Style expert Angela Buttolph is an experienced print and broadcast journalist, covering everything from writing weekly features for glossy magazine Grazia to hosting BBC fashion programmes A Week Of Dressing Dangerously and Fashion Victim Rehab.
She is also an author, having written Kate Moss: Style Icon, a ‘style biography’ about the fashion icon of a generation.
Now Angela, 42, is about to have her first baby (in three weeks!) and has recently been contributing to Gurgle Magazine about all stylish maternity matters.
So how has this style aficionado coped with the past nine months? Angela talks to MMM to discuss.
Congratulations on your pregnancy! How have you found the whole experience style-wise? It’s been quite fun actually – a bit of a new fashion challenge. Although, full disclaimer: I’ve been blogging for Isabella Oliver so I’ve had quite a bit of help!
How do you usually dress? What would you say is your usual non-pregnancy style? Zara meets Isabel Marant. Leggy with sharp jackets and heels. A bit more boho in the summer, a lot sharper in the winter.
When you first found out you were pregnant, did you have an idea of the kind of look you would aim for? And have you succeeded? I thought I would do a lot of stretchy dresses with flats or heels; leggings, sharp jackets and heels; and a little bit of boho-y kimono jackets with leggings or maxi dresses – and I was right. I just didn’t want to just wear all my husband’s clothes and hide under baggy layers for the duration. Or wear prim little Peter Pan collar smocky dresses – which don’t suit me even when I’m not pregnant.
Would you say you have been frustrated at the lack of choice on the high street? Totally. The selection there is so conservative, I think they’re thinking ‘women won’t want to buy too many pieces so they all need to be really simple’ so there’s not a single statement piece anywhere. I would usually buy a knock-out pair of jeans and wear them non-stop for a few months, but all the maternity jeans are indigo, black or (woo!) grey. No prints, no interesting finishes, no amazing colours – nothing. And when I meet up with my NCT class everyone is wearing stripey tops or dresses because that’s all that’s available that’s even remotely fashionable. And if you want a Kate Middleton-style lace dress, in any colour, you’re laughing, but a catwalk savvy digital print? Forget it.**
Have you actually bought any maternity pieces? Where from? I was completely obsessed with Isabella Oliver before I was blogging for them, so I did buy some pieces – my favourite was a paper thin Rick Owens-style waterfall collar black leather jacket which I’ve worn more than anything else – it’s the perfect shape for a bump! And I also bought their kimono style wrap coat, two pairs of their brilliant black leggings and a couple of sexy stretchy dresses.
What have been your own personal hero products (clothes / accessories / shoes)? I’ve lived in Isabella Oliver leggings. It’s great to highlight the bits of you that are still (relatively!) skinny. I have two scoop neck cashmere jumpers from COS which are long, thin and fitted with thumb holes and they have been my staple wear-with-everything base layer for the winter. And I’ve got the most pleasure out of still wearing my own jackets – worn open. I’ve got a cropped Chanel style jacket from Topshop, a printed kimono jacket from Topshop, and I’ve just bought a paisley print padded cotton jacket from Zara. It’s great when you can mix in ‘real clothes’! Also: hats – so easy to wear but nobody seems to expect a pregnant woman to bother styling herself (!) I’ve got a stripey beanie and a khaki fedora and both of them are always big hits.
Are there any stores on the high street you could recommend? H&M does the best (thick) maternity tights, and Muji does surprisingly sexy non-underwired bras, but other than that I’ve been pretty unimpressed to be honest.
Who on the high street do you think should consider bringing out a decent maternity range? I would love to see what Zara could do – I would imagine something fashion forward but also elegant and wearable.
What do you think stores get wrong when it comes to maternity style? WHERE are the current prints? The fashion forward colours? The statement fashion pieces? Seriously? It’s all about prints at the moment and a stretchy colourful printed T-shirt dress would be so easy to wear and a great way to look blooming in pregnancy.
If you could create the ultimate maternity-friendly capsule wardrobe, what five pieces would you have in it? 1. A stretchy digital print T shirt dress (similar to Isabella Oliver’s Vivien T-shirt dress) 2. A pair of AWESOME statement skinny jeans – in a cool, Maranty print like tie dye for summer 3. A sharply tailored, coloured jacket (like Isabella Oliver’s cobalt blue Everyday jacket) 4. Stretch leather leggings – yes please 5. Fitted cashmere jumpers in an endless selection of colours and prints
What would you advise a newly pregnant woman to invest in? Some great statement/print kitten heels, flat shoes or cool trainers – to liven up all those basics (you really won’t be wearing five-inch heels). Good quality skinny jeans or leggings. And a colourful dress that makes you feel gorgeous but also works for work, weddings, meeting up with friends etc
And finally, have any celebrities impressed you with their own pregnancy style? None of my faves are pregnant at the moment but I like women who can do really casual/jeansy style well – Gisele always looked pretty good – understated but up-to-date. I like it when women don’t change their usual personal style while pregnant. And fashion blogger Hedvig Opshaug did fashion-forward coats and jackets for pregnancy really well.
** UPDATE FROM ANGELA:
“Annoyingly since we discussed this, I’ve noticed that Topshop Maternity has sprung into action and dropped all these great items which were NOT available during the long boring cold winter of dullness that was the first few months of my pregnancy, grrr. Here are some of my I-would-have-totally-worn-these pregnancy picks:”