Before I got pregnant, the biggest shopping woe I had was buying jeans. It was my fashion bugbear and drove me to absolute distraction.
I didn't stop to take a moment, step back and realise how lucky I was. Walking in to shops, set out before me were always row upon row of pretty clothes, seasonal staples and party wear, all mine for the wearing. I didn't appreciate just how much choice there was...
Until I got up the duff.
Yesterday, I went on a massive Facebook rant about this because I was just at the end of my tether. Sarah, Ryan and I had spent the whole afternoon looking round shops in Liverpool One because I wanted to find a dress to add to my concise maternity wardrobe, and as we stepped in to each of those shops, my morale just slipped further and further away. Look online at any high street retailer that stocks maternity wear and the ranges are not huge, but extensive enough. H&M...New Look...Topshop...they all stock clothes that I think are almost on a par with the sort of styles I'd usually go for. Go in-store, and it's a completely different story. The sections are tiny, and the lines completely uninspiring. It's awkward enough that whilst you're pregnant, you have to contend with every part of you growing, but it makes it worse when you can't try anything on. I feel as though pregnant women have been pigeonholed and are just presented with this uniform we are expected to wear. Maternity jeans, leggings, a top, and some kind of jumper and you're done, That glitzy top or party dress you saw online, forget seeing those in store. You're stuck with having to order three different sizes to try on at home for that one! Got a last-minute snazzy party to go to? I'm sure they won't mind if you show up in a pair of jeans and a "maternity top" that you have to squeeze yourself in to, or jumper with a sickening bump related motif.
I just don't understand it! And it's something I find incredibly frustrating. Especially at a time of year when everywhere is full of glittering dresses, sequins and hemlines that would have been suitable for your pre-pregnancy body but now would give you zero modesty.
Seemingly, there's not much of a demand for extensive maternity lines in store. Seriously, are you bloody surprised? Heading in shop after shop, it's just the same story. It's as though the shops are saying, "oh, you're pregnant now? Here's your mumsy top and slouchy jumper - now be on your way."
Why, just why?
Why not give us more of a choice? How difficult is it to be a bit more inclusive? Like a particular dress that has been designed for the "regular" brand? Add a bit more material and put it out across the board! Hang a few sizes in your stores and see how they do. And for God's sake stop hiding your Maternity lines at the back! We are pregnant, not pariahs of society.
EVERYBODY should have the chance to look fierce and feel fabulous. I'm speaking as an expectant mother, but it should be the same for all, no matter what size or shape you are. It's only now that I realise just how frustrating the high street fashion world is. Not everybody can or wants top shop solely online. I know we are living in a technological age, but it goes without saying that fits of garments vary depending on the style and the shop. Yesterday, I tried on two jumpers from Topshop. One barely covered my bump, and the other looked about three sizes too big. How are you supposed to tell this from a cut out on a website?
So this is my plea to high street retailers. Stop neglecting niches in your customer demographic. As a once loyal customer with an unhealthy habit of window shopping in your stores at the weekends I have now lost faith in you. Just because I am pregnant it doesn't mean I don't love fashion. I don't want to disregard who I was in place of a 'mummyform'. I want to celebrate my bump in style. And I want to be able to bloody try things on. Stop offering us uninspiring clothes and give us choice. It's a difficult enough journey, and some of us still actually want to look lovely whilst we battle the aches, the pains, the tiredness and the hormones.
The time will come for pyjamas, spots of hidden spit up and moments where I just don't give a shit, but I don't think I'm quite there just yet. Restore my faith in fashion, and give us all a chance to see some different styles out there!