Everyone’s different, but nobody ever told me I was ‘glowing’ or ‘pregnancy suited me’ when I was expecting my second son. That’s because my skin turned grey and a decidedly cadaverous look took up residency on my face. Darling posies of purple veins sprouted on my legs, and everything made me exhausted.
So what on earth are you meant to wear when the fetus-vampire is also bulging from your waistline? How can you blend sophistication with comfort? And on a scale of pooped walrus to Duchess Meghan, sit more up the royal end?
These are the pieces that saw me through.
Besides the miracle of childbirth, one of the most sensational feelings associated with gestation is debuting maternity jeans. After squeezing into your regular clothes for the first few months, slithering into some high-stretch denim with a wide elasticated waistband is truly a sublime experience. I recommend buying at least two pairs of slim-fit maternity jeans (one black, one blue) because you could honestly live in these for the duration of the pregnancy paired with a few voluminous tops. My favourites were Topshop’s Under the Bump Jamie Jeans, and Mavi’s Reina collection. You don't want to spend too much on jeggings that won't fit you for long, so these are both trusty, inexpensive options.
For quality fabrics and versatile staples, Legoe Heritage is a great Australian label that does blouses, T-shirts, trousers and dresses in organic cottons and soft jerseys. For an el cheapo alternative, ASOS Maternity has a fun range that feels current. It also does a cheery selection of low-priced nighties – perfect to withstand the carnage in the delivery suite, and all those gorgeous night sweats that come later (PS Duchess Meghan wears ASOS maternity).
For those ripening during the summer months, head to Uniqlo for linen shirts – they don’t do an extensive maternity range, but you can just wear the regular ones, oversized – and shorts with an elasticated waist. Go for tops and bottoms in pastel blues, pinks, mints and lemons, and team with an Adidas Original or similar. You’ll look like a fruit tingle.
On the subject of trainers, this whole floral-dress-with-white-sandshoe fashion is ideal for us breeders. Those pioneering commuters in their business attire-and-sneaker combos really paved the way for this trend: dolled-up, but orthopedically-shoed. Embrace all of the Liberty-print frocks in unconfined shapes, and match with a couple of fresh Supergas. Boom! Comfort and style that will endure into motherhood. Scroll through the whimsical gems by DÔEN for inspo, or browse the maxi styles at Byron Bay brands Auguste the Label or Spell & the Gypsy Collective.
Unfortunately, people don’t postpone their weddings or other celebrations when you have a joey in your pouch. You get to be the designated driver for months on end, and must focus very hard on smiling to keep the hallucinations of your pillow and doona at bay.
More than ever, make sure your party shoes are comfortable. All the extra weight on a spindly heel is disastrous, so look to increase your surface area underfoot and invest in a nice pair of espadrille wedges (PPS Duchess Meghan agrees), or low pumps. This is a critical first step because you can then build a few dressy outfits from the bottom up.
Ulla Johnson and Lee Matthews do beautiful silk frocks in loose cuts, but for true maternity tailoring and style, look no further than American brand Hatch. You could really buy your whole pregnancy wardrobe here (and continue wearing post-bébé), but make sure you do it in one go because its shipping costs to Oz are a little steep.
Okay, let’s face it – I probably spent 75 per cent of the last trimester in Lululemon lycra and Bassike tracksuits. When leaving the house, I accessorised with stretchy headbands mainly from Etsy (though my more aspirational self would say Gucci) in a feeble attempt to appear full of life, both literally and figuratively.
Michaela Davis has worked for global brands including Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy for over 10 years. She is also a mother on her L-plates to a two-year-old and four-month-old.