Absolutely Nothing To Wear when you’re pregnant….

Let me start by saying I’m NOT pregnant but have written this for a few fabulous girlfriends who are.

There has to be more to pregnancy fashion than elasticated waists and smock tops. There just has to be. But what? I’ve been through it twice now and remember it oh so very clearly indeed. For someone who loves clothes and adores dressing up in the morning, I was pretty excited at the prospect of finding a whole new style of my own…..that was the first pregnancy, by the second I was sick to the back teeth of it and didn’t really put a huge amount of effort in to the style side of having a baby.

Child number one was conceived and carried and given birth to in London where I was still working and life had to pretty much carry on as normal. I had to be well turned out every single day and although the sample rail was pretty much out of bounds after the first 3 months, I had find a way to dress up and look the part. I always like to look for a style muse at times like these, someone I admire and would quite happily fashionably emulate. My pregnancy muse number 1 was Sofia Coppola. She did a smock, swing and shift dress better than anyone I’d ever seen and always looked chic and neat and stylishly preppy. My ideal look. So that’s what I did. I didn’t buy a single piece of maternity wear, I didn’t go near any skinny jeans with massive elasticated waists – they’ve always terrified me those things – I just decided jeans were out for the next year or so and alternatives had to be found. I wore dresses, every single day. Dresses I already had in my wardrobe paired with tights, or leggings when the sun came out, and all worn with some rather fabulous patent Celine pumps which I bought in 4 colours – pink, yellow, red and cream. PPQ smock dresses proved the best, as did American Retro (I bought two brilliant ones in Paris) and COS was my saviour for long sleeve cotton tees which covered both bump and bottom beautifully and they also do some of the very best oversized but flattering shirts, dresses and sweaters you’re likely to find on the highstreet. The other thing I love about COS, while I’m on the subject again, are the fabrics. Never cheap, always long lasting no matter now many times you wash and superbly comfortable to wear whatever “state” you may be in.

The last few weeks before baby number 1 arrived and I stopped work, I lived in my husbands Intimissimi pants, a pair of his old Levis and enormous t-shirts and vests. Needless to say I didn’t really care anymore I just wanted to get on with it and stop feeling gigantic.

Baby number 2 was a different matter all together. We’d moved to the countryside, I was working part time as a PR consultant whilst looking after my 1 year old, and I felt completely dreadful pretty much all the time. Dresses and patent pumps were no longer necessary – more was the shame – and I found myself in leggings for the most part worn with my faithful COS long sleeved tees and 3 brilliant maternity cardigans from Marks and Spencers. 2 black and 1 dark grey. I think they call them “Waterfall” cardigans, long on the sides and shorter at the back. Marvelous for covering up whilst being surprisingly flattering and incredibly easy to wear. And when it got hot – both my boys were Summer babies – I went kaftan crazy. Wore one every day for the last few weeks and loved every minute of it. So by the time he arrived I was freckled and fat and floating around Oxfordshire, dressed like a very happy hippy indeed.

So in conclusion, my tips for as stylish a pregnancy as possible are as follows – invest in some pretty pumps which you like looking at – even when you can’t see your feet any more, other people can and pretty shoes are important – go to COS and stock up on long sleeve tees, the ones with the thumb holes are the best, and wear dresses as much as you can – you can just belt them when your waistline goes back to normal. Finally get yourself a couple of M&S cardigans to keep everything looking tidy. Oh and leggings are a must I’m afraid. I found American Apparel do the best cotton lycra ones which are long and don’t bag at the knee too prematurely. The last thing you need to be worrying about is baggy knees, it’s enough to spoil the entire day before you’ve even started.

And don’t forget to buy yourself a pretty nightdress or nightshirt for the birth. I bought a white cotton one from Princess Tam Tam at Fenwick. There’s something strangely comforting in knowing you’ve made an effort to look nice even when you’re swearing at the midwife.

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