New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Dresses, gowns, kaftans, pants, skirts and lingerie... for all those mothers-to-be who want to look hip and relaxed and keep their fashion quotient high, there's plenty to choose from. But comfort must be key, warn experts.
Several brands - W, Mothercare, Kriti, Morph and the like - have introduced special maternity wear lines for urban would-be mothers. And they are being readily picked.
It's no longer about oversized clothes but specially styled ones.
It's a changed scenario, says Preeti Lalwani, 50, who remembers having just three sets of loose clothes when she was pregnant 23 years ago.
"I used to wash and wear these garments, or just wear a loose nighty. Look at the variety today! There are special clothes for pregnant women to wear for parties, nightwear, weddings and even for shopping. Also, I feel pregnant women are moving out of their homes more than ever before, be it for work or for parties," Lalwani told IANS.
And why not - it's now all about making the baby bump look glamorous!
Look at global celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kate Middleton, who have been making news for their varied choice of attires. While Kim has been earning wrath for picking tight-fitting and skimpy outfits teamed with heels during her pregnancy, the Duchess of Cambridge has impressed with her chic.
India's very own Aishwarya Rai, Shilpa Shetty and Lara Dutta made several style statements when the storks came visiting them. Aishwarya and Shilpa stepped out in A-line Indian suits, but Lara was bolder and forthcoming about her baby bump in stylish, form-fitting dresses and shirts without once feeling conscious.
Celebrities heavily influence fashion trends and this now holds true for maternity wear too! But make wise purchases when pregnant, says Vimal Grover, senior consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology of New Delhi-based Fortis La Femme.
"Wear comfortable clothes depending upon the weather. For Indian conditions, cotton fabrics are preferable. Keep in mind the comfort, stretch and quality of the cloth, and wear good quality and bright clothes to keep your mood upbeat. Also, front open clothes are convenient to wear," Grover told IANS.
There's another piece of advice - when buying dresses, go for "comfortably loose, but not very loose" ones, which aren't too long, lest you trip.
In terms of variety, the rising demand for maternity wear space tempted W, a contemporary women's wear brand, to recently launch a range of 12 styles, including tunics, kurtas, easy and flowy comfort tops, stylish shirt dress, demi-waisted (with softer elastic that expands with your girth) denims and specially designed churidars with full-panelled waistbands.
The range takes care of the growing bump and has pleats, gathers, strings and tie-ups, which ensure the garment is loose enough for each stage of pregnancy, says Anant Daga, CEO, W, TCNS Clothing Company.
"Materials used are soft and supple so as to avoid any kind of skin irritation and abration," he added.
British retailer Debenhams also has t-shirts, jeans with stretchable waists, maxi dresses and stretch fabric garments available for pregnant women. And the segment is increasingly working in India.
"Indian women have opened up to the idea of wearing pants during pregnancy compared to the previous attitude of wearing salwars or saris," a Debenhams spokesperson told IANS.
If pregnant women find it tedious to go to the markets and malls to shop, order online. A host of websites like babyoye.com, firstcry.com, morphmaternity.com and momandme.in offer a plethora of options in Indian and western wear for expectant moms. The range starts around Rs.500 and upwards.
As for footwear, steer clear of Kim's penchant for high heels!
As Delhi-based shoe designer Swati Mehrotra puts it, "a little heel is advisable to avoid slip and friction", but it is vital to buy shoes "with proper front and back grip".
"Avoid pencil heels and pumps. Soft footbed is also to be considered and, while buying shoes, make sure it doesn't disturb your posture," Mehrotra told IANS.