beauty

How to make your maternity clothes last longer than 9 months.

Danielle Stitt doesn’t think maternity clothes need to be daggy.

Picture this. You’ve booked a sitter and are meeting friends for dinner. Getting out without the children is a highlight so you have spent some time making sure you’re looking good – careful makeup, perfectly styled hair and on-trend ensemble. You’ve even slipped on those killer heels you save for special occasions.

Your friends arrive and instantly notice how great you look! Lots of gushing until one friend asks you where you bought your fab skinny jeans.

“Oh, these old things. These are my favourite maternity jeans. I just can’t give them up,” you enthuse.

Crickets. It’s like you have developed turrets but no one wants to point it out. Maternity and chic just don’t seem to work in the same sentence.

Even when the evidence tells us that those maternity jeans are flattering, trendy and are so not obviously maternity, why do we cringe at the thought of wearing maternity clothes when not pregnant?

Well, to answer that question, here are a couple of theories.

1. Our attitudes are stuck in the last Century

Admittedly, maternity wear a few decades ago was woeful. We have all seen the pictures of peter pan collars and muumuu proportioned dresses. ‘Embracing your bump’ would have had more to do with a Grecian nose than a pregnant belly.

But take a look at what is available in today’s maternity styles and it’s a different story. Maternity designers know what’s trending in Paris, New York and Milan and cleverly adapt it for mums-to-be. They also know women want to wear their clothes beyond pregnancy, into breastfeeding and even beyond. Look at the worldwide success of maternity brands such as France’s Séraphine (which was a favourite of the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge), the UK’s JoJo Maman Bébé and Queen Mum from the Netherlands. Not a muumuu in sight.

2. Celebrities don’t help

We have all read about the celebrity who stated she didn’t wear maternity clothes with an implied “eeww”. However, behind the scenes we discover she did have access to a team of seamstresses and high-end designers happy to modify their creations to accommodate her growing belly. Or perhaps, like Jessica Simpson, they go on to launch their own maternity range having convinced us that there are no other worthwhile options. Is it cynical to think that’s just a good marketing spin?

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3. We under-invest in our maternity wardrobe

Yes, pregnancy is a relatively fleeting time and it can be a challenging time because our body shape is so unfamiliar.

We all know that how we look on the outside can have a big impact on how we feel about ourselves. Put on a great outfit and chances are you’ll feel great. Clearly your partner’s t-shirt and elasticised shorts don’t fall into the ‘great outfit’ category, nor does buying larger sizes of non maternity clothes that may fit your bump but give you armholes down to where your waist used to be.

It does take some conscious effort to reassess what styles work best. Splurge a little up front but wear that maternity piece lots of different ways and you’ve actually used your budget more wisely than cheap-sourcing clothes that hardly get worn.

If you are one of those women who did the research and invested in maternity clothes that look fabulous, why get rid of them if they still look hot on your post-baby body?

The truth is many women do keep selected pieces of their maternity wardrobe – we just don’t talk about it.

A discussion thread on one of those online mothering communities from a few years ago started with a mum tentatively asking if she was the only person still wearing maternity. The response was an overwhelming “no” with pages of mothers coming out of the maternity closet and admitting that they too still wore some pieces they loved.

So rather than another article bemoaning maternity fashion, perhaps what we need is a louder voice for those that cleverly incorporate maternity wear into their every day wardrobe. It makes sense from a style point of view and it makes sense from a budget stretching point of view.

Now we just need it to make sense to those celebrity stylists.

‘Fess up. Have you worn maternity clothes post-baby? Why/Why not?

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