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The Top 5 Maternity Clothes Brands For 2012

So you’re expecting! You’re growing and glowing and getting a lot of attention. But amidst all the initial planning, if you’re like many new mums-to-be, you may be wondering what will become of your wardrobe – if you’ll soon have to trade sexy for shrouded…

Here at Private Pregnancy UK, we’re here to tell you that chic is not lost, just because your waistline is expanding. The right maternity wear should celebrate, and not swamp your new shape. Yes, we know some days you’re exhausted and up and down to the ladies room every few minutes, but isn’t that all the more reason to style yourself like the glowing goddess you are?

Some of the best and most creative designers have turned their hand to maternity wear, with dazzling results. Here at Private Pregnancy UK we give you our independent and impartial list of the Top 5 Maternity Clothing Labels for 2012. We love these guys, and we think you will too…

1. Hot Milk Lingerie

Hot Milk Lingerie

At Private Pregnancy UK, we’re all too familiar with the common pregnancy complaint of feeling less sexy. You’re tired and you’re getting bigger and it might all feel like more effort than it used to. But who says sexy should get shelved altogether just because you’re expecting?

We know that sometimes you really just want to snuggle up in a pair of PJs in front of the telly, and that’s as it should be. But on the days you’re feeling game, why not enjoy your figure in some undercover fashion? In fact, sometimes pregnancy can make you feel even more amorous, so throw off those flesh tones and unleash your inner goddess!

What’s special about it?
In a world full of drab, single-fabric fleshies, Hot Milk gives you maternity lingerie that bites. Designed by two working mums, who understand as well as anyone how much of a difference it can make to feel sexy from the inside out in pregnancy, the Hot Milk collections are simply to drool for. Sport satin bows and ruched cotton with the Beloved bra, rock midnight flowers with the Quiet Storm set, ruffle his feathers in a see-through camisole or simply relax in style in a pair of elegant PJs…Any way you like it, Hot Milk has something for you. Best of all, most bras are set up to be nursing-compatible, so you can wear them in pregnancy and beyond. (Just remember to get properly fitted before you buy – bras that dig or are too tight can compromise your developing milk ducts.) You will feel delicious, and, we promise, your hubby will think Christmas has come early!

Where can I find it?
You can buy Hot Milk direct online (delivery is free) and from sites such as figleaves.com, or check their website for a full list of stockists near you.

2. Isabella Oliver

Isabella Oliver

Just because you’re expecting, does not mean every day is leggings day! In fact, if you have a busy, active life, you’ll probably want to maintain a polished image, if only to keep your spirits up, against those mood swings and morning sickness bouts.

If you want everyday elegance for your pregnancy, then comfort, adaptability and versatility is key. If something rubs, chafes, or otherwise digs in, you won’t want to wear it again – no matter how good it looked the first time. Isabella Oliver is perfect for your pregnancy wardrobe staples with style.

What’s so special about it?
Founded by one working mother and her husband, Isabella Oliver grew out of dissatisfaction with what was on offer in the maternity world. Now, 9 years after its founding, the trademarks of the brand – ruching and wrapping – have become staples for chic pregnant women everywhere.

If you want comfort and femininity, this is the place to go. Since many of the designs either stretch and/or tie, these are items you’ll be wearing and loving for more than a couple of weeks, and can even keep after pregnancy as your bump shrinks down – who says baby weight is all a drag?

Where can I find it?
An exclusively online brand, visit www.isabellaoliver.com

3. Crave Maternity

Crave Maternity

This label scores top marks for office wear, why so important? During pregnancy, what we wear at work affects our outlook, confidence and accordingly the way we carry ourselves.

Many a working mother has remarked that being pregnant at times made her feel more vulnerable, and visible – but due to her physical state rather than what she was actually doing or saying.

The right work clothes can help you to feel more graceful, confident and in charge, which can be all-important in those team meetings. And not least with all the changes going on in you, making you at times feel less and less in charge of your own body…

What’s so special about it?
Crave Maternity could be praised for their trousers alone. With super-stylish boot-cut or fabulous skinnies, these designs capitalise beautifully upon your new shape, hanging more elegantly because of your bump and not in spite of it. Team a pair with one of their beautifully tailored blouses or throw a jacket over an elegant knee-length dress and you’re sorted… watch out work-world, you’ve got one sassy mama coming your way…

Where can I find it?
Online at www.cravematernity.co.uk. Or they have a flagship boutique in Richmond at 4 Duke Street, including a personal shopping service. Call 0208 940 8255 for details.

