If you had a friend who is newly pregnant with her first baby, what advice would you give her about buying maternity clothing? I always tried to keep it simple when I was pregnant. I borrowed maternity clothes from friends and spent money only on things I felt would really make me feel more comfortable or special occasion clothes. Other than that I wore stretchy skirts and my husband's sweat pants and tshirts. But I was a stay at home mom for nearly all of my pregnancies. What do you advise a friend who is a career woman? Are there maternity clothes out there that are good quality but affordable and stylish and appropriate for the office? A mix of casual and professional and formal would be great. If you have sources and companies to suggest, please do. Thanks for sharing!
Maternity clothes - what do you buy?
Once Upon A Time (secondhand store). It's great for pregnancy and baby stuff. Why pay full price for something you'll wear temporarily or something the baby will only use/wear a few times?? (We bought 2 still-in-package, unopened Bjorns for $25 each, plus onesies for $1 to $4.50!)
Motherhood/motherhood.com, Target, etc. Unfortunately, I wasn't working during my pregnancy, so I can't help much.
I bought 2 black stretchy pants and a few tank tops and nice shirts. I had my baby in October, when it was STILL 90+degree desert heat and our AC would constantly cut out (Hate this 1920's house sometimes).
Well, I can only speak from the SAHM perspective, though I agree that if you can find stuff second hand, do so. Goodwill, thrift stores, once upon a child.
I was working with my first pregnancy, but it was a laid back work environment. I wore mat. jeans and decent looking shirts, but nothing fancy.
From the SAHM perspective, it depends what time of year, but for Texas winter, I think 4 t-shirts would be a minimum, I have 3 long sleeve shirts, but they get minimal use because TX is only a little chilly sometimes and of course I'm in the house a lot. I got a sweater that works for maternity even if it's not and a black mat. hoodie. Then I got 3 pairs of yoga capris and 1 pair of mat. yoga pants. The yoga capris are from old navy. I expect I should be able to wear them throughout my pregnancy. I wore 2 pair of yoga pants from old navy with my daughter through the entire pregnancy and they were the most comfortable thing that I had. Otherwise, full panel mat. jeans/pants are the most comfortable in my experience because they don't fall down as much. I had duo maternity brand jeans in my last pregnancy from JC penney and they were nice quality. I'm not sure if I'll be buying any jeans this time. But, if you must.
Motherhood is having a sale right now. BOGO on T-shirts, tanks, long sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, and jeans. As well as some sale and clearance items. I was just there yesterday. Pretty decent selection. I would not recommend buying online. I found 2 same size tanks wouldn't always fit the same. Very strange. Oh if you do feel compelled to order online, order a size smaller than you would think. I thought I would need large "size 12-14 pre-pregnancy" and large fit HUGE on me. I was more of an 8-10 pre-preg, but I have gained a lot already so, I was compensating for that. I am smaller chested, so that can make a difference too, but I really do believe there stuff runs on the larger side. Duo maternity shirts I had to wear a large when I was similarly sized. Anyway, it stinks because they don't sell a lot of maternity clothes in stores anymore. Don't even have a maternity section in the JC penney where I am now and they did where I was in my last pregnancy. That was disappointing. Target does have some good looking clothes too. Liz Lange brand is quite nice. Lots of good looking clothes for work I would think.
I work at a bank, so I have to dress professionally. I bought three pairs of maternity Dress Pants, and for the shirts I hit up the consignment sales. I also found some cheap stuff on amazon. The Dress pants I got at a Motherhood Maternity outlet for $30 a piece, which is less than what I spent on my regular work pants, so I was ok with that. Most of my dress shirts are also pretty stretchy, so I think I will be able to wear them for a while yet. It kind of depends on what she has already, and what can stretch to fit the belly. Hope this helps!
