Fashionable maternity wear in Beijing – it actually exists!
No matter how excited you are for baby’s arrival, it’s normal to feel frustrated when you discover you can no longer zip up your favorite jeans. For moms in Beijing, where the clothing pickings get much slimmer as your belly gets bigger, finding fashionable maternity wear can be such a challenge that it’s tempting to give up without even trying. However, we cannot look frumpy just because we get plumpy! The whole “look good, feel good” adage has merit, and dressing attractively can put moms-to-be in a good mood and help take the edge off some of the harder parts of pregnancy.
If you’ve shopped for maternity fashion in Beijing and felt disheartened by the shapeless, pajama-like dresses and baggy, full-paneled trousers that completely hide your original style, it will come as a pleasant surprise to learn that your regular, fashionable shopping destinations like the 3.3 shopping center, Nali Mall, and Alien Street market all carry plenty of stylish plus-size clothing that will let you stick to your style throughout your pregnancy.
And in a great turn of events for moms-to-be with a fashion sense, this year witnessed the revival of the baby-doll look. Empire-waist dresses and baggy baby-doll blouses matched with leggings gracefully veil protruding bellies and widened hips and keep you tuned into style at the same time. Best of all, you can find these looks everywhere Beijing’s trendsetters shop.
If ready-made options fail to satisfy, you’re still in luck: custom tailoring is an easy option in Beijing. Read about where to buy or tailor-make maternity clothes at the end of this article.
To give you a little inspiration on how to look and feel great during your first, second and third trimesters, we’ve put together a couple of comfortable, fun looks that sacrifice nothing in the style department. Now get shopping!
Although most women are not yet ready for full-fledged maternity wear and can usually still work their regular wardrobes, they should avoid pants or jeans with tight waistbands, which can hamper the growth of the baby.
Bubble dress with a tie-in-the-back belt, RMB 200, 3.3 Shopping Mall; white ballet flats, RMB 698, Scholl; silk embroidered handbag, price TBD, Marni
Green stretchy T-shirt, RMB 100, izzue; overall skirt, RMB 150, Shiji Tianle Clothing Market; Birkenstock clogs, RMB 699, C.P.U.; silver bag, RMB 7,300, Tod’s
Puff-sleeve satin baby-doll dress, RMB 399, Zara; patent leather flats, price TBD, Paul Smith
This stage is when most women realize that pregnancy is a reality, and that their current closets just won’t cut it anymore. Now it’s time for a serious wardrobe update.
Pleated white shirt, RMB 75, Shiji Tianle Clothing Market; cotton wrap skirt with ruffled detail, RMB 290, can be purchased or custom-made at Qian Cao Hua; beaded sandals, price TBD, Marni; black leather tote, price TBD, Hugo Boss
A-line blouse with ethnic-inspired print, RMB 198, 3.3 Shopping Mall; stretchy black leggings, available at various maternity wear stores; green suede flats, price TBD, Paul Smith
Empire waist dress with ruffle details, RMB 470, can be purchased or custom-made at Qian Cao Hua; beaded sandals, price TBD, Marni; black beaded handbag, price TBD, Marni
Once you hit your sixth or seventh month, you can’t disguise your belly – flaunt it with pride instead!
Baby-doll cotton dress with empire waist, RMB 50, Shiji Tianle Clothing Market; Birkenstock silver thongs, RMB 499, C.P.U.
