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How I Approached My Summer Maternity Wardrobe

Author: Lauren Coleman

I’ve been in maternity wear since ten weeks. Thanks to the joys of progesterone medication three times a day, the bloat began before I’d even had my little embryo transferred. The hair band trick over the button of my jeans lasted about a week and I spent much of my godson’s birthday party hoiking up the zip that kept falling down as a result of said button trick and so I decided to venture to H&M and check out the maternity jeans. I left James to keep watch while I sloped off to the changing rooms keen to avoid seeing anyone I knew before we’d broken the news.

While I know some folks say they don’t want to spend much on pregnancy attire as it’s for such a short time, I know I spend a significant amount of my summer wardrobe budget on stuff that only lasts one season. Yes I’m looking at you, holiday kaftans and bikinis, and one-time use wedding guest get-ups. Summer seems to be far more trend-led than winter when you can bring out the same jumpers year after year. With this in mind I thought it was acceptable to spend a couple of hundred pounds on some new threads, whilst repurposing the others.
As is always the bloody way, a lot of the stuff I’ve purchased is out of stock so instead I’ve used this post to share my approach to my summer capsule wardrobe and included a few links too. I apologise for the quality of the photos. They’re mostly off my phone and unedited but I figured you’d want to see what I was harping on about.

A Few Things

  • I started off by having a pinning session. I’m not sure if this is a help or a hindrance as my budget clearly wasn’t going to stretch to some of the things I pinned, however it did give me more of an idea of the styles I was after.
  • At about 17 weeks I tried on everything I owned in my wardrobe and vacuum packed anything that wasn’t going to see me through my pregnancy. It’s made it much easier to get ready in the morning and stopped me looking longingly at some of my favourite items which I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to wear again
  • I used some old gift vouchers I had in my purse and it felt like I was spending ‘free money.’
  • I’ve definitely taken advantage of recently pregnant friends and their maternity collections. I did have a browse of eBay but as my size varies from a 6 to a 12 dependent on what outfit I’m donning I felt it was too much of a gamble.
  • The good stuff comes in and out of stock really quickly. I set up favourites to the ‘new in’ filters on the H&M, New Look and Asos maternity websites and had a quick browse regularly so I didn’t miss anything. Don’t forget to check their sales sections too as often this is in a different location to the normal maternity area.
  • It’s irritating that most maternity collections are only available online but at least you get to try on in the comfort of your own home. I have mass ordering sessions and buy several different sizes and then return everything in one go. Keep your post office return receipts through as I had a fit when I lost about £200 worth of receipts and still hadn’t been refunded.
  • I bought a few things early on but waiting for the bump to emerge before I spent too much. I was pretty certain I would carry mostly upfront, and for me this has ruled out sizing up in non-maternity wear which I know a lot of women do. I like the dipped hem of maternity dress styles as otherwise I feel I’m flashing too much leg.
  • Even though my boobs have grown considerably I feel very bottom heavy and for me this has ruled out strappy dresses. I try to find dresses with some form of detailing around the top to balance the proportions
  • I try to only buy patterns, prints and styles that I would have bought when not pregnant. Although I have had to change my style there are certain things I know I would never go for in non-maternity so I shouldn’t start now!
  • Bottoms – All Maternity Wear

  • Luckily for me, Charlotte saved me a lot of her maternity clothes. A lot of the pieces will be great later on in my pregnancy when the weather gets cooler but her dark blue ones from H&M are super comfy (though the over the bump band can be a bit hot on warmer days) and can be dressed up or down.
  • As I’m lucky enough to work from home, on a day-to-day basis I’m living in a couple of pairs of H&M leggings. (Well I was until this heatwave struck). If I was still in the office though I know I’d have invested in a few more pairs of black trousers.
  • I love my non-maternity knee length H&M shorts that I’ve had a couple of years and so I bought the maternity version too. I miss being able to tuck tops into the waistband (due to the bump band) so instead I tuck my top into the pockets instead.
  • Dresses – Mixture of Non-Maternity and Maternity

