Pregnancy fashion has come a long way over the last few decades and it’s fun to look back at the evolution of maternity clothes. Women have always looked to Hollywood for inspiration so it’s the perfect place to look and get an idea of what was trendy at that time. We must admit that many of these looks just seem silly by today’s standards. Yet, each image captures where pregnant women fit in society.
The 1950’s was all about hiding the bump, so ladies wore loose smocks over capri pants. By the time the 1960’s rolled around, all eyes were on Jackie-O and the fashions became very polished and classic. The 1970’s gave us disco and it seemed like every pregnant woman was seen wearing a flowy dress. Women joined the workforce in the 1980’s, so everything was over-sized and stuffed with shoulder pads.
It wasn’t until the 90’s that it became super fashionable for ladies to stop hiding our growing bellies. Maternity clothes became tighter and form-fitting silhouettes took over maternity wear. We’ve been hugging our curves ever since. These Hollywood stars paved the way for the looks we wear today. Please enjoy these 20 celeb pics from the past.
20 Lucille Ball Rocks A Smock
According to the folks over at What To Expect, “Lucille Ball was the first woman to show off her pregnancy publicly, on-screen (in demure, wide-waist dresses). While this was a big step forward for pregnant women, bumps were far from front-and-center, and maternity-specific fashions were scarce.”
So we ladies can thank Lucy for being the first to put maternity fashion forward.
Back in 1951, women were not allowed to be portrayed as pregnant on television. So, producers had to be creative and hide a mom-to-be’s baby bump under aprons or behind furniture. When Lucille was pregnant with her daughter Lucie, her condition was kept a secret. Yet, when she was expecting her son, Desi, Jr, the producers of “I Love Lucy” decided to take a chance and allow the characters to have a child. They made history when 44 million viewers tuned in to see the birth episode.
This darling outfit is very telling of maternity style in the 1950’s. Most women wore smocks and this collard blouse was considered to be very posh. Her plaid petal pushers and cute loafers round out the look. I have to say that I just love how ladies looked so put together back then.
19 Grace Kelly - The Hermès Handbag
Grace Kelly was the girl of the hour when she married Prince Frainer III in 1956 and became a real-life princess. Her royal name was quite impressive as she became known as Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco. All eyes were on her when announced a pregnancy soon after the wedding. She gave birth to Caroline. Her son Albert was born the next year, and seven years after that she had her last child, Stéphanie.
A moment of fashion history unfolded when Grace Kelly used a Hermès to shield her pregnant belly from photographers. This move would become an industry standard for expectant celebrities and we see the stars pulling the same maneuver to this day.
The Pursuitist covered the “Kelly Bag” in detail: “In 1956, a photo of Grace Kelly, who had become the new Princess of Monaco) carrying the Sac à dépêches bag to shield her pregnant belly from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. Photographs of her covering her baby bump with her hallowed Hermès were splashed all over the world and made it onto the cover of Life magazine. Thus, the company — or possibly more like the public — renamed it the Kelly bag, and it became hugely popular.”
18 Jackie Kennedy - Polished As Always
Jackie Kennedy was the epitome of 1960’s maternity fashion. According to What To Expect, “Fashions in the early 1960s emulated First Lady Jackie Kennedy's effortless, elegant look. Women continued to hide their pregnancies, which was easy to do in the era's simple, geometric "shift" dresses, boxy suit jackets with over-sized buttons, and capris.” She really is radiant in this floral tailored maternity dress.
Her perfectly quaffed hair is so indicative of the “Jacki-O” look.
You probably would not be able to tell from looking at this pic that Jackie had hard pregnancies. She suffered a miscarriage but became pregnant again and gave birth to her daughter, Caroline in November of 1957. She then had John F. Kennedy, Jr in November of 1960. Jackie gave birth to another boy, Patrick in 1963 but he lost his life.
Yet, we’ll always have this stunning image of the First Lady, looking chic during her time in the White House. She played a huge hand in inspiring pregnancy fashion in the 1960’s and women looked much more polished because of her effortless style. During her reign at Camelot, she was the perfect muse for fashion designers and maternity clothing often took notes from her.
