This time last year, I was enjoying the chance to wear a 1958 pattern. This year, I’m struggling to find maternity wear I can enjoy. My first thought was, of course, what would Betty Draper wear?
OK, let’s forget that idea.
I have what the trade calls a vintage figure, with a difference of 12″ between hip and waist (rather more Joan than Betty). That’s why vintage shapes work. I normally scour high street shops for something that suggests vintage but can still go through a washing machine. A favourite last year was a grey scoop-neck dress with cap sleeves, cinched waist and full skirt. It was from Next, hardly a shop noted for cool vintage originals.
Scouring the shops for maternity wear that looks vaguely vintage is, well, impossible. Maternity clothing is designed to be non-descript, to suit broad taste of the vast majority. Every range is filled with stretch jersey in boring shades. You’ll want work trousers in that wierd shiny material and boho cotton print tops and dresses. And jeggings. And wrapround jersey dresses. No, no I won’t. And chatting to other pregnant friends suggests I am not alone in my struggle to retain something of my own style as I balloon out.
I don’t do boho. The addition of a baby is not going to suddenly turn me into it. And jersey wrapround dresses gape on vintage figures. I like print dresses, yes. I like silk tea-dresses in abstracted floral patterns and things with polkadots. Like this maternity dress, that lurked in the Mama & Papa‘s spring catalogue. I wore it the other Thursday with opaque black tights and a black cardi.
I don’t do shiny work trousers. I wear tweedy ones with turn-ups. Like Katy Hepburn would wear.
I also like pinstripe straight trousers in grey. I favour purple cords over jeans but do have a pair of ‘boyfriend’ jeans. JoJoMamanBébé supplied some purple cords and a black full skirt that covers most work situations and isn’t that vile black shiny stuff. I’m just about getting away with my existing blouses for now as several are very loose but I’m going to be living in that dress, that skirt and a comfy pair of jeans from New Look.
I’ve considered making my own from vintage patterns, but it comes back to the problem of how long it would take me and how the styles simply aren’t that stylish. I’m no Betty Draper.