Dressing a Bump, or How Clothes Became Fun Again

Something strange is happening in my wardrobe at the moment.

Dare I say it, but dressing my growing bump is actually kind of… fun? Putting clothes on a baby bump is a challenge, one that breaks fly buttons and causes tights (and underpants) to fall down, but somehow these constraints have acted like a serious tonic on my fashion mojo.

Maternity body confidence
Wait, where did that come from?

One big change is my own body positivity. Pre-pregnancy I was feeling pretty sluggish. I love to exercise, but I found getting into a regular routine after moving house really tricky. I also love my food, so as you can imagine the obvious was starting to happen.

But in the past months, in spite of my expanding waistline, I’ve begun to feel, dare I say it, pretty damn awesome. I feel strong like never before, like the most powerful version of myself. Sure, my skin is a mess, and I need more naps than usual, but that’s neither here nor there. Because I’m a walking testament to the power of the human body and I feel like a goddam superhero.

For weeks after Christmas I was glaring at my spots in the mirror, demanding to know where my ‘glow’ had got to. Well I think this feeling might be it, and I wouldn’t trade it for any amount of clear skin. (Or maybe only a little).

Striped shirt Carrier Company
I have this thing with stripes

My natural style trends towards the loose and oversized, so up until not so long ago many of my pre-preggo clothes were still on the menu, at least for now. For the most part I’ve shied away from buying specific maternity clothes, save for dresses and tops that will also work for nursing. Instead I’ve taken to living in soft, flowing linen dresses, relaxed shirts, and really stretchy leggings. My favourite loose flowing shirts come from Norfolk-based Carrier Company, a gorgeous brand created and run by Tina Guillory with an emphasis on functional, robust garments designed to last a lifetime.

So far I haven’t made any maternity-specific clothes. I like to be sparing in my use of fabrics, and I’d rather save what I have to make something that will last longer than another three months! The one exception is a glorious sky blue linen Trapeze dress from my favourite pattern company Merchant and Mills, which should last me far into the third trimester and will definitely fit as my girth subsides after the birth.

Grey linen dress People Shop
So much love for this grey linen dress from The People Shop

Early on in the second trimester I treated myself to a couple of dresses from The People Shop. If you haven’t discovered this gorgeous Bristol-based brand created by husband and wife team Allison and Christian Sadler yet, you really should give them a look (there’s a brilliant episode of the Blogtacular podcast featuring Allison to get you started). Not only are these dresses beautifully made in Christian’s workshop, but they are perfect for a growing bump. They won’t last my entire pregnancy, although ordering in a larger size would help with that. But they’ve been a beautiful, stylish godsend during the past few months when I did not feel like sharing an inflated squishy muffin top with the world.

Body confidence and a renewed love for my clothes, old, new, and handmade? Honestly this is nothing short of a miracle. Now if only I could bottle this lovely feeling and store it up for when I have post partum sagging and stretch marks to contend with.

Linen maternity wardrobe
My handmade wardrobe is ready for adventure

This week me and my mostly linen wardrobe will be in New York visiting my brother-in-law, going to see a baseball game at Yankee Stadium (eeep!), and chilling for a few days on an upstate farm. Hopefully I am being good and taking lots of photographs, sharing some of them on Instagram, and finding the time to write. See you all very soon.

Did anyone else feel their body confidence improve during pregnancy, or with any other kind of significant body change?

What do you think?