This one's for the mums

Updated: Mar 25

It’s a gift she'll want and need.

Still along the lines of Christmas and gift-giving, I present to you a few ideas for your friends and loved ones who are expecting. 😊

Actually, they’re Lisa Chong’s, the founder of Stillen Maternity. 😁 She’s the best person to ask about maternity wear, especially stylish maternity wear (and especially since I’m not a mum).

Lisa Chong, Stillen Maternity
Lisa knows what you're going through

“Style is a very personal thing, but we often find ourselves going back to basics when we are overwhelmed with choices,” observes the banker and mum of two.

“Stylish maternity wear to me now is all about versatility through the maternity phases, and simplicity. I like one or two standouts in terms of the design or fabric.

“Being stylish during pregnancy may not be at the top of new mums’ minds, but yet it brings such a lift to our moods when we dress up.”

About Stillen Maternity

Based in Singapore, Stillen Maternity is a brand of casual and work wear for pregnant and nursing mums. Made up of long-lasting classic and versatile pieces, Stillen Maternity’s collections are designed to provide comfort and effortless style during and after pregnancy, so that mums can go from home to work to a day out easily.

They create their clothes in limited quantities and with quality materials that transcend seasons, so that customers can adopt a more sustainable and slow-fashion approach. They are also the result of Lisa’s experiences from her pregnancy and nursing while at work.

Stillen Maternity
The Blackett, a collared shirt dress

Here, she shares the lessons she’s learnt from running Stillen Maternity, launching her collections, and wearing and testing out maternity wear.

“Maternity wear is a niche market, and this can both work for and against us,” Lisa states. “While that makes for a clear and targeted market segment, our customers tend to not be repeat customers since they usually buy during pregnancy or post-delivery. So it can be difficult to find out what works or what doesn’t work for customers.

“We do see that there is an uptake on mums being more open with wearing maternity apparel even after they have stopped breastfeeding, with the designs being more in sync with non-maternity wear and nursing access remains discreetly out of sight,” she adds.

“But with the vast range of fashion choices out there and consumers being more accustomed to fast fashion, which is wallet-friendly, it can feel daunting sometimes to continue a business for passion.”

Especially with everything that has happened this year. 😔 “When COVID hit, we were affected just like many other fashion and F&B businesses out there,” she admits.

“Thankfully, due to the e-commerce model, it helped keep overheads low. But with our collection focus being on work wear, and most of the workforce now being mandated to work from home, the need for work wear dropped to an all-time low. We had to think quickly on how to pivot the business.”

But not to worry, mums. “My vision remains in serving the new mums community and helping them make the transition to motherhood and breastfeeding as smooth as possible,” Lisa emphasises.

“Hence we decided to bring in complementary products like lactation smoothies and nipple shields to make Stillen Maternity a one-stop shop for busy breastfeeding mums.”

Closet favourites

Like Lisa said, it’s hard when you have so many fashion choices. But she can help you narrow things down with her recommendations.

“I personally really like Nadiya, even though it is a long-sleeved piece. It’s a piece with simple lines, and it’s great for dressing up and down simply with a change of shoes. It even has two types of nursing access! ⬇

“Scarlett is my next favourite, as it hides the tummy well and is a very versatile piece for different types of occasions.” ⬇

Either would be a good start. But Lisa has more tips on what to give the pregnant and nursing mums on our gift list. 👏

#1 Be practical

“I am all for practicality, so when buying maternity wear as a gift, I would say get a gift card if possible, so the person buying can decide for themselves what they really want or need.”

#2 Go with a maternity dress

“Buying a maternity dress is definitely a better option, as you will have less measurement points to contend with. Mummies do tend to like dresses better mostly, as their bellies grow bigger and the underbelly tends to get sensitive to waistbands sitting beneath,” Lisa explains.

#3 Pick dual-function maternity wear

“Mums will get more mileage out of the dual-function pieces, as they can wear them during pregnancy and the breastfeeding stages.”

#4 Basics win

“Basics like nursing tops and leggings always make good gifts! It’s practically a uniform for many mums, especially in the WFH (work from home) season.”

#5 Test it out

“Test for stretch if you are buying at a physical store, or look for Spandex in the fabric content,” Lisa advises. “These fabrics make for better comfort for the mum.

“Also test for sheerness while you are at it, as garments that go sheer when stretched are not ideal and may cause ripping more easily,” she continues. “It may seem counterintuitive to buy something thicker in Singapore’s weather, but it will help the clothing last a little longer especially when it is constantly being stretched.”

Exciting extras

Speaking of fabrics, we might even be presented with a better gift selection in the near future as Lisa develops Stillen Maternity further.

“We have seen innovations in the area of adaptive fabrics and seamless technology,” she says.

“A mum who is going through pregnancy tends to feel hot, so fabrics that can adapt to her body temperature would be a great bonus. Seamless technology has also been applied to the manufacturing of nursing undergarments. These undergarments are popular as they prevent VPL (visible panty lines), which is helpful for modern mums embracing a more body-hugging silhouette in their choice of maternity wear.

“We hope to be able to adopt some of these technologies in our clothes or designs someday as the technology becomes common,” she concludes.

It works

So what’s the best customer feedback Lisa has ever received?

“That Stillen Maternity started two kids late for her! She was on her third,” Lisa relates.

Which of their pieces do you think you’ll choose – and your recipient will love? 😊

For more on Stillen Maternity, check out their site, Facebook and Instagram.

Stillen Maternity
How about the Bianca, a two-way pleated skirt dress? 😊