The last time I considered my maternity wardrobe it was early June and 30 degrees outside. My first pregnancy spanned the summer, meaning I could style out my bump in floaty dresses and little else. Of course the heat was a challenge – being pregnant and sweaty is far from fun. But at least I could slip on a loose midi and sandals and waft off to buy an ice cream.
This time around things couldn’t be more different. It’s December and I’ve just entered my third trimester meaning I’m in full beach ball mode. My typical uniform at this time of the year is a roll neck tucked into high-waist trousers, or a T-shirt, blazer and jeans. However, as most of these pieces won’t go around my middle I’m having to reconsider my entire look for stylish winter maternity outfits.
It’s not just style-factor to contend with when winter maternity dressing, but also seasonal weather conditions. Looking chic when it’s wet and windy outside is difficult at the best of times, let alone when swollen and tired. If your household is anything like mine you’ll be on strict heating rations over the coming months – so how do you do extreme layering without feeling like a blob?
As spending a fortune on a new wardrobe won’t be high on any soon-to-be parent’s agenda (after all there are cots, buggies, changing bags and endless nappies to buy) a smart option is to rent a selection of bump-friendly pieces for stylish winter maternity outfits that will see you through the season.
For £25 a month, Belles & Babes will send you a package of six maternity pieces from brands including JoJo Maman Bebe and Mamalicious. Isabella Oliver’s rental service allows you to borrow individual pieces starting from £9. On Hirestreet you’ll find maternity styles from Frugi, Bump & Milk and ASOS, as well as bump-accommodating non-maternity pieces from Ghost, Whistles and M&S.
While I’m a big fan of renting clothes, especially for special occasions, my plan of attack is to build a collection of warm and stylish winter essentials that I will enjoy wearing now, and can also be reached for during those first postpartum weeks and beyond.
These are the 8 key pieces in my stylish winter maternity outfits capsule wardrobe:
A great pair of maternity jeans
Jeans are without doubt the hardest piece of the maternity wardrobe to find. I have a couple of friends who have navigated the issue by sizing up in their favourite Levis’ then looping a hairband around the button to act as a stretchy fastening.
Personally, I find the soft over-bump waistband on proper maternity styles far more comfortable. The hurdle is finding a pair that look flattering and contemporary, as many maternity jeans lack any style factor.
Countless pregnant fashion editors have recommended La Redoute’s maternity jeans. I love the look of this wide-leg style in deep blue which would look great with loafers in the day and a low heel in the evening.
I’ve been wearing M&S’ slim leg Ivy jeans for a couple of months and I’m impressed with the comfort and fit. While a slim leg isn’t the most current jeans shape, it’s a solid classic that works with every shoe and boot style.
A classic shirt
Any feature about capsule wardrobes is more than likely to extol the benefits of a white shirt, but in the case of maternity dressing it’s very much true. A classic button down is a simple way to add polish to your look, even if you’re just wearing leggings and trainers. It also provides easy access if you choose to breastfeed.
Maternity styles often have fussy detailing such as tie waists, peplums and ruching which can detract from the crispness of the look. A chicer alternative is to go for an oversized non-maternity style, such as GAP’s cotton style. Sezane’s Max Shirt also comes with a loose-cut and can be embroidered with the name or birth date of your newbie on the pocket.
Even if you’re not usually a fan of wearing leggings outside of the gym, I’d highly recommend having a pair in your maternity capsule. They are the comfiest and easiest piece to pull on towards the end of your pregnancy, when getting dressed is at its most challenging. Plus, you’ll live in them during those first newborn weeks/months.
The best maternity leggings I’ve found are the Kerrison style from Isabella Oliver. They have a good amount of stretch without feeling flimsy and don’t go see-through when you bend over. The over-bump waistband is wide and soft so it doesn’t dig in around your middle and gives a comforting sense of support.
I’m wearing the caviar black colourway with slouchy cashmere jumpers and ballet pumps – or if it’s raining chunky boots. Style them for smart occasions by layering a blazer over the top and adding loafers. You could even dress them up with a long-line white shirt and fancy flats.
A chic winter dress
It’s not always easy to feel glamorous when pregnant and getting dressed for smarter occasions – be it lunch with friends, date night or a work meeting – is tricky. However, I’ve found that having a chic winter-appropriate dress that can be slipped on and accessorised helps enormously.
Beyond Nine is one of the best maternity brands out there and the new Cleo dress ticks all my boxes. The slinky fabric feels luxe and the simple silhouette is easy to dress up or down. If you’re still going into the office, layer a stretchy roll neck jumper underneath (try Uniqlo) and add boots. For casual days, team it with a slouchy cardigan and trainers. Style it for the evening with big earrings and a red lip.
A versatile knit
Jumpers are a winter essential and in all likelihood the top you’re going to wear the most over the next few months – so, it’s worthwhile finding a pregnancy-friendly style you can throw on in the morning and feel nice in. The trick is finding a style that’s chic and cosy without being too chunky which can add bulk.
I am a devotee of roll necks and have an oversized grey style from Hush which is a wool/acrylic mix so stretchy enough to fit a growing bump. I bought mine a few seasons ago, however this one is almost identical. I’ve also been living in this Whistles’ cashmere jumper which has a relaxed fit for extra room. It’s on the higher end of the price spectrum but is luxe enough to wear with smart or casual outfits, so cost-per-wear it stacks up.
For cardigan lovers, try a wrap style such as this one from COS. The tie can be adjusted as you expand, plus the shape is useful if you’re planning on breastfeeding – just layer a nursing vest underneath.
A luxe tube skirt
Tube skirts come up a lot in maternity dressing; the basic stretchy style is perfect for growing bumps, hips and bums. While the typical jersey versions can be uninspiring, a knitted tube skirt is far more exciting – not to mention seasonally appropriate.
I picked up the beige marl style from H&M, which looks far more expensive than its under-£20 price tag. Uniqlo and Lindex also have bump-friendly styles in a selection of versatile neutrals. I’ve been wearing mine with the aforementioned Whistles’ jumper to create a tonal knitted coord set.
Whether wearing them with skirts and dresses or layering them under trousers for extra warmth, a high quality pair of tights will see you through the winter season. Don’t be tempted to just size up in regular styles – I did this and found they just slipped down as I walked. Specially designed maternity tights will stay put and give gentle bump support.
My favourites are John Lewis’ maternity tights, which have a knitted panel at the front that expands with you and are robust enough to not snag easily. The 60 denier coverage is a good all-rounder for day and evening. For a more statement look, Calzedonia does a sheer polka dot maternity style which are made with flat seams for extra comfort.
A quilted coat
If you invest in one style of coat during a winter pregnancy, make it a quilted one. Not only will it keep you warm during chilly pre-birth months, it will be the piece you wear again and again when pushing the buggy around the park (a daily activity in the first year of motherhood.) You can spend a fair whack on special maternity styles with expandable panels, however I’ve found a more stylish solution is to go for a roomy fitting regular style.
M&S’s parka has a cosy combination of quilting and borg, and comes in classic navy or camel. The smart thing about this coat is that is has a drawstring waist which can be cinched at top of your bump to give you a bit of shape. It comes up a little big, so I’ve found sizing up by one gives me enough room.
The other smart style to try is a quilted gilet. If you’re running hot throughout your pregnancy this is a good option as you’re less likely to overheat. H&M’s MAMA puffer gilet also has a shape-giving drawstring waist and the extra bonus of a hood which will come in handy postpartum – two hands on a buggy means none left for holding umbrellas.