Though I do not have children of my own and have no plans to rectify that situation (sorry, Mom), I feel that if I were to be pregnant, and in search of clothing to wear to make me feel like myself but also hot, I would know exactly what to do. My dream summer consists of as little clothing that touches my body directly; if I could be naked and still sanitary, I would. Thankfully, my clothing desires for the forthcoming summer months match that a friend of mine who I’ll call Anonymous Mother-to-Be who is pregnant and in need of maternity clothes that still very much match her previous, non-pregnant aesthetic: minimal, mostly neutral, body-conforming, and not cutesy.
The issues with maternity clothing, according to the recently-pregnant person looking for regular clothes, are twofold. For starters, the models shown wearing the clothes do not appear to be actually pregnant, and are maybe just regular models with a basketball strapped to their torso to simulate the aesthetics of pregnancy with little to no regard for how the rest of the body changes during this time. Second, most maternity clothing assumes that the wearer wants to be dressed like a picnic blanket and is overly patterned, full of florals, and generally not chic. The body is changing rapidly over the course of a pregnancy, but a surefire way to feel a little more in control is to wear clothing that makes you look and feel comfortable. For Anonymous MTB, that means clothing that largely resembles what she wore pre-pregnancy, with some crucial edits.
Pants seem especially difficult when pregnant, especially the high-waisted jeans Anonymous MTB prefers. Thankfully, the pandemic has ushered in a newfound appreciation for what I will obnoxiously refer to as “elevated separates,” and so that means there are many an option for what I call indoor-outdoor pants, that are loose enough around the waist to accommodate the growing bod, and also, sort of look cool.
Pants have proven to be a challenge for Anonymous MTB, but luckily, there are many options that don’t seem prohibitively expensive. ASOS Maternity appears to offer a variety of “cool” maternity wear for the woman on the go who does not want to dress like a sofa. The pant options abound. Here are a pair of kick-flare black leggings that appear to be sitting right around the model’s foam belly. For more formal occasions, or if you don’t want to feel like you are a TikTok teen, these little black pants that appear to have a band that supports the “bump” might be a nice option.
Dresses, on the other hand, are abundant! If the body-con silhouette is what Anonymous Mother-to-Be craves, then I have found many options, starting with my favorite retailer, Old Navy. Here’s a black tank dress that is suitable for nursing, according to the copy on the website; here’s another that looks like a tee-shirt dress, but is accommodating an invisible baby bump, since there’s no model for the garment. Strange choice, but we live in strange times. This dress, from Seraphine, is a body-con midi dress in a fetching stretch rib that is also nursing-friendly because the entire top just lifts up, exposing the child to its food source and making it so that the mother in question does not have to take off her top. (Here’s another item from Seraphine that is cute, I would wear it, maybe I will and we can be twins.) Other dresses in colors that are not black but have the same silhouette include this ochre number from Target, which is ribbed and looks comfy. Bonuses about these ribbed dresses, which are chic, is that they could easily transition to the club, if clubs are open when Anonymous MTB desires to attend.
These suggestions will be fine up until the home stretch of Anonymous MTB’s pregnancy journey, which happens to be during the miserable summer, where it is hot and sticky and clothing is bad. While it might be financially prudent and chic in its own way to simply wrap oneself in a sheet and belt it above the bump, or to fall prey to the siren call of caftans, I understand if these are not desirable. This dress, from Hana Tajima’s collection at Uniqlo, is black, floaty, and has a chic high-neck and no complicated neckline, which affords the wearer the opprotunity to wear a bra. Bliss. Technically, this is a nightgown (?), or is made. by a nightgown company, but it ticks all the boxes, as they say, and is good quality.
Another option that I am loathed to mention but feel it necessary to do so, is the Nap Dress, nothing more than a fancy nightgown, created by Hill House Home, and largely sold out across the internet every time there’s a drop. The top is smocked, the straps are wide enough to conceal bra straps, and the body of the dress is free-flowing and breezy, which is perfect for the sticky months ahead. Alas, it is mostly sold out in almost every size, but for the white Swiss Dot colorway, which is very ethereal and seems like it might be cute for around the house after the child is born. If we’re getting wild and crazy with the colors here (we are!), this striped number from Target is very cute and chic! In that vein, here’s a Nap Dress knockoff from Target that could also work.
Maternity clothing doesn’t have to be hideous! It doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Ideally, Anonymous MTB can craft a wardrobe of items suitable for her pregnancy vision from these suggestions, but now I open the floor to those among us who might have already had children and are more well-versed in the intricacies of maternity clothing. Please help my pal find some clothes. She (and I) thank you.