I got a lot of shirts and a hoodie and yoga clothes at Old Navy and some at Gap. I have one of the brand credit cards so I earned rewards I used for shopping. I bought some nicer pants and sweaters for work at Kohl's and Macy's. Our dress code is business so I have to have some clothes. My sister and midwife also gave me some clothes they had worn that come in really handy too. The tricky part for me is that I have larger hips so I had to buy my shirts in a larger size so that they will accommodate my hips and my belly. So some of my tops are a little big on top, but the bottom has room to grow. I found Pea in the Pod/Motherhood Maternity stores to be too expensive for my taste but they have lines that are less expensive at Kohl's and Macy's.
I agree, but I went when they had a sale. :) They are not so spendy then. They are more normal priced.
I agree, but I went when they had a sale. They are not so spendy then. They are more normal priced.
And yes, Target actually has some nice stuff too for pretty inexpensive and mine anyway has stuff in-store. I wish JCPenney still had stuff in store, most was more casual, but it was by far my favorite place to shop with DD's pregnancy. They have taken all their maternity out of their stores though
My best piece of advice: hit the consignment stores first before you shell out the big bucks on maternity clothes (which are often ridiculously expensive).
Then if you still feel like you need something that you didn't find, go retail.
I was also able to get away with wearing fairly normal shirts (in larger sizes) right up until the end, which helped, because it's nice to have something that DOESN'T scream "this is a maternity shirt". (Plus they ALWAYS make you look more pregnant, rather than less!)
Pants: Get the ones with the big elastic bands, rather than the smaller (narrower) ones, so you don't feel like you're spending your whole day pulling up your pants.
I worked during my pregnancy. I was dressing very (not true) business casual.
Pre-pregnancy, I wore a lot of pencil skirts and blouse combos or just a shift or a fun full skirt and sweater. On Fridays I'd wear jeans, funky heels and a tee or something like that, or I'd wear a flowy maxi dress and a jacket.
The first things I bought were waistband extenders and belly bands. I made it to month 5 1/2 on nothing but those unbuttoned jeans and skirts and my already flowy dresses. I just started dressing a little bit more casually on a daily basis.
Then I bought maternity dresses, some more comfortable low wedge heels, and a bunch of those maternity tops. I also got several maternity skirts. I mixed and matched until the end with those.
I have to admit that one thing about pregnancy I didn't enjoy was the downgrade in wardrobe. But I am glad I didn't spend more on my maternity wardrobe.
Free advice? Buy things that can work afterwards as well; waist extenders, roll-waist skirts, dresses. If you're a fashion girl, don't be afraid of those low wedges... being 9 months preggo in heels is doable if you're not on your feet, makes for an interesting conversation starter, and makes you feel better than just schlumping in flats dawn 'til dusk.
Edited for clarity/ When I saw "those maternity tops" I mean the form fitting tanks and tees with ruching. Those things are awesome, and at the end when my belly was a tourist attraction, I liked how they showed that my waist was still in there somewhere. Soooooooo comfortable.
Edited again/ I shopped mainly at Tar-zhay and Old Navy. Cheap cheap cheap. Old Navy, stick with the skirts and dresses, and order a size down.
This is my first baby and my mother-in-law was VERY generous to take me shopping at Belly Dance, a cute boutique in Chicago. They also have a great online store -- and while the price point is high, I will say that they have been the only pieces that make me feel like "me." If your friend can splurge on a couple of items, check them out -- especially the sale section.
I've made it to almost 6.5 months with some of my own pants + a belly band. Because I'm extra petite (5'0), maternity pants have been a nightmare for me. The only pants I've splurged on was a pair of petite maternity jeans which I wear whenever I'm not at the office. I also bought some JCrew "Minnie" pants (on big time sale) for work -- they zip along the side and have been easy to adapt with a belly band.
Otherwise, all my maternity tops have been from Target or Gap Maternity. Sad to say, I don't love any of them. The elastic sides are comfortable but make my belly more pronounced (and I don't like shirts that tie). I try to stick with basics that I can pair with pre-pregnancy things like a cardigan or blazer. I have yet to find a nice-fitting sheath dress or a comfortable button down that doesn't gap in the chest.
I also haven't shied away from heels, although I only wear wedges now. Jeffrey Campbell's wedges are adorable and comfortable.
