Belfast Telegraph

Mum-to-be style that lets you bloom in comfort

The maternity wear experts reveal how to disguise that growing bump until you want to reveal you're pregnant. By Kate Whiting

Knowing what to wear in early pregnancy, as your bump starts to grow, can be a minefield. Deviate wildly from your normal wardrobe and you risk arousing suspicion, but trying to squeeze yourself into those size 10 skinny jeans just ain't gonna to happen anymore.

So, assuming you're keeping it a secret from work colleagues and friends until you've had the all-clear at the 12-week scan, what's the answer for achieving a transitional maternity wear wardrobe, without giving the game away?

"Dressing for the first three months of pregnancy can be tricky," admits Baukjen de Swaan Arons, founder and creative director of the Isabella Oliver maternity range.

"It's such an exciting time, but simultaneously, there's an apprehension to spread your happy news until you've had the first scan. At Isabella Oliver, we're totally aware of this and design clothes that are not only suitable for burgeoning mums-to-be, but work during the first few months too."

Here are some tips from Baukjen and Laura Tenison, founder and MD of JoJo Maman Bebe.

1. The life-saver

"Before you rush out and buy maternity clothes, take a look at your current pieces and see what you can work with; a bump bandeau can hide a multitude of sins -including a fly that won't do up," says Laura.

Try: JoJo Maman Bebe Multi-Use Maternity Bump Bandeau, £15

2. Trusty jeans

When those flies really won't zip up anymore, and not even a bump band can hide it, it's time to invest in some good maternity jeans.

"Don't ditch the skinny jeans just because you're expecting," says Laura. "Stay true to your style, but make a few tweaks - invest in a great fitting pair of jeans with built-in bump support."

"Our best-selling maternity denim has a built-in elasticated jersey panel, which supports and comforts a growing waistline," adds Baukjen.

Try: Isabella Oliver The Relaxed Maternity Jean, £99

JoJo Maman Bebe Super Stretch Maternity Skinny Jeans, £35

3. Distract attention

"Choose styles that help distract from your mid-section. Embroidery or prints confined to the collarbone area draw the eye upwards, so the focus isn't on your growing bump," says Laura.

"Long tops and bold prints can elongate your form and disguise your growing tummy," adds Baukjen.

Try: JoJo Maman Bebe Embroidered Blouse, currently £14, reduced from £26

Isabella Oliver Roxby Top, currently £41, reduced from £69

4. Let it flow

"Loose, flowing layers will be your best friend when disguising a bump," says Laura. "A waterfall-style cardigan can be used throughout your pregnancy and after birth too, thanks to the oversized fit."

"Waterfall cardigans, like our Harris Maternity Cardigan, draws the eye downwards and drape beautifully, making them a great choice for mums to be," adds Baukjen.

Try: JoJo Maman Bebe Waterfall Feeding Cardigan, £35

Isabella Oliver Harris Maternity Cardigan, currently £44, reduced from £89

5. Turn to the dark side

"Simple, classic cuts will see you through the entire nine months, as well as subsequent pregnancies thanks to their timelessness," says Laura. "Dark colours will create less shadows for a more flattering look."

"Make sure darker colours are strategically placed over your tummy, the darker portion won't draw attention to a growing bump," adds Baukjen.

Try: JoJo Maman Bebe Navy Shift Dress, currently £21, reduced from £35

Isabella Oliver Mari Maternity Top, currently £29, reduced from £59

6. The classic shirt

"Blouses and shirts, like our Granville Maternity Shirt, are designed to have a billowy fit with a slight stretch, which can hide a belly," says Baukjen.

Try: Isabella Oliver Granville Maternity Shirt, £85

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