few months. I struggled to find suitable maternity wear during both my pregnancies, and this resulted in me buying the majority of my clothes from the United States. They were quite plain (and boring!) and if I had my time again I would definitely shop differently. Australian chain stores like Target, Big W, Sussan and Jeans West now offer a small selection of maternity clothes online. Overseas, GAP and Topshop offer some fashionable pieces at a fair price point. One online shop I discovered in my research was one I wished I had known about when I was pregnant. Bump Baby and Beyond is an Australian site that sells heavily discounted clothes from premium Australian and overseas maternity wear brands like Ripe and Soon Maternity. It is well worth a look if you are pregnant or breast feeding and wanting something special.
The maternity clothes I have found for Rachael are suitable for the Australian Summer, with extra consideration for her current internal heating system! Many of the tops and dresses will be able to be adapted to wear post pregnancy, and can be worn for breastfeeding. There is no need to spend a fortune on expensive breastfeeding or nursing tops – simply wear a thin strapped singlet top underneath, lift your top, lower the singlet and you can feed while still maintaining modesty.
1. Topshop Scallop Lace Vest – £16 | 2. Esprit Embellished top at Queen Bee – $50 | 3. Big W blue ribbon print top – $14.98 | 4. Target striped ruffled tank – $25 | 5. Ripe Celebrations top at Bump Baby and Beyond – $39.95 | 6. Topshop bead necklace top – £28
All of the tops above could be dressed up or down, and suit casual or work situations. I have kept them sleeveless or short sleeved to suit the warmer weather. In cooler climates they could be worn with a cardigan or jacket. When you’re pregnant, layering is definitely your friend. I particularly loved the lace detail on top number one, and the pattern on top number five.
7. Ripe Lite Knee Length Short at Bump Baby and Beyond – $19.95 | 8. Target Knee Length Shorts – currently out of stock online, try instore | 9. Sussan Liza Summer Maternity Jean – $99.95 | 10. Big W Black Tube Skirt – $14.98 | 11. Target Neutral Twill Skirt – $39 | 12. Ripe Square Embroidered Maternity Skirt at Bump Baby and Beyond – $44.95
There are many choices when it comes to the bands used on maternity pants and skirts – full panel, demi (half) panel and stretch panels in the pockets. Until I was heavily pregnant, I loved my jeans with stretch in the pockets. They had an adjustable waist like you can find in children’s clothes, and I found that they fitted a lot more comfortably in the earlier stages of pregnancy. The full panels can be very comfortable in your final months, but they can be hard to wear after you give birth as the panel can sag. Skirts with elasticised waist bands are fantastic for pregnancy, and you can often find them in non-maternity stores. I bought a maxi skirt that I still wear now. Try stores like Sussan and Forever New for affordable options.
13. Seraphine Maternity Dress at Queen Bee – $99.95 (back in stock late November) | 14. Ripe Tapestry Dress at Bump Baby and Beyond – $49.95 | 15. Everly Grey Jill Batik Maxi Dress – $94.95 | 16. Portmans Neon Trim Print Kaftan – $79.95 | 17. Sussan Maternity Summer Tank Dress – $79.95 | 18. Tree of Life Tie Dye Stripes Kaftan – $29.95
A nice maternity dress can be a great investment, especially with Christmas just around the corner. With lots of events to attend, it is fun to dress up your bump. The top three dresses could be worn with a shrug, wrap or cardigan if the weather is cooler. They could be worn with wedges (easier to balance on in pregnancy than heels) or sandals. The Portmans and Tree of Life Dresses were chosen to wear over the top of the Sussan tank dress. They are both non-maternity, but have enough give in the fabric to work with a bump. The tank dress would also work with a kimono style top, and could be worn once the baby is born. Kaftans are always wonderful for Summer, and an outfit like this will allow you to feel on trend and comfortable.
The above image shows a few outfit options for the featured pieces. Many of them would mix and match (especially the denim and neutral bottoms), but it always helps to see them together. Pieces 1 and 10 would be a great work outfit with a pair of black flats, while 5 and 7 would be a comfortable outfit for shopping or a lunch.
Style Unearthed Maternity Wear Tips:
– Flat shoes. Having a bump can interfere with your balance. Heels and wedges can be great if you are going out for a short time, but once your bump is bigger flat shoes will be a lot more comfortable (as well as safe).
– Keep cool. It’s very easy to over heat during pregnancy, especially in the hot Australian summer. Choose pieces that you can layer to suit the weather you will experience during your pregnancy, and try to choose natural materials if you’re going to wear the clothes for a long period of time.
– Be versatile. Try to invest in clothes that can be worn through your whole pregnancy, and after the baby is born (if you’re not sick of them yet!). This will give you the best value for money.
– Mix and match. Choose garments in like or neutral colours. This will give you the option to mix and match with a lot of your wardrobe, extending outfit options. When you’re only wearing clothes for a few months and may not buy a wide selection, being able to create a capsule wardrobe so you don’t get bored is invaluable.
– Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise. A lot of my maternity wear was quite plain, but I was able to make outfits more interesting with scarves, necklaces and earrings. There are many light scarves around for summer, and adding a colourful scarf can bring interest to an outfit. It’s easy to feel dowdy when pregnant, so adding bright accessories can not only improve your mood, but also your outfit.
Rachael, I hope these tips and outfit options are of some help to you. Best of luck for the rest of your pregnancy. I can’t wait to hear of your little one’s arrival.
What did you wear when you were pregnant? Did you have a distinct maternity style? Where did you buy your clothes?