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How Carrie Symonds will master the art of Downing Street maternity style

Carrie Symonds has already shown subtle messages with her fashion choices, but how will she tackle maternity dressing in the public eye?

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Carrie Symonds wearing an M&S coat after Boris Johnson's landslide election win
Carrie Symonds wearing an M&S coat after Boris Johnson's landslide election win Credit: Reuters

‘Quite a challenge’ was how Samantha Cameron described the task of finding a dress to wear when she accompanied her husband to Downing Street when he became Prime Minister. It would be an unenviable style dilemma at the best of times, knowing that your photograph would be on the front page of newspapers everywhere the following day, but add a five-month bump into the equation and that ‘quite’ feels like rather an understatement. So Cameron - who has been refreshingly honest2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app about the pressure she felt to look the part, but was also happy to relish her influence to support British fashion - will surely have some words of advice for Carrie Symonds now that her own pregnancy has been announced. 

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appBoris and Carrie’s baby will be the third to be born in Downing Street this century, after Leo Blair in May 2000 and Florence Cameron in August 2010 (is this becoming a once a decade occurence?) and, thankfully, maternity style has come on leaps and bounds during that time. 

Cherie Blair was never exactly known as a style muse but with maternity dressing at least, she was probably as much a victim of her time as her taste. While this was a post Demi Moore naked with an eight month bump on the cover of Vanity Fair era, there weren’t many options other than flaunt or conceal extremes. She chose the latter, mostly dressing in monochrome maxi dresses, long jackets, loose shirts and trousers. Her boldest maternity look was a head-to-toe red (down to the pointy boots) ensemble for the British Fashion Awards. 

Cherie Blair at the Fashion Awards in 2000 Credit: Getty

By the time, Samantha Cameron found herself on the election trail pregnant with her fourth child ten years later, being pregnant no longer meant sacrificing your personal style, even if there wasn’t always a huge variety of great maternity wear on offer. If she was with her husband for a more relaxed engagement or going to her job at accessories label Smythson, Cameron was seen in the studied yummy mummy uniform of the time - biker jackets, bump-hugging dresses, maternity jeans and trainers.

Samantha Cameron wearing Emilia Wickstead to enter Downing Street and to meet Carla Bruni, and In a more casual maternity style moment Credit: Getty

She elevated her approach for big political moments, though. ‘We went straight to designers and had pieces made bespoke,’ says Isabel Spearman, who joined as Cameron’s special adviser in January 2010, when her pregnancy was not yet public knowledge. They commissioned the then up-and-coming designer Emilia Wickstead to create several special pieces for Cameron, included the Tory Blue dress she wore to enter Number 10 and the black and white dress for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his former supermodel wife Carla Bruni’s UK visit. ‘Of all the wives to get... Carla Bruni was gorgeous,’ Spearman remembers. That Cameron more than held her own in Wickstead’s creation is perhaps why the designer is now a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge. 

Carrie Symonds wearing a bespoke dress by Eponine London as she arrived to visit the Queen at Balmoral Credit: Newsline Media

‘You never feel your best when you’re pregnant, so it made going into number ten as the wife of the PM, on the international stage that much more stressful, there’s added pressure to get it right and feel good,’ adds Spearman. 

As for Symonds, she’s pregnant at a moment when many women are even eschewing the idea of buying clothes specifically made as maternity-wear. ‘I advise women to buy a size up and then they can wear it again after,’ says Spearman, who is now a brand consultant and Telegraph columnist. ‘Carrie’s already shown that she loves long and loose dresses and is conscious about being sustainable in her choices.’ 

Carrie Symonds wearing a floral dress by sustainable designer Justine Tabak Credit: PA

With the state visit of the new Emperor and Empress of Japan this spring, Symonds already has big sartorial moments to consider. She has already used rental services like MyWardrobeHQ, so she may chose to find something suitable to hire, which would be a brilliant statement of her ethical approach. For true peace of mind, though, a few bespoke pieces would be her best bet. Having offered subtle messaging through her fashion choices before - like her ‘everywoman’ M&S coat on the night of the Conservative election victory - we can be sure that Carrie will have something to say with her maternity wardrobe.

How Carrie Symonds will master the art of Downing Street maternity style