Struggling to find good maternity clothing? You’re not alone. Try these labels loved by Irish women in the know …
Finding good maternity wear? A lot easier said than done. “A lot of specific maternity wear is very unstylish,” says Alex Calder, head of content at Dublin tech start-up & Open, who opted for loose-fitting COS dresses and shirts in her normal size that could be worn for maternity – and beyond. “Buying those kinds of pieces has the added benefit of allowing you to still feel yourself,” she says. This is echoed by jewellery designer Natasha Sherling (www.natashasherling.ie). “I bought maternity jeans from H&M and wore them with regular tops. The rest of the time I lived in tent dresses by COS – they’re the pregnant lady’s friend when she needs to look smart.”
Many Irish brands and shops are answering the call of non-maternity maternity clothing. A noteworthy mention goes to Theo & George T-shirts (www.theoandgeorge.com) for everyday wear. Also, Poudre Organic shirts from The Little Wooden Peg in Dun Laoghaire (www.thelittlewoodenpeg.com.) and Le Bonne Shop T-shirts and trousers from Scout in Temple Bar (www.scoutdublin.com).
What about occasions? “I love what Kindred of Ireland is doing; it’s ideal for pregnancy and beyond,” says Sherling. “I wore a Helen Steele dress from Costume throughout my pregnancy when I needed to be a bit dressy and I still wear it now. Steele does similar styles every year.” Elsewhere, new maternity brand Cari (www.caricollection.ie) founded by Cork woman Sue Carter, comes with the caveat that pregnancy dressing shouldn’t negate personal style. There’s an array of dresses that nod to the latest trends – from sweeping prairie styles to rock-and-roll, bias-cut slips in glittering metallics. Each style comes with discrete feeding panels, meaning they can be worn from bump to breastfeeding.
Main image: Instagram @jenniferneyt.
The Luna maternity bra, Underprotection, €60, at Slow Street comes in multiple colourways.
In some areas, only maternity clothing will do. Take, for instance, jeans. ASOS’ maternity jeans and dungarees rank high on popularity, as do H&M’s, which range from super-skinny to Mom and kick-flare styles. Scandi brand Ilouity is noted for its elegant take on maternity dressing – its capsule denim range is rivalled by its maternity leggings range, which can be dressed up and worn from day to night. Speaking of leggings, try Lululemon’s Align leggings (they pretty much have cult status at this point for their soft fabric and good fit) and Irish brand Powercut’s Bump leggings for a combination of comfort and hold. Top tip: Marks & Spencer’s maternity tights (only available online) get a good ranking from our readers. “The one specific maternity label I would drop money on is an American brand called Hatch,” says Sherling. A good bra is worth the investment. Penneys has just launched a leak-resistant bra, made from recycled nylon, which at €14 won’t break the bank. A sustainable buy is the Luna maternity bra by Underprotection, which features dainty scallop lace (available at Slow Street).
Can maternity wear ever really be sustainable? By definition, as you only wear it for six to nine months (unless you have multiple pregnancies) it seems like an impossibility. However, if you buy correctly, you can be mindful about consumption. Finding a few essential pieces that you can look – and feel – good in seems to be the general consensus. As Calder says, “Pregnancy dressing is the ultimate capsule wardrobe experience!” More expensive pieces like those from brands like Seraphine (www.seraphine.com.eu) – noted for its everyday essentials like jeans and striped tees, as well as dresses and nursing tops – can be passed onto friends or family. Speaking of nursing, French stylist Marie Shortt recommends Gallic label Tajine Banane, the brand’s ethos is clothes that suit for breast-feeding anywhere, anytime: “Its side zips are a game-changer,” Shortt says.
Straight wash blue jeans, €145; www.ilouity.com.
“The best approach is to buy a couple of pieces which really do need to be maternity specific wear – these would be maternity jeans and leggings with a special waistband, maternity underwear and swimwear,” says Evelyn Browne, founder of sustainable Blackrock boutique Slow Street (www.slowstreet.ie). “I found that buying some super soft oversized T-shirts, dresses, sweatshirts and shirts were brilliant, I was able to wear them during pregnancy, and for a year after my babies arrived, and I actually still wear some of them now. Anything with buttons is brilliant as it allows for breastfeeding. I know that women automatically go to maternity wear but actually normal items can be just as flexible, if you pick the right pieces,” she says.
Most of all don’t feel the need to meet anybody’s expectations, other than your own. Avoid being sucked into spending too much money on things you don’t like that are only going to be worn for a few months. “Maternity dressing isn’t what it used to be and no one has to dress a certain way,” Sherling notes. “As long as it fits and is made of comfortable fabric, that’s what’s important.”
Silver maternity dress, €210; www.caricollection.ie.
Penneys’ new leak-resistant maternity bras are made from recycled nylon. €14, at Penneys.