The Great High Street Maternity Let Down

My 14 week old bump has gotten to that slightly awkward pregnant/fat stage – you could forgive anyone for thinking I’d overdone it at the carvery, but it’s very definitely a little baby bump.
My arse seems to be expanding at the same rate, so with a bigger belly and bigger bum popping quite suddenly, I’ve been left in limbo with very few clothes which actually fit. So while I was off last week I spent a day in Liverpool scouring the high stet for purse and style friendly maternity clothes.

I was disappointed.

I came home with two items from Zara, neither maternity wear but both loose enough to house a growing bump. I’m lucky that my favourite store is going through a ‘the tent-ier the better’ phase, however as much as I love the clothes I’m not always a fan of the prices, and £60 on a dress and a top isn’t sustainable for a constantly changing shape.

My non-maternity Zara purchase. Sorry about the changing room selfie
My non-maternity Zara purchase. Sorry about the changing room selfie

The problem I found everywhere I looked was that the maternity ranges are embarrassingly small in comparison to the mainline ranges in the shops, and it seems to be all of the crap that they convert to bigger sizes. I say ’embarrassingly’ because that’s almost how they make you feel, by putting their whole two rails of maternity clothes on the top floor in a back corner, where no-one can see you.

New Look and Topshop were the worst offenders that I found, while one H&M store in Liverpool – the newer one on Paradise Street – didn’t appear to have a maternity section at all. I did find one dress that could be worn with a bump – ugly changing room selfie below – nice style, shape and print but even for me it took tent-chic to a whole new level. I wish you could see how much fabric there was to this dress…

A non-maternity dress in H&M. So. Much. Material.
A non-maternity dress in H&M. So. Much. Material.

And the bits I did find in Topshop either looked to be Autumn Winter product – a sea of ribbed grey and black in the middle of a Spring Summer tropical brights storm – or were basics. I’m all for a good basic, but when you only have basics to make up an outfit, you suddenly lose your personality and confidence, qualities that stand out for individuals when they get to express them through their choice of clothes.

Luckily Topshop’s maternity range online is much stronger and wider than what they have in store, but when you’re dressing an unfamiliar shape and need something now before you split a seam, waiting (and paying) for delivery to try on at home, rather than there and then in the shop, doesn’t always cut it.

As a side note, Selfish Mother is a brand I’d come across on Facebook and Instagram before now, and they do some great slogan sweaters – one of which is perfect for this blog as the slogan is ‘WINGING IT’ which is basically my strapline. I stumbled across a Selfish Mother concession in John Lewis, and it was great to see the product in person after all of those promoted ads filling up my news feed. The quality feels nice, which is the main thing I would have wanted to know considering a sweater is a relatively hefty £45.

Selfish Mother

I don’t want to live a completely casual life for the next 6 months (maybe the following 6 months I’ll feel differently) but I also don’t want to dress up like I’m going to a wedding every day. There needs to be a middle ground which the high street doesn’t seem to have cracked yet.

Next stop is Asos, who look at a glance to have a good range despite the online shopping frustrations that I mentioned earlier, so I’ll let you know how I get on.

If anyone has any tips for maternity dressing, without breaking the bank, please point me in the right direction!

Rhyming with Wine

0 thoughts on “The Great High Street Maternity Let Down

  1. I’ve had the same problem. No maternity shops anywhere unless I want to drive over an hour to a city. I’ve bought a couple things online and luckily they fit and I liked them! I’d much rather be able to go into a shop to try on though rather than potentially having to send things back which is just annoying. I now understand the frustration of women going into shops to only be told “sorry we only do maternity in bigger stores or online” (I used to say the same myself when I worked in retail!)

  2. I’m six foot tall and live in Thailand. Here women are expected to wear old fashioned, smock dressed when they are pregnant and they are all 5 foot 4. You better believe I was thrilled when I found a maternity section in HnM here. It was the most successful shopping trip I’ve had in my life. But maybe that was mostly relief I wasn’t having to by smocks.


    1. Haha that’s brilliant! H&M to the rescue. You have a point, maybe I’m not finding anything because I’m not under enough pressure! What a beautiful place to live, not sure I could handle Thailand heat while pregnant though!

  3. Congratulations on your pregnancy! 🙂
    You are so right – they are really missing a trick. New Look had some alright-ish things, I seem to recall, but I live in a fairly big retaily sort of town, and not one shop had any maternity at all. It is a pain. I ended up buying EVERYTHING in Jojo Maman Bebe (good shop, nauseating name) in the sale so I got 12 items for £60. All basics, as you say, but nice ones. Bargainous, but they were all out of season, so I was wearing cropped trousers in December… I ended up accessorising and jazzing up with bold and patterned scarves.
    Don’t even get me started on maternity tights! What’s with all the black! I’m pregnant, not in mourning!
    x Alice

    1. Ha exactly, it’s like no-one is in charge of maternity at any shop, they’re just picking the easiest, and often worst, styles to create a maternity version. Even worse when they’re not in the right season! Sounds like you styled it out well though 🙂 Thanks for reading! X

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