How Have Maternity Dresses Changed Over The Years

The Evolution of Maternity Dresses


Did you know that aprons once served as maternity clothing? In the Middle Ages, women wore aprons over their bumps when they could no longer be covered by normal tops. Today, however, maternity dresses come in a variety of styles—there are office-appropriate dresses, party dresses, and comfortable at-home dresses. In short, maternity dresses have come a long way!


13th to 14th Century


In the 13th century, clothes for women were not designed to fit their curves; a lot of articles included simple, free-flowing fabric. For expecting mothers this was no different. In the 14th century, women’s wear evolved to showcase some parts of the feminine form. It was also during this era that the concept of maternity clothing was conceived.


17th to 18th Century


In the 1600s, the first maternity dress was created, often referred to as the Adrienne dress. It was a type of gown that comprised numerous folds, and it would expand along with the size of the baby bump. In this time period, women used to wear waist coats with lacy vents in the back; these allowed the wearer to adjust the size of the coat as required.


In the Georgian period, maternity clothes began to be designed to include the more practical aspects of pregnancy. One could see the Adrienne dress making a comeback. Equipped with voluminous folds, it also had bibs across the bust line to facilitate nursing.


20th Century


In the 20th century, women would wear pinafores, which are sleeveless dresses that could be worn like aprons. Even then, maternity clothing did not make much progress as fashion wear.


Only in the late 90s did the demand for stylish maternity dresses gain pace; Hollywood celebrities like Katie Holmes and Angelina Jolie popularized these maternity dresses. Around 1998 to 2003, designers began to notice the potential for maternity clothes and they started marketing apparel that was chic and comfortable.


Several high-end brands introduced their own lines of maternity jeans. Currently, we also have fancy maternity maxi dresses and maternity tops. Wrap dresses, plunging V-necks, floor-touching gowns, and fashionable tops are now worn by almost every mum-to-be. The current designs not only allow wearers to highlight their baby bumps with pride, for they’re also comfortable and accommodating of the various curves. They fit snugly, enabling women to be at ease while the belly grows.