The 411 on Seattle’s maternity fashion

Image by Village Maternity

Motherhood is such an exciting new time in life—when you want to be your absolute best, and also celebrate your newfound curves and changing body shape.

In the first trimester, you can get away with wearing stretchy jeans and choosing between the more forgiving silhouettes that you own—but the second trimester demands that you invest in actual maternity fashion. The second trimester is often when nausea typically wanes, and energy levels peak, so it’s a great time to dress up, do some retail therapy, and generally feel good about yourself and your changing body.

As an expecting mom who loves all things fashion, I went on a quest to track down the best maternity wear that Seattle has to offer. My challenge was simple—I wanted chic clothes that made me feel like myself and also support me during this new phase in life. Though Seattle is not the most maternity-friendly in the fashion department, there are a few great gems out there. Here’s the lowdown on all hip things mom (and some baby!) in the city.

Casual-chic styles from Village Maternity

Village Maternity is a one-stop destination for all things maternity (and even baby-related!) in Seattle. Here you can stock up on everyday essentials, chic summery styles, and elevated, dressier clothes too. A pioneering maternity destination since 1983, Village Maternity supplies moms-to-be with beautiful and hip maternity wear, supplies for before and after pregnancy, and special clothes and gifts for baby. This is the only independent maternity store in Seattle, carrying maternity brands, including Swedish brand, BOOB (a chic organic maternity + nursing line from Sweden), Ripe (fashionable line from Australia), Seraphine (British brand known for dressing Princess Kate), NOM (Village Maternity’s designed-in-house brand), Beyond Yoga, and many more!

Owner and creative designer Anna Williams tells us, “My mother started Village Maternity in 1983 after having me. She was looking for a community where she could find a great product, ask the sometimes embarrassing questions and connect with other moms. After she passed away in 2013, I took over the store and we have continued her mission of bringing the best in maternity and baby to Seattle. It feels really special to continue my mom’s legacy. She was pretty incredible. I try to think of my mom and what she would do running the business. I would say the one place where we differ is I do like a slightly more fashion-forward silhouette so we have been a bit bolder when it comes to color and silhouette at Village Maternity—she was a little more practical.”

If there’s one style that I live in during my pregnancy—it would have to be this striped wrap Maya dress. It’s so versatile and works for many different situations. I wear it for errands, meetings over coffee and walks around the park. With just a simple jacket and earrings, it also works for a nice dinner date or a rooftop barbecue. Another great style is the Emma dress, easy and breezy, and available in different prints.

A common question is why you should opt for maternity fashion and not go up a size or two in regular clothes. Anna tells us why maternity clothing different from say, clothing in stretchable fabrics, or anti-fit styles, “Maternity clothing is cut to accommodate a growing belly. With NOM, we offer subtle pleating under the bust that allows the belly to grow without stretching against the fabric. For dresses, there is often a slight difference in length at the front of the garment so that as one gets more pregnant, one doesn’t end up with a really short hemline. While there are a few silhouettes where you can just size up and make them work for maternity, many will look way too large in the arms and shoulders if they fit the belly.

As for pants, maternity pants either come in an under the belly or over the belly silhouette—NOM carries both. The decision on which to pick is purely personal. Under the belly often has elastic inserts in the waistband that allow for the belly to grow, whereas the over the belly style has a stretchy fabric that is sewn into the top of the pant or denim. Many of NOM styles also allow for discreet nursing access with hidden modestly layers, snap fronts or hidden zippers for easy access that doesn’t scream nursing. ”

NOM maternity’s beautiful, summery styles are a great antidote to the woes that expecting moms face – tiredness, bloating and never finding enough time. NOM’s seamless tanks are great basics to pair with leggings or jeans. Finding something cute to wear is a happy respite when you feel your body changing at a dramatic pace. Also, I loved that NOM maternity is specially designed to suit and support you through the various changes that pregnancy brings. They look chic, well-tailored and still always have room for an ever-expanding belly. All that, without overdoing the ruching. It is a combination of clever construction and really knowing your customer and her needs – a pregnant woman, in this case. The styles are really figure-flattering, even in month 7 of pregnancy. As an added bonus, almost all of them are nursing-friendly as well, making them viable options for the fourth trimester and beyond. Whether off to the playground, date night, a work event. or lounging in the house with baby, NOM Maternity designs are meant to be versatile and work for every aspect of your life.

Classics from Buki

If I had one word for Buki, it would be ‘comfort’. Though it is not a maternity-specific brand, the styles at Buki are so fluid and classic that they bode well for the different stages in any woman’s life, including pregnancy. I’ve always been a big fan of Buki and this time is no different. One of my maternity staples is the Masterpiece Dress. This dress is so stylish and just so soft and comfortable—a big bonus when small aches and discomforts become a part of your daily life. It is also like a blank canvas and takes well to different kinds of accessorization—a beach hat, jade earrings, multiple necklaces, you name it. I’ve worn it to brunch with a broad belt and shown off the bump. I’ve also worn it to a long-haul flight with leggings and it holds up so well through long airport transits and multiple flights. I’d recommend this to everyone, pregnant or not. The dress is so aptly named and is nothing short of a masterpiece. This is a hero piece that can be a potential lifesaver for every expecting mom out there. As I’m nearing my third trimester, I’m already eyeing the Buki Wrap, which looks ideal for cozy fall layering, as well as a breastfeeding cover-up. At Buki, you can invest in some great-quality pieces that are soft to the touch, and pretty great when you’re expecting, or for life generally.

