The last instalment of my bump dressing series is just a basic rundown of some of the things I’ve bought and loved so far during my pregnancy.
When I was about 16 weeks pregnant, I ordered a bunch of maternity clothes from ASOS (upon the helpful advice of blogs around me) only to be disappointed with each and every single item when it finally arrived in the mail. Everything was so ill-fitting – t-shirts didn’t sit properly, dresses swamped me, the fabric was so cheap and nasty, and everything was so unflattering (granted, buying things sight unseen without trying them on first didn’t help). That pretty much signalled the first and last time I’d be shopping for maternity wear, and I’ve since had much more luck finding non-maternity clothes to fit this growing bump of mine. Go figure, right?
Overall, I’ve found shopping for new clothes when pregnant to be a time-consuming and frustrating exercise. I used to buy over three-quarters of my clothes online but with my body changing every day, it has since thwarted any attempt to conveniently shop for clothes from the comfort of my bed. My options are a lot more narrower these days too (i.e. no jumpsuits – oh how I miss jumpsuits! No zippered-anything and no more seams at the waist, which accounts for 90% of clothes in shops right now). I also shop with post-partum/nursing in mind; buying clothes that I’d happily wear (and fit back into) after the baby comes. For the most part, it’s been a massive exercise in trial and error; I’ve been shopping anywhere and everywhere – which has allowed me to discover brands and styles I never really thought to consider pre-pregnancy.
So I thought this little list of loves that I’ve personally bought and wear will help some of you in a similar predicament, especially if you’re still intent on shopping online. I still am – but I have to be particularly choosy with certain fabrics and styles.
Cut to the basics first though and this is where ‘maternity wear’ has proved immensely useful:
Berlei Barely There Cotton Rich Maternity Bra – 100% soft cotton, gives a nice natural shape and most importantly, it’s non-underwire. It also doubles as a nursing bra so you’re killing two birds with one stone here – and yes, for the mums out there, the nursing clip can definitely undo with one hand. I had to start buying new bras at around 2 months along because that’s when my boobs started growing uncontrollably and I was wearing exclusively underwire at the time which I heard isn’t the best when pregnant. These particular Berlei bras are the best – they’re SO comfortable that I can even sleep in them (I actually hate wearing bras with a passion, normally). Myer tends to have good sales on Berlei from time to time so I would pick them up then.
SRC Pregnancy Leggings – I deliberated over these for the longest time because they’re so expensive and I knew I was going to buy the Recovery shorts for after birth too (so for both it ends up being back breakingly expensive). Because SRC items are all medically approved, you can actually claim a rebate back if you have private health and your policy (usually it’s top hospital) covers items like these. I have mid-hospital only so I can’t claim anything back on these leggings.
At about 22-23 weeks along though, I started to grow out of my old Nike leggings (I had been wearing these over the bump too, which was getting increasingly uncomfy as the belly was growing). But because my body has allowed me to keep pretty active throughout this pregnancy (I do boxing, pilates and walking each week), I thought it’d be worthwhile getting the SRC ones.
I managed to snag a pair in good condition off ebay for around $80 though, which leaves me with some pennies left over for the Recovery shorts which I plan to buy brand new (just a personal preference here). I’ve been wearing the Pregnancy leggings for a couple of weeks now and love them. They’re as comfortable and practical as everyone says – they’re literally made for pregbots. From about 25 weeks onwards, I have also gotten the odd pain in the pubic region so I’ve been wearing these around the house when I’m feeling achey – the anatomical panels really help to alleviate the pain. The quality is excellent (I’ve been through my fair share of compression/workout leggings over the years) and the best part is that the waist is adjustable to fit a growing belly. Sizing can be tricky (based off measurements I was in between an XS and S) so I opted for the S and I’m currently wearing the leggings on the smallest waist adjustment. Another reason I wish I was pregnant in winter – these leggings are definitely good enough to wear out and about and not just for working out! If I had my time over, I would have purchased these leggings earlier on in my pregnancy and not bothered with jeans or any other maternity tights.
Topshop Maternity Jeans – some people swear by J Brand, but I swear by Topshop. I couldn’t justify shelling out $300+ on a pair of mat jeans I couldn’t try on in store before buying, so spending $70 at Topshop where I could try it on was perfect enough for me. I love love love them. My favourite styles are the Jamie and the Leigh, with the latter more “jegging” like and the Jamie being more thicker and more denim-like. I’ve got 3 pairs – I bought the Leigh black ones instore and once I knew my size, I hopped online to buy these Jamie ones and a mid-blue Leigh pair (Perth Topshop doesn’t have a huge range of mat jeans). Sizing-wise, I’m an 8 in these. It’s best to get these realllyyy snug as they do stretch with wear. I love that they have the usual five pocket styling and look like jeans until you see the elastic waist. Plus, I personally find under-bump jeans a lot more comfortable.
