11 May 2018

What should you buy for your maternity wardrobe?

After two pregnancies I'd like to think I've got maternity wear down to a fine art. I've got a fair few tips and ideas on what to buy for maternity wear, and what kind of clothing is most useful for pregnancy and post-pregnancy. Based on my own experiences of what I've actually used and loved, here are my top tips on what to consider when shopping for your changing figure in pregnancy!

There are a couple of affiliate links in the post, and I have also reviewed a couple of maternity-relevant items new to me - Panache nursing lingerie and Want That Trend maternity dresses.

maternity wear tips


How much might you spend?

On one hand, you might not want to spend too much money on items that you wear only a limited time. On the other hand, it is well worth investing in some pieces, and preferably choosing items you can use for after pregnancy as well. Your body will (almost 100%) NOT bounce back straight after pregnancy. For example, while I lost weight fairly quickly after my first pregnancy, my pelvic bones took a couple of months to settle back into their previous shape before I could get back to my pre-pregnancy jeans. 

I personally bought many of my items from high street shops and paid special attention at sales to get good deals. I bought most items from H&M and Gap, as they are in my style and have a good selection of maternity wear. Gap in particular has a great selection of maternity jeans. As I work(ed) in an office I needed a fair bit of casual smart outfits and ended up  spent about £200 to £300 on an extensive wardrobe that got me through both weekdays and weekends. Additionally, if you consider suitability for nursing when buying dresses and tops, you will get much more use out of them over long-run.

Select natural fabrics as much as possible

Think breathable and natural - it's quite common that when pregnant, after giving birth and when breastfeeding your hormones are so out of whack you get very hot and bothered. Polyester and other man-made fabrics can easily make you hot and sweaty. Much better to choose cotton, linen and viscose in a slightly stretchy fabric.


loose and tight maternity wear top


Baggy and loose vs tight on the tummy

At the beginning of pregnancy, when you mostly look like you've had a few too many pies, slightly looser and empire-lined tops work well. These can also be very comfortable at the very last stages of pregnancy when your belly might start to be achy. But once your tummy starts to look like a proper pregnancy belly, tighter tops look much nicer as they don't add any volume to your upper body. They accentuate the pregnancy belly and you might as well enjoy the brief time where you don't need to be self-conscious at all about your tummy! I would prioritise buying figure-hugging tops and get just a couple loose ones for those awkward days.  

Hacks and items for creating a long-lasting pregnancy wardrobe

One of the most useful items I bought were long strappy tanktops. You can get these fairly cheap from high street shops (like H&M). During pregnancy, slip them underneath your pre-pregnancy tops that are getting slightly too short with ever-expanding belly or pair them with a nice blazer or cardigan for the office. After pregnancy, continue using them as nursing tops, either by themselves or slip them under normal tops to provide tummy coverage.

When choosing tops and dresses, consider their suitability for nursing. I find wrap tops, button-ups, zip-ups and deep and loose v-necks can work well after pregnancy as well for nursing.

Some items can be used to extend the life of your pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Bra extenders are amazing if you gain weight or bloat during your pregnancy - I used these a lot in my first pregnancy. Belly bands and belly belts are a bit of an opinion-divider. Some people find them helpful - personally I thought they were a bit faffy and would slip down easily. I preferred to go straight into maternity wear once my normal trousers started to be too tight.

maternity wear dresses - maxi and midi


Invest in a couple of dresses

My absolute favourite maternity wear are dresses. They are easy to wear, and look great while pregnant. They work in an office and during the weekend, and can be dressed up or down. There are lots of different styles but I find maxi-dresses especially nice with a pregnancy belly.

I was sent two dresses by Want That Trend from their Katie Piper maternity collection for a review. Now, I'm a big fan of Katie and have previously interviewed her for my blog, and was keen to see what her collection was like. (Oh yes, and if you fancy 10% off Want That Trend site - use the discount code WAVETOMUMMY10). 


katie piper maternity wear dresses


I really liked the designs, however, many were polyester-based so not something I would choose. I got the Nadine skater dress and  Geometric tile detail wrap dress as I loved the look of them and they were made from viscose (cellulose-based fabric). I have got a lot of compliments wearing them, and especially the Geometric wrap dress which I love. The wrap dress is a great figure-hugging fit, and looks fab in an office.

As for quality, I found the dresses to be very short. I am 5'7 or 5'8 and found the dresses were a tad too short to be comfortable, especially the skater dress which can easily ride up. Katie is 5'2 and while they sit nicely on her, I reckon you could be max 5'5 to feel comfortable in them. The dresses have been through a few washes and seem to be holding their colour and condition well. However, as viscose is thinner and less durable than cotton, I don't expect these to last longer than the pregnancy and some of the maternity period.

Get your nursing bra bought as close to delivery as possible

It's usually recommended that you go and get yourself measured again at the very last stages of your pregnancy before buying nursing bras. I personally found I stayed the same size during pregnancy, but some women do change cup/band sizes. Once the milk comes in, the breast size might change again, so usually non-wired bras are recommended to accommodate small fluctuations, but there are some under-wired nursing bras as well if you prefer them.

panache eleanor nursing bra


I was sent three nursing bras by Panache for a review. I found them to be absolutely true to size - I got the same as I wear currently and they fit perfectly. I've written about how to find the best bras for bigger busts previously, and Panache is definitely one that offers a range of sizes suitable for all figures. I measure at GG and Panache goes up to J!

I liked that Panache had an underwired cup for the Eleanor nursing bra. While you have to be more careful with underwired cups when nursing and make sure they fit perfectly, they are far more comfortable fit for bigger busts. Non-wired cups are good to buy as well as your breasts may get sore and they accommodate fluctuations in size better. I was also sent Sophie non-wired nursing bra, in both black and white. They are so pretty with their vintage lace design, and I loved that you could get matching knickers!

I found the bands on all the Panache nursing lingerie to be fairly stretchy, so I believe they will feel comfortable even if bloating a bit after pregnancy and while nursing. there was a good amount of settings too. The clip system worked well when tested and the bras fit true to size. The bras felt comfortable and supportive on and I'm looking forward to using them during nursing.


panache sophie nursing bra and shorts in black and white


In summary

As a conclusion I would say it is OK to spend a fair bit of cash on maternity wear, as you are likely to use it post-pregnancy and while nursing. Best fabric materials are natural and breathable fabrics as pregnancy can make you sweaty sometimes. It is good to think of ways to extend the usage of items, such as using bra extenders, long tank tops and making sure tops and dresses are suitable for nursing as well. Tight tops and dresses look fabulous with a pregnancy belly, so I always prioritised those.


What tips would you have for maternity wear?





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