Ah, the joys of learning to dress your pregnant body. Mums, you know what this adventure is like. Between your ever-growing baby bump and the need to wear something comfortable, yet still wanting to maintain some sense of style, the quest for finding the perfect set of maternity clothes can be challenging for even the most stylish fashionista.
Like many first-time mums, at the start of my second trimester I found myself getting frustrated when pre-pregnancy clothes no longer fitted my changing body, yet I was disappointed with the way most off-the-peg maternity clothes were fitting (not to mention the ugly, stretchy maternity panels). When fashion brandZoe Alexander offered one of their dresses for review, I jumped at the chance to try it out for myself.
Choosing a dress online was a simple process. The website, zoealexanderuk.com, has a clean design and is easy to navigate. Unlike other online maternity stores, it offered multiple product pictures showing the clothes from various angles — an important element when you want to check out how a dress will look across your ever-expanding bum.
After selecting a dress, you simply enter your measurements using the Measure Me form on the website. In addition to listing your pre-pregnancy clothes size and number of weeks pregnant, you are also asked to provide specific measurements including: bust and cup size, bumb/waist, hips, length from shoulder to shoulder and preferred dress length.
I found that I needed assistance in getting some of the measurements and asked my mum for help. It took less than 15 minutes to pull up the online form, take each measurement and submit them.
Zoe Alexander clothing is manufactured in the U.K. and the turnover time for a custom dress is remarkable. The company promises to have your order made and ready to ship within 10 working days.
Having ordered during the holidays, I was doubtful that the dress would arrive on schedule but, 10 days after I placed my order, I received confirmation that it was shipped. This is a great feature for busy pregnant women who need a dress for an event later that same month.
The packaging for the dress was elegant and chic. The dress was delicately wrapped in silver tissue paper and placed in a minimalist black box. After months of receiving packages full of baby animals and cutesy little designs, it was a real treat to receive such a pretty adult package just for me.
I ordered the Maternity Zoe Slimline Bi-Band Colour Block Day Dress in the camel colour. The classic design is suitable for professional settings but can also be dressed up for evenings out. The camel-coloured top is the perfect shade of tan and the bottom is a deep, inky black.
From the moment I slipped on the dress I could tell it was custom-made. My ribcage sits high on my torso and it's really difficult to find an empire-cut dress that fits appropriately but the Zoe Alexander dress fitted wonderfully. The 3/4 length sleeves were perfectly proportioned and the fitted shoulder seams lined up exactly where they should shoulder-to-shoulder.
I tried to order a knee-length dress that was similar to the product picture on the website, yet my dress came in about 4 inches above the knee — a little shorter than I anticipated — and I was slightly disappointed. I'm not sure if I entered the measurements incorrectly or if it was due to the fact my baby bump grew significantly from the time I sent in my measurements to when I received the dress, but the length was the only measurement that didn't meet my expectations.
The dress is made from a very comfortable blend of 95 percent viscose and 5 percent elastane giving it just enough stretch to grow with your bump, yet offering quality coverage. Plus, the dress is machine washable and can be ironed making it super easy to care for at home.
The slimline shape and stretchable fabric means that the dress hugs your body. Now that I'm well into my second trimester with an ever-expanding bump (and rump), I'd wear the dress with a fitted slip or maternity stockings so that I feel confident that not every little imperfection is showing.
There are plenty of styling options to take this dress from day to night. Paired with simple black stockings and heels, it's a great work-wear option for a professional setting. Dress it up for evenings out with a pair of patterned stockings, a beautiful scarf and flashy jewellery. Keep it casual for a weekend brunch or your baby shower with bare legs and a pair of strappy, neutral-coloured sandals.
If you are looking for quality, well-constructed maternity clothes you won't be disappointed with Zoe Alexander's made-to-measure pregnancy wear.
This dress doesn't scream "maternity wear" making it a great option to have after baby comes and before you can fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes again.
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