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What Not To Buy When You're Shopping For Maternity Clothes

Why Are Maternity Clothes So Awful?

Last time I was pregnant, I quite enjoyed buying maternity clothes. They may have only come in black, white, navy and grey (the anti-rainbow; nothing there to flatter pale skin) but at least I could order anything from ASOS and know that it was going to fit me - this was a revelation after years of trying to dress a long torso and hips two sizes wider than my waist.

So I want to know what on earth has happened in the last three years?!

Because trying to find maternity clothes which both fit and are fit for the purpose of cladding a pregnant body seems nigh on impossible now.

Here's what you'll find in the maternity ranges at the moment - and, conveniently, it's identical to my list of What Not To Wear When You're Expecting:

Anything You Can't Wear With A Bra
Anything: strapless; backless; with spindly spaghetti straps; with tantalisingly placed see-through panels; which plunges to your navel. You can't cart third trimester boobs around without a bra. Those of us who started off with larger chests will have bra straps the width of a teabag; those who started off smaller will still be contending with please-don't-jiggle-me growing pains; and let's not get started on the possibility of very early leakage.

Anything Which Knots At The Back
Because your back is under enough pressure, what with the big bump it's now supporting, without you wearing clothes which prevent you from sinking back into your chair.

Anything Which Opens At The Front
Wrap dresses seem so practical, right? Because you can wear them for breastfeeding, right? Except that you've now got a huge bump sticking out the front, pushing the fabric apart.

Anything So Trendy It Can't Be Worn Next Season
Because you're either going to have another baby - in which case, you want to get another pregnancy's worth of wear out of these clothes - or you're not going to have another baby - in which case, you want to claw back some money by flogging the lot on eBay.

Anything Which Makes You Feel Self Conscious When You're NOT Pregnant
Because you should be loving your pregnant body (you're growing a whole new human being! you're amazing!), not wondering if that high necked dress makes you look like a Christmas tree bauble.

Anything Made Of A Fabric Which Makes You Sweat
I mean: seriously.

Jeans With A Solid Ridge of Denim Right Across Your Bladder
How much can one woman pee?

Skinny Jeans
Or any trousers which are made of fabric with no give to it. Because, even if you escape the puffy evening calves, you are supposed to get larger in pregnancy - don't wear clothes which turn being dressed into a battle against your own body.

Anything Which Needs Ironed
Unless you've got somebody around who just loves to do that for you.

And, If You're Hoping To Breastfeed, Anything Which Doesn't Give Access To Your Boobs
You won't be back into your pre-pregnancy clothes the morning after the birth; you will still be able to wear your maternity clothes. So it's good financial sense to make sure you can wear them while you're feeding your baby.

Building a capsule maternity wardrobe last time around wasn't too difficult. Yes, I had to send about 50% of my purchases back because they turned out to be either itchy or translucent, but at least the clothes looked okay and fitted fine.

This time around, maternity clothes seem to come in two categories: HR department and nightclub. Where are the comfy jeans, the Breton tops and the flattering dresses?

And why, oh why, did I let myself believe that I was so sick of the six outfits I wore on rotation last time that it would be a better idea to flog them on eBay than to keep them to wear again this time?! I'd much rather be wearing the pink flowery jersey dress right now than scrolling through page after page of polyester boob tubes.

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