How to dress when pregnant: a guide to buying non-maternity clothing

Maternity clothes! Yuck! Have you ever noticed that just about everything is covered in a ditsy floral pattern or is printed with slogans like “Hands of the bump”? And then retailers charge you a mini fortune for the privilege of wearing such monstrosities? Don’t get me wrong, there are some nice maternity things out there if you go searching, but it’s not like you can just pop down to the shops and try them on to make sure they fit ok as no shops actually stock maternity wear, you need to go online. What a palaver! It’s just not for me, all that faffing and searching and paying hard earned cash for things that I don’t like that much and I will get hardly any wear out of.

So, if like me you struggle to find maternity clothing you would actually wear, then read on for a short guide to how you can look totally mamalicious during your pregnant months without breaking the bank, or investing in pieces that will soon be getting dusty.

Tube dresses

Spring, summer, autumn or winter, tube dresses can be worn to suit all seasons. Also, by tube dress, I don’t necessarily mean strapless, I just mean stretchy, fitted and comfortable. Some shops would advertise them as bodycon, although this always makes me think of those heavy and ever so glamorous bandage dresses, which although amazing for a night out aren’t going to solve your daily maternity clothing dilemma.

I got this beauty from River Island for example, viewable here:

River Island Grey Off Shoulder Bodycon Dress
This bodycon dress has been amazing before and during my pregnancy

I have worn it with sandals, and with black tights and ankle boots and have had so many compliments on it. I love that the tie around the waist hangs in the perfect position to cover up the seam from your tights, because the bigger your bump gets the more visible that seam becomes! Ha!

Grey River Island Dress Style
This is one of the many ways I have styled this dress during my pregnancy

For some bargain options try the Stradivarius, ASOS and Missguided websites.


Peplum and smocked tops

Zara absolutely owns this space in the market and I have loads of peplum or smocked tops that I picked up from there in the sale for an amazing £5.99 per item!!! I absolutely love them because when pregnant you can wear them with over the bump jeans, or with a vest top underneath,. And when not pregnant they look so lovely with high waisted skinnies. Also, if you choose to breast feed, smocked tops are an absolute saviour, just pop the baby underneath and feed away without having to faff with all kinds of wraps and zips and clips and whatever else come on dedicated ‘nursing’ clothes.

Zara china blue print blouse flatlay
I got a haul of beautiful smocked tops from the Zara sale at £5.99 each which are fab for pregnancy and breastfeeding


Over bump jeans

Literally the ONLY maternity item worth buying is a couple of pairs of over the bump jeans. I absolutely swear by the Mama jeans from H&M, I have an indigo blue pair, a black pair, and a casual washed denim pair, and I wear them every single day!! The indigo and black ones are skinny shaped stretchy denim ones, but I actually like the casual and traditional firm denim style I have because it makes me feel like I’m wearing real jeans. Have a look at the stretchy skinnies here. Also, if your work insists on a business wear dress code then it may be worth getting a pair of smart over the bump trousers. I have a pair from Seraphine (click here) that I wore all of the time during my first pregnancy because that work place was a lot smarter than my current one where jeans and flats are much more acceptable.

Over the bump jeans from H&M will vary in price from around £25 to £50 depending on what style you get. Mine are all around the £30 mark as the more expensive ones are lifting and shaping jeans which I have always been a sceptic of, not just for maternity clothing but all brands that claim to lift your bum!

Flatlay with Primark shirt and over bump jeans
I wear these H&M jeans every day, featured here with a primark shirt with the cutest balloon sleeves


Non wired bras

I think it’s true that bust size alters dramatically through the course of you lifetime anyway whether you ever fall pregnant or not. So continuously buying bras in all different sizes is something we can all relate to. However, during pregnancy your boobs do crazy thing and over a very short period of time. I am no fan of ‘maternity bras’. What an absolute con. Nursing bras on the other hand, sure, go for it. They are easy to manipulate when breastfeeding. However, another bra I have become super fond of i an unwired bra.

Nowadays unwired bras come in so many shapes and forms, with padding and without, cotton or lace, triangle or plunge. The options are endless. But the benefits for a pregnant mum are

a) that the lack of wiring prevents sore red patches under your arms where the wire starts to dig in as your chest, back and boobs change throughout the pregnancy

and b) that without padding, these bras are also very easy to manipulate and therefore another solution for breastfeeding.

Ok, so I normally use a nursing bra when feeding, but they have a whole host of problems too:

  • they can cost a lot of money
  • sometimes the straps are ridiculously thick (I mean come on, we are talking an inch thick in some instances!!)
  • the cup shape is beyond full coverage, we are talking so big you might as well wear dinner plates over your boobs
  • They restrict the clothing you can wear without flashing your unsightly beige supersized bra to the world, and you’re already on restricted clothing options because of breastfeeding

So, maybe an unpadded and unwired bra could be a good alternative option for you?

handm non wired push up bra
Non wired bras are a sexy, comfy and amazing option for avoiding sore boobs and skin during pregnancy, this H&M option is a winner for me

They might not suit everyone of all bust sizes, but I am a 32DD-E and they have been fab for me. Again, I can’t recommend H&M enough for their lingerie options. I have also never bought maternity pants, but H&M do a great selection of underwear with no seams and stitching meaning it stretches beautifully as bump grows without digging in and hurting.

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