What to WE-AR through your pregnancy journey
What to WE-AR through your pregnancy journey - a capsule collection to mix and match pre + post birth.
Heya tribe, Hayley here 👋 If you’re local we may have crossed paths in the Ponsonby store (our office is above the store but I’m often found buzzing around downstairs). I’ve been the General Manager with WE-AR these last 5 years and I’m currently on maternity leave having welcomed my son to the world a few weeks back.
It’s been an amazing, challenging, unpredictable and somewhat indescribable journey so far and while outfit choices seem trivial at such a time, I’ve learnt there is some comfort in having the right pieces to wear. It’s easy to get swept up in a consumer frenzy and think you need to purchase maternity clothing but what I’ve found is that my WE-AR items have been enough - it’s just a matter of figuring out what works best for you as you travel through the various stages. I’ve also been finding ways to repurpose older pieces that I may not be wearing anymore and have found our soft cotton tees and tanks great to use as burp clothes or feeding clothes to throw on to save constantly needing to change and wash your daily outfit.
Having been part of the WE-AR team these last 5 years I have built up a decent wardrobe of pieces but it wasn’t until going through the stages of pregnancy that I discovered the hidden value of some of our styles. Subtle details such as waistband placements, seam directions, drawstring waists and bra shapes suddenly took on a whole new meaning and value to me. Every body is different so what works for me may not work for you but below are the styles from my wardrobe that I’ve lived and breathed in this year and are continuing on rotation as I navigate the first few weeks with my baby boy.
The early days…
The early days of pregnancy for me felt like a huge shift in my body - a strange feeling considering physically I appeared the same and my size hadn’t shown any signs of changing. Aside from the excitement and the reality check of what was ahead of me, what surprised me the most was the hormonal impact that those early days had. From hot flushes to bloating and ballooning breasts, I suddenly found myself needing more layers and less restriction in my outfits… and that was just to get me through breakfast 😅
The pieces that really helped during this time were the lighter weight supima cotton styles that could be easily layered and loose silhouettes.
While still fitting my jeans and pants, my go-to top layers were the Sha Bra (I went up one size), Alpo Tank, Vacuole Tee and Simple Sweatshirt. It seems like a lot but the ultra light and silky layers didn’t add bulk but gave me multiple levels of comfort depending on what temperature I was at any time.
Our Tri-ka Leggings we’re a great option for me for a dressed down outfit as the higher waist band had enough give for when the bloating crept in and the waistband sat comfortably below the belly for easeful support.
For a warmer day, I was constantly pulling out my Leeside Shirt as the volume allowed for so much movement and the longer length gave good coverage (great when you are sitting at your desk with your fly completely open 😉 ). This shirt is also a great throw-over layer worn unbuttoned with an Alpo Tank underneath.
The later stages…
This is where things for tricky in the wardrobe department. Slowly but surely items were being cast aside as no longer wearable and variety went out the window. As someone who has worked in fashion and lifestyle for years and who loves putting together outfits, the repetition got old pretty quickly but I soon found ways to mix up my pieces and create a new look that still served my ever changing body.
Probably the biggest savior during these later stages was my all time favourite pants, the Paper Bags. The waistband on these are unbelievably soft and gentle and with a drawstring waist, these really do grow with you. I was wearing my regular size for these pants all the way up until delivery - that’s how much room they have (but without looking sloppy and oversized due to the carrot leg shape). The only challenge was getting the long leg length over your foot with a dramatically changed centre of gravity… I definitely recommend sitting down when putting these on!
The Sha Bra continued to serve me well for soft and gentle support and I continued to layer up with the cotton layers. As it was early spring when I was due, the weather was still variable here in Auckland so I found myself reaching for my Caja Hoodie as an extra layer of warmth. The poncho style design fit the bump at all stages and in the later months, I enjoyed the high low feature of the hem as it was comfortable without looking excessively oversized and frumpy.
On the occasional warmer day, the Sun Shirt Dress was a lighter alternative worn layered over leggings, unbuttoned over a tank or simple on its own. The placement of the side seams and body shape of this piece is ultra roomy but like the Caja, has a flattering silhouette that covers what needs to be covered without loosing any visual appeal and shape.
Recovery and beyond…
Recovering for me was probably the hardest to prepare for as until you’ve been through the birth experience, you don’t know what your recovery is going to be like. As someone who likes to have a plan, packing my hospital bag was a full scale project 😅 What I quickly learnt post delivery was that you don’t know what you don’t know and no amount of packing (or in my case, overpacking) can guarantee you’ll be fully prepared. Luckily for me, many of my tried and true pieces were just what I needed in the days following delivery.
Once again, the Paper Bag Pants were a lifesaver 🙌 I underestimated the amount of swelling possible in my legs and body as well as the bloating and had packed some pants that didn’t even pass my knees! My Paper Bags pulled through once again and were gentle on the super tender areas in those first few days. Given these are my ultimate favourite pants I have a few pairs so I used a pair that are around 5 years old as my pjs as the fabric is ridiculously soft from the years of wear. They also have a long rise so they can be worn quite high on the waist (great if you have had a c-section and have a scar to work around) or you can pop them under your belly on the hips and use the drawstring to keep them in place.
Once I’d healed a little and was feeling less tender, I transitioned to our Basika Leggings for some extra support. The sudden change in weight distribution took its toll on my back so the ultra high, doubled up waist was just what I needed for that little bit of extra support. I also found the slight firmness of the waist comforting as everything that had been so tightly packed in my tummy was suddenly a little more freed and finding it’s place again. The waistband placement is also in a good position for a horizontal c-section scar as it sits above and leaves only the softer portion of the waist sitting directly against.
As I’m settling in to a new normal there are a few practical styles that have worked well for me for the top half also. Whether breastfeeding or not, I felt having my breasts supported was key in these first few weeks. The Cross Back Bra has been a great style for comfort and support for me and allows for changing size with adjustable clasps with 3 width settings. The firm fit gave great support for heavier than normal breasts but it’s also soft enough to pull to the side if you need quick access for bubs. The Sierra Bralette is another great shape with a slightly softer fit but longer line bodice which keeps it sitting in place. Adjustable shoulder straps allow for finding the perfect placement of the cup at any given time.
One thing I learnt quickly was the benefit of being able to change quickly. My Barely Tank has been a great layer to throw on (with or without a bra) and can easily be slipped off the shoulder when worn slightly lower (adjustable straps give you plenty of room to find the right height). It’s also a little longer in length so covers the tummy easily. It’s also got very little fabric in the top part so can be kept on during skin-on-skin time if your current location makes stripping off a little difficult.
If it’s a little cooler where you are, the Capa Cardi is a cute post-pregnancy treat for a cosy cover up. I treated myself to one before birth and it’s been just the right layer in the evening for some instant warmth (bubs also loves snuggling in to it).
I’ve also been using our Heron Scarf as light blanket for bubs + it's ridiculously soft and big enough to use in a number of ways (I’ve got one covering the bottom of his pram mattress as a silky soft base for him when we’re out on adventures).