In the UK, the average age of a woman having her first child is 28.9-years-old. So why do so many of the maternity ranges out there look like they have been designed for women twice that age?
Our tester is currently 20 weeks pregnant, with a small but growing bump to dress, and was quite horrified at the options she was initially confronted with. She wasn’t prepared to spend the next few months dressed in frumpy shapes that she would ordinarily not be caught dead in.
But thankfully, it’s not all drab. Luckily for you, our reviewer has sifted through all the racks out there, to bring you this definitive edit of the best maternity brands for 2021 – so you can still feel like you.
Granted, no one wants to spend a small fortune on clothes they’re only going to wear for a matter of months, so with that in mind, we’ve tried to seek out versatile styles that can be worn well into the fourth trimester, and beyond.
Whether you favour chic, stretchy all-in-ones, or ordinarily live in denim, we’ve got you covered. We’ve thought of all elements, from bras, through to dresses, so consider this your one-stop shop for the next few months.
Not sure what size you are anymore? Turns out that when shopping for maternity wear, you should select your pre-pregnancy size. So if you were a UK 10 prior to conceiving, that’s the size you’ll be with a bump. Simple!
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Asos is a haven of affordable, stylish pieces that will make you feel “like you”, even with a growing bump in tow. Whether you’re looking for a stylish swimming costume for your babymoon, oversized sweats for lounging around at home, or a cute romper to take you from the pub to the garden, you’ll find it here without breaking the bank. When showing our tester’s non-pregnant friends our new haul, all of them said they’d happily wear the same, bump or not.
IndyBest pick: Asos design maternity button through romper
This stone-coloured all-in-one is a smidgen see-through, so you might want to wear nude underwear. However, we reckon the easy shape is perfect for laid back sunny weekends and will work just as well at home, as hanging out in the park with friends. It easily accommodates a bump but looks just as good without one too, so it’s not just a nine-month wonder.
Described as “clothing for modern mamahood”, Beyond Nine’s range aims to get you through the whole nine months and beyond. It specialises in jumpsuits and dresses in beautiful, eco-conscious fabrics, and although the range isn’t huge, it contains well thought out pieces that you’ll genuinely want to wear.
IndyBest pick: Beyond Nine poppy jumpsuit
Our reviewer tested the poppy jumpsuit in black; a lightweight jersey version of its best-selling Laura design. Ideal for the summer months, the sleeveless, stretchy style comes in sizes XXS–XL and features five poppers along the front (which will come in very handy when breastfeeding later down the line). It also comes in neutral charcoal marl and midnight navy; or lilac and hot pink tulip if you’d like to inject a bit of colour into your maternity wardrobe.
Although not officially a maternity brand, interestingly this year’s Sleeper campaign featured models cradling their bumps. The brand recognised that many pregnant women were among their customers, so it made sense to represent them in the styling. Collections are designed with versatility and comfort in mind, with a fit that would suit many body types.
IndyBest pick: Atlanta dress
As for specific pieces, we recommend the new Marie dress (£178) from the brand’s SS21 collection; or the Brigitte (£207), Michelin (£228) and Atlanta (£228) dresses, from the core linen line. Our tester bought the latter long before we knew we were expecting, but have been thrilled to find it flatters a bump perfectly. It’s not cheap, but if you’d rather spend a little more now, and know you can wear it before, during and after the baby arrives – this one is for you.
Making premium, sustainable maternity and nursing clothes that last (ideal if you know you’d like another child at some point), Boob has been in the business of dressing bumps for over 20 years. The “once-on-never-off” maternity trousers (£44.99) really are some of the softest we’ve tried and for summer the nursing and bump-friendly duo shirtdress in sky blue (£119.99) will come in super handy.
IndyBest pick: 24/7 full cup bra
The recently launched 24/7 full cup bra has been a hit with customers, and we can see why. Made with stretchy, sustainable fabric for soft support you can wear day and night, it features a wrap front for easy nursing. It’s so comfortable, our tester can’t see her wearing another bra again, and there’s also a triangle version (£54.99) for smaller busts.
Glow in Style
Glow in Style is an online personal styling service offering bespoke one-to-one consultations for expectant mums. You start by filling out a style quiz, and then the team of stylists curate an edit, specifically tailored to each individual. The customer is then free to set her own budget and voila – your box will arrive at your door.
IndyBest pick: The essentials curated box
In addition, Glow in Style also offers this maternity “essentials” pack, which contains four key all black pieces to underpin your wardrobe. Everything from the longline nursing cami, to the ribbed tube skirt is exceptionally well made and really useful for layering. Our tester can see this selection suiting those that still need to look pulled together for work, and want to feel supported under their clothes.
Lily and Ribbon
Focusing on fashionable yet functional maternity and breastfeeding clothes, Lily and Ribbon offers everything from Indy Best-approved maternity jeans, to swimwear, dresses, coats and activewear. It was created by Tanya Patel who was so fed up with looking for maternity wear that wasn’t drab and boring that she created her own – something we can very much relate to.
IndyBest pick: Pink maternity & nursing slip dress
Maternity wear has such a short shelf life that when you do make a purchase, you want it to be multi-purpose. Our tester thought this pretty pink, strappy dress strikes the perfect balance from day to eve. Dress down with a white tee, trainers and denim jacket, or wear as it as is when the sun is shining. The midi-length finish with side slits make this piece stylish rather than drab, and the top panel conceals handy slits for easy nursing access – genius!
Rentals are fast becoming a popular choice for special occasions – but when you think about it, they make so much sense for dressing a growing bump. By Rotation has a special maternity section, featuring a gorgeous edit of styles that would accommodate your new shape with ease. From Ganni, to Sleeper, Stine Goya to Rixo, this is a treasure trove of beautiful designs for you to play dress up.
IndyBest pick: Ganni checked cotton blend seersucker mini dress
Our tester received more compliments wearing this cute Ganni mini dress, than the rest of her regular wardrobe put together. The oversized, easy swing shape is perfect for a bump, and the bright check made a welcome change from the neutrals and stripes commonly found in maternity wear.
Though not strictly a maternity brand, Paige gets serious praise for its denim offering. It’s fair to say that buying jeans at the best of times is generally considered a nightmare by all, so we were more than a bit sceptical that these were going to fit. However we’d heard such rave reviews, we had to give the Paige verdugo jeans a go.
IndyBest pick: Paige verdugo maternity skinny mid-rise jeans
It’s no exaggeration to say these jeans fit our tester better, and gave her a nicer shape, than any jeans she had tried on pre-pregnancy. The denim is soft and stretchy but supportive, gently sculpting the bum without sagging, and the skinny shape was a breeze to pull on. The discreet stretchy side panels sit just under the bump and were so comfortable. Quite frankly our reviewer was amazed, and although they’re not cheap, we can see ourselves wearing them well into the fourth trimester (in fact, we never want to take them off).
Seraphine tends to be one of the first big names you’ll come across in the maternity wear arena. It’s not so surprising, since it has been dressing mums to be for nearly 20 years. These days the comprehensive range includes clothes for every occasion, from joggers to wedding dresses. So whether you’re after a new dress for your baby shower or essentials for your hospital bag, you should be able to find it here.
IndyBest pick: Baby sensory maternity and nursing bra
Designed by Seraphine’s in-house team of mums, the new baby sensory bra features a high contrast monochrome print, full-coverage modesty panelling and wide supportive straps that encourage good posture. It’s one of Seraphine’s newest products and designed to benefit both mum and baby.
For the latest discounts and offers on other fashion buys, try the links below:
For more maternity favourites, read our round-up of the best maternity gym-wear pieces that support your bump
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.