I’d be the first to admit that even my non-pregnancy self is not exactly at the cutting edge of fashion. This is after all the girl whose hairdresser met her the other day with “Hi Carie, it must be that time of year again!” and whose primary requirement for clothing (other than that it does up and stays up) is that it’s either clean or at the very least capable of being brought close to cleanliness by a frenzied baby wipe attack while sat at the traffic lights on the way to work.
But there are a few things that three rounds in your maternity wardrobe will teach you, and so let me present my top five tips ‘true facts’ about maternity clothes.
1. Maternity jeans will always fall down. Well apart from the one week when they fit perfectly. I’ve tried under bump, on bump and over bump band styles but I’ve yet to find the elusive pair that will actually stay up. The best of the bunch had an over bump band, but unless I’m days if not hours away from giving birth there isn’t really enough bump to hold them, and I find myself doing a fabulous scruffy teenage boy impersonation. It’s not exactly the look I’m going for.
I’ve heard rumours of magical pairs with staying up power and I’m terribly envious of anyone who ever found some, but that person is not me!
Leggings are your friend, and I can’t believe it took me until I was expecting Elma to work that out – and then I promptly wore out both pairs.
This time round I have a great pair from Seraphine, but it’s only been in the last few weeks that my non maternity pair from Sainsburys have become uncomfy, such is the power of Lycra.
2. Go to Bravissimo for your nursing bras. Even those of us that would not usually consider that we featured within their size ranges. All I shall say is that it’s amazing what the human body can do when it puts its mind to the matter of milk production.
I was fitted shortly after Kitty was born and then again when she started on solids at 6 months and I’ve been wearing one or other size ever since. They’re all still incredibly comfy and haven’t even thought about falling apart.
In fact I thought they were so good, and had such great customer service that I may perhaps have nagged/hustled my sister into paying them a visit and I think she’s forgiven me, which is a testament in itself.
3. The whole idea about pinching clothes out of your husband’s wardrobe is about as much use as a chocolate teapot (as for the record is the suggestion that you just buy non-maternity clothes in a bigger size) if you are only an inch shorter than he is, and, by the end of your pregnancy, significantly more rotund.
I’ve tried pinching H’s hockey hoodie but right now I’d just stretch it horribly out of shape. I’m not quite sure what else I’m supposed to be discovering in his wardrobe, although I will admit to having raided the back of his drawers for his oldest largest most misshapen t-shirts which are now my pyjama tops with the pre-pregnancy bottoms still holding up nicely under bump. Stylish is not exactly the phrase.
4. It’s OK that the things that fit you in your first pregnancy don’t fit so well or at all in subsequent pregnancies. I’ve got tops that I wore when I was expecting Kitty that just fit all wrong now, and a few things that either wore out or just started to look a bit tired and sometimes a bit dated.
Maternity clothes seem to be about the only time that you buy pretty much everything you’re wearing from one season, and it’s funny how much fashion can change in a few years, even when you think it hasn’t.
5. And last, and probably most importantly: own at least one thing that makes you feel truly wonderful.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. They also have rules about copyright infringement I this country so ‘they’ clearly have a complex personality. But I figure that if I at least know that I know next to nothing about clothes (and therefore by an extension of Socrates, am wise about clothes!), I also know that I like the Duchess of Cambridge’s style, and I can copy her. Yes my friends, I am an unashamed copy-Kate – stick a tiara on me and we’re practically indistinguishable!
This is my ‘feels wonderful’ dress. It’s also from Seraphine (the Lavender Knot Front dress); it’s comfy, it suits running around after the girls as much as looking smart and summery at the office and I have every intention of continuing to wear it even after the Little Bump appears because it’s even nursing friendly.
Because if it can make me feel pretty and even a smidgen bit stylish, even at the end of a long hot working day, when you’ve got back ache and your toes resemble little puffy sausages, that is the dress to keep.