When Nicola Copping, Editor-in-Chief at Selfridges.com, fell pregnant she turned to Instagram for advice. Here, exclusively for The Step Up Club, Nicola reveals the shapes, footwear and labels that she's turned to over the past 8 months. And the best news it that her most cherished pregnancy accessory turned out to be free. At the time I discovered I was pregnant, two of fashion’s serious trend setters, Mira Duma (pocket Russian fashion rocket) and Yasmin Sewell (cool London urbanite), were reaching the end of their pregnancies. For the six months previous, my Instagram feed had been deluged with images of their quite eye-bleedingly amazing maternity wear: Sewell in what seemed like her totally normal lustworthy non-pregnancy artist-meets-club-kid wardrobe, just with extra wiggle room, and Duma in an amazing khaki culottes- and-tunic combo one minute, linen maxi coat-dress cinched under the bust the next. The woman even looked sexy at eight months pregnant.
Man, here was serious maternity pressure.
Whilst determined not to forsake my own style during, nor could I imagine going to their high-level designer standards either. I couldn’t justify spending thousands of pounds on clothing I might only wear for a matter of weeks.
While my admittedly convenient place of work, Selfridges, doesn’t do maternity-wear per se, only in the last couple of weeks (I am now at week 30) have I felt it necessary to buy maternity-specific clothing. So here’s my top tip: don’t immediately equate pregnancy with maternity clothes. Many of the dress styles I wore pre-pregnancy work with a bump – the Cos concession at Selfridges was my go-to for its square tunic shapes and shirt dresses, ideal for a growing bump and 100% viable when my body (finally) returns to its original post-birth form.
Non-maternity clothes do the job for quite a few months: COS shirt dress, £59
Emancipate your waist: Etro silk tunic, £355
If you’re not into wearing tight clothes and flashing the bump – which I never was at work (I want people to look at my face, not the physical sign that I would be away from the office for a year) – that Scandinavian clean-line style of Acne, & Other Stories and Cos works a treat. I just went up one dress size to cater for the extra growth.
Sleek Scandinavian Style: & Other Stories dress, £55
I also avoided anything that cinched my waist from the minute I started to show – I just found it too uncomfortable. My pregnancy work uniform therefore consists of the aforementioned loose-fitting dresses plus a couple of great Topshop maternity jeans combined with some non-maternity square-cut tops or crisp masculine shirts that tend to be longer in length. For me, playing with proportion is still fundamental while pregnant: if the top half is a little, how shall we put this delicately, bulbous, I’d recommend keeping the bottom half slim, skinny jeans being the perfect counterbalance.
Get the basics right: Topshop Maternity Jeans, £3
And what about shoes? One of my Selfridges colleagues was in stilettos until the day she left for maternity leave. God respect that woman, because I succumbed to flats – at a push sturdy block heel ankle boots – mid-way through my second trimester. (I never trusted my ever-faltering balance; face-plants in the office are NEVER a good look). Luckily, flats seem to be chiming with the fashion zeitgeist, so you can get some lovely versions (particularly now with the summer months) which will also help cater for any feet swelling that may come.
Soothe the swelling: Office leopard print lace ups, £60
Luxury footwear need not include a heel, Nicholas Kirkwood slipper shoe, £300
The only other vital element was a larger bra (no matter what state your body is in, comfortable and well-fitting bras are crucial so I was fitted twice during my pregnancy) and of course a Baby on Board badge for the commute. It’s never going to make the fashion pages but to take the weight of the block heels and keep those tunics free of pregnancy sweat, it’s at the top of the accessory list.