Maternity Clothes

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

As your body changes during one of life's most amazing events, you'll need some temporary yet stylish ways to accommodate it. Outfitting yourself over these nine months can be fun and exciting, though may create a strain on the wallet. We asked some mothers-to-be to help us test some maternity clothing for style, comfort, and frugality.

The Basics

  • Try to hold off buying new clothes until you’re at least three months pregnant, which is when your body begins to change more noticeably.

  • Watch how your body changes and only buy clothes as you need them. Good quality maternity wear is designed to accommodate you through to nine months. (Ah, the wonders of stretch fabrics!)

  • With most brands, sizing is based on your pre-pregnancy size. If you’re normally a size eight, you’ll be a size eight in maternity clothes.

  • When trying on clothing, use a belly pad to help you estimate your future size.

  • Think versatility and stretch.

  • Don’t go overboard on colours. Neutrals with subtle colour accents creates a very sophisticated look. For a sophisticated and lean look consider, dressing all in one color.

  • Your bust will probably be the first to grow, so count on buying a couple new bras.

  • Avoid cheap quality items. While you’re only pregnant for nine months, you’ll wear these clothes practically every day, as well as in the weeks after the baby is born.

Other Considerations

  • Pregnant women get hot easily because they have more blood circulating. If you’re sweating a lot, stick to natural fibres, which breathe better.

  • Boot-cut pants are a good option for balancing out expanding hips. (This rule applies to all women, not just pregnant ones!)

Be Aware

  • Borrowing bigger clothes from your husband or a friend is an option for around the house, but they make you look sloppy because they’re too big in the shoulders and other areas that don’t change.

  • Beware of low-rise pants. Our clothing testers say they don’t stay up well after your belly gets big.


In a marathon Shopping Bags test, we followed some women with very different body shapes and sizes throughout their pregnancies to see what clothes worked the best for them. We tested:

  • Belly Basics Survival Kit (Top, pants, skirt, & dress): $210
  • Thyme Maternity (dress: $59; jeans: $65; top: $35): $159
  • Hazel & Co. (blouse: $75; skirt: $85; top: $75; pants: $70): $305
  • Old Navy (blouse: $36.50; pants: $39.50; dress: $49.50): $125.50

Style & Comfort Test

  • The Belly Basics tunic top was a great piece; very interchangeable.

  • The Old Navy pieces were stylish and provided great variety.

  • The Thyme Maternity dress was a popular piece.

  • The Hazel & Co. pieces were the overall favourites for style and comfort.

Durability Test

  • The Belly Basics clothing showed signs of wear, so may not make it through a second pregnancy

  • The Old Navy pieces often needed ironing.

  • The Hazel & Co. pieces stood the test of time, washing and wearing well. Though they were the most expensive, the mothers felt the quality was worth it.


The nice thing these days is there’s so much available, especially with designers cashing in on celebrity pregnancies to showcase bellies with cutting edge style. Overall, most of the pieces worked well. Our mom testers chose the Hazel & Co. items as their favourites.


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