When Aleksandra Jassem was pregnant with her son in 2013, she had a hard time finding stylish pieces to add to her closet that also fit her changing figure. “There didn’t seem to be any stores that interested me vibe or aesthetic-wise.” Instead of being forced to change her personal style, Jassem, one half of the kick-ass duo that launched Rebel Mama, the “‘mom blog’ for the rest of us” in January 2015, instead adjusted her shopping habits. “I wanted to keep my style mine, and so I bought voluminous, boho-style stuff or went two sizes up,” she said. “[And] all black everything. Also, oversized sweatshirts rule.”
Fast forward a few years and things seem to be getting better for expecting women. “The biggest challenge is that pretty early on in my pregnancy, my shape changed so my go-to silhouette didn’t really flatter me in the same way,” confided Karen Cleveland, a communications professional. “I couldn’t really dress to play up my waistline anymore, but I am having fun playing with baggier tops and different proportions.”
“A lot of maternity clothes look like, well, maternity clothes,” Cleveland, who is due in May 2018, continued. “So I’m happy that I’ve found some looser tops from my favourite places.” Those places include Club Monaco for sweaters, J.Crew and Aritzia for blouses and Smythe for well-tailored blazers. The one area where Cleveland has actually dabbled in maternity wear is pants. “My two favourite maternity pants are my Paige Verdugo skinny jeans and the J.Crew Minnie pant. They’re super comfortable and actually stay up. On weekends, I live in my ASOS maternity leggings.”
Moms like Jessica Alba, Kerry Washington and Kate Middleton have helped to shine a spotlight on the need for fashionable pieces that work while your uterus is building a baby. Brands like Hatch Maternity, as well as Isabella Oliver, are making moves south of the border, and both ship to Canada. But for other brands who don’t have maternity offerings, now would be the time to step up their game. The industry is already bringing in profits in the multi-billion dollar range, and it’s expected to exceed $16 billion in the next four years.
So where should expectant mothers turn in Canada if they want to retain their style for those ever-changing nine months? Ani + Wren, which opened in September 2013 in Toronto and offers e-commerce on their website, carries Hatch, Isabella Oliver and more stylish pregnancy brands. But they also carry lines that will work before and after baby. Started by sisters-in-law Lauren and Lani Levy, the site provides free shipping throughout Canada for orders over $200. Nordstrom, which is new-ish to Canada, also offers free shipping on maternity wear purchases over $100. And fast fashion is catching on—Gap, H&M, ASOS, Topshop and more now have maternity offerings as well, in store and online. But make sure you check if maternity is available at your local store before you head out to shop.
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