Finding the perfect maternity evening dress

Published: 03rd September 2006
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As the high street fashion shops start displaying their autumn/winter season stock, our thoughts inevitably (although perhaps unwillingly!) start thinking about all the forthcoming Christmas and New Year parties that are approaching. The usual anxieties hit us - what to wear, how to wear it, what's 'in' this year, who's wearing what, and of course the age old proven justification that allows us to buy a gorgeous new gown - your hubbie/partner/boyfriend must SURELY understand that you couldn't possible wear the same frock as you did last year 'just in case' Mary from Accounts remembered it.....

Now, put yourself in the position of a woman who is heavily pregnant but is still expected to attend that formal function in December, with a gi-normous bump and swollen ankles. She doesn't feel that she's particularly 'blooming' any more, and certainly isn't inclined to hear all about the 'Horror Birth Stories' from the MD's wife. Instead, she'd much rather curl up in a nice comfy set of PJs, with a good book and a hot chocolate.

OK, that's perhaps an exaggeration as you still have a social life when you're pregnant and the likliehood is that you're quite looking forward to getting all dressed up again and showing off your gorgeous bump. Until, that is, you hit said high street shops. Then the euphoria and excitement you had at getting all dolled up for that fabulous Christmas party is rapidly disappearing. You realise, with some frustration, that formal maternity evening gowns just don't seem to be available in most high street maternity shops, and the ones that do provide a form of suitable attire are extremely expensive. Dilemna. What to do ? What are your options ? To help out mums to be who will undoubtedly experience this to a greater or lesser degree this winter, we've put together the following top tips:

1. Buying a maternity evening gown / maternity formal dress:
Although high street shops are generally not bombarded with a great range of formal maternity dresses and maternity gowns, manufacturers are at last realising that womens' social lives don't get put on hold just because they're pregnant, and more manufacturers are introducing more formal maternity evening wear into their collections. You may still pay hundreds of pounds for a very formal maternity evening gown, but if you have a very active social life, and are perhaps planning on having more children, this may not be a bad investment (provided you don't mind wearing the same formal maternity evening dress twice). You are more likely to find something suitable in a small independant boutique rather than your local branch of well known chain stores, and will benefit from their personal service and knowledge of the products they stock. For less formal affairs, a maternity cocktail dress may be a good option and the choice is reasonable from many online suppliers.

2. Making a maternity evening gown:
If you have the time and the inclination, you could always purchase a maternity evening gown pattern and make your own maternity dress. The advantage of this is of course that you will have a dress that is fitted to you, is in the exact colour and material that you want, and if you're making it yourself, is quite an economical method. Alternatively, you may wish to have a local dressmaker make up a one-off maternity evening gown for you. Although this will be more expensive than making it up yourself, again, you will have a made to measure maternity evening dress.

3. Hiring a maternity evening dress:
This is a great option if you don't want to spend hundreds of pounds on a dress that (despite what you TELL hubbie/boyfriend/partner) you really will - in all likliehood- only wear once. Its also an ideal choice if you're looking for something out of season - for example for a summer ball (the High Street shops don't tend to hold any maternity evening dresses / maternity cocktail dresses in stock during the summer season). You will likely find a fantastic choice of maternity evening dresses and maternity cocktail dresses - maternity special occasion wear (as with maternity day wear) being designed to flatter you and your bump. This option is probably the best option if you're looking for the widest choice available, and the most cost effective (after all, wouldn't you rather spend the money you've saved on the new nursery or perhaps on a relaxing pedicure before Baby's born ?!).

Whichever option you choose, the key element is that you feel comfortable and wonderful in your chosen maternity evening gown. Whether you go for a very formal maternity dress, or a maternity evening dress, you need to look and feel amazing ! Whichever option (and company) you choose, see if you can try on the dresses beforehand - make sure the shop or online company will allow you to visit to ensure that you're making the right choice of maternity dress for your special occasion.

Good luck with your quest for that perfect maternity dress - and whatever happens - enjoy that special function !

Author Bio
Natalie Gladman is the owner of Does My Tum Look Big In This. Does My Tum Look Big In This offers the UK's largest and most comprehensive collection of maternity special occasion wear to hire throughout the UK. Its maternity formal wear range includes maternity evening gowns, maternity ballgowns and maternity cocktail dresses in sizes 8-22. In addition, Does My Tum Look Big In This has a boutique in Farnborough, Hampshire where mums to be can view and try on its range of hire items, as well as purchase maternity day wear from exciting maternity designers. Its maternity bridal wear division, BridesnBumps, specialises in maternity wedding dresses and maternity bridesmaid dresses from exclusive designer names.

Visit her websites at:

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