Some Words About Maternity Clothes

I'm feeling like I'm at a little bit of an uncute stage in my pregnancy, where I definitely do have a discernible tummy, but it's not quite "oh hey, there's absolutely, positively, unequivocally a baby in there," the way I think I thought it would be at this point. Instead, I just seem to have grown a bit everywhere, which makes me look less like I swallowed a basketball and more like I am the basketball, particularly since I'm still mostly squeezing into my regular clothes. As the baby gets bigger—he's now at 20 weeks and the length of a banana!—I'm starting to wonder how much longer those clothes can constrain me, and I don't think it's particularly long. Today after work, for example, I came home and took off my uncomfortably tight dress before I did anything else, and by anything, I mean up to and including "turning on the heat," "feeding the cat," and even "walking up the stairs to my bedroom." I think I remembered to shut the front door before I unzipped. 

But maternity shopping is just so......ugh, imagine me rolling my eyes really hard right here instead of bothering to find an actual word to describe it. I've bought a proper top at Target and one at H&M—and of course I'm making ample use of my bella band, which I'm hoping to use on my regular pants for as long as possible because if there's one thing that sounds even more nightmarish to me than jeans shopping, it's maternity jeans shopping—but for the most part I don't really know where to start with outfitting my burgeoning body, particularly at this weird in-between stage. As a result, I spend every day feeling a little frumpy and dowdy, instead of beaming and glowing and radiating like the beatific earth mother goddess every single baby blog and parenting app seems to think I should be.

(Yesterday, I ate a packet of strawberry Pop Rocks in the middle of the afternoon, for no other reason than that I saw them and immediately couldn't stop thinking about what they'd taste like. I don't think beatific earth mother goddesses consider strawberry Pop Rocks a part of their pregnancy diet, do you? Perhaps this is actually my problem.) 

Whoops, sorry baby. How did that explosion taste? 

The other day, I walked into Motherhood Maternity—which, if you haven't been in there, is exactly like you're probably picturing it right now—in search of a basic black maternity top. I walked out feeling totally fleeced, in a weird way I can't quite put my finger on, except to say that I somehow ended up giving out my phone number, my email address, and my home address at the cash register, and I only caught myself when a copy of Parenting magazine was thrust into my hands with the promise that I'd be billed for the second year of my subscription once the first year's free subscription ran out. "Wait, wait, no, I don't want that," I managed to stutter—as if I'd suddenly awoken from some sort of sleepwalking daze wherein I readily gave out all my personal information to the nice lady who'd hung 17 identical black maternity tops in the dressing room for me—and tried to hand it back. "Hmmm," she bristled. "Really? You know, it's very useful." And then she forced me to take a plastic bag filled with samples of formula and coupons for Babies R Us. 

Has it always been like this, the weird commodification of pregnant women? The whole thing made me feel vaguely sleazy, and not just because I ended up paying $25 for a black t-shirt that would have been half the price anywhere else. 

I don't know, it was one of these eight million, I think. 

The one thing I did quite enjoy about Motherhood Maternity was the hilarious little pillow-on-a-belt they leave for you in the dressing room, so that you can stuff it under your shirt when you try things on and imagine what you'll look like in about three months time. Also—and I'm just guessing here—so you can take a picture, text it to your mother and say "hey, do you think I'm showing yet?" 

Nah, you're fine, you can't even tell.

I know I'm probably going to really regret saying this in about, ooh, late May, but I kind of can't wait to have a big old belly like that one, so that my outside actually matches up to how I feel in my head. Until then, I'll just wait, I guess. And stay as far away as I can from the Pop Rocks. 

Mar 13, 2013

I did not like being pregnant one bit. That said, clothes shopping was my least favorite bit. Especially in Motherhood. So overpriced, and you either feel like your bump is nonexistant or threatening to annex the next county.

That pillow is such a scam, too. Your body never just grows where the pillow goes unless you've got a Hollywood trainer, dietician, and chef. I bought so many pregnancy clothes I never wound up wearing. In the end I just gave up, bought a couple tshirts and things with empire waists from the target maternity section, and wore men's button downs open over them. Some people balk, but those stretchy Old Navy style roll over jersey skirts manage to stay flatering pretty much the whole time. Pregnancy is def a time to find a uniform and vary accessories and not much else.

