Getting Ready for Baby - Maternity Clothes

One of the most fun things about being pregnant, besides being pregnant, and being treated with great regard, is going shopping for all the lovely maternity clothes. Things have changed a lot in North America from the days when even the word "pregnancy" was unmentionable. Nowadays, function, comfort, and fun are the keynotes of beautiful maternity wear. We no longer try to hide under miles of material. Name designers create lines of maternity clothing that celebrates this most joyous time.

In my mother's day, short, puffed sleeves and swathes of pleated fabric topped with Peter-Pan collars were the norm. Smocking and ruffles modestly covered our pregnancy-enhanced profiles - both upper and lower. It was almost as if we wanted to celebrate the coming "blessed event" but something from our Victorian pasts wasn't quite comfortable with it yet. Whatever the reasons, designers still weren't doing us any favors, either.

Summer maternity top from kikisfashions.com
Summer maternity top from kikisfashions.com

Thank goodness we no longer have to coyly pretend to "cover up". Some of the yummiest and trendiest designs around these days are for expectant mothers.

If that gorgeous top from kikisfashions.com is anything to go by, we've indeed "come a long way, baby!"

Maternity tops come in a wide variety of fabric choices as well as styles, from form-hugging and body-sculpting, to the more traditional, free-flowing styles.

Bright, colorful printed fabrics and pale pastels are both in evidence this summer, and fabrics range from cotton spandex blends to seersucker and silky, man-made fabrics.

Gone are the Peter-Pan collars and puffy sleeves of past generations, and how lucky we are. Time was when maternity tops looked like Granny's house dress with some extra pleats for added fullness.

I remember searching for something casual and comfortable, but still with a bit of style. As long as I declined to to melt in "polyester heaven", there wasn't much available in my price range - certainly nothing cute and stylish.

Call it bad timing, but being pregnant through the heat of the summer was bad enough without having to wear ugly maternity clothes on top of it all.

Don't even think of adding an over-abundance of hormones to the mix. I still remember how painful it could be to go shopping for clothes on days when I was "down". Thank goodness there were not many of those "mood-swing" days, or the marriage might not have survived the pregnancy.

Before you buy any bras, make sure you measure yourself very carefully. If you're not sure how, look at the instructions in a catalogue - Sears has very good instruction in a section called "How to order the right size".

As well, your bra size may well change as your pregnancy progresses, so do set aside some funds to refurbish your underwear supply...and don't forget to buy some maternity undies, as well. Ordinary briefs just aren't cut out for the job.

If you are planning on breast feeding, you will also need to purchase a few nursing bras. The stretchy fabrics can be most comfortable, but you also need to be sure the bra will provide adequate support.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
New summer line of maternity wear - image from farm3.static.flickr.comSummer maternity dress from queenbee.com.auFresh as a summer breeze maternity sundress - image from trendytummymaternity.com
New summer line of maternity wear - image from farm3.static.flickr.com
New summer line of maternity wear - image from farm3.static.flickr.com
Summer maternity dress from queenbee.com.au
Summer maternity dress from queenbee.com.au
Fresh as a summer breeze maternity sundress - image from trendytummymaternity.com
Fresh as a summer breeze maternity sundress - image from trendytummymaternity.com

I was pretty handy with a sewing machine, so whipping up a long dress or two, or even a short one, was certainly no problem.

Fortunately the dress designers were much kinder - or perhaps it was just the styles that year.

Whatever it was, I was able to find a couple of very nice patterns that I stitched up in several different fabrics. I ended up cutting two of them off to make tops, and that worked out even better.

The dresses at the right not only showcase beautiful colors and fabrics, they are extremely flattering. Any woman would feel delightfully feminine in either dress or the top.

They didn't make maternity jeans when I was pregnant. The only pants for pregnant women had big stretchy panels let into the front.

These panels worked admirably, and if the trousers were well cut, it was possible to get a great fit. If the pants weren't well-cut, which was sometimes the case in the less expensive clothing lines, you had to be very lucky to find something that you could actually move around in.