  • On the dress front, knowing the associated bloating that can come as a result of IVF, I started to buy floatier dresses (mostly Asos, Zara and Reserved) with no waistband at the end of last summer. They have seen me through two IVF cycles up until about the 18 weeks mark of my pregnancy. There’s still some life on those without a belt detail but over the last few weeks I’ve been buying (and returning) most of the Asos maternity dress collection.
  • The black dress I’m wearing in the header was a bargain from New Look and is really thin so perfect for this weather. I like how New Look use similar fabrics to their non-maternity and have bought a few frocks from there which are now unfortuantely out of stock.
  • I know some people have got away with wearing non-maternity jersey maxi dresses but as my weight seems to have gone on my hips I feel really out of proportion in clingy jersey designs that aren’t made to accommodate a bump. Thanks to a few vouchers I had for Debenhams, I have their Red Herring maternity maxi which on me is far more flattering than the thinner counterparts and is only a tenner at the moment.
  • On Lisa’s recommendation I helped myself to the Asos Bardot dress when it had 20% off it recently and when I first found out I was pregnant I treated myself to a black scalloped midi from Asos. So much maternity wear is drab so anything with cute detailing is a winner for me.
  • James bought me the Jojo Mama Bebe Pinafore on a birthday trip to Cambridge. I’ve read all the reviews for this denim overall dress and I think it’s quite suited to my shape; vertically challenged (as it’s REALLY short) with weight on the hips. I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it later on in my pregnancy with black tights, using the buttons around the side to expand to fit the growing bump.
  • Tops – Mixture of Non-Maternity and Maternity

  • The haul from Charlotte included some great basic tops which I’ve also supplemented with several vests from Asos and Debenhams. (The quality has made Red Herring a surprising hit for me).
  • I’ve bought a couple of non-maternity simple tees from H&M with a curved hem which I’ve been wearing under blazers and denim jackets with jeans.
  • After eye-ing up my friend’s non maternity button front shirt from New Look, I bought a similar maternity version which works dressed up or down.
  • Alongside the leggings, I’m mostly wearing a maternity vest with a variety of open shirts and summery kimono type attire over the top when I’m working from home. I owned all these shirts beforehand, other than a star print shirt I picked up in the H&M sale for £12. If I was still in the office I think I’d be doing a similar look with black trousers, vests and probably blazers rather than casual denim shirts.
  • Accessories

    As mentioned in my post a couple of weeks ago, this is where I’ve tried to be a bit more braver. More colours in my bags and I’ve amped up my lip colour too to feel a bit more put together.
    My parents bought me some wedges from Office for my birthday which are very high but really comfy and have been great if I’m off to dinner or know I’ll be sitting down! I also found some super cheap wooden tan shoes in Debenhams which go with virtually everything and give a slight bit of height which I feel I’ve really needed to avoid feeling too dumpy. Other than that I’m in last years sliders and flip flops or my trusty converse.
    I’ve recently started swimming and must say I have to rate George at Asda for their swimwear. I bought a paisley number for 14 quid last week and while I don’t feel super glam, it has open back detailing which is really sweet.

    Apologies for the epic length of the post. Who knew I had so much to say about maternity wear? If you’re interested in what I’m sporting in the header, the pic at 16 weeks is last year’s Asos and at 18 weeks in last year’s Zara. I’m wearing an old kimono from River Island and this silky camisole top from George in the last pic. All the other produts are linked below.

    If anyone else is pregnant during the summer months what are you must-buys?

    SHOP THE STYLE
    • Debenhams Maxi Dress
      Debenhams Maxi Dress
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    • Asos Bardot Dress
      Asos Bardot Dress
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    • H&M Slub Tee
      H&M Slub Tee
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    • New Look Tie Maternity Dress
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    • Topshop Leigh Jeans
      Topshop Leigh Jeans
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    • George Swimming Costume
      George Swimming Costume
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    • Office Wedges
      Office Wedges
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    • Jojo Maman Bebe Dungaree Dress
      Jojo Maman Bebe Dungaree Dress
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    28 thoughts on “How I Approached My Summer Maternity Wardrobe

    1. I don’t think eBay should be ruled out, you don’t need to spend hundreds to get a fab maternity wardrobe. I bought quite a few things from eBay in 3 categories:
      1) repeat items which I had bought full price & liked (H&M trousers in a different shade for less than half the original price)
      2) new maternity leggings for £4 a pop – amazingly lasted really well!
      3) occasion dresses – I got a beautiful topshop dress for a wedding for next to nothing and the one I bought which didn’t fit, I managed to sell on for double what I paid for it.
      One thing I wish I had actually spent more on was nursing bras as I only bought a couple then ended up breastfeeding for 2.5 years, haha!
      You look much nicer and more pulled-together than I did during my pregnancy though. The last 2 months were a party of melasma & swollen ankles…..

