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How Maternity Style Has Changed Over the Years

Nowadays, we notice that pregnant women are rocking the red carpet, coming from a time when women used to wear baggy clothes to cover their baby bumps. The evolution of maternity style didn’t happen overnight, but it did give us diverse, rich looks through the years to admire.

We at Bright Side decided to go through different maternity styles over the years to spot the major differences between eras, so keep scrolling to find out more.

1. 1400s — 1600s

Women in the 1400s would wear dresses that were big enough to keep the baby bump out of sight. Nothing else mattered more than covering the belly and to do that, they often opted for velvet materials. A century later, women started to use aprons to hide the belly, which was enough for them, especially since women would stay home during pregnancy.

The 1600s witnessed the first recorded maternity gown, called the “Adrienne.” This piece was able to highlight the feminine silhouette as it consisted of folds under the waistline that helped with a growing bump.

2. 1700s — 1800s

By the eighteenth century, women wore corsets that accentuated an extremely stiff posture, and the corsets were made of stiffened fabric with boning in front and back. They kept wearing corsets throughout their pregnancy as fashion required.

Pregnancy was a condition that needed to be hidden, so women in the Victorian era did whatever they could to hide their belly bumps. They would either wear a scarf to hide the belly, a full dress to blend the bump with the entire silhouette, and in the 1860s, they came up with “the maternity corset.” This was maternity support used mainly to help women camouflage their changing bodies.

3. 1900s — 1930s

Women of the middle and upper classes started to have wider options when it came to pregnancy outfits, but pregnant women in lower social classes continued to wear baggy, oversized clothes.
The first maternity gown was created in 1904, as well as the first ready-to-wear maternity clothes in 1911.

Women were encouraged to wear loose-fitting maternity styles because they were still supposed to hide their pregnancies. And by the ’20s, they started wearing dresses with adjustable belts.

The ’30s saw a return of a more feminine maternity style, with waistlines and slim figures being in fashion. So they opted for dresses with adjustable waistbands and wrap dresses. A decade later, pregnant women still had the same mindset regarding their belly bumps.

4. 1940s — 1950s

By the ’30s, moms-to-be could wear separates instead of dresses. Usually, they were worn cinched during the early months and more loosely once a bump started to show. This style continued through the ’40s, along with shirt dresses and wrap styles.

In the ’50s, fashion finally started to lean toward pregnant women, and we began seeing 2-piece ensembles and some pants. Celebrities started appearing on-screen with their baby bumps, which encouraged women to emphasize their pregnancies and change their mindsets.

5. 1960s — 1970s

During the 1960s, women started to buy clothes for each stage of their pregnancy. Skirts were still wrapped around but became shorter, and the hippie style became a staple of maternity fashion by the late ’60s.

Maternity fashion in the ’70s was all about hemlines, peasant tops, and bohemian maxis. Women became more interested in fashionable maternity outfits and enjoyed their baby bumps.

6. 1980s — 2000s

Moving on to the ’80s, it was time to add volume, proportions, and colors. Oversized, colorful shirt dresses were a trend at that time.

In 1991, Demi Moore posed pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair, which started a trend that we still enjoy to this day. A trend that screams: pregnant women should not hide their bodies and should embrace the beauty of the phase! This era celebrated pregnant bodies, and women started to show off their bumps beautifully.

7. 2000s

Thanks to the ’90s, pregnant silhouettes became very attractive and eye-catching, which pushed women of the new millennium to show off their baby bumps even more. Elastic dresses and belly-baring tops became a thing, along with empire-waist dresses.

Many pregnant celebrities in the 2000s rocked body-hugging looks on red carpets or while running errands. The pregnancy bodies have never been under the spotlight this much, and they all looked as beautiful as ever.

8. 2010s — 2020s

While the new millennium has made it clear that no woman should hide her baby bump, we started to notice some personal body bump revealing styles.

Women are now combining comfort and fashion in their own personal way, as every pregnant woman shows her own style. They either rock a vintage look or opt for a modern, comfy outfit.

Which mom-to-be’s style was the best in your opinion? We’d love to know what you think!

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