Undercover secrets

When it comes to getting dressed, smalls can make a big difference. Personal stylist Stacey Gillies talks bras and knickers.

Pregnancy is a time of significant change affecting most areas of your wardrobe –including your underwear.

As you slowly grow throughout your pregnancy, particularly in the hips, bum and chest, you need to assess whether your existing underwear will give you confidence and support over the coming months.

The breast option
To ensure you look and feel your best during and after pregnancy, a bra fitting is vital. By wearing a correctly fitted bra, you will look and feel more confident, your shape will be enhanced and sagging breasts and injury to the breast tissue will be minimised.

I am a bigger-chested woman, and during my recent pregnancy, I had a fitting at 12 weeks. I chose a T-shirt bra which gives full coverage, is underwire and comes in nude and black. This was perfect and really gave me lift for what was, I felt, a heavy chest. Some women opt for a nursing bra at the outset of pregnancy, meaning they can continue to wear it once baby is born.

Unfortunately for the bigger busted ladies, reasonably priced options are hard to come by. You are looking upwards of $70 each. Those who can fit regular sizing are lucky enough to have a wide variety of options available to them at a good price, especially during regular department store sales.

Advice from Hotmilk is that you need at least three nursing bras — one on the body, one in the wash, one in the drawer.

What to look for in a bra both during pregnancy, and after:

1   Full coverage cup size so you don’t get the ‘double-boobs’ effect.

2   Adjustable hooks so you can change the fit as your chest grows.

  Strap width. The wider the better so they don’t dig into your shoulders.

   Comfort. Ensure there are no niggly seams.

  Support. A bra that will provide lift while giving you a feminine shape.

  Generally underwire is a no-no for nursing, because it can put pressure on the milk ducts, but Cake Lingerie and a few others now offer a flexible underwire which solves that problem.

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Heidi Klum Intimates Madeline
maternity bra in vintage cream,

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Berlei Barely There cotton maternity
wirefree bra in white, RRP$54.95,
from Farmers

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Lemon Zest Pro Impact flexi-wire
nursing sports bra, RRP$89.90,

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Hotmilk Daydream bra,

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Loveable Suddenly Shapely
maternity nursing bra, RRP$39.95,

Knicker know-how
Out go the skimpy bikini-style knickers and flimsy shoe-string-strap bras; it is time to add high-waisted knickers, including shapewear, to your underwear drawer. As your tummy expands, any knickers that sit across your hips or just under the belly button will just roll down and create an unflattering line equalling a muffin-top effect. High-waisted knickers are comfortable and sit over your bump, and therefore aren’t inclined to inch their way down by the end of the day. They may not be particularly sexy, but you can get some nice quality cotton briefs from brands like Bonds and Jockey, or if you want a more elegant option, there are a vast range of lacy full briefs available.

A few brands, like Bonds, are now introducing specially designed maternity bikinis, which have a v-shaped waist that sits perfectly under your bump.

Shapewear, in particular the very high-waisted or cycle pant-style, prevents all sorts of problems. They hold you in (giving your growing stomach support) and they ensure a smooth and flattering silhouette when wearing fitted and stretchy fabrics – common in maternity clothing designs. I suggest buying shapewear in a few sizes larger than you normally wear, so that there isn’t too much pressure on your bump. Shapewear is still a fundamental item after your baby is born as your stomach muscles will have lost some tone; these will support and pull in the tummy and won’t rub your scar line (for those who have had a Caesarean section). They will help you feel better about your shape as you transition back to your old body and help reduce any lumps and bumps you might want to hide as you get back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe.

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Bonds maternity lite briefs,

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Triumph Sculpting Sensation
Maxi brief in shiver, RRP $49.95,

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Berlei Sculpt high-waisted
full brief in gold snake skin,
RRP$54.95 from Farmers

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Berlei Sculpt high-waisted thigh shaper
in onyx snakeskin, RRP$54.95
from Farmers


Stacey Gillies is a fashion writer and personal fashion stylist at Fashion Fairground (, based in Auckland.




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