Now that the heatwave has subsided and my hot-weather wardrobe of frozen damp towels fashioned into a rather fetching toga has given way to actual clothes, I thought it might be useful for anyone else out there who is pregnant and trying to get dressed for work to see what I've been wearing.
This is my first baby, and I'm clueless about literally every facet of this process—from WTF is the Babyzen Yoyo everyone keeps going on about right now to what to wear on a day-to-day basis. Also, no one ever tells you about the extreme bloat that sets in almost instantaneously. Everything blew up—from my boobs (they inflated overnight from a 30H to a 34G) to my nose.
It was only a few weeks ago that I genuinely started to look pregnant rather than like I'd been on the pork pies (which, incidentally, I really have), and dressing has actually become easier since. And in the beginning, you try to navigate this unfamiliar body without being able to fully embrace looking or feeling pregnant.
I've had to adapt from being someone who wears everything from the '70s with nipped-in or belted silhouettes (items generally fitted around the hips and sitting close to my hourglass figure) to someone who favours comfort, stretch and—perhaps the hardest transition of them all—sensible flat shoes.
What I'm Wearing: Stine Goya Joel Dress (£160); Topshop sandals (on the rare occasion, I'll wear heels for an event)
I just can't do heels anymore (you're advised not to anyway, as it can put your body out of alignment). In addition, my calves, ankles and feet are swelling up a treat each day: By 7 p.m., my legs are like two giant sausages, desperate to burst out of my now-adored Teva sandals. But one has to have a sense of humour about these things, right?
As I already own a ridiculous amount of clothes (the majority of which are now vacuum-packed into bags under my bed, because there's nothing more annoying that items you can't fit into goading you every morning), I've also been reluctant to buy new pieces, particularly those that will only last during this period. So anything fresh that has been purchased has longevity in mind. Maybe one day some of these looser dresses can be reintroduced to the waist-belt collection that's gathering dust or be given a new lease of life with some high-heeled boots come autumn/winter.
Now 30 weeks into this game, I've discovered a few handy tips and tricks that I hope might help anyone who, like me, tends to favour dresses and smart looks over jeans and casual getups of leggings and longer-line tunics. (I haven't stepped anywhere near maternity denim and don't intend to.)
I'm partial to midi dresses with long sleeves anyway, so the fact that there are quite a few available across the high street is really helpful. This twisted, rust-coloured version is from ASOS Maternity, but it's not so big at the front that I couldn't wear it again later on down the line. I'm 5'1'' and already curvy, so jumping into gigantic, voluminous silhouettes will result in me looking like a blob. That means I'm tending to opt for body-con, but I can totally understand why anyone would want to default to sack dresses or loose-fitting dungarees for the pure comfort factor. Gold hoops and a matching necklace have been trusty companions right from the start of my pregnancy.
When we documented the wardrobe of shoe guru Natalia Barbieri, she was in her third trimester and told me all about how she'd come to rely on slip skirts with knotted shirts. I secretly squirrelled that information away for when I'd need it, and it's true: This combination has come in very handy. If you're tall, I'm sure you'd look cracking in a longer, open kind of shirt styling, but as I'm petite and still trying to have some semblance of a waist, I've been knotting and shortening instead. In addition, I've noticed that tucking blouses/shirts into slip skirts when you have a bump creates a lot of bunching underneath the high-shine satin, which can look a bit scruffy.
I bought this stretchy ribbed wrap dress back in April after seeing our columnist Monikh looking so good in it. I knew it would be flexible enough size-wise to last out through my nine months and still be wearable, classic and useful on the other side. As with almost all of the outfits I wear now, I've come to terms with flat shoes and embracing a more comfortable way of life—I've bought two pairs of these chunky-soled Tevas, as well as a grey pair for when black feels too heavy. On my travels, I've discovered that Amazon tends to have the biggest selection of colours and styles.
Co-ords always feel like an outfit with more oomph, but there was something about this brown beach set from Free People that really resonated with me. I liked that it was a long lightweight cardigan over a tube dress so that you have a flexible option for days where the weather is as changeable as your body temperature. Again, hopefully, I won't stretch this out so much that it becomes saggy in a few months' time—I'd really like to wear it again next summer.
Where my personal taste usually leans towards the '70s, I've had to embrace the '90s instead. Layering tees under slip dresses or sleeveless dresses has been essential, as my non-wired maternity bras are so big and visible they practically deserve their own post code. Along with stepping into platform-soled sandals like these (I couldn't find the Tevas in white that I originally wanted), I'm exploring unchartered territory every day!