      1. I buy lots on eBay usually but I have to say I’ve never bought clothing. Very good point on buying repeat items though as by that point I would know what size I needed!

    2. I’m 7 months pregnant in this heat, with a big(!) bump and I have to say, I’ve just about given up. It’s impossible. I’ve never seen any maternity wear that is in the least inspiring but also affordable. I just can’t justify the cost for myself. My office had a dress down day last week. I was almost tempted to rock up in my PJs!

      I do agree with you on the George at Asda swimming costumes though. I bought two that have served me well! The best was just plain black but with a pretty frill on the bust.

      I think I’m just feeling grumpy and knowing I am not going to be back in my normal clothes any time soon after the birth, plus needing equally drab nursing tops for the foreseeable is just depressing!

      1. Oh Victoria, this heat is so bloody tricky isn’t it? I don’t reckon I could even rock the PJs – I’m in James’ boxers and tops as nothing fits!

      2. Victoria, with 3 and a bit weeks to go I am feeling your pain! I’m recycling the same few outfits over and over again.
        But, don’t be depressed at the postpartum future, especially for nursing. I’ve never bought a ‘nursing top’ in my life, I’ve never liked them and in the year I fed Ethan I found that most regular tops were totally fine for feeding. Esp if you wear a vest top underneath… pull up the pretty top and pull down the vest top and you’re golden.

      3. I’m 7 months also and feel your pain about the worry about nursing tops…someone mentioned to me a group on Facebook called ‘can I breastfeed in it’ which helps out with recommendations for clothes which are good for breastfeeding! Worth a look…

    3. I’ve bought some shorts (and jeans) from seraphine. Not cheap but the bump band is much cooler than h&m ones and they are super comfy.

      My bump is also all upfront and I have a few of their dresses (mostly found in the sale) which I love for work wear.

      You look very glam Lauren, I’m definitely not looking that put together in this heat at 34weeks

      1. Aw thanks Louise. I imagine dressing in the second trimester is a lot easier than the third though.
        H&M bump bands are so thick aren’t they?!
        Best of luck with the final stretch x

    4. you have to ebay! I bought so much rubbish the first time round and looked awful. Second time I bought a handful of seraphine or isabella oliver basics and was a total game changer. H&M maternity, dresses in particular, are double the price of the usual stock and are so cheap and flimsy. when you get bigger you really appreciate the quality of the higher end clothes but can be snapped up at a fraction of the price. You ca usually pick up an £80 dress for around £16. If it doesn’t fit just re-sell. is a great way to get a capsule wardrobe and add some high streets bit as above. I never use ebay for anything but for maternity was truly a lifesaver. you have reminded me i need to go and list all my old mat wear now! You’re looking fab xx

      1. Thanks Rachel, yes maybe I need to pluck up the courage for an ebay sesh. You’re quite right that I could just resell if they don’t fit.

      2. Totally agree with this mentality, I ended up buying cheap bits and some non maternity stuff to tide me over at 29 weeks when my bump appeared properly, then had to re-buy at about 34 weeks when everything seemed to expand crazily, good job I did as I still had eight weeks to go then! I must have ended up spending hundreds and don’t really have a great maternity wardrobe to show for it, the things I love and would use again are higher quality basics in cool fabrics. I salute all the mamas-to-be who are pregnant through this heat, it really isn’t easy and you are doing a fab job just getting yourself up, dressed and showered in the morning never mind also thinking about wardrobe choices in this weather! Xx

    5. Lauren you look super gorgeous!! Really and truly!! If we are lucky enough to become pregnant with a second baby I will definitely come back to this post!!

      Just wondering if anyone has done IVF with a demanding but gorgeous 2 year old in their life, if yes how did you do it?! We would love to grow our family but don’t want the process to effect our little one. X

      1. Thanks so much Sarah.
        Sending you all the luck in the world if you go for another round x

    6. I am 7 months and I feel like I am moving into the second stage of bumpage!! A lot of the things I was wearing in the beginning are now getting uncomfortable. I bought 5/6 floaty dresses with waist tie from Asos and New Look and rotate those for work. In the beginning I lived in oversized shirts, leggings and maternity jeans and tshirts.

