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.
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?
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