Three looks from Hatch, a new maternity label available at Net-a-porter. Photo: Hatch
When I was five months pregnant, I enlisted a girlfriend to hold my hand and walk me through Destination Maternity. It was 2012, and this two-floor Mecca in midtown Manhattan was the go-to proprietor for maternity fashion. Its shelves were stuffed with draped tunics, banded pants and dowdy dresses in every color imaginable. Curated, it was not. Upon entering I was met by an over-eager staff hawking coupons for cord blood banking and prenatal vitamins. I grabbed two pairs of jeans, a few tops and hightailed it out of there in 20 minutes flat.
Three years later, maternity options have improved dramatically. Like athleisure before it, the category is having a moment. Niche labels are sprouting up to offer expecting women chic basics, some worth keeping even post-pregnancy. Retailers are also getting on board. Net-A-Porter recently announced its partnership with the transition/maternity label Hatch, which it’s merchandising under a new category called Maternity Chic, along with loose-fitting items like Oscar de la Renta caftans and cashmere ponchos by Donna Karan. “The ability to wear these pieces before, during and after pregnancy is exactly the sort of versatility that the modern woman craves today,” says Sarah Rutson, the site’s vice president of global buying.
An oversized Marni shift dress, however, may not suffice come third trimester. So while I won’t be returning to Destination Maternity, I will be shopping a modern mix of the below labels to get me through baby number two.
A look from Hatch, a laid back maternity collection that doesn’t require a belly. Photo: Hatch
Who It’s For: The minimalist woman with a mix of J.Crew and Rachel Comey in her closet, who favors comfort above all else.
Ariane Goldman launched Hatch because she believed that pregnant women shouldn’t have to buy cheap maternity clothing they’ll toss after nine months. That means breezy transitional pieces like knit track pants, plaid smock tops, satin-twill dresses, and racerback jumpsuits in everything from cotton to cashmere. The line has a cult following among mothers and non-mothers alike who appreciate its approachable aesthetic and accessible price point. Designed to grow with a woman, oversized cashmere cardigans and off-the-shoulder dresses work with or without a bump. “It’s not about having a belly or not, but about dressing effortlessly chic in silhouettes that allow you to breathe no matter your shape or figure,” Goldman says. “It happens to work really nicely with a belly, but the clothes go beyond the nine months.”
A cozy coat from 1 et 1 Font 3. Photo: 1 et 1 Font 3
Brand: 1 et 1 Font 3
Who It’s For: The woman who worships at the altar of Carine Roitfeld and Emmanuelle Alt.
1 et 1 Font 3 is how the French do maternity, complete with pencil skirts, silk lace tops, little black dresses, and ankle skimming wool trousers. Designed by Sylvie Purson, it’s a far cry from the bellybands and leggings typically found in US maternity-wear. “French women want comfort and elegance,” said Purson. “They do not want too large of clothes and don’t want to be attached to the ‘pregnant woman’ image.”
A laidback black dress from Mom’s the Word. Photo: Mom’s the Word
Brand: Mom’s the Word
Who It’s For: The California-loving surfer chick who favors low-slung jeans and James Perse t-shirts.
Sarah Pollack opened this California-based maternity label to help pregnant women find easy clothes that would make them feel good about their growing bodies. Like contemporary West Coast brands Michael Stars and 7ForAllMankind, the line offers beach-ready basics like swing dresses, striped tees, tie cardigans, and maxi dresses in neutral hues. “Most women are not going to start their wardrobe-building while pregnant with a totally of-the-moment wild pant or dress,” said Pollak. “The fundamentals are a few good tops, one ‘dress me up’ dress, one ‘throw me on’ dress and a couple of good pairs of jeans.”
A minimalist layered look from Storq. Photo: Storq
Who It’s For: The mom-to-be who loves Celine, shops at Creatures of Comfort, and doesn’t want to spend a fortune on maternity wear.
Courtney Klein took a page the Helmut Lang and Theory’s minimalist playbooks when she launched Storq. The San Francisco-based label offers wardrobe basics packaged in bundles including scoop neck modal dresses, leggings, slim fitting skirts, and cotton tanks—all in black and white. “It’s not about churning out a collection season after season, but focusing on what makes an item essential and carefully designing each piece to seamlessly integrate into a modern lifestyle,” said Klein.
A comfortable jersey outfit from Monrow. Photo: Monrow
Who It’s For: Anyone who starts their outfit with a t-shirt.
The Los Angeles-based contemporary label offers select maternity pieces with a casual sportswear slant. For those who live in T by Alexander Wang and Rag & Bone, Monrow features cotton cap sleeve and slim-fitting cotton tanks. “Monrow’s approach is to give our maternity styles the same basic fit as our regular styles,” says founder Megan George. “We make minor adjustments to ensure comfort while pregnant.”