17 Audrey Hepburn - Breezy & Demure
This retro snap of a pregnant Audrey Hepburn is everything. The starlet was on vacation with friends at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France, May 1960. Audrey’s husband Mel Ferrer was in Nice filming The Hands of Orlac at the Victorine studios. I can’t get over her fresh maternity look, it’s just so classic and pretty. She’s shown wearing a white undress covered in flowers. Yet, her accessories totally make the outfit. How adorable are her ballet flats? And that hat? So sassy! We couldn’t forget her wide-rimmed sunglasses.
Hepburn had one son, Sean, with her first husband, Mel Ferrer, whom she divorced in 1968. Then, she gave birth to her son Luca at the age of 41, just a year after she married her second husband, Andrea Dotti. She also suffered miscarriages so she was very private when it came to her pregnancies, so this is a rare capture.
Women in the 1960’s idolized Audrey Hepburn for her glamorous looks. Maternity fashion was totally inspired by her vacation look and pregnant ladies often emulated her classic fashion choices. The evolution of pregnancy style made great strides during this decade and we have women like Audrey Hepburn to thank for our progressive modern day styles.
16 Cher - Flower Power
Let’s move on to the 1970’s, shall we? Times were changing and maternity looks changed with them. The rulebook was thrown out and trends went from over-sized smocks to flowy dresses. No one epitomizes the ear of the 70’s more than Cher. Shea was a free spirit who wasn’t afraid to take fashion risks.
She had a rocky marriage with Country crooner, Greg Allman. Despite their crazy relationship, she became pregnant with his child in 1976. This pic shows Cher a few months pregnant with their son, Elijah Blue. She is the epitome of a 1970’s mom-to-be in this pic. From the floppy hat covered in calico material to her flower child maternity dress, that long black hair, and those big earrings, Cher certainly did pregnancy style her way.
Unfortunately, the romance didn’t last long and the couple divorced soon after Elijah Blue was born. Allman had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and the famous duo tried on and off for years to make it work. Even though the marriage didn’t last, we will forever have this image of a pregnant Cher in some seriously stylish maternity threads. Fashion was pretty funky in the 1970’s and this photo proves that maternity fashion was no different.
15 Carly Simon - All Wrapped Up In Fur
We couldn’t discuss the evolution of maternity style without calling your attention to this amazing pic of a very pregnant Carly Simon. She was super funky and I totally dig the maternity look that she had going on.
Hipsters should take note of her embroidered maxi dress and that fur coat was the epitome of rock and roll fashion.
What To Expect shines a light on 1970’s fashion and confirms this look was on-trend. “Dresses of all lengths and fits were the rage in the early 70s, from loose-fitting, short "babydoll" dresses to ankle-length dresses ("maxis") and mid-calf length dresses ("midis").”
Perhaps the craziest part of this get-up was the champagne glass in her hand. It hearkens back to a time when people were a bit more lax about the effects of alcohol on a growing fetus. There is no way an expectant celebrity mom would be caught dead in a pic like this. They would be shamed to no end. Yet, Simon looks absolutely effortless in the photograph.
According to PEOPLE, Carly married musician James Taylor in 1972, and the pair had two children – Ben and Sally – before splitting in 1983 following Taylor’s addiction issues and infidelities on both sides.
14 Meryl Streep - A Vision In Gold
Meryl Streep was glowing at the 1983 Academy Awards. She was was six months pregnant with her second child when she won an Oscar for her role in the film, Sophie’s Choice. The world was falling in love with Streep and she was the epitome of glam when she accepted the Oscar for best actress. Streep wore a gold Christian Leigh gown that was elegant and feminine. This was her third Oscar win and she accepted the golden statue in high fashion.
Maternity fashion in the 1980’s consisted mostly of baggy dresses so this sequined gown was a fancier version of what most expectant moms wore. Designers were still totally attempting to camouflage a baby bump instead of accentuating a pregnant belly. The billowy dress was very popular at the time. Streep rocked the red carpet in her gown and gave birth to her daughter, Mamie Gummer, later that year.
According to The Gainesville Sun, Meryl gave birth to her fourth child, Louisa Jacobson Gummer, in 1991, just before turning 42. That means that her pregnancies spanned two decades and she embraced maternity fashions that were popular at the time. From the loose sparkling dress to form-fitting gowns, she rocked every look with style.
13 Jerry Hall - The Sailor Look
Who could forget that awkward time in the 80’s when bibs were all the rage? What were those ladies thinking? Jerry Hall looks surprisingly dowdy in this maternity get up, considering she was a glamorous model who was about to have a baby with Mick Jagger. Trust me, this look was SO in at the time. She pictured while on vacation in Barbados in 1983.
