Don’t worry – I’ll never go all fashion blogger on you all. (I once tweeted, “In the tune of AC/DC: For those who can wear jeans to work, we salute you.” I think that settles how much I lack true fashion sense.) But I’m eight months pregnant and am still shocked at how few real takes there are on maternity clothes.
So I thought I would use my little corner of the net to take a break from what I usually blog about and give guidance to others in my shoes in the future. (And to the guys who read my blog: keep it in mind for your significant others down the line.)
I will warn you: buying maternity clothes is pricey. Very few retailers still sell them in stores, and those who do often exempt them from sales (I’m looking judgmentally at you, Macy’s.) So you may be stuck buying them online, where shipping is either very slow but cheap, or speedy but expensive.
You may try out Target’s offerings to save money. However, if you are under five-foot-three (like five-foot-one me,) you will find very little. Their dresses are made for basketball centers and their pants go at least a foot beyond my actual foot. Their t-shirts are okay, but a little too v-necked and thin to wear in an office environment. I was not impressed. Old Navy’s offerings are also tailored towards those of the population who don’t need stepstools, so I haven’t been able to try too much from them.
Zulily was a big help for me early on, but their shipping times vary greatly, making it impractical once you reach your third trimester. They have so many things I would like to buy offered at a reasonable price, but at this point, waiting 14 days for delivery means I might wear the item just once before I have my child in May. But for basics at the beginning, I recommend them. (It is a site that you have to sign up for, and if you are interested, feel free to use my invite link. I get credit if you make a purchase.)
The place I wish I had shopped more is Pink Blush. Though some of their items are a tad too casual for my use, plenty of them are beautifully made and able to be dressed up or down. Their crochet arm shirt is something I want one of in every color. I bought it in mint green, and currently it is my favorite place of clothing. I have one dress from them, and it is so soft and looks amazing. On the whole, maternity clothes can make you feel sub-par, but Pink Blush’s make you feel like you might just know what you’re doing. They are worth the somewhat more expensive price. (And if you are early on, you can order some of their clearance items on Zulily, but you will just have double or triple the shipping time.)
The mall maternity stores, Motherhood Maternity, Destination Maternity and A Pea in the Pod, have the same parent company and have similar pieces at different price points. It can be a frustrating realization. They are another good spot for basics, including their online-only elbow sleeve ruched dresses in a variety of colors and prints that are simple and wearable forever. I own this one – I should have bought three. (I might still. Their shipping is quick.) But overall as a brand, they seem not to have escaped the frump factor yet, and too much of their stuff has ill-fitting empire waists.
It’s important to note that what works for one person may not work for others. I have one friend who swore by a Motherhood Maternity outlet store she found, while another (also short like me) friend had a lot of success at Old Navy thanks to hemming and working in a more casual workplace. Sadly, a lot of maternity clothes offerings ignore those of us who have to work in a business environment, and focus on much more casual offerings. With workplaces becoming more and more casual, I don’t know if this will change.
Another note: screw the suggestions that “your maternity size is your normal size” that these stores will give you. For some of us, it’s not true. In some brands, my maternity size is smaller than my normal size because of my height and proportions. Look at each store’s size charts, try on what you can, and make the judgement call for yourself.
And when you get frustrated around seven months that you look dowdy and awful, just remember that a pre-pregnancy blazer and jewelry can go a long way towards making you feel better.