I have lived for the past 8 months mostly in a variation on my pre-pregnancy wardrobe of leggings and dresses. Pretty early on I switched to over-the-bump maternity leggings. Even before there was much of a bump, anything around my waist felt too tight and uncomfortable. The ones I had came via my sisters. One pair was from Mothercare, another from a brand called Miki, who seem to be based in Malaysia, so goodness knows how they ended up in this country. I also had a bunch of maternity t-shirts from Next. Along with my usual jersey dresses, that kept me going for a good while. In fact, I can still wear a good proportion of my pre-pregnancy stretchy dresses, the ones that are more or less empire-line, flaring out under the bust.
Things I bought
Jeans from Simply Be: These are useful, but not as well fitting as I thought they would be. Only now at 8 months pregnant are they not baggy and in danger of falling down. Perhaps the sizing is a little generous? To be fair, I was probably nearer a size 20 that 22 (at least at Simply Be) before I got pregnant, thanks for losing almost 10kg over the autumn. I ordered several things from Simply Be as they're one of the few places that does size 18+ maternity clothing. Sadly, I sent most things back again. Some just didn't fit well, others, the fabrics weren't good quality. The range looks good, but I was disappointed by the quality and I wanted things that would show off the bump, not try to camouflage it in baggy shapelessness.
Leggings from Bon Prix: shorter than the ones I've linked. I got a two pack with one pair grey and one pair black. I wear them a lot. Again, I tried other garments from Bon Prix as they have a good stock of larger sized maternity clothes, but sent them back as I didn't like them, for the same reasons - too shapeless or low quality fabrics. I like cotton! I do not like polyester and nylon. This is a common failing in plus size clothing.
Wrap t-shirt by Isabella Oliver: not at full price, I hasten to add! I bought 2 of these on eBay (in size 6, equivalent to about size 20, though IO seem to have stopped making things in that size) for a total of £30, one in red and one in brown. I have worn the red one a few times and the brown one not at all. They are a fun garment to put on, though need adjusting throughout the day. I think they make stylish workwear, which is rare in maternity clothing. I probably should not have bought the brown one, as brown isn't really my colour. I haven't tried wearing them recently as I think I'd be too hot and I'm not completely sure they'd fit anymore. The wrap style is quite forgiving, but I'm rather at the top of the size range. A nice treat and I enjoy them. I will definitely hang onto these for the future. And actually, they'd probably work as breastfeeding tops too, though they might be fiddly.
Dress and t-shirt from H&M: I adore this dress! It's my favourite thing to wear as it shows off the bump beautifully, as does the t-shirt. I don't think that's quite the same style as the one I have, but it's more or less right. I like H&M's maternity range. Lots of good jersey basics in sizes up to XL (which they describe as 22-24, though I think it's more like 20-22) and it's all good and long in the body and sleeves. I've continued to wear a lot of non-maternity H&M stuff too - vest tops which are long and stretchy enough to go over the bump and jersey mini skirts which are just about bum-covering enough that I can wear leggings, a mini skirt and a t-shirt and not feel underdressed. They do nursing tops too. I've got a couple of second hand ones in a drawer waiting for that stage, so I'll see how they suit me when I get there. I suspect they may not quite work for me as I'm pretty large busted and therefore shelf-bra type arrangements under tops tend not to be big enough, but we'll see. Good work all round H&M.
Project D London Victoria Dress: this was the eventual result of my search for a suitably glamorous dress to wear to a posh wedding in Cyprus at the end of June. I did feel fabulous in it, though it was a leetle bit too low cut. I meant to take double sided tape with me, but forgot, so my bra was on show for most of the occasion. Oops. The dress I desperately wanted was the Tilda Maxi dress by Isabella Oliver. But it was last year's and extremely popular at the time, and now nowhere to be found. The Project D Queens Maxi looked like a good second choice, but I never found anywhere that had it in stock. (I wish I had discovered Project D before they ceased to be. Some of the dresses are gorgeous and all go up to big sizes). I tried to find specifically maternity evening dresses, but couldn't find anything I liked that went to big enough sizes at a price I could afford. I love Seraphine's dresses, particularly this colour block maxi, but with sizes only going up to 18 and priced as you might expect for a silk evening gown, this was never really a realistic option. I've had good results with empire line-ish maxi dresses though. A greenish print jersey one I got from BHS of all places has had good wear, as has this striped t-shirt maxi from Taking shape.
Minted Rose dress from Taking Shape: I bought this as a bump-friendly dress for weddings. I'm not sure it's as successful as I'd like. It looks a little shapeless on. Again, perhaps I wanted a 20 rather than a 22. It definitely needs a camisole underneath to stop it gapping and the netted petticoat shown in the photo, which it needs for shape, is sold separately. I will wear it again I suspect, for the next wedding we'll shoot in November. For one thing, the wrap top should be easy to breastfeed in.
Zoggs Mallacoota Maternity swimming costume from Marisota: spent ages trying to find a maternity swimming costume in my size. This was pricey, but it looks good. I like the adjustable bust and side ruching. It does ride up a little in the water as the top layer is only anchored at the top. This is bearable as I don't do a lot of serious swimming. So far I've worn it in the hotel pool in Cyprus and the hot tub at my mother-in-law's. I do want to do some swimming as it's so hot. Now that I'm officially on maternity leave I should schedule some swimming sessions.
There are a couple of other things. T-shirts from New Look. One from their maternity range (which annoyingly only goes up to size 18) and one shapeless t-shirt in a funky print from their Inspire range. I think I've spent a lot of time browsing clothing websites and ordered and sent back more garments than I actually bought. H&M are definitely my favourite for maternity clothes, though it probably helps that I don't need to be particularly smart for work. If I had a job which required smart work wear, I think I would be very stuck to know where to look for maternity clothes in my size. Possibly Next might have been my saviour.