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How Rihanna’s Empowering Maternity Style Influenced My Modest Fashion Wardrobe

Rihanna would have given birth. Although her pregnancy may be over, the way she dressed her bump will remain an inspiration to women around the world – and may even influence those who follow more modest fashion codes, including this writer.

I am currently in the second trimester of my second pregnancy. As my belly grows, I look at my first pregnancy maternity wardrobe with fresh, uninspired eyes. It basically included a pair of black Lululemon leggings, two sizes up, oversized boyfriend shirts and tees purchased from the men’s store section, and a handful of bulky maxi dresses.

To put it mildly, my old maternity wardrobe could be described as “effortlessly tomboyish” or “cottagecore chic.” In fact, I now think it was boring, baggy, unfestive, and unflattering.

It was really in contrast to Rihanna’s wardrobe. The musician and entrepreneur wrapped her baby bump in strands of sequins, negligees, latex crop tops and, at times, little more than belly chains or layers of chunky necklaces. While Rihanna’s maternity style was bare, sexy, and far from what I’d ever wear due to my own modesty guidelines, her approach to celebrating her bump, rather than hiding it, nonetheless rubs off on me.

So when I walked into Zara this week, I picked up a bodycon dress that gathers at the side that accentuates my bump while covering my shoulders and ankles. It hangs in festive hues of tangerine and lime, two shades that radiate positivity and optimism – feelings I hope to embody.

Pregnancy is, after all, a stage of transformation filled with emotional ups and downs, not to mention an expanding body that can cause insecurities, frustrations, and adjustment challenges. Clothes that make you feel good while exuding confidence can lift your spirits instantly, helping you carry your pregnancy with positivity, pride and gratitude.

Women who prefer not to show their skin can nonetheless take inspiration from Rihanna’s bold approach to maternity fashion, combining current style trends with whatever level of coverage they feel comfortable with.

Wrap dresses, for example, can be a maternity and post-pregnancy staple, but why not opt ​​for one in a striking shade of Valentino pink or Bottega green, instead of over-the-top matron prints?

One can also look beyond oversized cotton t-shirts for everyday wear. Tops and dresses made from pleated textures and ribbed jerseys are all over the high street, and these textiles provide shape and form. They also make a great base for layering – if a ribbed design is too tacky for you, throw an unbuttoned shirt or jacket over the top for extra coverage.

Trendy nap dresses, on the other hand, are belted at the waist to give shape to the body, offering a happy marriage between comfort and style.

With so much talk of the “Covid baby boom”, I hope retailers will be motivated to step up their maternity fashion marketing. The retail category is expected to reach $24.5 billion by 2025 according to MarketWatch, and thanks to the influence of Instagram culture and celebrities, brands are likely to become more trend-conscious when designing of their maternity clothes.

Yet expectant mothers should also know that their wardrobe doesn’t need to be limited by the ‘maternity’ label – and they can easily wear clothes from a store’s usual range.

This weekend, my plans include browsing the malls and my favorite online shopping sites for more fitted maternity t-shirts that show off my bump, rather than oversized menswear that makes me look bulkier. and more boxing.

A sucker for a prairie dress, I’m looking for silhouettes with flattering empire waists a la Bridgerton, instead of shapeless bags. I’m finding ways to be both feminine and modest while embarking on this new chapter in my journey as a mother.

So while our personal styles and aesthetics are miles apart, I can certainly thank Rihanna for showing me motherhood fashion in this new — and frankly empowering — light.

Updated: May 21, 2022, 07:09

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Hazel J. Edmonds

The author Hazel J. Edmonds