Vintage maternity style

In the early days of pregnancy – before the bump has actually started to show – I always pore over photos of effortlessly glamorous pregnant ladies and lust after their  clothes.

I dream of similar outfits for myself.

High waisted skirts and pencil belts, flowing capelets, and dresses with big collars all feature heavily.

In reality, though, by the time a sizeable bump has appeared (and especially this time round with a toddler to look after as well) any ideas of sartorial snappiness have been abandoned and comfort is the order of the day.

Today, at about six months pregnant, I am sporting a classic Sabrina maternity outfit. A ratty old pair of ASOS maternity jeans that slip down at the crotch constantly, which I’ve been wearing for about five days now and which have the adornment of a toddler handprint in paint at the knee. (Yes, the paint will wash off. No, I haven’t put them through the wash since it occurred three days ago…)

The jeans are permanently topped with one of my husband’s jumpers, rotated fairly frequently across the week and washed at the weekend when he complains about having nothing to wear himself.

Accessories include scraped back, not-terribly-recently-washed hair, a pallid complexion and big purple bags. Very Kate Moss, heroin chic, circa mid-90s, I’m sure you’re thinking.

But of course there is the odd occasion where this wear-anywhere look doesn’t cut the mustard. And in April, two weeks in advance of my due date, I have one such event: a friend’s wedding with a 1940s theme.

My love for a 1940s dress outweighing even my usual pregnancy laziness (my own wedding dress was made from an original 1940s pattern), I’ve been scouring the internet looking for vintage maternity clothes.

It’s slim pickings out there, so I thought I’d share what I’ve unearthed, in case any other vintage lovers were in a similar predicament…

My first (and best) find is the website Tasty Vintage, which has a small maternity section: Tasty Vintage maternity.

This amazing 1940s green two-piece suit is just exactly the sort of thing I’m after.

Green maternity outfit
So cute it’s almost worth getting pregnant for if you’re not already…
(© Tasty Vintage)

Or this sweet pink rose 1950s dress would be excellent come summer time.

Pink rose maternity dress
Perfect for wafting around a garden party, virgin gin and tonic in hand
(© Tasty Vintage)

Normally, I’d shy away from geometric boxy designs, when large with child, but this jacket could well be calling to me…

1960s maternity jacket
Very Jackie O, no?
(© Tasty Vintage)

Etsy, of course, is another good place to trawl. My favourites, when I looked, were this super cute 1940s top / dress from Adelinesattic…

1940s maternity top
With a photo this great, it’s hard not to love the dress…
(© Adelinesattic)

…or this sweet blue maternity ’60s tunic, from SwizzleTimeVintage (based in America, so you’d have to factor in shipping…)

1960s maternity tunic
Perfect for the pregnant air hostess
(© SwizzleTimeVintage)

And then there’s always good old eBay. Discard all the “vintage maternity clothes” that really just mean “my old Dotty P jeans that are technically vintage because they’re not new any more” and you might just unearth a few gems.

Vintage inspired

If you’re not fussed whether or not your clothes have already been worn, sweated into and washed by another person, then go for “vintage inspired” which offers just a little more choice.

The brilliant blog Retro to Go showcases the best retro clothes from the high street. Keep an eye on the women’s fashion section, which sometimes includes maternity wear like this amazing (though now not available) dress from Topshop…

Topshop maternity dress
I would buy this in a second if it was still available…

The really excellently named website In Pig* has a small but gorgeous collection of vintage inspired dresses, like this 70s inspired smock in Liberty print needlcord.

Liberty print maternity smock
Hard to resist this, isn’t it?
(©In Pig)

And I spend a fair bit of time hopefully checking out the usual old high street haunts (Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and ASOS frequently do nice maternity clothes. H&M I find cheap and uncomfortable for maternity — though excellent for children’s clothes. Makes no sense to me…)

Occasionally you come across little gems like this cheery red 1970s-style flared sleeve dress from ASOS:

1970s maternity dress
If you’re feeling frumpy, chuck on a bright red dress and you’re bound to cheer up…
(© ASOS)

Sew your own

But the biggest selection really comes if — unlike me — you’re full of energy and you sew yourself some clothes. There’s a huge choice of vintage maternity sewing patterns out there, check out Etsy, Craftsy or eBay and you could soon be tripping around town in the likes of this:

maternity sewing patterns
Cape? Check. Hands in pockets? Check. Super cute? Check

Me? I’m in the jeans and jumper til April comes…

*I went through a phase of devouring every book by / about the Mitford sisters a few years back, and I always loved how they wrote to each other to declare that they were “in pig”. Such a wonderfully apt expression!

Related articles:

  • Fancy ogling gorgeous pregnant styles too? I’m set up a board on Pinterest: Pregnancy style

8 thoughts on “Vintage maternity style

  1. I think I read the same Mitford book – excellent stuff – adore their esprit de corps! 🙂 Love the no longer available Topshop number and the pretty pink 50s rose dress would be adorable in April teamed with an equally pretty little cardigan – which you could knit up yourself in time for April (might help you get out of your current slovenly ways? LOL!).

  2. I suppose I’m old-fashioned but then that’s the appeal of vintage. I really think some of these older maternity styles should return to take the place of the overly tight stretch maternity clothes that show off the bulging belly button. I made my own maternity clothes way back in the late sixties. I found one problem was that as I got bigger the hem in the front kept rising up and not having a full length mirror, I didn’t realize it!

    1. Oooh, that’s genius! I even have some fabric that would be great for it, leftover from last time I was pregnant and totally failed to sew myself something I had planned then, ha ha ha. Think I might wait for the weather to warm up a bit first though, my legs feeling chilly just looking at it right now. Will keep you posted on any progress!

  3. Love the red ASOS dress 🙂 nearly 4 months after baby no 2 and I am still in h&m maternity leggings. Up to this point in my life I have hated leggings, but….. They fit. Sigh…

    1. Ha ha, I know that feeling! I have a stretchy black maxi skirt that I seem to live in both post and during pregnancy for a ridiculous amount of time. No buttons! No zips! Stretch, stretch, stretch. Mmmm.

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