Luckily, the days of oversized muumuus designed to allow mums-to-be to remain “demure” and hide their “condition” are long gone. The woman who acted as pioneer for the final frontier of gestational style we now find ourselves in – complete with heels, crop tops, baggy denim and body-con – was of course Rihanna, who ripped up every so-called rule in the book with her own gloriously fearless pregnancy wardrobe.
Here’s what I’ve learned about the modern way to navigate maternity dressing.
Be a mermaid, not a parachute
Counterintuitive as it may sound, the most flattering dress shapes for anyone with child are not, in fact, oversized floaty frocks. It’s closer fits that follow your curves that you’re after. I had all of my girliest, puffiest numbers at the ready, until it occurred to me – while looking at a photo of a frilly blob that turned out to be me – that when pregnant, there is such a thing as leaving too much to the imagination. A dress that highlights rather than hides the bump is, I know now, the most elegant approach.
Body-con is your BFF
In a bid to embrace the idea above, despite being terrified of submitting to the boring, all-leggings all-day approach preferred by many of my fellow North Americans (and not only the pregnant ones), I’ve been seeking out Spandex elegant enough to pair with a chic button-down shirt and a shoe that isn’t a sneaker. Prism² has come to my rescue this summer, with its one-size-fits-all, super stretchy pieces (sizes 6 to 16 are guaranteed, though many pieces can accommodate up to a size 20), that combine the best qualities of sportswear, shape-wear, swimwear and ready-to-wear. The bicycle short in particular is a bonus, when there is nary a suitable bottom in sight to wear with your pretty summer blouses. On holiday, stretchy ruched skirts by Talia Collins can instantly transform a swimwear look for lunch or evening.
Try a crop top
Nothing says cool mom like a crop top or bralette and skirt combo. It’s up to you whether you wear the skirt above or below your bump, I’ll let you sort out the logistical details… suffice to say a wrap skirt comes in especially handy.
Comfort is key
If it feels even vaguely uncomfortable when you put it on at home, you’ll be a nervous, itchy, claustrophobic wreck by the time you reach your destination. Do not compromise on comfort, not even a little bit. This applies to shoes, textures, fabrics, and especially underwear.
Keep footwear simple
Ah, the splendid swollen foot of a pregnant woman in summer. It’s unfortunate, but pretty much unavoidable. And while I’ve seen it done (mostly by Rihanna), the heeled strappy sandal is a squishy and disagreeable look to pull off. So, for comfort-related but also aesthetic reasons, you’re going to want to wear flat, breathable, uncomplicated shoes pretty much all the time. Luckily, once you reach the phase where you’re wearing dresses daily, the right pair of trainers can be just the thing to add a toned-down, casual finish to your look. I occasionally wear a short, block-heeled sandal or boot, but only when I know they’re sturdy and that I won’t be walking long distances.
Anticipate and adapt
Stating the obvious, perhaps, but what fits you perfectly now likely won’t in a month or two. Try and buy things with a hint of stretch to allow room for your body to change. Or, if your friends are into procreation too, set up a sharing system, so that pregnancy investment pieces go on rotation and no one comes to regret any infrequently-worn purchases.