When I first found out I was pregnant, I was super excited to look absolutely adorable with a cute, little baby bump. I was ready to have it all figured out and look just as put together as I had managed to do pre-baby. However when I first looked into maternity wear, I immediately discovered:
- When I did a generic search for maternity clothing, only a few select brands would appear–Motherhood Maternity, Pink Blush, Seraphine Maternity, Asos, and A Pea in the Pod.
- These brands had some affordable pieces, however the pieces in general were more expensive than expected.
- I had no idea how to even begin selecting a size that would work. For maternity wear, should I get the same size I wear now? Should I size up? Could I just order looser, non-maternity clothing without looking like I’m wearing a mumu (real concern y’all…)?
So many options led to my own personal analysis-paralysis. In no way did I truly want to invest in an entire new wardrobe as I’ll only really need these items for about a year. As such, I really wanted to find items that were cute but bargains, and I honestly wanted to try a few things on in person before blindly committing to online purchases. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for online shopping but I’m honest enough to admit that I am THE WORST at making returns–the laziness is real…
Instead of relying on my stifling lack of knowledge, I turned to the experts–fashion bloggers and Instagram influencers. This was so helpful at this stage because they were around the same age as me, were super trendy, and the clothes seemed to highlight their bump while not making any of them look frumpy. Even better? They were wearing clothes from stores I already trusted and made purchases from. Their advice?
- You can wear non-maternity clothes for your entire pregnancy–you just have to be strategic.
- When in doubt, size up!
- It doesn’t matter how pregnant you are (or feel), you can always look fabulous!
Now the above advice was comforting for awhile, until the body changes started settling in. There’s this weird time in your pregnancy when you’re very slowly starting to see a baby bump but it can also just look like you’re simply gaining weight…which is awesome, said no one ever. The worst part? This is usually at a point in time when you haven’t told very many people you’re pregnant so it’s not like you have a ready explanation or understood “truth.” You want to look cute and trendy, but honestly you just feel like dirt. This is also around the time when my jeans started to get extra uncomfortable, and personally I was not a big fan of the hair tie on your jean button trick.
Because I was so uncomfortable, I did what most women tend to do. I focused on “hiding” with my clothes. In non-maternity clothes, I was normally a medium. Some of my shirts still fit, but I was scared that my condition would become obvious to others before I wanted them to know. To avoid discovery, I started buying non-maternity clothes and sizing up to a large. This worked for some items, but I started to find that sizing up just led to proportion issues. My shirts would be too big around the shoulders and too wide around my torso. I felt comfortable, but more so I just felt sloppy–which is not a fun thing to feel at work. Most of the non-maternity items I viewed were baggier options, but not the perfect combination of tailored-but-baggy that would be ideal. I was so frustrated that sizing up worked just fine for these bloggers and influencers, and then became even more frustrated when i realized most of these women were were sizing up from a XS or size zero. I couldn’t relate to that….
I needed a solution, and I needed one fast. So, I finally manned up and decided to just try a little bit of everything until something clicked. Needless to say, I went on a purchasing frenzy and I have absolutely no regurts (regrets y’all….regrets). My first experimental purchases were the following:
- ThredUp maternity and non-maternity dresses and cardigans
- LOFT maternity clearance and sale tab
- Target maternity (in-store) sale and clearance
- Amazon maxis (non-maternity)
- Non-maternity Aerie leggings (there’s one specific style that has been a GODSEND)
It took awhile, but I finally understood that I couldn’t rely on one group’s idea of what would and would not work (fashion-wise) for my pregnancy. For some reason, I felt like it would be “un-cool” if I purchased maternity clothes as it seemed that was not what my fellow millennials were doing these days. You reach a point where you’re literally like, “Who gives a flying flip! I’m just going to do what I want, and wear what I need to to feel comfortable and cute.” For me, I wear both maternity and non-maternity items. Sometimes, the additional length or extra elastic that a maternity item has is an absolute lifesaver. If that’s what you need, DO IT! I can’t even explain to you in words how happy I was the first time I walked into a Motherhood Maternity Outlet store and felt like I was in a place with items that were FOR ME (and this was after awkwardly walking into a Forever 21 and looking for those items that “might work” and trying to avoid the weird looks from people wondering what this poor pregnant lady thought she was going to find in the store).
It takes a little discovery, but just because you’re pregnant and entering this new phase in life, it doesn’t mean you can’t feel, and look, like you. If you relate to this experience at all, I’ve got so much more to dish on. I’ll be sharing my trendy finds, store hauls, and favorite maternity pieces and hacks I’ve come across during my “discovery” phase.