Maternity brands should take notice of Rihanna – pregnant women are fed up with sloppy offers

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When I found out I was pregnant in the spring of 2020, my wardrobe didn’t initially give me much trouble. I was already knee-deep in stretchy leggings and comfy joggers (definitely not worn for jogging) thanks to the first block in the UK. In fact, I was grateful that I could move around the house without paying particular attention to what I had to wear in the morning. Until I couldn’t anymore. All the shirts began to rise uncomfortably and even the most stretchy leggings began to pinch.

And while comfortable clothing was key, I still wanted to keep my style for when I wasn’t dressing casually, especially when our social lives started picking up.

So I turned to Google looking for maternity versions of my wardrobe essentials, only to be sorely disappointed with the monotonous lineup of downright scruffy and scruffy outfits. Even H&M, Gap and Topshop (RIP) didn’t produce simple, basic pieces that weren’t matronly or overly modest.

Eventually, on the advice of friends, I bought some bigger things from brands I love (thanks Toast and Monki) and opted for my husband’s discarded shirts (lockdown to him also meant a quick descent into casual wear).

That’s why I was thrilled to see Rihanna, proudly naked on display, rewrite the rules of dressing up while pregnant. From jumpsuits and jewel-encrusted chains wrapped around her growing belly, to baby pink leather minidresses and short lace and latex tops, she continued to wear her clothes – and her baby bump – strong and proud.

“When I found out I was pregnant, I thought to myself, ‘There’s no way I’m going to go shopping in any maternity ward,’” Rihanna told American Vogue in April. “I’m sorry, it’s too much fun to dress up. I will not let that part disappear because my body is changing ”.

It was an act of defiance and celebration in a world that still too often sees motherhood – and mothers – as something extremely private, inconspicuous and downright not sexy.

But it’s a grossly old-fashioned view, because today, just like Rihanna, women dress to feel good, rather than to look good on others. Having children can be all-consuming, and our former identities can easily be pushed aside, at least for a while. And it looks like it starts with maternity wear, but it’s not really necessary. “I hope we have been able to redefine what is considered ‘decent’ for pregnant women,” added Rihanna in her interview with Vogue. “My body is doing amazing things right now and I won’t be ashamed of it. This time it should be celebratory ”. Could not agree more.

While everyday women may not want to wear Ri-Ri with a number of lacy underwear as outerwear on their daily commute, there are elements pregnant women can take from her style. Don’t want to hang up your high heels yet? Then no. Do you like your miniskirts? So take one of a size larger and wear it for as long as possible. Wearing styles similar to before pregnancy made me feel like I managed to keep my former sense of self. There seems to have been a cascade effect already: I ​​have noticed pregnant women in rather attractive tight-fitting dresses.

Even though statistics show a decline in the number of children women have, many of us will do it more than once. Where would I look if I had to do it all over again? I’m not sure yet.

Maternity wear designers should definitely grab a leaf from Rihanna’s playbook. We take less of the exquisite mummy dresses and pastel shades of yesteryear and sharper tailoring and premium denim that takes into account our changing bodies. A cheaper price wouldn’t hurt either.

In the meantime, I can’t wait to see Rihanna’s chosen outfits as a new mom – if anyone can rock a baby and a knitted tank top, it definitely has to be her.

Sonia Zhuravlyova is a London-based freelance journalist

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