I was quite lucky in the pants department, but it still would have been nice to be able to buy real maternity jeans. Maybe it was just yearning after a return to a trimmer figure that made me notice every pair that walked by on some slim, not-pregnant, young woman.

Maternity swimwear has certainly gone through a "Renaissance" of sorts as well. No more trying to camouflage the fact of impending motherhood under a few more gathers, and a flippy over-skirt.

It is quite common to see pregnant women in two-piece swimsuits, skirted and fitted, as well as bikinis, and the more conventional one-piece.

No longer only available in a few styles and colors - navy blue, and black, most notably, maternity swimsuits are available in a wide variety of fabrics, colors and styles, and come in sizes from petite to plus.

Most department stores and many cruise wear stores now cater to a modern clientele - women who are proud to show the world that a baby is on the way.

© 2010, All text by Elle Fredine, All rights reserved

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20 comments

Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

They certainly didn't have these trendy wonders when I was pregnant LOL...but I did find some wonderful sundresses that I lived in :D


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for a wonderful hub and a beautiful selection of clothes.


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

Great selections. I myself only bought simple dresses and the jeans, that was 20 years ago.

I love that you added the evening wear, RedElf and also the swimwear.

Great resource. Thanks.


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 6 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

Hey Red Elf

I am not a mother, prolly never will be. However, if I don't cut back on this beer and good food some I am going to need some maternity clothes myself. I enjoyed reading your hub. Good job.

- Harlan


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

So true. Maternity clothes have certainly com a long way


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thank goodness for sundresses! They saved my life, too, Enelle.

You are, as always, most welcome Hh. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment.

Thanks so much, msorensson. I tried to cover all the bases except office wear - but almost anything goes there, now.

Thanks so much for commenting, Harlan. I can send you a few links ;)

Nice to see you, ethel. I always felt a bit like "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" ;)


kimberlyslyrics 6 years ago

Red, I'm actually feeling a little pissed off right now.

Where were you 13 years ago? omg, how fun maternity stuff/fashions/outfits can be, going to read your other hub on this, it's funny, I can't have children but this hub and I'm sure the next bring back wonderful memories. Truth be told, also horrifying memories of the maternity attire back then, AAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Thanks a bunch for a great hub and walk down memory lane

kimberly xo


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Most welcome, Kimberly! 13 years ago, I was beginning a new chapter in my life ;)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

These baby hubs are fun!


katyzzz profile image

katyzzz 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

I don't like the bare belly look, but this is a great post Red


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Paradise7 - I am really enjoying them. Just like all teh adorable baby clothes ;)

katyzzz - I wouldn't be comfortable with that look, but others don't seem to mind ;)


ng0208 profile image

ng0208 6 years ago from Kentucky

Fun hub and now I'm wishing I could pass a couple of those off as regular, non-maternity clothes, lol I will say looking at pictures maternity clothes have definitely come a long way since my mother's day 25 or so years ago. The only thing I wasn't fond of was maternity jeans. I had one pair and I just hated them so I being lucky wore my regular jeans all the way up to the week my son was born, I just didn't button them (I used a rubberband). Thanks for sharing : )


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Some of them are SO cute nowadays, aren't they. ..and lucky you with the jeans and the rubber band.


couponalbum profile image

couponalbum 6 years ago from Sunnyvale, CA

Very nice hub!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much for commenting, couponalbum!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks for your comments, Nancy - I have included them below without your link ;)

Nancy 15 hours ago

Maternity clothes are no longer fashion but necessity. Those plus size clothes are not suitable for pregnant women, not because of the comfortable, but I would prefer the custom made and fit the body shape type of maternity clothing.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Greetings, maternity.clothes. I hope you sister has some luck looking online :)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks for stopping by, milawalker - I have included your comment below without your link

milawalker 16 hours ago

Those are cool designs. Preggy moms doesn't have to be left out with fashion.


Maternity Clothes 4 years ago

To keep you looking gorgeous throughout your pregnancy, wear comfortable and trendy dresses. Because all size, color and fabric are available in the market. These variety of maternity clothes are looking you stylish and trendy.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much for your interest, Maternity Clothes.

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