As a final note, I'm pretty sure those earth mother goddess pregnant women are the same ones who lecture complete strangers about breast feeding. The last thing the world needs is more self-righteousness. I say Pop Rocks are win.

Mar 13, 2013

1. Maternity pants are a gift from the gods. Thou shalt not scorn maternity pants!
2. Motherhood is one of the worst stores, ever. They very helpfully offered to sign me up for a great plan to save for baby's college education which I gently refused to sign. Turns out it was an application for a credit card.
3. Maternity pants. Don't knock until tried etc.

Mar 13, 2013

Motherhood... they sneakily tried to get me to sign a credit card application during all the give-us-your-address hubbub at the register. Grrrr.

Also, maternity pants are actually wonderful. Grand, even. Don't be afraid!

Mar 13, 2013

(I kept getting flagged by your sPam filter because I mentioned that the credit card application was disguised as a plan to save money for university. Having gotten past it makes me feel giddier than it probably should.)

Mar 13, 2013

‌I'm sure everybody will tell you but that big belly just looks nice! It's uncomfortable and itchy. But the best part is you can rest your hands on them!
I hated maternity cloth shopping too. The thing I used the most were regular Yoga pants. They were comfortable since day one and worked till the last day and even after.

Tragic Sandwich
Mar 13, 2013

I actually really liked Motherhood Maternity (although what is with the Parenting magazine thing?), but I only shopped there when they had sales. Which was fairly often. I found that while I could wear Old Navy tops pretty easily, the pants at Motherhood fit me much better. But my favorite pair of maternity jeans came from JC Penney!

Mar 13, 2013

I went into Motherhood Maternity once. Never went back. Once is really all it takes, right? "Fleeced" is the perfect description. (Warning: wash that top very gently!)

And I agree with Sonja. Maternity pants are the best. This is the only time it will be acceptable for you to wear elastic waistbands all day, every day. Embrace it! I even loved the ones with the gigantic tummy panel. That extra fabric was oddly comforting.

Mar 13, 2013

Please do not miss out on over the belly jeans. They are heaven and I don't know why we don't always wear them. I paid an insane amount on designer ones from a Pea in a Pod but I wore them to death so I suppose I don't feel too bad.

Mar 13, 2013

Do yourself a huge, huge favour and get some maternity bottoms (trousers, skirts, whatever) because you will just feel more and more and MORE uncomfortable until you do. Wearing ''normal'' loose clothing is fine with some types of top, but to look and feel nice, you need to take account of The Bump!

I know it's painful, I know, I really do get it, but take the plunge, get 2-3 bottoms that can be jazzed up and wear them to death...

Mar 14, 2013

Maternity clothes shopping is a major drag (until you find something that works and buy one in every colour.) This is what worked for me:

(Bonus points - they're perfect for nursing too!)

Mar 14, 2013

The best thing I did with both my pregnancies was to buy a few key pieces at a "fancy" maternity store (here in Chicago it was Belly Dance, but there has to be the equivalent in the Bay Area). Think about what you'll wear the most, be it jeans or a dress tha can be worn to a bunch of work / social function, and splurge on them. Then supplement with tops and basics from the Gap, Old Navy, Target, etc. Always buy the latter on sale because I've found quality can be iffy. Also Boden and Loft both have maternity lines that are in the mid-range and very cute, though you'll have to shop strictly online.

Mar 14, 2013

Ugh--I also really disliked Motherhood Maternity. I found most of my maternity staples at Gap, including a pair of jeans that I wore nearly every day for both pregnancies, and a few long t-shirts that held up really well. I concur with the others above--maternity jeans and their blessed blessed stretchy panels (I too like the over-belly kind) can actually be really comfortable--a revelation after going through the in-between stage you're in now, where you're squeezing into too-tight clothing.

Mar 14, 2013

I agree with everyone else. Give into the maternity pants! I loved the over-the-belly kind and thought they were so comfortable that I kept wearing them until my son was, um, well, older than I want to admit!
I was lucky enough to receive maternity hand-me-downs from two cousins plus a good friend, so I mostly got to skip the whole maternity shopping thing. The few things I had to buy I either ordered online or got at non-maternity stores that happened to have a maternity section. Reading your description, I'm really glad I got to skip the experience!

