By Parul Das, Founder, Janam Maternity Saris* & Beyond
The thought of attending cultural events during pregnancy is daunting enough, but staying stylish and comfortable at all the festivities during the holiday season is possible, with the help of a few token pieces. Thankfully, there are a few entrepreneurs, designers, and retailers who have entered the niche South Asian maternity market, providing a range of options for women. We’ve also listed out some alternatives for those that may not have the time to wait for a custom-made garment.
1) Waist chain: Pregnant or not, chains are here to stay. There are a number of bolero style options if you want to wear them over a solid gown. However, if you want something more traditional and you have a salwar, anarkali, or sari blouse that already fits you during pregnancy, you can add a belly chain right under the bust (at the empire waist), to help gather all the fabric in, to provide a more flattering silhouette. First, drape your sari or dupatta as you normally would. The belly chain is placed at the end, to keep the fabric from flaring and puffing out over your baby bump. It will help keep the fabric closer to the body. The best fabrics are thin, such as crepe silk, Georgette. Avoid raw silk and fabrics that are too thick and will only make your look larger when pleated
2) Maternity Saree & Maternity saree blouse. Plug Alert! Janam Maternity has created a comfortable and easy to wear saree that is both flattering and wearable during and after your pregnancy. JANAM offers a full-belly panel option, a demi-panel option, as well as maternity and nursing blouses. All petticoats are stitched into the “skirt” of the Sari, which comes with the pleats pre-stitched and ready to pull on like a skirt! All products are customizable.
JANAM MATERNITY SARI* (Starting at $455) (following photos credit: Janammaternity.com)
3) Maternity Gowns and Kurtas: holiCHIC recently launched their maternity line, holiMOM, showcasing many beautiful gowns which are also customizable.
FabIndia also has a new maternity line consisting of some very affordable kurtas that can be worn postpartum as well.
holiMOM: Brocade and net gown NAINA $475
4) Maxi Dress: If you can find a maternity evening gown, you can make a ribbon to wrap around your waist using gold/silver trim. There are a number of Etsy shops online that have really beautiful trims. You can easily make a ribbon for your waist, but cutting it to size and safety pinning it. If you want it to be a little more comfortable, you can sew on a strip of elastic, with a metal hook and eye closure to allow for expandability when sitting down, so you don’t feel constricted. Be sure to overlap the ribbon, and place the “eye” further down the belt, so the elastic isn’t visible on the outside.
Etsy Shop: NirmanSupplies: Bollywood inspired trim Gold Flower Cut work Traditional Sari Border Trim Indian Craft Ribbon Sewing AN0198 $7.50 per yard
5) DIY Lengha: If you don’t have the time to wait for a customized gown, or shipping from India, you can put together your own lengha with a little bit of creativity! Grab yourself a maternity maxi skirt and an off the shoulder maternity top. You can dig through your stash of dupattas to see if anything you have in your closet contrasts well with your chosen colours.
Here’s an example: I would recommend the crop top option instead of the long top. If you are not comfortable with the crop top, or you want the longer top for multi-use, try to wear it with the shirt tucked into the skirt to see if that looks more like traditional South Asian apparel and pairing it with a cream or mauve dupatta. You can even get away with not wearing a dupatta and just dress it up with jewelry!
Maxi Skirt: My Bump Women’s High Waisted Floor Length Maternity Maxi Skirt With Tummy Control(Made in USA) $28.99;
Grey Off the Shoulder Top: Motherhood Maternity Off-The-Shoulder Top $19.99; Ribbed Crisscross Crop Top $12.90 Crop Top (Grey)
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