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Dressing the ‘pre-bump’

Updated: May 29

Styling Women inevitably means at some point tackling the topic of maternity dressing. What I’ve discovered is that all maternity dressing advice caters to the ‘very pregnant body’. There exists a fashion ‘Black hole’ when it comes to dressing in the first half of your pregnancy or in other words ‘What to do when your bump isn’t quite a ‘bump’ yet’.

This is especially true for first time Mums who take longer to ‘pop’ and may get to 5 months without looking obviously pregnant. They themselves can not only see but can feel the changes in their bodies. Jeans feel uncomfortable even though they can still be buttoned up at a stretch. Tops no longer look great tucked in and that fitted dress doesn’t make you look quite a svelte anymore. To cap it all, for most of this time period, people don’t even know you are pregnant so there’s a hiding game to be played.

This time period is hardest for the serial ‘tucker-inners’. Those with a naturally smaller waistline who are used making the most of this. For these women, dressing in pregnancy means completely re-learning the rules. Those high waist jeans with cute little t-shirts tucked in? Out the window until next year. That said, all those shirt dresses with the fitted waists and fuller skirts are absolutely perfect for early pregnancy dressing.

Here are my key tips for surviving the first 20 weeks:

· Keep using the waistline.. it’s still there. There’s a whole world that exists in between tight fitting and shapeless. Go for soft T shirts that just skim the body but don’t cling. You’ll want them to be just long enough to cover the top of your jeans but not so long that they come below the hip.

· Look for styles with shaping under the bust. Puff sleeve wrap blouses disguise the bump whilst being fitted above it and are totally on trend. ASOS do maternity versions of some of their main collection which will see you through your entire pregnancy. Before your bump grown they will just look like pretty, feminine tops. Then shorten the length of the tops after pregnancy so they sit just above the hip.

· Get into maternity jeans as early as you need to or if they are still comfy, use an elastic threaded through your button hole on your regular jeans. In either case, you’ll need to move from tucking in to longer tops.

· High waisted, straight leg jeans don’t have quite the same leg-lengthening effect without a top tucked in. You’ll need the extra height from heels to carry this off unless you are very tall!

· H&M skinny ankle jeans are a bit less ‘jegging-like’ than other skinnies and are a good maternity equivalent to wearing a cigarette jean.

· As your bust size increases, make more of a focal point higher up the body by wearing slighty lower necklines

· Wear blazers closed and belted almost like a mini dress over skinny jeans

· Buy non-maternity floaty dresses with shaping under the bust or add a belt to give shape. These will be a good investment and will last beyond pregnancy.

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