In November, just as I was started to share the news with friends and family, I hit the vintage maternity wear motherlode while thrifting at Emmaüs. Racks and racks of mostly deadstock vintage maternity clothing from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. The first time I set eyes on them, I think I audibly gasped and was totally flustered. It was 15 minutes until closing time on a Saturday and I knew I wouldn’t have the time to come back until the next week. Fearing they’d all be gone, I frantically tried on 3 gorgeous pieces and left with all of them for 20$. I’ll be back, I told the woman at the cash. I’ll be back, I told the dozens of immaculate deadstock dresses.
I returned, and the dresses had waited patiently for me. With original tags that read “Expectantly Yours” and “FashionWise Maternity” along with illustrations of storks and terrifying cherubs, these garments waited for me for decades. Not only were so many pieces in fantastic condition, many were in my size. In fact, many would only look good on someone as tall as myself, which is a rare thing to find in vintage (I’m 5’11”). Best of all, they were practically giving them away. I think the most I paid was for a silk number you’ll see in my 1960s post, which was more than worth the 20$ price tag.
The most common item were these strange top/skirt sets, complete with expanding window for your belly. Yes, just like this one. High-waisted pencil skirts but with room for baby. Or at least, very tiny growing baby.
This red maternity set has one of my favourite tags: Expectantly Yours.
That said, these skirt/top sets were not the best for my constantly changing body. As lucky as I was to find these pieces only weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t get much wear at all out of the skirts when my hips grew in the 2nd trimester. The tops, on the other hand! I am still wearing at 41 weeks, and were really great to wear at work.
Also, I was mostly pregnant during the winter months and these would have been far more wearable in a warmer climate than Quebec City.
These two grey tops are both parts of Hildegard Geisler sets. The skirt never fit me for either top, but I loved details and quality of the design of the tops… and pockets! Lulu approves.
And lastly, two of my favourite, most wearable 1950s maternity dresses. Have you ever found a dress with an ADJUSTABLE WAISTLINE? incorporated into the design of a vintage dress? If you have, chances are this was once a maternity dress. I cannot believe how brilliant the design of these dresses are.
This black Fashionwise Maternity number has three hooks and one clasp on each side of the waist, and can be adjusted depending on how big your waist/belly is. This is one I will be able to wear belted when I’m not pregnant anymore, which makes me love it even more. On this black one, it really is “invisible” thanks to the pleats, but on the burnt orange one the buttons made it a little trickier. In fact… I may even prefer to wear the orange one when I’m not pregnant! I love it so much, these pictures do not do it justice.
Look at how not pregnant I was! 12 weeks! What a lifetime ago.
Next up, 1950s loungewear.