As i scoured through boutiques and high street shops, one thing that pops up in almost all of them is the smock. Formerly the garb of artists---the baggy white tunic they wear to protect their garments---the smock has since been shortened and pretti-fied, such that now, it is mainly worn as a top, though there are smock dresses, and (almost) no one would use it for dirt protection purposes.
There are a few characteristics of the modern smock: 1. It tends to have a squarish or wide scoopnake collar. 2. It tends to be voluminous, thereby allowing pregnant women to be au courant while expecting. 3. It mostly comes in white or pastel colours (a throwback to the original smock). 4. Unlike the artist smock, it usuaully has short sleeves. 5. It is often made with cotton in materials such as broderie anglaise, although there is now a surge in alternative renditions in other colours and materials. All the better for us i say :)
By Paul and Joe Sister, the diffusion line of Paul and Joe, designed by Ms Sophie Albou who is also known as, at least to me, Ms Smock herself. I call her such as she tends to feature the smock, especially in broderie anglaise, in each of her collections while other designers usually save it for spring or ignore it altogether. As such, her smocks are often the yardstick in which other brands measure up to.
From C and C California. Perfect for spring's romantic look. They are FINALLY branching out to something more interesting that plain tees in different cuts.
From Miss Selfridge. I like the big buttons---they add a cute twist.
From River Island. The bell sleeves make this piece stand out---most smocks are usually short sleeved. River Island has a very comprehensive smock collection in white this season, but i couldn't find pictures of their other white smocks online.
One of my favourites! From Adam+Eve. I simply love the rich dark blue colour and the gold accents.
If wearing your smock hung loose over your pants/skirt is too casual for the office, follow Ms Albou's direction (below left; from Paul and Joe) and tuck it into a pair of high-waist pants or skirt (high-waists being another key trend of spring 2007)
This high waist skirt is from Topshop and its conservative shape and length should suffice to balance out the casualness of the smock top.
For dress lovers, don't worry about missing out, smock dresses are also popular this season, as Ms Albou again demonstrates with her Paul and Joe Sister line.
Fed up of white? River Island has a black alternative:
Don't like 'em plain? Try them in prints!
This is from Rebecca Taylor and would look stylish on expecting mums and non-pregnant women alike.
Don't like Rebecca Taylor's prices? There are high street options as well.
This is from Mango and...
this is from Miss Selfridge.
Still unsatisfied? Make your own.
Photographs from: www.missselfridge.co.uk, www.topshop.com, www.paulandjoe.com, www.mango.com, www.elle.com, www.stylefinder.com, www.riverisland.com, www.activeendeavors.com