When I first found out I was pregnant in January 2020, I was excited at the thought of my impending maternity style. But any dreams of finding the perfect “mocktail” attire were thrown out the window by March. I wasn’t going anywhere but the living room and the kitchen, so, for nine months, my style consisted of soft leggings, oversized sweatshirts, and fuzzy socks. This is likely why when I found out I was pregnant earlier this year, I was equal parts thrilled and intimidated. The world was open again — I’d have parties and events to attend, trips to go on — the possibilities of finally being able to dress my bump for different scenarios were endless.
But what did I want to wear?
Pandemic aside, it should be noted that there was another important event that occurred between my first and current pregnancy: Rihanna’s pregnancy, which marked a new era for maternity fashion. While B.R. (before Rihanna), we were already starting to move beyond matronly styles like flutter sleeves, empire-waist dresses, shapeless sweaters, and peplum tops (all in a floral print!) from the likes of Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod, nothing altered the landscape quite like Rihanna's belly-exposing ensembles.
The always fashion-forward A-lister made a statement every time she left the house, whether she was letting her bump hang out in a strappy crop top or rocking thigh-high boots in lieu of pants. Her fashion choices shook the fashion world — and the way some thought mothers-to-be *should look like* — just as much as (if not more than) when a very pregnant Demi Moore graced the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991 or when Beyonce announced she was expecting twins.
“You know that all these changes that your body is going through is because you’re creating this person, this life,” a glowing, pregnant Rihanna told me last February. I wasn’t pregnant yet, but fast-forward a few months to when I took that positive test — I thought back to my conversation with her. I wanted to celebrate what my body was capable of, rather than hide it behind a mumu.
Now, my day-to-day looks are very different from that of Rihanna. While, as Refinery29’s beauty director, I do have some fancy events to attend, from Paris Fashion Week to Hailey Bieber’s birthday party, I am no Grammy award-winning artist. But I didn’t have to literally dress like Rihanna to harness her energy.
Instead, I thought about how sexy, stylish, and bold Rihanna's, Shay Mitchell's, and Chrissy Teigen’s fashion choices were during their recent pregnancies and reminded myself that I, too, could dress with the same poise and confidence. It helps that, thanks to many new not-your-mother’s maternity lines like HATCH, Storq, Frances Hart, Blanqui, and Emilia George, I no longer have to compromise my style for size or comfort either.
Because this was my second pregnancy — and likely my last — I was inspired to experiment with my looks and, ultimately, just have fun with my personal style. As a result, I’ve spent the last eight months pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I wore body-hugging silhouettes, bright-colored sets, dresses with cut-outs, tops with plunging necklines (hi, new boobs!), and crop tops. While pre-pregnancy, you would have never caught me in a catsuit, I fell in love with one from the brand Bumpsuit — think: Skims but for pregnant people with easy-to-wear jumpsuits, dresses, and tops in neutral shades that shape a woman’s growing body.
Nicole Trunfio — Bumpsuit founder, a model, and mom of three — says she developed her maternity line because she “knew something had to be done” when it came to pregnancy fashion. “Everything available was so baggy and uncomfortable making it hard to find anything to wear that made me feel empowered and beautiful,” she says. “I am so glad that maternity style has evolved to include styles that women actually need and want during their pregnancy and beyond.”
At a recent beauty press event for Meaningful Beauty, editors were invited to pose for photos art-directed by the Cindy Crawford. At eight months pregnant, I was more than nervous to stand in front of the camera, let alone the world’s most famous supermodel. I decided to wear the Storq base layer top — a classic, long-sleeved black shirt that hugged my curves. It made me feel comfortable in my skin, but it wasn’t until Crawford suggested I reveal my bump that I suddenly became completely at ease.
It’s easy to lose your sense of self while pregnant, especially when it comes to how you look. But I found that my “mom bod” confidence along with the variety of cute and trendy options allowed me to further embrace my personal style, not lose it. I am not going to lie — while I am very much looking forward to wearing my beloved high-waisted, ribcage Levi’s again, I will miss styling my bump. But I am beyond excited to watch how the pregnancy fashion space will continue to evolve and diversify, and to see how all future pregnant people redefine maternity style in their own unique ways.