Baggy black T-shirt, RMB 100, 3.3 Shopping Center; denim skirt with low-rise, adjustable waistband, RMB 248, Nunum; pointy leather flats, RMB 598, Scholl
Printed kimono-inspired dress, RMB 760, can be custom-made at Qian Cao Hua; square-toed black ballerina flats, Tod’s, price TBD
Where to Find Maternity Wear
Features maternity wear for all kinds of occasions. Jeans with adjustable waistbands cost RMB 400, capris with adjustable waistbands RMB 500. 5/F, Pacific Century Place (6539 1141) 太平洋百货5层
3.3 Shopping Center
Find loose-fitting baby doll dresses and tops, stretchy tunics, yoga pants with adjustable waistbands, and comfortable ballet flats. 33 Sanlitun Beijie, Chaoyang District (6417 8886) 3.3服装大厦， 潮阳区三里屯北街33号
Alien Street Market
Plenty of plus-size blouses, T-shirts and underwear, plus sandals and flats in large sizes. Building 1-2, Yijing Garden, Chaowai Dajie, Chaoyang District 老番街，朝阳区朝外大街怡景园1－2号楼
Maternity evening dresses (RMB 500 and up), black pencil skirts with adjustable waists (RMB 300), bell-bottomed and skinny-style maternity jeans (RMB 700), and a variety of nursing bras. 5/F, Pacific Century Place, 2A Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District (6539 1141) 太平洋百货5层，朝阳区工体北路甲2号
Dongsi Daxin Textile
Sells various fabrics and provides on-site measuring, tailoring and alteration services. Skirts start from RMB 60, dresses from RMB 150 (including fabric). 253 Chaoyangmennei Dajie, Dongsi, Dongcheng District (6400 5722) 东四大新纺织，东城区朝阳门内大街253号
A professional maternity fashion line specializing in maternity bras (RMB 200 and up), anti-radiation vests (RMB 600-700), formal maternity dresses (RMB 500 and up) and shirts (RMB 300 and up). 4/F, Zhongyou Shopping Mall, Xidan, Xicheng District 奇妮孕妇装，西城区西单中友百货4层
Merchandise from this hip Korean maternity fashion house is only available online in China. Visit http://shop33056029.taobao.com
Qian Cao Hua
Sells ready-to-wear or custom-tailored tie-front wrap dresses and skirts, belted kimono sweaters, kimono tops, A-line blouses, and jersey capris with roll-panel waists. Shop 3, Nali Market, Sanlitun Beijie, Chaoyang District (6417 7366) 千草花，朝阳区三里屯北街那里市场
Shiji Tianle Clothing Market
The basement of the market carries many plus-size “wai mao” (export trade) clothing at wholesale prices. A28 Xizhimenwai Nanlu, Xicheng District 世纪天乐服装市场，西城区西直门外南路甲28号
- Don’t buy maternity wear too soon. Buy clothes that fit you in the moment; otherwise the things you purchase will most likely be too baggy at the beginning, and too small at the end.
- Few women can afford a whole wardrobe of new clothes for pregnancy. So maximize your investment by shopping for some versatile basics like stretchy leggings, denim skirts or jeans with adjustable waistline, tunics, baby doll dresses, and oversize T-shirts.
- Stick to simple designs and colors. Clothing with excessive details or busy colors will make you look bigger than you are; same goes for stripes and prints.
- Don’t try to squeeze your feet into your pre-pregnancy flats (not to mention high-heels). Expect your feet to expand a size or even more.
- Though you should be proud to show off your belly, that doesn’t mean you should restrict yourself in tight, non-elastic clothes. If you are buying form-fitting pieces, make sure the fabric is very stretchy and comfortable.
- Invest in accessories like scarves, brooches, hair clips and some pieces of jewelry – these can instantly freshen your look; plus, you can still wear them after giving birth.
Featured Brands and Where to Buy
C.P.U., D3060, 3/F, Shin Kong Place (6533 1545);
Hugo Boss, 2/F, Oriental Plaza (8518 0686);
izzue, DD01-10, B1/F, Oriental Plaza (8515 6672);
Marni, SB109, China World Trade Center Shopping Mall (6505 0708);
Paul Smith, AA30, Oriental Plaza (8518 6369);
Nanum, sold online exclusively at http://shop33056029.taobao.com;
Scholl, Shop 14, 2/F, Ginza Mall (8589 3560);
Tod’s, L112, China World Trade Center Shopping Mall (6505 6486);
Zara, 1/F, Block A, The Place (6587 1345)
China World Trade Center Shopping Mall, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District (6505 2288) 国贸购物中心, 朝阳区建国门外大街1号;
Ginza Mall, 48 Dongzhimenwai Dajie, Dongcheng District 东方银座大厦, 东城区东直门外大街48号;
Oriental Plaza, 1 Dongchang’an Jie, Dongcheng District (8518 6363) 东方新天地, 东城区东长安街1号;
Shin Kong Place, 87 Jianguo Lu (beside China Central Place), Chaoyang District (6530 5888) 新光天地, 朝阳区建国路87号 (华贸中心旁边);
The Place, 9 Guanghua Lu (Dongdaqiao Lu), Chaoyang District (8595 1755/6) 世贸天阶中心, 朝阳区光华路9号