The mother and style reunion

style police; Maternity no longer has to mean nine months in the fashion cooler. Whoopee!

As far as most fashion magazines are concerned, pregnant women don't exist. Model mums-to-be get a better deal: 41-year-old Jerry Hall made a point of attending as many celebrity parties as possible dressed in made-to-order Bruce Oldfield, although she, like fellow MM Yasmin Le Bon, is fortunate enough to look like a lithe python who happens to have swallowed an egg. So, Style Police thinks it is high time to bring pregnant women out of the fashion closet.

The high street is particularly insensitive to pregnant women. Ask for the maternity section and the assistant will get all flustered, as though you've asked for incontinence pants. Julie Williams, a production coordinator for Chris Evans's Ginger Productions says, "When you do find the maternity sections in high-street shops they are usually minuscule and up two flights of steps. The major problem is designers thinking you want to hide your body in a boring beige sack dress or a man-size shirt."

There are time-honoured fashion rules about pregnancy. For one, a woman's cleavage is more sumptuous and she may want to focus on it rather than the waist. Where to find fashion pieces that fit the rule is less clear- cut. Williams says, "Contrary to popular belief, pregnant women do want to wear short skirts and fitted tops. H & M [the artist formerly known as Hennes] wins hands down for me. Everything is around the pounds 21.99 mark, which is important because you're not going to wear these clothes after the birth. I bought a fabulous leopard-skin, fake fur party frock from H&M and everyone complimented it. It was above the knee, quite fitted and skimmed the cleavage."

H&M press office says, "We don't design separately for our Mama collection. We take the key pieces from our fashion stories and adapt. For spring '98 we're doing boot-cut "ottoman" trousers at pounds 21.99, and grey jersey tops with V-necks and very fitted sleeves. One of the big stories is our ice-blue, jersey sleeveless dress at pounds 21.99, which crosses over the cleavage. Chinese embroidery on georgette is a major part of H&M fashion, so we've cut the embroidered georgette into a dress [pounds 19.99] which can be worn on its own or over a pair of viscose pants with an elasticised waist [pounds 21.99]."

Another high-street complaint is the lack of fashion for women over size 16. They, too, are largely ignored by the magazines. John Lewis press office reports that not only has its maternity range been injected with a shot of fashion nous, but "we are really designing for women between 16 and 40 plus. We are also aware that some mothers work up to two weeks before they are due. So, we have a tailored short navy skirts [pounds 33] and single-breasted navy jackets [pounds 55] which women need for the office in viscose, Lycra and jersey. Women don't have to wear clothing that screams `pregnancy'. They want to get on with their lives and dress accordingly."

Women to whom catalogue shopping is poison have been converted when searching for maternity wear. Williams was surprised to say, "The French catalogues La Redoute and Jojo Maman Bebe had lovely stuff. I also saw a beautiful mid-thigh velour tunic in Formes catalogue - but pounds 90 is a lot of money for a dress I will only wear until April."

Forget christening presents. Just ask for an H&M chargecard in advance.

Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own