She is a mom to four kids and had a tumultuous relationship with the Rolling Stones frontman. The two were married in 1990 in a ceremony in Bali and had a roller coaster relationship until they divorced in 1999. Mick was a serial cheater but despite their rocky marriage, Jerry would later reflect that they actually tried to give their kids a normal life.
She spoke with the Herald Sun in 2013 and talked about what life was like in their household. “I stayed home and cooked dinner and they had to go to bed on time and do their homework and on weekends we had open house and all their friends would come over,” Hall said “I come from a very normal family and Mick does too, so we tried to keep them away from the whole fame thing.”
12 Princess Diana - A Collared Dress
No one rocked maternity looks in the 80’s like Princess Diana. She was the epitome of style, although this maternity gown by famed designer Catherine Walker may look a bit silly now, it was fashion-forward at the time. According to Today, Diana was in the Scilly Isles and pregnant with William when this photo was taken. She never lost her sense of style while she was expecting her two sons and always look impeccable.
Diana was a true inspiration to women everyone on how to do pregnancy with style.
Things didn’t work out between Prince Charles and Diana. The royal couple divorced in 1996 after he left her for Camilla Parker Bowles. Yet, he had given her the gift of motherhood amidst the heartache and it’s widely known that Diana adored being a mother.
According to People, she had a fierce love for William and Harry. “I will fight for my children on any level so they can reach their potential as human beings, and in their public duties.” Diana once said. My guess is that she would be totally proud of the amazing young men her boys grew up to be. I only wish that she were here to see them all grown up.
11 Cindy Lauper - Belly Dancer
Cindy Lauper pretty much looked like she was about to pop when she squeezed into a belly dancer costume for Halloween. The singer was pregnant with her son Dex Lauper when she attended a Halloween party at Howard Kaplan Antiques in New York City. The year was 1997 and Cindy was out to prove that even pregnant girls just want to have fun. How amazing is she? I love the fact that she proudly displayed her belly.
Her pride may have something to do with the fact that she had a hard time conceiving her son. Cindy spoke with the Independent about her fertility issues. “I'd had endometriosis [a condition where bits of womb come loose and re-grow throughout the pelvic region] during my thirties. So I would do an album and go to hospital, then do another album and go to hospital." Cindy said.
After years of trying to get pregnant, she finally visited a fertility doctor in China Town. “He gave me acupuncture. Teas to drink that tasted like dirt. I couldn't even understand what he was saying sometimes.”
No wonder she is glowing in this photograph. You can almost feel her joy jump out at you from the page.
10 Vanessa Williams - Oversized Cardigan
Vanessa Williams was very fashionable when she was photographed during a taping of 'Grammy Family Feud' at CBS TV City in Hollywood, California, United States. She was totally on-trend with 1980’s maternity fashion. According to What To Expect, the look of the decade was jewel tones, looser peasant-like shirts, and over-sized shoulder pads were also popular maternity wear options.
That being said, Vanessa was pregnant with her first daughter Jillian Hervey and this look was all the rage. From the teased out bangs to the over-sized cardigan, her outfit was on point. Williams was blowing up the music scene with her hit song, The Right Stuff and was pretty much a media darling. Maternity looks were loose and baggy at the time. Pregnant women were often seen in billowing shirt dresses so this outfit was a pretty cutting edge at the time. The red tights were a nice touch if you ask me.
Williams went on to give birth to 3 more children, two daughters, and a son. The sexy mama grew into a very sophisticated woman but we’ll always have this photograph documenting her frumpy sweater. Her later pregnancies were spent in glamorous and form-fitting clothes.
9 Glenn Close - Metallic Mama
Another pregnant mom that ruled the Academy Awards was actress, Glenn Close. She was nominated for her role as a mistress that went totally crazy in the chilling film, Fatal Attraction in 1988. She opted for this form-fitting, shimmery maternity gown.
This look is like, totally 80’s, from the shoulder pads to the draping fabric over her baby bump. The funny thing is, this look is back in style.
She lost to Cher that night, who took home the award for her role on Moonstruck. Yet, she had quite the consolation prize when she gave birth to her daughter, Annie, two weeks later. She looked amazing considering she was about to pop. Close has been nominated for an Oscar six times and never managed to win the golden statue.
