Stylish Breastfeeding Clothes are the Next Frontier in Maternity Fashion
Maternity fashion has become considerably less grim in the past decade, thanks in part to the advent of designer maternity brands like MARION and A Pea in the Pod, and the inspiring pregnancy style of powerful women from Amal Clooney to Meghan Markle to Rhianna. More importantly, this change has been fueled by mamas-to-be who increasingly refuse to look like walking grocery bags during their pregnancies.
It’s now possible to buy stunning maternity dresses, tailored maternity pants, and comfy maternity leggings in premium designs and stretchy luxe fabrics. Even better, brands like MARION and Pact now offer sustainable maternity clothes mamas can feel good investing in. Maternity brands have also become more conscious of size inclusivity, offering petite maternity clothes, and plus sized maternity collections.
Seeking Fashionable Breastfeeding Clothes
Despite these long-overdue improvements to maternity fashion overall, breastfeeding clothes have been largely left out of the pregnancy style revolution. While our culture has begun acknowledging that pregnant women are still actual humans (albeit with a passenger on board), and still need clothes for daily life, nursing fashion continues to be almost exclusively about function. Breastfeeding dresses and nursing tops are still typically cut to LOOK like nursing and breastfeeding clothes, with large openings or zippers cut glaringly at nipple level, rendering discretion impossible.
Fortunately, brands like MARION understand nursing mamas want breastfeeding clothes that are both discreet and stylish. Sustainability conscious mamas also demand nursing designs they’ll still like wearing after breastfeeding, so they can avoid more fast fashion waste.
Stylish Nursing Dresses 101
MARION is a stand-out brand in the breastfeeding fashion revolution because they’ve cleverly designed nearly all their maternity dresses and tops with breastfeeding openings and actually invisible nursing zippers.
Their line includes pieces like this gorgeous blue maternity dress with a breastfeeding opening reminiscent of Princess Kate’s iconic turquoise Emilia Wickstead dress. It features an updated full skirt (including pockets), square neckline, and sustainable fabric.
MARION’s bestselling black maternity dress, the Madeline TENCEL Empire Dress, is a stunning statement piece that effortlessly moves from professional workwear to chic dinner or babyshower dress. The teardrop v-neck zipper can be pulled up and down for breastfeeding, and to adjust the neckline. Another black maternity dress bestseller is MARION’s Boardroom Maternity & Nursing Dress with (actually) invisible nursing zippers sewn into the dress’ flattering princess seams. Both the Madeline and the Boardroom are made with sustainable fabrics and the Madeline boasts deep, useful pockets (swoon).
The maternity sweater dress has always been a go-to for pregnant mamas because of its comfort and bump chic stretch, but we’ve never before seen a knit maternity dress that is both stylish and nursing friendly. MARION’s Full Body Sweater Dress changed that, with a back zipper that allows nursing mamas to easily unzip, pull down the dress front, and nurse without getting undressed. See their video for a demonstration - I really needed this dress when I was nursing!
Chic Breastfeeding Blouses & Discreet Nursing Tanks
MARION’s line also includes a hard-to-find nursing tank with a double layer of premium bamboo fabric. The top layer looks like a regular tank top (no scrunchy sides), while the hidden second layer features convenient breastfeeding openings. The cool-touch of the fabric makes it comfortable in hot weather, and the double layer provides flattering coverage so often missing in breastfeeding tops. Best of all, it’s super tuckable, making it fantastic as a “regular” top after maternity and nursing are over.
For a classic, effortless breastfeeding blouse, it’s almost impossible to beat the Elizabeth Maternity & Nursing Blouse and the White Collar Maternity & Nursing Button Down, both by MARION. Made with sustainable, cool-touch premium TENCEL fabric, these effortless tops drape beautifully over a 9-month bump and a postpartum tummy. Their petite maternity size options mean short mamas can finally find maternity & nursing blouses that don’t hang to their knees.
If you’re a mama who needs a maternity suit, MARION’s Sloan Maternity & Nursing Suit Top (made to pair with the Sloan Maternity Pencil Skirt or Favorite Maternity Work Pants) will be your absolute salvation. The Sloan is a structured, flattering maternity suit top made with Italian designer suiting fabric. Its empire waist cut is unfailingly flattering before, during, and after pregnancy. Nursing moms can use the two size zippers or the convenient front flap for breastfeeding and pumping, whether on a meeting break or courtroom recess. The Sloan is also offered in standard and petite maternity sizes, with extended sizes coming soon.
The Future of Breastfeeding Fashion
With so many working and fashion-conscious mamas choosing to nurse for long periods of time after pregnancy, the need for stylish breastfeeding clothes is here to stay - and it will only grow. It’s no wonder brands like MARION are commanding such a strong and expanding customer base. We hope that other fashion brands will take note, and begin to carry lines with close attention to nursing mama’s fashion needs.
Author Bio: Joy O’Renick lives with her husband and young sons on a mini farm in Oregon where she and her family grow food and host board game nights. Joy is a longtime teacher, principal, and education executive. In 2022, she launched MARION out of a desire to empower working moms and limit pregnancy discrimination in the professional world. Joy is a frequent contributing author at Motherly. Joy is a founding member of a Bailamos, a Latin Dance nonprofit, a member of the Emerge Oregon Board of Directors, and a former foster parent and mentor for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and a Master’s Degree in Education & Educational Leadership.