      Now its warm and I am bigger I am loving dresses! I am carrying all up front so am loving bodycon style tshirt dresses (ones from primark are great). I just bought a couple of non-maternity dresses which I think will see me through the last couple of months now. Including this one which is so comfortable and flattering and I didn’t even need to size up, I want every colour:

      https://www.riverisland.com/p/green-floral-frill-bardot-maxi-dress-721014

      Overall I have been loving dressing the bump and really enjoy having a simple capsule wardrobe. The only time I have really struggled was finding a dress for a wedding, oh the occasionwear is AWFUL!!

      Thanks for sharing Lauren xx

      1. I saw Sarah from We Are Twinset wearing that River Island dress. It’s gorgeous and such a good price.
        Agree occasionwear is tricky. The only wedding I’m a day guest at this year I’m actually a bridesmaid! I’ll be 30 weeks so I’m a bit nervous about trying the frock on when it comes in.

    7. You look great Lauren. I hope you’re coping okay in this heat. I’m 15 week’s post partum and really struggling with my nursing wardrobe. People have said to me that normal tops work with a vest underneath, but I find this too much of a faff and in Amy case it’s too hot to wear multiple layers. My current wardrobe consists of two stretchy/button down normal dresses and three pairs of summer trousers which I wear with H&M nursing t-shirts. If anyone has any nursing wardrobe suggestions I’d be very grateful. Maybe a feature on it? H&M are okay for nursing t-shirts but i don’t rate their other nursing stuff.

      1. Hi Nichola
        H&M do a good range of basics tshirts (they have a mini fake pocket on) which are about 8 quid. They are quite a loose fit so quite easy to just pull up one side when feeding without revealing too much. I’m living in them at the moment!

    8. I found with my last pregnancy towards the end I wore a lot of H&M black jeggins or ASOS mamalicious jeans with a vest and my (non mat) shirts left open. I didn’t want to buy too much as it is defo my last time, but they served me well I dressed them up with boots and down with trainers. This was early spring last year but would work well for autumn. I did struggle with the style of mat clothes many did just not seen me at all, especially the occasion wear. I tried to stick to a capsule wardrobe and be clever with my accessories. A fitted black dress is a must! 😊 Good luck with the rest of the pregnancy. Xx

    9. Have you seen ‘the milky tee’? A fantastic you tuber set up her own company making breastfeeding tshirt with cool slogans (and plain) with zips down the side. Just read a great article on the Daily Mail (soz) about what a success her business has been.

    10. I’m 18 weeks with twins (!) and as it’s my second pregnancy I’ve popped out far faster than last time. I bought this dress from Oliver Bonas https://www.oliverbonas.com/fashion/category/dresses/68325#selection=size:12__365;color:Orange__65 in a size up from my normal size and because it’s in a very loose A-line cut and has elastic across the back neck seam, I think it will fit for another couple of months and when (if?) the summer heat dies down it will work with leggings and a long sleeved tee underneath. When I saw it on the rack I thought it tied at the front and so that’s how I’ve been wearing it, which is hard to visualise from the website pictures probably – but it’s absolutely brilliant. I wish they did it in other colours! I’d second ebay, but then I’ve bought stuff there this time round as I knew what worked last time and what didn’t… As for nursing bras, I swear by Heidi Klum (the range used to be Elle McPherson’s and they’ve just changed rep but the design is exactly the same) so comfy and still pretty… proper investments. I bought two last time and they still look new.

      1. Also, Tesco wrap dresses (they have a yellow floral and a black floral at the moment) don’t seem to vary much across the shoulders and I have bought two of them, again in a size up, that should last next summer too. Super annoying that they don’t sell online anymore but if you live near a big store they’re worth checking out.

    11. Just wanted to say you look fabulous Lauren!! I looked horrendous during my first pregnancy so will definitely bear this in mind should we be so lucky to have another baba!! Good luck xx

    12. Lauren you look super gorgeous. I am newly married and me and my husband thinking about our first baby. If we are lucky enough to become pregnant with my first baby I will definitely come back to this post. Happy pregnancy Lauren.

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