According to The Express, Glen found out some disturbing news about when she did a re-shoot for the final scene of Fatal Attraction. “She was horrified when she later discovered she was pregnant with her daughter Annie the whole time and relieved that no harm came to the tot." She revealed, "I got concussion. I didn't know I was pregnant at the time. I found out later. It was OK though."
8 Susan Sarandon - Ravishing In Velvet
Actress Susan Sarandon was nominated for an Academy Award in 1992 for her role in the feminist ladies-on the run film, Thelma and Louise. Although she didn’t take the Oscar home that night, she sparkled on the red carpet in this amazing maternity gown. The bedazzled jewels along the trim of the top were quintessential 1990’s style. It was very popular for clothes to feature ornate details.
Sarandon attended the event with her then long-time boyfriend, Tim Robbins. The power couple welcomed their son, Miles, only 5 weeks after this photo was taken. The two have since broken up but they will always remember their glamorous walk down the red carpet together. Their union may not have lasted but the image of a pregnant Sarandon will live on forever.
Looking back on Susan life, the Daily Mail Reported that she'd been told he could never have children and was shocked when she learned that she was pregnant with her first child in 1985. "It was just such a freak [thing] that I got pregnant that I thought I can’t ignore this. And so I jumped. I had to pay attention when it happened, because nobody could understand how it had happened," she said.
7 Kim Basinger - Hipster Frump
Kim Basinger was well known for being a glamorous actress when she was in her prime. So, it’s a bit shocking to see that she wore overalls when she was pregnant with her daughter, Ireland Baldwin. The year was 1995 and she was married to Alec Baldwin at the time. Maternity fashion took a shift in 1990’s to be more bump friendly and even a bit more professional looking since so many women had joined the workforce. So, this look was a bit frumpy.
In the end, Kim and Alec went through a very public and nasty divorce in 2001. Unfortunately, they ended up in a heated custody battle over Ireland. E! News reported on how the divorce affected their daughter. Kim reflected on that difficult time during an interview with The Edit.
"Divorce is hard on a kid, no matter how you cut it," the actress said. "And ours was very public and nasty. So I brought up Ireland in a very unconventional way. I just wanted her to be free. If she wanted to have her friends over and write over the walls with pen, that was fine. I wanted her childhood to be full of love and light and animals and friends."
6 Madonna - Letting It All Hang Out
This amazing throwback pic of a pregnant Madonna proves that the material girl needed a bit more material to cover that baby bump. She was expecting her son Rocco in 1999 and stepped out in a cropped top with a British flag printed on it. Madonna was 41-years-old at the time and she looks comfy in a pair of cargo pants and proves that despite her celebrity status, she is just like every other pregnant woman. We all reach that stage where we just go limp and let it all hang out.
She married Guy Richie in the year 2000, after Rocco was born. The two divorced eight years later and ended up embroiled in a very public custody dispute of their son. She has also adopted four children from Malawi and is a mom to her first daughter, Lourdes.
According to E!News, Madonna spoke with Oprah about motherhood after she gave birth to Lourdes. “When I look into my daughter's eyes right now, I feel that I'm being healed," Madonna said. "Because I didn't have a mother that I could grow up looking into the eyes of, I couldn't recognize myself in [my mom], I couldn't see myself in her.”
5 Kris Jenner - Classic In Black
Let’s take a walk down memory lane, to a time when Bruce Jenner was still a man and Kris Jenner was pregnant with Kylie. The couple was arriving at an event in Los Angeles in 1997. Kris looks more natural in this photograph than she does now. The mom of six has had many cosmetic procedures done, so it’s lovely to see her looking so fresh-faced.
The power duo looks so happy in this pic that it’s hard to believe that they would go through a nasty divorce on the reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Kris is wearing a nondescript maternity shirt that she wouldn’t be caught dead in now. Yet, these two were super hip in the late 1990’s. Her jewelry is surprisingly simple, considering how she is often dripping with diamonds these days.
Kris is now a grandma and according to Bustle, she gave advice to new mom, Kylie Jenner. "And when you’re young — I had my kids really young. I was 22 years old when I got — it’s overwhelming when you’re that young, so things go by so fast and moments slip by," she adds, in reference to Kylie. "So enjoy it, because all of a sudden, they’re 30."
