This week I faced an unexpected pregnancy style challenge: party dressing.
Now, lest you think parties are a regular fixture in my diary, allow me to disabuse you of the notion. The odd dinner – yes; a work event at which I have to look the right side of chic- uh-huh’ parties – not so much. But this week was different, because it featured the annual celebrity spectacular that is the GLAMOUR Women of the Year awards. (Yeah, my job is rubbish, I know….) And therefore a suitable dress for a seven-month-bump had to be found.
I had a mental shortlist: I didn’t really want to do the whole ‘flash the bump in a v tight frock’ thing (if I could, I would, but when you are short and pregnant, this does not look hot, it looks All About The Bump). I didn’t want to spend a fortune on something I would never wear again (I am always happy to buy something new, I just wanted it to be something I could wear again, post-baby). I wanted something that would feel like ‘me’ – after all, I knew I’d be spending the evening chatting to celebrities (you want me to name-drop? Oh, okay, just a few: Samuel L Jackson, uber cool Lake Bell, Alexa Chung, Amanda Holden, Hayley Atwell, Piers Morgan, Fearne Cotton, Claudia Winkleman, David Gandy… You can read all the party coverage here.) Last year I wore a black Sportmax dress from my-wardrobe, a whopping statement necklace and sparkly Zara heels – I needed something along those lines. Only bump-accommodating. And not so tight. (Hey, a girl has to breathe.)
I loved the way Kerry Washington styled out red carpet pregnancy dressing. She seemed to follow the mantra (to which I am a subscriber) of: wear what you would usually wear, just adapt to fit around the bump.
Here’s some of the options I considered. First up, high(er) end:
My friend, stylist Lynda Bell, pointed out this DVF frock, and I really would have bought it – had they not sold out in my size. (Yes, the joy of drapery is that you can get away with your pre-pregnancy size (or one up if you are carrying twins/a bigger baby.)
Sportmax is one of those labels I tend to overlook, but they have gorgeous, simple clothes. This dress is a beauty.
And now for the bargains.
This white lace dress s so pretty (it actually looks prettier on than in the picture), but I vetoed it in the end on the grounds that it feels a bit day dress – and it’s maternity (won’t get much use after September – although I could of course pass it on to pregnant friends). It would, however, be perfect for a summer party or wedding and I would snap it up at this price if I had either to attend. It would also be lovely if you are planning a summer baby shower in the garden – how adorable would your bump look in this?If you do want to do the whole bump-bearing thing (a la Gisele) then make a beeline for Isabella Oliver. This one shoulder maxi will see you through to the last days of your pregnancy.
Cos has a lot of fabulous options. (Such as this silk dress with its unusual sleeves or this floaty asymmetric navy number). This is not particularly party-like, but would work well with heels for a smart lunch or work, for instance.) This coral number is sheer, draped, floaty – and just the most perfectly peachy summer shade. Works perfectly over a bump, but would also be a lovely summer dress post-pregnancy – just team with metallic flats.
And here’s what I ended up wearing. This is a bump-off with the be-yew-ti-ful Lake Bell, who is a. fabulous and b. five months’ pregnant with her first child – congratulations to her and her charming husband. From what I could glean, that is one lucky baba. (Excuse the black and white picture – the lighting was so bright it’s orange if not rendered in monochrome.) Lake – should you be wondering – is wearing Dior (not maternity – she’s a girl after my own heart).
Dress, £65, from &Other Stories(not online so I can’t link to it – but it is in store now). I bought my usual size and plan to wear it post-baby (am seeing myself on holiday, somewhere hot, with tanned legs and flat sandals. Am hoping this is a projection to next summer…) with a clutch by Anya Hindmarch (similar here).