Is a muumuu a mama’s only option? Maternity style or what passes for it.

As the season has at least attempted to try and change, (and by that I mean I have worn sandals twice in the last week, and as far as today’s weather is concerned, I’m just going to pretend it’s not happening), and that today marks my transition into my third trimester, (HELLO 26 WEEKS), I thought that it would be apt to do a post on maternity clothes.

The words themselves, to me, conjure up images of the trapeze dresses of the 1950s, floaty kaftans and large hats of the 70s and the big dresses (and hair) of the 80s, (sorry mum), however, on the whole, the 2010s aren’t proving anywhere near as glamorous. 

I can still just about see my feet

I’ve heard it before, “I’ve never felt more beautiful than when I was pregnant”, maybe you feel/felt the same, and to you lovely ladies I say, “Godspeed! May you never know the troubles of your tall, broad-shouldered, chubby sisters” especially during pregnancy.

This would also apply to any body shape, of course, I’m not monopolising the ‘i look like crap corner’ with my own personal brand of  rubenesque  rugby-esque figure. Put it this way, if you had trouble dressing your body shape before you got up the duff, heaven help you now.

Throughout peacetime, the brands which you may consider to be fashionable and stylish, turn on you like a snake, that shop you always wandered into where you knew you were going to find at least one thing that you’d like…not any more ladies! It’s as if as soon you’re harbouring a small human, the fashion gods declare war on you, your growing midsection and those new-found 40Es and you’re left scrambling in a sea of smocked tunics and leggings punctuated by the odd empire line dress and hilarious HANDS OFF THE BUMP t-shirt. (They are hilarious though aren’t they? I mean, they’re so witty and cute….>_>)

I guess you could say my aspiring style, floats somewhere in-between a 3 year olds dressing up box and Gwen Stefani circa 1999, usually ending up somewhere around 6 on the manic pixie dream girl scale.

(Let it be known, with the mention of the commonly disliked MPDG comparison, the closest I’ve come to the Xbox is using it to watch 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and I’m really not much of a nerd at all, about anything, except maybe  buggies. After months of furious Googling, try me on the benefits of a three-wheeled chassis on 15th century cobbled streets or what size buggy will fit in a Toyota Aygo and we could while a way an afternoon, my friend.)

It seemed like there was nothing out there for me, and that was hard, I like to dress up and just because I’m having a baby doesn’t meant I don’t want to still have a sense of style, despite what Dorothy Perkins Maternity range may infer. Quite frankly I felt like crap and wanted to look nice.

Essentially, the high street brands where I would usually shop had closed their metaphoric doors on me for now.

Being a size 16 prior to pregnancy and then only being able to stomach carbs for the first 4 months of it, plus the prospect of a heavily pregnant summer means I’m on the size 18 of things. Coupled with my long torso which means that all dresses in the world ever are basically empire line anyway and sit about 3-4 inches shorter on the leg than they should, has made for some fun and games in the already very diluted pool of maternity fashions.

With that in mind, I headed to the internet and the high street to find out that literally NO ONE stocks their maternity lines in store, with the exception of a handful of shops that you need to travel miles to, and even once there, they appear to only stock half of their diminutive range physically in store.

After many tears and tantrums, of which Tom can attest to, especially after a particularly epic breakdown which involved me, trembling chinned and stamping my feet in just my bra and pants one Saturday morning, these are my top 5 places to find maternity clothes that didn’t make me feel like my only option was a muumuu:

1) eBay
Second hand is definitely the way to go. Cheap and usually in great condition from high street maternity lines, the good thing is that you’ve usually got a range of seasons up for sale so there’s a lot of choice.

2) ASOS
ASOS surprised me massively, having never been a particular fan pre pregnancy, their maternity range is amazing. Their clothes look like normal people clothes that are cut for normal people who want to look nice but just happen to have shoved a beachball under their top. They are also quite a fan of the midi length which is great news over here at Closet Watermelon, as it means that it’s knee-length and I won’t flash my granny knickers unlike dresses from….

