Evolution of Maternity Wear
- Next1 of 13Glo
- Previous Next2 of 13Alinari Archives/CORBIS
- Previous Next3 of 13Google Art Project
- Previous Next4 of 131913 Ad H W Gossard Maternity Corset Abdominal Support
- Previous Next5 of 13Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
- Previous Next6 of 13Lucille Ball: CBS/Photofest
- Previous Next7 of 13Mia Farrow: Underwood & Underwood/Corbis
- Previous Next8 of 13Princess Diana: Tim Graham/Getty Images
- Previous Next9 of 13Travis Jeans: Donato Sardella/WireImage
- Previous Next10 of 13Demi Moore: Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
- Previous Next11 of 13Liz Lange: Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
- Previous Next12 of 13Lily Allen: Martin Grimes/FilmMagic
- Previous Next13 of 13Melissa Moseley for "What to Expect When You're Expecting"
INTRO_History-of-Maternity-Dress_v021 of 13
Antiquated Caftans2 of 13
During the Middle Ages, women's dresses easily doubled as the first maternity garb, because they didn't contour to the body. Women merely let out the threads to accommodate a growing bump, as seams were not introduced until the 14th century.
Baroque Birth3 of 13
The first official maternity frock, the "Adrienne," was introduced during the Baroque period. A flattering empire waist and myriad folds obscured the belly. Aprons were also a popular choice for pregnant peasants who couldn't afford the new dress.
Primitive Spanx4 of 13
A maternity corset? It sounds like an oxymoron, but the restrictive whalebone lace-ups were worn throughout the Victorian era to minimize the appearance of a burgeoning midriff. The undergarment reform of the early 1900s brought women and the doctors who prescribed these corsets to their senses.
Bump Prohibition5 of 13
The Jazz Age ushered in a bohemian shift, but pregnant flappers were hardly encouraged to let it all hang out. A 1923 ad for maternity wear by Wood Bros. clothing company in Good Housekeeping appealed to women who wanted to be "entirely free from embarrassment of a noticeable appearance during a trying period."
Infantile Behavior6 of 13
In 1952, Lucille Ball made history by being the first woman to show off a pregnancy onscreen in the wildly popular I Love Lucy. Her button-down smocks and tent dresses couldn't have been more demure, but the country is still reeling.
Devilishly Chic7 of 13
Mia Farrow epitomized '60s style in Rosemary's Baby in 1968, proving that maternity wear can be au courant and chic. Her babydoll dresses and matching patent leather pumps gave women with buns in the oven reason to rejoice.
A Royal Ripens8 of 13
Polyester became a pregnant girl's best friend in the 1970s, as stretchy maternity pants, shorts and matching tunics hit the scene. In 1982, when Princess Diana was pregnant with William, the world took note as she swanned around in oversize pastel shirtdresses and peppy polka-dot shifts.
Mom Jeans9 of 13
In 1988, the ladies who would later create Juicy Couture—Gela Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy—met and lamented at the lack of cool maternity clothes. The two experimented with elastic and a pair of Levis and created a line of maternity denim called Travis Jean. When a pregnant Melanie Griffith was later photographed wearing them, sales skyrocketed, causing maternity denim to hit the markets.
Extreme Exposure10 of 13
In 1991, Demi Moore went nude for a cover shoot, showing off the most comfortable maternity wear of all. About the now-famous Vanity Fair cover, the actress said, "It did seem to give a little bit more permission to feel sexy and attractive when you're pregnant." Moore's bold move prompted expecting celebs like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to bare all, with Jessica Simpson most recently making a splash on the April 2012 cover of ELLE.
Pea Pod11 of 13
Liz Lange forever changed the pregnancy fashion landscape with the first designer maternity wear line in 1997. Other big names like Isabella Oliver emerged on the scene, while celebrity mamas like Nicole Richie and Heidi Klum threw their maternity leggings and minidresses into the ring with retailer A Pea in the Pod.
(Teething) Ring12 of 13
Here comes the bride… Alicia Keys and Lily Allen are just a couple of the famous ladies who have waddled down the aisle in maternity wedding dresses. For Keys, the occasion called for a draped, ivory silk-georgette goddess gown by Vera Wang.
A-List Hormones13 of 13
In the film What To Expect When You're Expecting, we get to watch a pregnant Cameron Diaz test the flexibility of spandex and wince at Brooklyn Decker's 5-inch maternity footwear. "Women today aren't trying to hide anything. They want to show off the bump," says the film's costume designer, Karen Patch. "Some modern maternity clothes are so form-fitting that women who aren't pregnant could wear them."
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