Pregnancy is by default associated with female sexuality — so up until the early 20th century, pregnant mothers masked their growing bumps. Maternity style has always been a thing, but it’s fair to say we have more options now than we ever have in the past.
Check out how maternity fashion has evolved since the turn of the 20th century.
Those in the upper classes even disappeared from public view entirely in a period of “confinement.” The circa-1880 typical maternity dress pictured above was remodeled from a wedding dress, with a bodice that closed tightly above the waist and a wide ruffled skirt.
Corsets were worn by all females up to the early 1900s, first made with whalebone and later elastic, to hold in unwanted girth. Girls as young as seven years old were laced up, and even pregnant ladies sported “maternity corsets” to contain their expanding waistlines.
By the 1920s maternity corsets were replaced by girdles that confined the hips more than the waist.
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