1. Lavishly embroidered linen jackets were incredibly fashionable in England from just after 1600 until the mid-1620s.
This jacket’s loose fit and simple tie front suggest that it was worn during pregnancy.

    Lavishly embroidered linen jackets were incredibly fashionable in England from just after 1600 until the mid-1620s.

    This jacket’s loose fit and simple tie front suggest that it was worn during pregnancy.

  2. This 1596 Marcus Gheeraerts II portrait of Barbara Sidney, Countess of Leicester and her children is another example of how the wheeled farthingale was worn above the waistline to accommodate pregnancy. Compare Barbara’s waistline to the fashionably pointed ones of her daughters.

    This 1596 Marcus Gheeraerts II portrait of Barbara Sidney, Countess of Leicester and her children is another example of how the wheeled farthingale was worn above the waistline to accommodate pregnancy. Compare Barbara’s waistline to the fashionably pointed ones of her daughters.

  3. Portraits of the time show that the huge wheel farthingales of the late 16th and early 17th century appear to have been a useful tool for disguising/accommodating pregnancy when worn above the waistline.
This portrait of Anne, Lady Pope and her children was painted by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger in 1596.

    Portraits of the time show that the huge wheel farthingales of the late 16th and early 17th century appear to have been a useful tool for disguising/accommodating pregnancy when worn above the waistline.

    This portrait of Anne, Lady Pope and her children was painted by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger in 1596.

  4. This gorgeous circa 1595 portrait of an unknown (but obviously wealthy) pregnant woman, which is most commonly attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts II, is without a doubt the most famous portrait of a pregnant woman ever painted. It is also one of the most beautiful and intriguing portraits I’ve ever seen.

    This gorgeous circa 1595 portrait of an unknown (but obviously wealthy) pregnant woman, which is most commonly attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts II, is without a doubt the most famous portrait of a pregnant woman ever painted. It is also one of the most beautiful and intriguing portraits I’ve ever seen.

  5. The very pregnant woman in this portrait by William Segar (painted between 1585 and 1590) has belted her largely gaping gown on.

    The very pregnant woman in this portrait by William Segar (painted between 1585 and 1590) has belted her largely gaping gown on.

  6. The unknown pregnant woman in this 1578 portrait (possibly by George Gower) has added a stomacher to fill the gap caused by her baby bump.

    The unknown pregnant woman in this 1578 portrait (possibly by George Gower) has added a stomacher to fill the gap caused by her baby bump.

  7. A simple tie closure has been added to accommodate for the figure of the pregnant woman (thought to be  Catherine Carey, Lady Knollys) in this 1562 portrait by Steven van der Meulen.

    A simple tie closure has been added to accommodate for the figure of the pregnant woman (thought to be Catherine Carey, Lady Knollys) in this 1562 portrait by Steven van der Meulen.

  8. This sketch of Cecily Heron, youngest daughter of Sir Thomas More, was drawn by Hans Holbein the Younger in 1526 or 1527.
Cecily has had simple ties added to her bodice to accommodate for her pregnant figure.

    This sketch of Cecily Heron, youngest daughter of Sir Thomas More, was drawn by Hans Holbein the Younger in 1526 or 1527.

    Cecily has had simple ties added to her bodice to accommodate for her pregnant figure.

  9. Raphael’s La Donna Gravida (The Pregnant Woman) was painted between 1505 and 1506.
The woman in the portrait is wearing a very period-typical gown covered by a white apron. The bodices of early Renaissance era gowns were often laced together at the seams. When a woman was pregnant the laces could be loosened to provide extra room, but resulted in unsightly gaps between seams as seen in the previous painting I posted. Aprons were so commonly used to cover lacing gaps during pregnancy that they remained closely associated with maternity fashion well into the 18th century.

    Raphael’s La Donna Gravida (The Pregnant Woman) was painted between 1505 and 1506.

    The woman in the portrait is wearing a very period-typical gown covered by a white apron. The bodices of early Renaissance era gowns were often laced together at the seams. When a woman was pregnant the laces could be loosened to provide extra room, but resulted in unsightly gaps between seams as seen in the previous painting I posted. Aprons were so commonly used to cover lacing gaps during pregnancy that they remained closely associated with maternity fashion well into the 18th century.

  10. An Italian Renaissance fancy dress costume from the July 1922 Gazette du Bon Ton. I love how the designer incorporated the exaggerated drop-waist of the early 1920s to give the costume a modern flapper twist.

    An Italian Renaissance fancy dress costume from the July 1922 Gazette du Bon Ton. I love how the designer incorporated the exaggerated drop-waist of the early 1920s to give the costume a modern flapper twist.