3) New Look
My gripe with New Look isn’t their fault, their maternity range is by far one of the most inclusive and diverse out there in terms of high street stores, but due to the aforementioned long torso all their pretty dresses skim my arse. Their jeans and tops however are cheap as chips and actually look quite nice… I just avoid the slogan t-shirts.

4) Lindy Bop
Now this is a style thing for me, and won’t appeal to everyone but I am a big fan of pretty full skirted 50s dresses. Lindy Bop do this style with aplomb and at fantastic value. Although not maternity, their skirts are so full and sizing generous that they easily accommodate a growing baba. In fact I’ve probably felt the most ‘me’ in these dresses thus far.

5) Blooming Marvellous @ Mothercare
Surprisingly on trend, with good staples like jeans and maxi dresses, not as dowdy as I originally thought. Their stuff does tend to come up slightly on the small side (on me), but the jeans I got from there are the comfiest ever. In fact I will probably continue to buy maternity jeans for the rest of my life because…well if you’ve ever seen that episode of Friends with Joey’s Thanksgiving Pants, that’s why.

A few other tips:

Size up on tights, maternity tights are a complete waste of money, no matter where I’ve bought them, they just don’t fit properly, so I gave up and now buy mine from Evans, as i’m now out of the range of sizing up in M&S.

Bras. Asda. Actually I’ve noticed them in Sainsbury’s too, they’re called comfort bras and look somewhere in between a sports bra and a crop top. They won’t win any style awards, but for sleeping in and if you’re not wearing anything particularly form-fitting, they’re on the button at around £6 each.

Shoes. I’m at a loss here, I’m a size 8 anyway, so finding bigger shoes is already a nightmare. None of my shoes fit, with the exception of my converse and saltwater sandals. Those babies are going to take a beating this summer.

This was the sort of information I was looking for when I first found out I was pregnant and it felt like I was doomed to a summer of smocks, so if this post points even one pregnant lady in the right direction to not feeling like a sack of potatoes then my job here is done.

I may start doing a ‘Pregnancy Style’ type post once a week or so, I’m not very good at getting pictures of myself, but I’ll try, as I probably should at last start documenting my bump as it slowly eclipses the sun.

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6 thoughts on “Is a muumuu a mama’s only option? Maternity style or what passes for it.

  1. Thank you! I’ve been looking for a post like this as I’m only 5 and a bit weeks along (and paranoid it will never stick) but already seem to be busting out of clothes a bit.

    I’m different from you though as I am short! So the midi length stuff from ASOS is basically ankle length for me! (I ordered a load of things before I found out I was pregnant… Now I know their midi length is not a flattering length for me.) I’m checking out your recommendations that were too short! 🙂

    If you love 50s style dresses you should check out Hell Bunny. I am not usually a fan of 50s stuff (being ethnic I always think it challenges my sense of authenticity) but I did cave and buy an awesome sailor dress from there. And at the cheaper end of the scale, there is a brand on Amazon where I got a really cheap and nice 50s rose dress for next to nothing. I think it’s called Black Butterfly.

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    1. Thanks Nara, if you’re short I would definitely check out New Look or Red Herring @ Debenhams or Jojo Maman Bebe, who I found came up particularly bum skimming on me!. I am familiar with Hell Bunny and have owned a few of their pieces in the past…Lindy Bop do a shorter length in a couple of their ‘Audrey’ style if you want to check them out. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the post and best of luck with your pregnancy xo

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      1. Thank you! At the moment I’m sticking with ASOS (simply because it’s easy to return stuff). I also found a good looking French site called Envie de Fraises which you might like! Their stuff didn’t seem too bad price wise. I’m just not sure about ordering anything from overseas until I’m about 6 months or something and more sure that the baby will stick! I’ve heard of Lindy Bob so will check them out. And will probably pop to New Look at some point as I could do with something easily accessible. (The slogan t shirts though… really!)

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  2. Urgh, I know, they’re the worst. La Redoute also have quite a good Maternity range, and I like their stuff as it’s quite classy. I waited until I was about 10/11 weeks before I bought anything, but I didn’t find out I was pregnant until I was 7 weeks. I truly hope everything goes well for you, positive thoughts coming your way ❤ xo

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