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Thursday, August 16, 2012

wearing clothes while pregnant

It's the night before our 20 week ultrasound, and because I need a distraction from my natural tendency toward worry and pessimism, here's some thoughts about wearing clothes while pregnant.

I used to think that wearing maternity clothes would be this cool rite of passage thing, but as soon as I started to need them and look around on websites at maternity clothes, I realized that it wasn't going to be as fun as I'd imagined. It seems like popular clothing brands water down style and upcharge a lot when it comes to maternity clothes, and their maternity departments are really small so there's not a lot of options.

For instance, Gap Maternity is still trying to sell me this skirt; the acid washed split denim number from 2002.
Not only that, where are these mysterious maternity clothes that are advertised online? They're not in the stores. Only a small number of brands actually have maternity sections in-store,  you usually have to order online to get the clothes, which is far less than ideal when your body is changing sizes in different places. I hate ordering clothes online and then sending them back when they don't work.

I got discouraged at first and imagined myself having to adopt a very matronly uniform for this next season of life. What do women do when they need an entire replacement wardrobe for the 5 months that they can't wear their old clothes? Clothes can be so expensive, and the thought of spending hundreds on a temporary fix that I didn't even really like...I didn't like.

 Then I found a very unlikely ally in my search to wear clothes while pregnant and still feel like my old self: Forever 21.

I normally hate shopping there because the stores are so chaotic, the clothes so temporary, and everything is so full of Lycra. But, as it turns out, temporary, cheap stretchy clothes are kind of essential to dressing a pregnant body. I scored big and I learned a few things.

First: I needed camis. This right here is a cami that costs two dollars and eighty cents.

All I needed was a larger size than usual to give me some room to grow. I purchased seven of these in the happy colors below and I've worn them practically every day this summer. In the fall and winter I'll layer them and add a cardigan and scarf. 

Second; I learned that anything that gives my belly the freedom to expand counts as maternity friendly. This stretchy striped dress was around $8 and I can add leggings to it in the fall.
I needed a new black dress to wear to shoot weddings and I didn't know how I was going to get around the typical defined waistline that most dresses have.  My third lesson was that any dress with a removable belt lets me pick my own waist definition spot. I got this dress for around $22 in a larger size and I just move the belt up over the belly, closer to my ribs and it looks darling. It even hides the bump a lot right now, which I like for work situations because it takes the focus off of me being pregnant.
And then I applied the same principle for casual dresses. Plenty of room for the bump in these loose-fitting numbers and the belt lets me choose where to show a waistline.

I also picked up some leggings for $5 each so I can adapt these looks to colder weather. I think I spent around $80 to get all this stuff, plus a cardigan. I feel so much better now that I can wear clothes that I actually like!

I did have to make the fateful trip to Motherhood Maternity to get some maternity jeans. There's just no other way around the jeans issue (besides the hair tie looped through the button hole trick, which I've taken to the limit). I don't love them, but they work. Also; bras. I got a gentle scolding from my midwife for wearing underwire ("your body needs to be free to change and expand!") so I've switched to sports bras for now because underwire bras are my former favorite and that's all I have.

Anyone else have any tips for me?? I haven't reached the 3rd trimester yet and I have a feeling that's going to be a whole new world of dressing girth. Eep!


  1. I just really feel like we need to be friends in real life.


    Maternity clothes suck.

    I have no better words or tips or ideas.

    They just suck. And I'm learning that nursing tanks suck too.

    God speed my friend. God speed.

    p.s. i lived in target v neck t's in larger sizes & gap skinny maternity jeans. that was probably the most comfy i could get. h&m has some cute/cheap maternity stuff too- but the only one i know of is the one on michigan ave.

  2. I have a new discovery!! has the best maternity skinny jeans (and some good shirts, too)...
    Here's a link:
    I found an online coupon which saved me 25% so they really weren't that expensive and they fit SO much better than any other maternity skinny jeans I've found (at Target or Gap). I feel like a human being again! I hope that helps. :)