THE BLOG
26/11/2013 11:14 GMT | Updated 26/01/2014 05:59 GMT

From Frumpy Smocks to Elegant Frocks: The History of Maternity Wear

In the 80s there wasn't much on the market except for unflattering pieces, commonly referred to as 'tents'. They disguised the bump and the design tended to have a one-size-fits-all approach, which usually ended up adding 10 years and goodness knows how many pounds on even the slimmest and most youthful mum-to-be.

The history of maternity wear is a relatively short one, but one that is of particular interest to me as it was the lack of choice in the market that prompted me to start my own brand, Tiffany Rose. When my sister was pregnant and invited to a wedding in the early noughties, she realised she had nothing to wear. We've all been in that situation when we're going out and look through a wardrobe full of clothes yet can still find nothing to wear, but when you're six months pregnant, it's even harder to find that perfect party outfit. 10 years ago, it was virtually impossible.

'Maternity wear' and 'fashion' were not two terms you would put together then as clothes for pregnant women were designed and created purely for practicality - style was simply not important, and no-one actually believed it was achievable. Even fashion icon Princess Diana wore loose-fitting dresses which weren't quite the usual stylish pieces that we grew to know and love her for.

In the 80s there wasn't much on the market except for unflattering pieces, commonly referred to as 'tents'. They disguised the bump and the design tended to have a one-size-fits-all approach, which usually ended up adding 10 years and goodness knows how many pounds on even the slimmest and most youthful mum-to-be. Pregnancy is a really special time in a woman's life, so my vision for the Tiffany Rose brand was to design and create dresses that flatter a growing bump, where you would look just as spectacular at a special event as the next person (if not more so!). The simple philosophy that pregnancy is something to be celebrated and not hidden has been the foundation of our brand and I'm glad we've stayed true to this since 2003 when we first started out on our mission.

An increase in media attention to celebrity style and to pregnant celebrities has definitely been a reason for the dramatic change in the way pregnant women have thought about dressing over the last decade. When A-listers such as Angelina Jolie and Kate Winslet hit the red carpet with a prominent bump whilst still retaining their individual style and looking drop-dead gorgeous, why shouldn't all women be able to feel stylish and beautiful when they're expecting? Demi Moore's notorious Vanity Fair cover in 1991 in which she appeared seven months pregnant and naked marked a turning point for celebrating the baby bump. Later we saw Madonna's bump on display as she went out in low rise trousers and tight fitting t-shirt and now many other celebrities appear on fashion magazine covers proudly holding their tummies.

The lifestyle of a pregnant woman is different today from 20 years ago - mums-to-be work longer into their pregnancy, they carry on their fitness regime and they continue to go out and socialise, so maternity wear has had to evolve to keep up - oversized jerseys to lounge around the house in aren't enough anymore. The maternity wear market has become much more aligned with the mainstream fashion market, particularly in the occasion wear sphere where my company sits.

Ultimately, the future of maternity wear is far more exciting than its history as the demand for glamorous maternity occasion wear increases. It's great to see mums-to-be embracing their bumps and I'm glad that Tiffany Rose has played a huge part in this maternity fashion revolution.