Fashion advice for Mums-to-be!


Top fashion tips for mums-to-be

fashion advice for mums to beMany fashion conscious women who find themselves pregnant worry about the style of clothes they should wear. Many fear they will have to wear dungarees and 1970s smock dresses.

However, many are professional women who want to look smart going to the office. Others want comfortable but stylish clothing and what about those black tie dos and wedding celebrations?

Two women who turned the dilemma into a business are Vanessa and Baukjen the mums behind maternity clothing brand Isabella Oliver.

The brand has gone from strength-to-strength and the women have dressed pregnant celebrities including Davina McCall, Trinny Woodall, Anna Friel and Ulrika Jonsson.

Back in October 2006 we interviewed the duo about setting up this thriving maternity business. They told us about the ups and downs and how they worked in being mums with running their company. They also offered some top fashion tips for pregnant mums.

The name Isabella Oliver was chosen as it's the names of  Vanessa and Baukjen’s eldest two children and the inspiration behind their company which was first set up in their respective homes.

Vanessa told us: “The inspiration was that when we were pregnant we just couldn’t find clothes. I was a lingerie designer in New York….I was looking for something I could get my teeth into and needing the clothes inspired me.  When Baukjen and I met she had the same idea. The clothes are very simple, they’re not contrived and you really do get maximum use.”

Baukjen added: “We met when we were about 8 months pregnant…I saw Vanessa sitting heavily pregnant by the pool and we started to chat. We became friends and we thought that we should try and do something. When Oliver was two months and Isabella was three months we started to talk about our plans.

The pair admitted that it was hard work but business was picking up and much needed encouragement was met in the shape of British TV presenter and fashion guru Trinny Woodall.

Vanessa told us: “Trinny Woodall was our very first customer and she loved us - thank God! We sent her the clothes before we launched and that was the ultimate test.”

But was launching a clothing brand as difficult as becoming first-time Mums?

Vanessa recalls: “Newborn to one is really hard. I found 1 - 2 so much easier.”

Baukjen then tells us: “I had this expectation about what you hear from friends and what you see in the movies. I had a romantic vision of it all. I always had the full confidence that I would be a natural Mum.

When Oliver was born I felt a little insecure for a little while. I think it was a really tough time and I really hadn’t expected it. After a little while you get into your own routine and you make new friends. It’s really nice to have people who you meet and it’s lovely to be able to chat about those things.

I wouldn’t swap it though, as much as I remember feeling insecure and isolated I also remember the cosiness and the intimacy. Don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy those moments when your baby is asleep and instead of putting the washing machine on sit and watch your baby sleeping.”

So for any expectant Mums, what top clothing tips do the girls have?

 Vanessa told us: “We strongly believe in clothing that’s fitted, not baggy. Clean simple lines, things that are easy to dress up and dress down. Wrapping styles are excellent. We’re big fans of the wrap dress and the wrap top because they’re just so versatile and comfortable. Make the most of your curves. The wrap dress always looks chic.”

Baukjen could not agree more and said: “In my first pregnancy before we launched 'Isabella Oliver' I didn’t get the concept, I just used to shop and buy things a size or two up. It covered the bump but it was really baggy everywhere else. It made me look like a house. It was only after that. that I got it.”

More details about Isabella Oliver can be found on their website.


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