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Stretch, as Intended by Kristen Kiong

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Stretch, as Intended by Kristen Kiong
When As Intended first launched back in January 2020, I was 7-months pregnant and ogling at the pieces I hoped to get once I got my old body back. Sabrina told me “They can really stretch! You should try!” but feeling all-rounded, I declined (partly in disbelief that it was going to fit a 7-month bump). I did pick up -ai. pieces postpartum, and grew myself a fairly big collection As (I had) Intended to. They served their purpose well for looking great while chasing after a toddler.
Fast forward just over 2 years later, I am expecting again and decided to put the four-way stretch of my collection to the test.
I had a criteria to meet because I did not like for clothes to go to waste: I’m typically a UK10 and I won't allow myself to size up.
While Sabrina started a fashion line with the intention of promoting an active and working lifestyle. It seems she also grew one that would see us through various stages of life - pregnancy, motherhood and beyond.
As of 29 April 2022, I am 28 weeks pregnant and my belly measures a good 94.5cm in circumference - here are my picks.

 

Flattering and Formal
 
Both the Aeda and Quad have a classic square neckline and a classic cut. The only difference is that the Quad has a little more support for the belly as the fabric has slight compression. Some may find it tighter, but I personally like how it feels like it keeps me in shape.
  
There are dressier options like Celo, which features intricate Peranakan-inspired laser cut motifs. The other two I love are Elle and Mera. While Celo could be more versatile for a less formal occasion, all three dresses would make the cut for a wedding dinner out for me (especially now that the country is opening up!).
The only issue with these five designs that I’ve just showcased is that they aren’t really nursing-friendly so you may have to store them away for the while you’re breastfeeding.
The Dress-Downs
 
From the start, I loved the Tish for how flattering it was at the leg hem. Unev also has the option to adjust the hems. Both give an interesting edge to the dresses, and if you’re more petite and worried about something looking frumpy, these would be your go-tos.
Again these aren’t nursing friendly, but moving on, I’ll present the rest that I think are. 
The Nursing-Friendly Options
  
The Flow and Peon have obvious wrap necklines and are absolutely perfect for nursing. They also offer upper arm coverage for those who are concerned that they may have put on weight there. While the Lumi isn't a wrap dress, it is a deep V neck which can be easily pulled lower for better access to the breast. 
As a side note, I sized up to UK12 for the Lumi simply because I preferred a more flowy fit. 
The Two-Piece
      
Ah this was the most fun for me - because of the mixing and matching. And any seasoned mum would be able to tell you that cropped tops work perfectly for nursing, especially when paired with high-waisted bottoms.
Also mum-tum tip: high-waists work wonders in hiding all the bumps. During maternity I wear them high above the bump, just below the bust.
So here we have the Saro Skirt in Sand matched with 6 different tops. First, let me say that the folds which served to hide the tummy expanded into a perfect wrap around the belly. 
Just mixing them with the other tops gave it a different character each time - from something a little more corporate (Reve in Sand), to casual (Both Envas and Esen in Night Blue), and even a little more dressy and feminine (Olis in Oxblood and Flor in Pink). 
   
There is also the Soph skirt - it’s slightly less stretchy than the Saro skirt, but it still fits me now at 28 weeks and I can breathe. I paired Soph with the Flor top, as well as with both Enva tops, which you may have realised by now, can be worn back to front as well depending on your body structure. I personally like how the V-neck and inverted V-hem lines the bump (though that’s it being worn backwards). 
 
For the Lotte Pant, you can either mix and match, or get it as a set with the Esen Top. The set looks like a jumpsuit without the pain of having to remove everything before you pee (especially with the overactive bladder).
I had an honest confession to Sabrina - that I wasn’t particularly interested in this set, until I realized how stretchy and comfy this set was, even as swollen feet set in. The belly band stretches comfortably around my bump (only in Night Blue and Shadow) and there was still room for it to grow!
The ones that didn’t work for me
Now for the candid part - there are some of my favorite pieces that didn’t work for me, and we won’t hide it from you.
The Twis fit wasn’t too bad, but I thought it looked a little like I tried to modify an oversized t-shirt around my growing belly. So even though I love this on a non-pregnant body, this was a no for me.
For these, the Arch skorts didn’t quite sit nicely on the bump. When they were worn below, they seemed unnaturally long. The Edge top didn’t flare nicely around the bump either, and I felt like Jane in Tarzan and Jane. That being said, postpartum, the Edge top would make a perfect nursing top and would hide the mum-tum with its flare.
“I feel like a pufferfish." in the Dash Dress. Nuff Said.
In conclusion, As Intended definitely passes the stretch and recovery test, and they help me look amazing and feel comfortable as well. I'm happy knowing that I can wear the clothes I wore pre-pregnancy all through till third trimester, and I already know the options I will have post-pregnancy while breast-feeding my second child while chasing after Beth my first.
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Editor's Note:
This mother's day we were absolutely delighted to have Kristen test-run our clothes for her second pregnancy! At As Intended, we designed our clothes for movement and comfort as well as coping with bodily changes from working out for the active career woman. What we did not expect was how well we would do through different life stages of the woman as well!
When we noticed how well Kristen still wore -ai. through her pregnancy, we asked her if she could test-run all of our clothes, and she agreed! We were blown away by how the stretchiness and recovery of the fabric allowed for our clothes to adapt with Kristen's changing body through the different stages of her pregnancy right up to 28 weeks. So we are now proud to say that we are maternity-approved!
Here's the honest scoop from Kristen who wore her usual sizing of UK 10 before pregnancy, and UK 10 through her pregnancy. Our favourite takeaways were that our four-way stretch stretches and recovers like a dream, there are endless possibilities with the mix-and-match options. And if you think about it, wearing -ai. will contributing to less waste - clothes you buy pre-pregnancy will serve you up till post-pregnancy.

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