I have done a little shopping lately in preparation for summer; or more specifically, in preparation for a summer with a rapidly swelling belly, and after that, with breasts that I’ll need easy access to every few hours. When I appraised my wardrobe I noted that not even half of its contents fulfilled this new summer style brief. So I have had to be a little bit clever with my shopping choices and have concocted a few rules of buying:
- Shoes have to be practical (but still pretty!) Basically nothing I can fall over in and nothing too tight in case my feet swell in the later stages of pregnancy.
- Dresses need to accommodate a round belly AND allow me to pull out my milk muscles come February without having to undress.
- Tops need to be long enough so that as the belly grows outwards, the top does not rise and sit too high.
- All clothes need to be wearable (i.e. that I actually want to wear) beyond pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- I don’t need to forgo a belted or waisted dress: a loose dress can be shaped with a belt that sits above the belly, under the bust; empire-line style. Similarly a dress with an elastic waist may also look good if restyled so the elastic sits in the same slightly higher position.
- Anything with buttons at the front or which can be undone at the bust without undressing is good for breastfeeding. I’ve been practising at home and tops or dresses with loose shoulder straps, or a zip at the back, also work. If I’m just at home with a hungry baby, a soft t-shirt that I can wriggle out of easily is another option.
- Strappy sandals (how I love them) with elastic or stretchy straps can accommodate swelling of feet as long as the straps are not too tight in the first place.
- Flat shoes are ideal but if, like me, you like a bit of height look for a wedge or mid-heel.
- Shoes that feel light when held in the hand are also ideal – even before pregnancy I hated shoes that felt too heavy before I put them on as they tire the feel quicker than a lighter shoe.
- Remembering that as the belly grows, anything I wear (tops or dresses) becomes shorter. Sometimes too short.
- Elastic is my friend. I have a pair of black faux leather tight pants which remarkably I can still wear (for the moment at least) as they have an elasticised waist. I can also wear my ponte pants (a more respectable version of the legging) from Metalicus as they have elastic waists too: the elastic band is wide and soft so it does not cut into my belly.