A lovely reader of mine also emailed me recently and after we got chatting about finding stylish clothes to wear during pregnancy, she introduced me to a brand called Storq from the U.S. I LOVE their style and branding and philosophy and they seem to do really good basics for us pregnant ladies. I haven’t placed an order or anything (yet!) but I thought I’d mention it here just in case any of you are in the market for chic maternity essentials. The bundles also make such a thoughtful gift idea for friends who have a little bun in the oven!
I love love love the t-shirt dresses from T by AW, they’ve been perfect for my bump.The Classic Jersey Mini Dress is my fave (I ordered an M), but the Jersey Maxi Dress would be perfect too if you’re into the more maxi lengths. I find The Outnet has the best prices so it pays to check back weekly for stock updates. Shopbop also has the Classic dress in black and charcoal (I tend to get more wear out of these colours) for reasonable prices.
As for Bassike, my favourite styles so far have been the Stripe Boxy T-Shirt Dress and the Tank Dress II to get me through the long hot Perth summer. The long sleeved styles are also great for cooler weather. Bassike is cut big by the way – I’m a XS or S at most right now in Bassike (and I’m taking a size 12-14 normally!).
Basics from Sportsgirl and Cotton On have also been high on my radar when I can’t afford to be spending $100 on a dress each week. I especially love these tank dresses from Sportsgirl – I have this grey and black one in like 3 or 4 different sizes (XS and S for more dressy occasions and M to L for more casual days). They have a really nice, worn-in cotton feel and are so so comfy – a nice departure from all the fitted bodycon stuff. I’ve been wearing them underneath leather jackets and lightweight trench coats. The black looks especially dressy if you wear them with heels at night!
Probably more suited to hot weather, but I’ve been living in Bassike organic cotton tank tops and shorts lately. My faves are the Stripe Jersey Beach Short (they run large, I’m an XS) in black and stripe. I’ve been trying to scour the David Jones sales racks for Bassike and managed to pick up things at 50% off, so I’d head there first.
Honestly, the trick here is to look anywhere and everywhere. Stick to stretchy fabrics if possible and if there’s lining underneath the dress, make sure it’ll fit your growing bump too. My favourite styles are shift dresses (they fit a bump perfectly). I also recently purchased the Belize dress by Totême and it’s the most amazing, incredible, comfortable dress for summer (that also looks great if you’re not pregnant!). It’s very resort-style but I’m going to try and make it work for evening events. I purchased an emerald one from The Outnet but I love that navy version from NAP (it’s probably a more wearable colour anyway).
I’ve also been browsing designer consignment stores in Perth and although it’s hit and miss, I’ve managed to come away with a few gorgeous bump-friendly drapey silk dresses by Willow and One Fell Swoop (perfect for pregnant bridesmaids too!). I’ve had some success at Ellery too with this gorgeous dress (but in black) which I nabbed on sale a while back at DJs. Scanlan & Theodore, Zimmermann and Sass and Bide are also great too, but if you’re like me – not so much for the bank account.
A few other random things
I’ve been wanting try this off-shoulder poplin top from Hello Parry because I’m me and don’t want to spend $400 on the Tibi version.
I’ve found Seed incredibly accommodating and perfect for us pregbots – so much elastic waist everything! Hallelujah.
My Cecilie Copenhagen two-piece set is one of my favourite things to wear right now. Elastic waist shorts and a trapeze top – couldn’t ask for much more than that. This dress and this dress are the perfect bump-friendly pieces too – they got me through the first and most of second trimester. Parlour X has a great range and if you’re in Perth, you can buy/try them on at Adam Heath in Claremont.
In terms of swimwear, I stumbled across this one at Topshop recently even though it’s been the furtherest thing from my mind. I’ve never been one to wear a bikini and I definitely wouldn’t be confident enough to be seen out in public in one now that I’ve gained a gazillion kilos so this one-piece with scalloped edging is the way to go for me this summer. I had to size up to a 14 in this though just so it stretches over my torso!
In a random spurt of DIY, I bought this Country Road sleeveless wool/cashmere longline jacket a couple of months ago and turned it into a double breasted tuxedo dress (like the one Eva Chen wore recently). As always it turned out to be a little more involved than I thought (having to buy extra buttons and guess how much I should accommodate for my bump) but the end result was good enough. I don’t know for how much longer it’ll fit me (sad face…) so I’ll try and snapchat it when I get a chance (my username is agirlnamedmish) if you’d like to have a squiz.
For everything else, I’ve been making do with whatever is left in my wardrobe that still fits. From about 14 weeks onwards (when I felt less anxious about my pregnancy going to full term) I separated all my clothes and pulled out all the items that I could still wear to make a ‘pregnancy capsule wardrobe’ of sorts. I dedicated a rack to these clothes so it was easy for me to see at a glance what options I had left and what gaps I needed filling to get me through the next nine months. I loved doing this actually as it also uncovered things I haven’t worn in a while but I could still wear when pregnant. It was also getting way too depressing trying stuff on and not being able to fit into them any more, so out of sight (and out of mind) they went.