**Updated: Agree with SageOwl on the band width and sizing up in tops. I have a few loose long-sleeve blouses and tops that accomodate the bump great without screaming "maternity." Also agree with effulgent7 on the subscriptions -- I bought maternity bras at Pea in the Pod and they tried to sign me up for a bunch of stuff. I was so angry I almost didn't purchase the bras (but need prevailed). I haven't been back since.
Edited by MMF03 - 2/20/13 at 2:58pm
I agree with checking consignment first! My local kid's consignment store has a suprisingly decent maternity section.
My 2nd choices are Target and Kohl's. I stay away from Motherhood and the other stores owned by them because of their crummy return policy and deceptive business practices. They are famous for giving your credit card number to other companies to start magazine subscriptions, for example. Yes I know Motherhood sells stuff at Kohl's, but there is such a limited supply of available maternity clothes in my area that fit and are modest enough for my tastes, I do it anyway.
I tried buying online but everything fits horribly when I get it at home!
Yes, definitely try consignment first.
Also consider a treat for herself if she feels good in the item, ideally a versatile one. It's nice to feel confident, especially in the second trimester when nothing seems to fit.
I also found that many non-maternity dresses and tunics worked well as long as they had a tie-adjustable empire waist. There's something about separating the boobs and the belly that immediately flatters a pregnant woman.
One or two pairs of black stretch pants can get through most work days.
If she's going to breastfeed, Boob brand tops are fabulous, but can be spendy if you can't find them on eBay or on consignment. However, one good top for social situations with baby goes a long way and may be worth the investment.
When I first found out I was pregnant I was excited to shop for maternity clothes... until I actually started to shop for them. It shocked me how pricey they were. So I put off buying them until they were needed. Im 30 week now (yay me) and luckily Im all belly. and a small belly at that. I can wear most of the clothes i already had to work because they were loose and flowy (idk if thats a word lol). I did cave and buy sum pants because, but not maternity pants. I shoped around for cute, loose pants. most were stretchy and linen. I also found some cool dresses at forever 21 (they still have a maternity store in some states i think). Consignment shops and thrift stores are always an option too. I personally love to thrift.
I've been shopping sales at the tiny selection at Kohls, as I like their stuff more than Target. I have also gotten some stuff at Motherhood, but their store isn't as close to my house as Kohls so I don't get there too often. I also just came across a consignment website (so, can't try anything on) that has some decent prices on maternity and more http://www.bumptobumpmaternity.com/home.php. I have not used this site, so I cannot vouch for it, I just happened across it.
All my maternity clothes are from resale shops, ebay, or Old Navy's sale rack.
My problem is that I am the type of pregnant woman that gets huge fast then even bigger later. So I generally need some things in Medium and some in Large.
Ebay is really good for cheap designer jeans if you are like me and have really long legs (making jeans from Target and Kohls and stuff unwearable). I've gotten a few pairs of nice jeans for 20 dollars or so with shipping by watching auctions.
Edited by lovemylab - 3/2/13 at 11:26am
I agree w the PPs who say thrift, thrift, thrift!
I sew, & thus, I planned to make a bunch of my own stuff, but when I went thrifting, even at goodwill!, I found great, even new w tags, maternity clothes for less than the fabric would have cost me! Like $3-$7 each for great, new & brand name items. Not a LOT of selection, tho.
One thing I do that I haven't seen suggested is altering your own clothes (or thrifted non-maternity clothes). I just googled "free maternity patterns" & found a lot of great, simple tutorials for making belly bands, putting maternity demi-panels on jeans, work pants, & skirts, and for turning an ugly XL men's shirt (thrifted) into a very cute empire waist maternity tunic, among others.
If your friend sews or knows anyonewho does, she could have a great wardrobe for a song.
I didn't need any maternity clothes with my first, though I did start a new job in the beginning of my pregnancy and got clothes that could expand easily. Elastic waist.
With my second, i could wear my regular clothes until I was put on bedrest at 22w. I was in the hospital for a month and then was able to borrow one outfit to use on my weekly dr appointment. Rest of time in bed wearing a tank top.
My sister could wear her own jeans the entire time