When I found out I was pregnant in the spring of 2020, my wardrobe initially didn’t give me much trouble. She was already knee-deep in stretchy leggings and comfy joggers (she definitely didn’t wear them for running) thanks to the UK’s first lockdown. In fact, I was grateful that I could move around my house without paying special attention to what I had to wear in the morning. Until I couldn’t anymore. All the shirts began to ride up uncomfortably and even the most stretchy tights began to squeeze.
And while comfortable clothing was key, I was still willing to keep my own style for when I wasn’t dressing casually, especially as our social lives began to resume.
So I turned to Google for maternity versions of my wardrobe staples, only to be sorely disappointed by the boring lineup of clearly scruffy dresses and slouch dresses. Even H&M, Gap and Topshop (RIP) didn’t quite deliver on simple, basic pieces that weren’t matronly or overly modest.
In the end, following the advice of friends, I bought some bigger stuff from the brands I love (thanks to Toast and Monki) and settled for my husband’s discarded shirts (for him, lockdown also meant a quick descent into clothing). informal).
That’s why I was thrilled to see Rihanna, proudly on display, rewriting the rules of pregnancy dress. From jewel-encrusted catsuits and chains wrapped around her growing belly to baby pink leather minidresses and lace and latex crop tops, she continued to wear her clothes, and her belly, strong and proud of her. .
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going shopping without a maternity aisle,'” Rihanna told American Vogue in April. “Sorry, it’s too much fun to dress up. I’m not going to let that part go away because my body is changing.”
It was an act of defiance and celebration in a world that still views motherhood, and mothers, as extremely private, inconspicuous and definitely not sexy.
But it’s a very old-fashioned view, because today, like Rihanna, women dress to feel good, instead of looking good for others. Having children can be all-consuming and our former identities can easily be cast aside, at least for a time. And it seems to start with maternity clothes, but it doesn’t really have to. “I hope that we have been able to redefine what is considered ‘decent’ for pregnant women,” Rihanna added in her interview with Vogue. “My body is doing amazing things right now, and I will not be ashamed of it. This time it should feel like a celebration.” I could not agree more.
While ordinary women may not want to completely wear Ri-Ri with a number of lace underwear as outerwear on their daily commute, there are elements pregnant women can take from her style. Still don’t want to hang up your high heels? Then don’t. Do you love your miniskirts? Then get one in a larger size and wear it as long as you can. Wearing similar styles to before my pregnancy made me feel like I had managed to hold on to my old sense of identity. It seems as if there has already been a trickle down effect: I have seen pregnant women in some pretty sexy bodycon dresses.
Although statistics show a decline in the number of children women are having, many of us will do so more than once. Where would you look if you had to do it all over again? I’m not sure yet.
Maternity wear designers should definitely take a cue from Rihanna. Let’s have less of the luscious, pastel-hued mummy dresses of yesteryear and more elegant tailoring and high-quality denim that takes our changing bodies into account. A more affordable price would not hurt either.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing Rihanna’s chosen outfits as a new mom: If anyone can rock a baby and a chainmail tank top, it surely has to be her.
Sonia Zhuravlyova is a freelance journalist based in London.