Here is your ultimate guide to French chic maternity style! As you know French women have their own approach to beauty, fashion, or self-care, and this is also the case for maternity. For them, maternity generally revolves around the “laissez-faire” approach, which can be translated by the mantra of “live and let live”. Indeed, in France, there is no pressure to have the perfect pregnancy —with social media announcements, gender reveals, extravagant baby showers, and other celebrations. French pregnancy is more low-key and French women generally want to have a child without making any drastic or defining changes to their’s life philosophy.
And this is the exact same philosophy that French women apply to their maternity style. This means that nothing really changes wardrobe-wise with a few exceptions. During pregnancy, most French women stay true to their signature style by wearing their normal clothes for as long as possible while still making a few concessions for better comfort. So whether you want to know what French women wear when pregnant, or you’re just looking for inspiration, here are five tips to master French maternity style, plus ten effortlessly chic French maternity outfits you can easily integrate into your wardrobe.
5 French Tips For Flawless Maternity Style
1. Stay true to your signature style
During pregnancy, French women stay true to their signature style, while switching up the cuts. They are generally reluctant to buy new clothing in the beginning. And rather than buying maternity clothes, they just shop at regular and/or vintage stores and sizes up, stressing the value of comfort. In an interview for Modesens, Leia Sfez, the Parisian model and creative director said: “For me, it’s very important to stay as close as possible to my natural, non-pregnancy style, but just take into consideration a belly that is growing day by day.”
2. Wear your normal clothes for as long as possible
French women try to wear their normal clothes for as long as possible, while still making a few concessions. Instead of buying pregnancy clothes that they’ll only wear for a few months, French women prefer to stick to what they usually wear and adapt their outfits to accommodate their bumps. With oversized tops, jackets, large sweaters, classic shirts, trenches, oversized coats, comfortable dresses, and men’s jackets, French women wear as much of their existing wardrobe as possible.
Jeans addicts also wear their normal jeans. And when it’s no longer possible to fasten them, French women attach their jeans with the elastic trick. To do so, just loop a hair elastic around the button, pull it through the buttonhole, and loop it back around the button to secure it.
3. Invest in maternity essentials for better comfort
Even if French women try to wear as much of their normal clothes as possible, they also integrate a few maternity essentials into their wardrobe for better comfort. In an interview for Net-a-porter, Monica de La Villardière, writer and broadcaster said: “That said, eventually every woman needs to bite the bullet and invest in a great pear of pregnancy leggings, pregnancy tights, and, dare I say it, pregnancy jeans. I regret avoiding these purchases for as long as I did.” Indeed, while leggings are not an obvious fashion choice for French women, many of them admit to wearing a nice-quality pair during pregnancy.
“The real problem I have found is knowing what to wear on my legs, as I’m such a pants-and-jeans girl. I quickly realized that leggings and dad jeans were my only solution! I did buy some black maternity leggings —they are essential, I would say.”—Leia Sfez for Modesens
Maternity leggings can be easily styled with sweaters, oversized shirts, voluminous tops, and either equestrian-style boots or sneakers. Another maternity essential for French women is knitted dresses! Very easy to wear and practical, you can even wear them after your pregnancy. Khaite, Totême, and Loulou Studio are favorite brands for knitted dresses among French women. Also, in case you’re looking for quality maternity essentials, Sézane has created “9 months in Sézane” a maternity capsule designed in Paris to accompany you throughout motherhood.
4. Achieve comfort whilst maintaining your innate elegance
French women don’t sacrifice their allure when pregnant. In an interview for Vogue UK, Chloé Harrouche —Founder of the French clothing brand Loulou Studio— said: “Comfort is an obvious keyword but the idea is to achieve it whilst maintaining one’s innate elegance.” The idea here is to “play with proportions” in order to highlight your form whilst still feeling comfortable in your clothes.
For example, you can pair your favorite maternity leggings with a Frankie Shop oversized blazer or a Denimist striped cotton-poplin shirt, or Khaite oversized striped cashmere sweater. Add a pair of Gucci two-tone leather knee boots, or Tod’s embellished leather loafers.
In summer, opt for light, comfortable dresses like this Caravana open-back maxi dress, this Fil de Vie ruffled kaftan, or this embroidered linen kaftan. Pair your favorite summer dress with a pair of flat sandals like this A Emery leather sandals or Loewe leather sandals.
Finally, don’t forget to play with accessories (bags and jewelry) to give your outfit a little bit more allure. If you are wearing an oversized shirt or loose-knit sweater, you can add a thin belt at the top of your baby bump over your shirt or knitwear. You’ll look so much pulled-together!
5. Choose outfits that emphasize your silhouette
If oversized tops (like shirts, jackets, and sweaters) are chic and comfortable during the first trimester of your pregnancy, “once you’re into your second trimester, if everything you wear is loose, you risk looking like a walking tent” said Monica de La Villardière in an interview for Net-a-porter. For her, it was really important “to find ways of balancing a more form-fitting top or bottom with roomier pieces.”
Others like Jeanne Damas, creative director of the French brand Rouje Paris, prefer to wear stretch fabrics instead of oversize clothes to show her beautiful curves and baby bump. In an interview for Vogue UK, she said: “I’ve really wanted to embrace my bump with stretch fabrics and not hide it beneath oversized clothes. I’ve always worn wrap dresses in summer and knit dresses in winter as part of my style, and both have been perfect during pregnancy.”
10 Effortlessly Chic French Maternity Outfits
Below, here are ten French maternity outfits that are effortlessly chic and very easy to copy! I hope you’ll find them as inspiring as I do.
Oversized Button-Down Shirt + Wide-Leg Pants
Sweatshirt + Blazer + Maternity Leggings
Oversize Button-Down Shirt + Maternity Jeans
Jumpsuit + Belt
White t-shirt + Maternity Jeans + Jeans Jacket
Oversized Sweatshirt + Maternity Bike Shorts
Striped Knitwear + Maternity Leggings
Et voilà! I hope this guide to French chic maternity style will inspire you! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below.
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Bonjour and welcome to Leonce Chenal, a modern lifestyle platform created and curated by a French woman for lovers of everything French. I’m Leonce, born and raised near Annecy, France. Through this website, I want to share with you the passion I have for my home country and for the French art de vivre. Merci for visiting and à bientôt! —Leonce