I am now 35 weeks preggers and for the last eight months I have point-blank refused to look like some boring-ass granified mom-to-be, devoted to the cult of pastel and floral. That is not to say that I am some guru of style – I have my own style and I like it. I have simply refused to give up my ‘look’ for the sake of a big belly and some water retention. Luckily, there are many modern designers and retailers that offer trendy maternity wear. And I am happy for the trendies but what about the alternative mom-to-be? My ‘style’ is part of my identity and is an outward expression of my personality and the way I feel. It’s important to me. Not everyone gets this and not every pregnant woman is preoccupied with finding funky-punky tops to fit a bulging belly or with ensuring that month-eight swollen feet will accomodate 20-up Docs. But I care.
In month one, I shed a tear as I kissed my corsets, platform heels and skanky skirts goodbye. Luckily, I have not put on too much preggy weight and much of my clothing managed to accommodate my changing body for a long while. I have not been at all keen to spend my cash on maternity wear that would only be worn for a couple of months and then chucked out, so for ages I stubbornly avoided buying anything. But times did get desperate: when my trousers started pinching a little I just wore them with the buttons undone but one by one they seemed to drop of the radar until I was left with only one pair that I could contort myself into. So I went off to Primark and supported child labour by purchasing a bunch of cheap, plus-size tights and one plus-size pair of trousers. When my belly outgrew my stretch-tops and band tees, I simply acquired some plus-size items that I like enough to wear after my baby is born. I guess that it’s all about mixing and matching. My staple for the last month or so has been tights, my twenty-ups, ass-covering and figure-hugging tops and my hubby’s jerseys if it’s cold, rounded off with my usual eighties-inspired eye-shadow lineated with my never-go-anywhere-without black eye-liner. And I feel as me as I ever have. No waste no fuss and style uncompromised.
Throughout my pregnancy, I have kept my eye out for some funky-punky mum maternity fashion and have seen very little alternative-wear that is actually designed for pregnant ladies. Whatever the amount you spend on maternity wear, I think that it is important to feel good as well as comfortable, especially when self-esteem and body-image are likely to be dented as you come to terms with your changing preggy body. So my advice for the alternative mom is: when shopping for your babybump, avoid maternity sections – just look around for items that you like and purchase bigger sizes – especially when it comes to tops. Loose tops can be funked up with belts and layers after you lose your baby weight, so no money wasted there. Trousers will probably be packed away until your next baby or recycled on Ebay or with Oxfam, so if you aren’t keen to fork out the cash, just buy some cheap stuff that you like. Naturally, your pregnant body will not always accommodate the plus-size version of all clothing items. A plus-size corset on a bulging belly may look a tad … um terrible, and you may then be forced to spend your pregnancy hanging out in Camden to avoid the trauma of stares and jibes (postscript: I love Camden). I did, however, manage to find a couple of sites that host some funky-punky mum maternity wear:
Gothic Maternity Shirts cost around £21 ($35). The shirts are long: ass-covering and bump-accomodating and feature some cool graphics that won’t stretch or distort when they cover your babybump. They come in white or black and most importantly, are also cool enough to wear post-pregnancy.
My Baby Rocks includes a maternity line featuring tees and tank tops primarily. The graphics are fun and the colours revolve around a pink, white and black theme. Prices range from between £10 ($15) and £20 ($30).