4 Demi Moore - Cover Controversy
This pic of a very pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair Magazine was everything when it hit the newsstands. She posed nude on the August 1991 and she was seven months pregnant with her oldest daughter, Scout. She bore it all for photographer, Annie Leibovitz. With her everything on display and her hand strategically placed to cover her breasts, Moore’s pregnant belly became a work of art.
The image instantly became a symbol of female empowerment and many women felt that it was a brave statement.
Moore paved the way for other women to let it all hang out. Many expectant celebrity moms have tried to recreate this photo, from Britney Spears to Brooke Shields. Yet, this snap was considered super racy and groundbreaking at the time. Many people were offended by the image.
Demi spoke with Robert Ebert about how she felt about the controversy. “I was stunned at some of the negative responses. That people found it pornographic, or they thought it wasn’t family-oriented. I think it’s so interesting that they’ll have other nudie type magazines out there, but the fact that I was pregnant would all of a sudden be something that isn’t family.”
3 Sarah Jessica Parker - A Carrie Bradshaw Moment
Sarah Jessica Parker totally looked the part when she wore a baby doll maternity dress to the Sex In The City’s season 5 premiere. At the time, she was pregnant with her son James in 2002 and looked totally flawless in an empire waist cocktail dress. The hit television show featured high fashion designs and Sarah Jessica was a prominent trendsetter in the early 2000’s.
Fans watched her pregnancy fashion choices and were inspired to slip into ultra slimming empire waist dresses. It’s a classic look that stands the test of time. Her and husband Matthew Broderick later a set of twin daughters via surrogate.
Hello Magazine spoke with Sarah Jessica and she admitted that she would give anything to relive the moment she gave birth. "If I could revisit one moment in my life, it would be the birth of my children, definitely," she told The Edit magazine. "I only got to give birth once. James is like, why do you always want to talk about that? I'm like, because it's the greatest!”
She went on to say that she felt like everything else fell away and “It's just you and, in my case, my husband, and this child, and it's absolute euphoria."
2 Jada Pinkett Smith - New Millennium Mama
Jada Pickett Smith blond buzz cut is amazing in this photograph from the 1998 Billboard Awards. Jada was there to support her husband, Will Smith, who won for best supporting actor for his role in Men In Black. She flaunted her baby bump during her first pregnancy and gave birth to their son, Jadon in July of that year.
At the time that this snap was taken, their matching metallic outfits were totally in style. It’s sort of got The duo were in the prime of their careers and just starting out their life together. They later welcomed their daughter Willow. The Smiths are the epitome of a cool Hollywood family. It’s pretty fun to look back and see them looking so youthful and excited about their future together. The power duo is still going strong almost 20 years later.
The Huffington Post covered some things that Jada had to say about motherhood on the Blu-ray digital release of the movie, “Bad Moms”. “There’s many different ways to mother, there’s no one cookie-cutout way to be a mother,” said Pinkett Smith. “So, I think, as a mother and as a woman, trying to support other women in how they see it’s best to mother their children is very important.”
1 Victoria Beckham - Looking Posh
Former Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham was nicknamed Posh Spice for nothin’. She always manages to look flawless and this pic from when she was pregnant with her son Brooklyn in 1998 is such a sign of the times. From the slick hair to the form-fitting tube dress, this look is 90’s.
She somehow manages to look amazing, especially when she’s pregnant.
According to Hello Magazine, the mom of four spoke to members of the public in New York via an iPad carried by Vanity Fair's Derek Blasberg. The video was uploaded to the site this week and starts with Victoria agreeing to do the segment with Derek if members of the public pay $2 for a piece of advice. All proceeds were donated to UNAIDs, of which Victoria is a Goodwill Ambassador.
An expectant woman approached her with a question. "I'm pregnant, six months. I don't know what to wear!" said the woman. "You know what I did?" replied Victoria. "I took my jeans, and I cut little V's and I put elastic in the side." She sweetly added: "You look very chic, you don't need advice! You don't need advice."
References: Independent.co.uk, Whattoexpect.com, Pursuitist.com, Rareaudreyhepburn.com, Countryliving.com, People.com, News.google.com, Express.co.uk, .Dailymail.co.uk, Eonline.com, Bustle.com, Hellomagazine.com, Heraldsun.com, Today.com, Hellomagazine.com, Huffingtonpost.com