Their entire collection is sustainable, breathable, and machine-washable.  So, it’s great for travel and even better for everyday wear. Stacy Bennett, Buki Co-Founder/COO tells us, “Women have more on their plate now than ever before, and they deserve all the comfort in the world. Buki is happy to oblige.  Our fabrics are breathable, sustainable, and machine-washable, thanks to our state-of-the-art fiber technology. Not only does Buki transition from desk-to-dinner seamlessly but also translates into maternity clothing beautifully. Our collection of seasonless essentials are crafted to keep women pampered in the most luxurious treat of all, comfort.”

Athleisure from Fabletics

The best bet towards an easy (relatively) labor is keeping fit and active during your pregnancy, with your doctor’s approval, of course. Personally, I swear by evening walks and prenatal yoga. I find that besides helping me stay limber, prenatal yoga also really helps with emotional stressors and to calm the monkey mind. Actress Kate Hudson, who owns Fabletics, has been a big fitness and wellness advocate for many years now. With three kids of her own, and having gone through this phase personally, it was a natural next step for her to launch a maternity capsule collection.

I love wearing leggings beyond the gym as well, especially now when comfort is a priority. My regular activewear started feeling a wee snug after the first trimester. Fabletics makes regular chic leggings but with an extra panel to support your baby bump. And trust me, you’ll need the support. They have many options to choose from— low rise, full tummy panel, zippered styles. You can also wear them through different seasons—with just a tank top in summer, a hoodie in autumn and a down parka in the winter. The leggings are made with a high-quality performance fabric which works great during sweaty workouts, especially in the summer. The sizes might feel that they run large when you are in your first trimester, but you’ll begin to fill them out soon. The sizes are great for cycling classes, yoga or for a casual weekend!

Intimates from Bella Maternity

Breasts go through the biggest (Pun intended!) changes during pregnancy. Investing in great underpinnings in an absolute necessity and so crucial during body changes. Usually, the first place to experience any kind of discomfort will be your breasts – with growing pains and tenderness. Supportive and comfortable bras are the most important purchases during this period, and Bella Materna stocks some of the best specialty intimates in Seattle. Launched in 2000, their wide range of products includes full chest bras, maternity bras, nursing camisoles, maternity lingerie, maternity workout, and maternity loungewear. Their products are made from high-quality materials that are Oeko-Tex 100 certified to be free of toxins for moms and babies.

Most women size up by at least one cup by the third trimester. It is also a great idea to invest in bras that work for nursing beforehand so you can wear them through your pregnancy. I’d recommend a couple of sports bras, a good camisole, a t-shirt bra and a couple of nursing bras. A great idea is to invest in a bra extender band that you can use to extend your pre-pregnancy bras. Bella Materna also sells other great prenatal and postpartum essentials like nipple balms, maternity belts, and other accessories to make pregnancy a lot easier.  The anytime camisole at Bella Materna has been an absolute gamechanger for me. You can wear it under a low-cut dress or even as a tank top layered with a denim jacket or shrug. It is super comfortable, wire-free and gives you easy nursing access. If needed, you can also wear a bra underneath for added support. I like it on its own though. I also love their plunge racerback bra , which is great to wear under dresses, and also does double duty as a nursing bra.

Anne, mompreneur at Bella Materna tells us, “Construction is a big point of difference when it comes to quality intimates. I come from a design background and have worked in the maternity nursing market for decades. I absolutely recommend buying a nursing bra while you are pregnant, as your size after 6 months of birthing will roughly be the same as when you’re about 6 months pregnant. Good maternity intimates need to be the perfect amalgamation of functionality and style, so these are two great points to keep in mind. ”

Evening wear from Hatch

My favorite part about Hatch is that you can see how things look on the bump if you’re buying clothes early on in your pregnancy. The clothes themselves transition well into different situations. For example, you could wear an evening dress while you’re not pregnant, in all 3 trimesters and even post-partum. The styles are languid and stylish and are constructed to be naturally flowy. While they have a great range of both casual, denim and dressy clothes, I love their collection of evening wear the most. I love the Amira Caftan and how beautifully it lends itself to different occasions. They have a great collection of swimsuits too: bikinis, one-piece styles and retro high-waisted styles that are very flattering during pregnancy. While we’re talking about swimwear, swimming is actually one of the best exercises you can do while pregnant. It is great for maintaining a healthy weight, low impact and very helpful in relaxing stressed-out back muscles.

Back to the topic at hand—Hatch is a celebrity-favorite brand, a bit on the pricier side, but worth the splurge when you want to add an extra dose of chic to your maternity wardrobe. I fell in love with the styles when I attended a Hatch Pop-up at Nordstrom Seattle, curated by Nordstrom’s Olivia Kim. The digitally-native brand is great for online shopping when you’re plagued with morning sickness and want to indulge a little sweet spot of shopping. I tried one of their belly masks and it left me feeling super soft and hydrated. They also have a great collection of body oils, belly tattoos, aromatherapy oils, and other mama-lovin’ beauty products. A little bit of pregnancy pampering never hurt anybody!