4. Seraphine

Seraphine

As this label proves – just because it’s casual, does not mean it has to be frumpy. If you’re a stylish mum-to-be, you’ll probably want to retain as much of your pre-pregnancy fashion sense as possible. Think beautifully cut jeans with the right tummy support, or gorgeous, shapely tops that celebrate your shape in a way that others will want to emulate – laid back rather than lazy, comfy rather than couch-potato.

What’s so special about it?
Inspired by the uniquely buxom contours of the pregnant lady, Seraphine combines sophisticated French heritage with an eye for current catwalk trends. Gorgeously trendy, award-winning jeans combine with beautiful crossover tops to create a look that’s casual without being scruffy.

Founded in 2002, Seraphine is now a worldwide brand beloved by stylists and celebrities alike – from Danni Minogue to Claudia Schiffer and Halle Berry.

Each collection is updated every season to reflect current catwalk trends, meaning fashionistas won’t feel they’re taking their eye off the ball during those prenatal and nursing months.

Where can I find it?
Stores in Kensington and Hampstead or order online. Visit www.seraphine.com/seraphine-stores for more info.

5. Tiffany Rose Maternity

Tiffany Rose Maternity

Have naysayers been telling you you’re never going out again now you’re pregnant? Here at Private Pregnancy UK, we’re used to hearing women complain that now they’re expecting, people assume they’re not going to be social any more – but how much truth is there in all this?

In reality, your social life will most likely slow down somewhat during pregnancy. You’re unlikely to want to stand for long periods of time on swollen, aching feet, making small talk. You may be wary of big crowds and smoky, boozy places can be unsuitable for your baby, your nostrils and your hormones.

You’ll probably find yourself wanting to undertake more daytime based activities like brunch with friends, a relaxing foot spa or a night in, in front of a DVD.

But what about those occasions that you can’t, or quite frankly you just don’t want, to miss? What about your partner’s work do or your friend’s wedding? Are you going in a simple smock or would you rather be the belle of the ball?

Elegant maternity evening wear can make pregnancy incredibly desirable. If you thought your bump alone was getting you attention, wait till you explore the apparel from Tiffany Rose…

What’s so special about it?
Unique specialists in maternity evening wear, bridal wear, and all-round special occasion wear, Tiffany Rose designs are adored by everyday mums and celebrities alike – from Holly Willoughby to Tess Daly.

And when you start browsing their collections, it’s not hard to see why. From floating florals to petite pastels, all these designs have their own unique edge. Never predictable and often red-carpet ready, Tiffany Rose designs will leave you feeling a million dollars – without costing it.

Where can I find it?
Designs are available from a few selected boutiques listed on their website, but the easiest way to purchase Tiffany Rose is probably direct online, see www.tiffanyrose.com for details.

A few last little tips on maternity shopping…

Buy as you go

Buy as you go…
Unless you’re feeling particularly indulgent, we recommend buying items as your pregnancy progresses (rather than all in one go), to accommodate your changing shape.

We can never completely predict just how much we’re going to grow in pregnancy so it’s best to play it by ear. And remember to invest in a good maternity support band that you can work around your clothes – as the weight around your middle increases, so does the strain on your back.

Maximise wearability
It’s helpful to choose items that have good mixing and matching potential – a dress that can be worked up with some chic accessories, or turned into office wear with the right jacket, for example.

Also, look for fabrics that will stretch up and down, meaning you can wear them during pregnancy and as your belly shrinks during nursing. Designs incorporating wrapping and tying are good for this reason too.

Comfort is key
Make sure you feel at ease in any new items you buy. Pregnancy can be uncomfortable enough as it is, with your heightened body temperature and the itching that can be a common unwelcome symptom – the last thing you want is for your clothes to make it worse.

Relax and enjoy your pregnancy in clothes you feel comfortable in

If you feel restless in something to begin with, trust us, you won’t want to wear it again. Avoid man-made fabrics (like polyester and acrylic) as these can be irritating to your skin. Stick to natural fibres instead, like cotton, silk and viscose.

Last but not least…enjoy!
The best maternity wear makes pregnancy look fashionable in and of itself. Find the clothes you love and have fun being pregnant.

There’s nothing like a touch of elegance to take the edge off some of the exhaustion. Get into that changing room and out of that grey cotton – you’re gorgeous, and you deserve it!

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