Since this is a blog geared primarily to 20- and 30-something women, I receive a number of e-mails regarding stylish maternity wear. This is a topic about which I know precious little. Luckily, Capitol Hill Barbie, whose blogs I have been reading since 2005, knows a lot about the subject. The following guest post makes a great jumping off point for those of you who are navigating the precarious world of maternity fashion.
Congratulations! Both on the pregnancy and the newfound reason to buy a whole new wardrobe! Just kidding…kind of.
I’ll start off by saying that maternity suits are really hard to find. I do firmly believe that you get a little bit of a pass on being as formal as everyone else when it comes to workwear when you are pregnant. No one really expects you to have your normal closet depth when you are growing another person, and most days you could get away with one notch down on the formality ladder. However, I understand that if you are going to court, or a very high level meeting, etc., a suit is important.
If you just found out that you are expecting and it’s your first baby, you have some time before you need to think about for reals maternity clothes. I would encourage you to get a Bella Band, which is this stretchy tube of fabric that allows you to wear your pre-pregnancy pants unbuttoned for a while. You will be the envy of all your friends, male and female. You’ll also probably be able to get away with your regular suit jackets for another few weeks as well depending on how your rib cage/bust area is growing.
Next, get ready to invest. I know the temptation is to say, “I’m only going to wear it for 9 months, so I’m not going to spend a lot,” but don’t do it. You are going to wear the everloving crap out of your maternity clothes, plus, you’ll need them after you give birth (sad but true). And you don’t want to buy super cheap stuff that will look cheap and worn out after a few wearings.
If you work in a professional office, I would buy at least one good full suit in a neutral color like this black suit from Jules and Jim, this slim legged black one from Olian, or this tie front one from Maternal America. Some other good brand names to look for are Ripe, Noppies, and Isabella Oliver.
Then, I would get a pencil skirt, another basic jacket, dress pants in a grey or navy, and a sheath dress (love love love this one from More of Me Maternity). These things will let you mix and match so you can always have a jacket and dress bottom without needing a full suit.
Double Duty. Once you have solid basics, you can fill in as needed throughout your pregnancy with less expensive tops and dresses from Gap Maternity, Loft Maternity, Topshop or Asos. These will work under blazers, for more casual days at the office, and when you are not at work. Also, don’t rule out everything in your closet or at the store just because it’s not “maternity.” There are lots of open cardigans, long blouses and t-shirts in the stores these days that will look fine on a pregnant body. (Editor’s Note: A friend wore size 12 DvF wrap dresses for her entire pregnancy and then put them up on eBay afterwards.)
Sales. A lot of great maternity retailers are have big sales pretty frequently, like Isabella Oliver, Belly Dance Maternity, and Figure 8 Maternity. Shopbop has a pretty sweet maternity section for denim and dresses and they typically have a sale or some kind of promotion happening all the time. If you are a little farther along or willing to spend now, you can find some great deals on basics.
Also, keep an eye on Gilt children’s section or Zulily because they often have maternity wear on sale, although I have heard that some lines like Rosie Pope produce lower quality clothes for those sites, so make sure you can return any piece if you don’t like it.
Keep in mind. One huge factor to remember when shopping for maternity clothes is that your body changes every day. Every.single.day. So something that fit you on Tuesday is now a total peep show on Thursday. Heels ok on Monday? Well, Friday afternoon is a totally different story.
Make sure that you are comfortable and covered. Try scarves over shirts that are looking a little low cut, invest in cute flats that are a little big and use an gel insert until you need the room, a maternity slip or shapewear piece goes a long way, and wrap dresses are indispensable. Dress the body you have that day, not the one you had before you got pregnant. And have fun!
If you have any maternity advice to share on stores you liked or clothes you wore to death, leave your thoughts in the comments. Because this is definitely one of those areas where other women are your best source of information. Thanks, Capitol Hill Barbie for the post, and don’t forget to check out her blog, Baby Steps in Heels.