Monday, 28 February 2011

Maternity shopping revelations

I promised that just because I’m pregnant, I wouldn’t turn Edna into a maternity clothing blog...which I hope I’ve stuck to! But, over the last few months I’ve entered a whole new world of shopping and wanted to share my experiences so far.

I knew from general grumblings in the past from pregnant friends that maternity wear can be fraught with fashion frumpery and shopping can become a depressing experience.

The choice has got better but it’s still not an experience that fills you with the usual shopping thrill.

I know some people swear by specialised brands such as Isabella Oliver - which does have a seven day sale on at the moment - but forking out around the £100 mark for a dress that will only be worn for a few months seems like quite a splurge.

I’ve been focusing on what’s available on the high street because that’s where I do most of my shopping anyway and I don’t want to spend a fortune on clothing that has a limited shelf life.

This is what I’ve discovered...

  • Shops seem obsessed in selling pregnant women combat trousers. Even if they haven’t got a single pair in the rest of the store, they always seem to stock them for their maternity range. I know comfort is key in pregnancy but I’m not sure why this automatically translates to dressing like All Saints circa 1998!

  • Even big department stores seem reluctant to give floor space to maternity clothing. I went into John Lewis on Oxford Street and wandered around for a while trying to find maternity clothes. Eventually I asked and was told that it was only available online...not a single item of maternity clothing over five floors! (But in wonderful John Lewis style the person was so helpful and friendly that it was impossible to get cross about it!)

  • The best maternity items I’ve bought have been maternity tights and leggings (from H&M)...worth every single penny. You can wear the loveliest, most comfortable maternity dress but if you have normal tights on digging into your pregnant belly or rolled down underneath your belly and cutting off the blood supply to your nether regions, you will not be a happy lady! I know, I attempted it a number of times and almost tore the tights off in public!

  • It can be very difficult to maintain your usual style of dressing if you rely solely on maternity wear. Too many ranges do err on the very conservative side and can be very uninspiring. Topshop has one of the best maternity ranges that actually resembles its main you don’t feel like you’re totally sacrificing style for comfort. 

  • Dressing throughout pregnancy is much easier if you’re more of a dress than trouser/jean wearer. I pretty much live in dresses and so many of my normal dresses have been fine so far...I’ve had to buy far fewer clothes that pregnant friends I know who usually live in trousers.

  • Finally, to keep your shopping and style sanity, don’t limit your maternity wear shopping to maternity departments. So much of the normal collections are fine in pregnancy...anything with an empire line is great, stretchy jersey is perfect and lots of other clothes are fine in a slightly bigger size than you usually fit into (and dresses in a larger size can often be worn post pregnancy with a belt to cinch them in).

So far, all I’ve bought are maternity tights and leggings, new underwear (underwired bras feel like cheese wire across your chest!), my maternity winter coat...and I had a little spree in Dorothy Perkins last week, which had a 20% off everything voucher that was itching to get used!

I bought three dresses...all suitable for a growing bump and not one from the maternity range.

And this is one of them...bought in the sale for £22 and with 20% off...worn for a birthday meal with Mr W! The waistline is just above the bump and it's a stretchy jersey so can accommodate the growth (I know I don't really look it in these photos, but I am five months pregnant and have quite a big bump!). 

Zara blazer, KG by Kurt Geiger boots and red belt from Gap

Kenneth Jay Lane gold bangle and Bex Rox gold & neon friendship bracelet

Mawi skull necklace

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