This post is a reblog from the Parent Social, which is run by Francesca De Franco, a mummy of three (including twins!) and blogger for Talk Mum as well as a PR guru! You can find Fran on Twitter and on her Facebook page too.

Maternity fashion can be quite a minefield. Firstly there are some women that can’t wait to show off their bump, and others who will – for various reasons – try to conceal their bump for as long as possible.

Whichever camp you belong to, unless you have A LOT of disposable income, you probably don’t want to buy an entire new wardrobe that is only going to last you eight months; tops.

With this in mind, my first pieces of advice would therefore be to not buy maternity clothes too early in your pregnancy, and to accept any second hand items that kindly friends might offer. Also, think about buying things that will work in the month or so after you’ve given birth. Sadly, not everyone pings back to their original size as they leave the hospital, so you’ll need things that bridge that gap and don’t make you still look pregnant. There’s some advice later in this article about items that do just that.

Natalie Portman shows off her bump in style.

Natalie Portman shows off her bump in style.

Adapting your existing wardrobe

Even if you do want to show off your bump, it doesn’t mean you have to buy maternity items from the word go (trust me, you will thank me for this advice as you get to the latter stages of your pregnancy and you have no choice but to make extra purchases!).

First off, for many people, their usual leggings or thick tights with baggier jumpers or dresses over the top work great (or tighter jumpers and tops if you want to accentuate your bump!) for a big chunk of the pregnancy. Also in the early stages, you can certainly get away with undoing the top button of your jeans and pairing with a top that skims over.  Although I didn’t personally buy one, I received many reports from friends that bump bands worked well at this stage too and helped extend the shelf-life of their existing clothes.

Also think about whether your partner has anything in their wardrobe that might work; get creative.

However, there will be a point where you’ve been as creative as you can be with your existing wardrobe and you have to splash some cash. Therefore it pays to know what are the must haves and what are the waste-of-money items.

The essentials

Maternity leggings and thick maternity tights

Overwhelmingly voted the best buy amongst all my mummy friends, these can be worn with an array of different dresses, tunics, longer tops and jumpers. I favoured the over the bump leggings, and these saw me through a full-term twin pregnancy – ie my bump was massive!

M&S do good maternity tights (and bras) .

  • Long strappy tops

Again, extremely versatile and popular with everyone I spoke to.  They are great for layering, which means they work whatever the season. They are a great foundation piece, which work great on their own when it’s hot (or you are feeling hot), but you can chuck on a jumper or cardigan if you get cold, and also smarten up with your existing shirts and jackets if you leave them undone. They are also great for breastfeeding once baby is born. This will save you a lot of money, as specific breastfeeding tops are very expensive. I also found them much more of a faff than a simple vest top.

  • Two smarter tops

If you work somewhere, where you need to be dressed smartly, you will need a couple of smarter tops. However, try and be savvy. Can you get something that works for the office, but can be dressed up and be suitable for going out in the evening?

  • Jeans

I  invested in several pairs of jeans and I wasn’t alone. I got so much wear out of them and could dress them up or down  with cheaper tops. I also bought a dark pair, which I could get away with in the office with a smarter top/shirt/jacket. Jeans were certainly one of my maternity staples and passed a certain stage of pregnancy (especially my twin pregnancy) there was nothing I could do with my old jeans to make them fit!

  • Pair of trousers

A  black pair is probably essential if you need to be smart for work; and they also make a good going out option. If you are not fussed about them for going out and don’t need them for work, then a pair of cords or cotton trousers are good options.

  • Two dresses

Maternity  dresses tend to be nice and comfy and even more so if they are made of jersey material. This is also a great material as it seldom needs ironing. Your dress choice will be – to some extent – dictated by the season. Maxi dresses are a good summer choice. Wrap dresses are really versatile and can be worn over leggings and are easy to dress up if required.

  • Accessories

Accessories  are your best friends. A striking necklace or vivid scarf can totally transform an outfit and take something from daywear to eveningwear. The ability to modify an outfit in this way will  help you cut back on buying too many items of clothing. Also, with accessories you also have the advantage that they can be used post-pregnancy.

The non-essentials – maybe…

Are you a hot or a cold person? I usually feel too hot and, as is the case for many women during pregnancy, I spent most of the time feeling like a radiator.  For me, a maternity coat was a waste of money despite being heavily pregnant during big cold snaps in winter. I personally found that large cardigans, shawls and ponchos kept me plenty warm enough. That said, one of my friends who gave birth in June (and therefore was barely showing in the preceding winter months) listed a maternity coat as one of her essentials. She always feels the cold, so horses for courses!

I was a pre-pregnancy size 6, but put on almost three stone during my twin pregnancy. However, I was still able to wear my size 6, long, belted cardigan – minus the belt – until I popped.

I bought a maternity jumper and didn’t find it too useful. Most of my straw poll of mums agreed. In the earlier stages, bigger non-maternity jumpers do the job and later on cardigans are the more versatile option.

Here are some good brands which sell maternity clothes.

Next

– New look

– GAP

– H&M

– JoJo Maman Bebe

– ASOS (online)

– TopShop

What are your top tips for maternity fashion? You can let us know through Twitter, Facebook or our Forum!

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About Author

Kimberly Bond is the Managing Director and founder of Visit from the Stork CIC. Although not a mum, she is passionate about ensuring that young parents have the right information at the time they need it and giving them engaging content through the website and magazine. Kimberly is a first class honours Journalism graduate from Staffordshire University.

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