Mar 14, 2013

Hello, only just recently started reading, so a huuuge congratulations on your pregnancy! I cyber-stumbled onto your blog through Pinterest and just loved the way you write.

I wanted to say that the pregnancy pillow really suits you! You will look fantastic with a bump. But yes, the bump will get itchy - something I didn't know beforehand. Baste yourself in cocoa butter morning and night from now, I don't have a single stretch mark from pregnancy because of it.

Regarding maternity jeans - I bought and returned 5 pairs before I found The One, and then I wore them practically every day for 3 months.

Take care :)

Mar 14, 2013

Ok I have no good advise about maternity shopping but just have to say I freaked out as I scrolled down too fast and saw the last picture before I read the words!

Mar 14, 2013

What did our mothers wear in the 70's, 80's? Oh that's right .... Muu Muu's! Thank goodness times (and fashions) have changed. Although could that be your solution?!!

Mar 14, 2013

I worked at a Motherhood Maternity in Canada for a little over year, so I know exactly what you mean about feeling "fleeced." I HATED asking people for all that information.

I have never been pregnant, but from my experience outfitting pregnant ladies I can tell you this: embrace the maternity pants! Trust me. You think that you're comfortable in your regular jeans and bella band, but once you put those Secret Fit Belly pants on, you're world will be changed.

MM is a great place for your basic staple pieces. I would suggest building a wardrobe out of a few things that you'll be wearing a lot and can work into lots of different outfits. Then just get a few fancier or trendier things to supplement those. (Do a little digging and you will find some!)

Maternity shopping can get EXPENSIVE! So take advantage of sales and promotions, of which there are many at MM. E-mail's will keep you up to date.

Maternity bras are very important! Eventually you're going to get bigger in that area and I would really recommend going for a maternity/nursing bra as opposed to just a larger regular bra. If you want something that will take you into nursing once the little guy is born, just make sure that you have enough room in the cup to comfortably slide you hand in, which will leave enough room for your milk to come in. They're going to try and sell you three or four bras. Depending on the saleslady, she will probably be very pushy with these bras. But you don't need that many. Just make sure you have more than one so you can do a switch when... leakage occurs.

Also, maternity tights and pantyhose. Buy them. Like I said, I've never been pregnant and I stopped working at MM a year ago, but I still wear them.

This is very long and I don't know how useful it was, so I will end it here by saying: you look beautiful and happy, and I wish you all the best!

Mar 14, 2013

I recommend over-the-belly jeans from the Gap and anything from the Loft (but only available online). I also recommend the over-the-belly leggings from Old Navy. I have a couple of (non-maternity) empire waisted dresses from Lands End and Jcrew that I continue to wear (month 8!) with leggings.

Fleeced is exactly the right descriptor for Motherhood Maternity. Or plastic - why are all of their clothes unidentifiably synthetic?

Mar 14, 2013

Wow! Strong spam filter. I recommend the Loft! THat's all I was trying to say!

Mar 14, 2013

Motherhood Maternity strikes me as a weird name for a shop anyway, like calling a clothes-for-tall-people shop 'Lankyhood Leggiosity' or something. Talk about stating the obvious.

And YES to the awful commodification of pregnancy. I've been avoiding 'specialist' shops like the plague. At least in H&M no-one will pay you any attention as one spends an hour hyperventilating in Maternity Corner, and one can buy cute accessories to cheer oneself up after a particularly disastrous encounter with maternity trousers. (Ahem.) (Their over-the-bump jeans are excellent, though.)

Mar 14, 2013

Jersey fold over maxi skirts! They are soft, stretchy and wonderful. You don't even need maternity-specific skirts. Also great for postpartum when you're no longer pregnant but still thicker around the middle.

Mar 14, 2013

You are hands down the cutest pregnant woman ever. Seriously.

Mar 14, 2013

As I was pregnant in the summer, I had a completely different opinion of the over the belly pants. Wide waistband under the belly was the non-sweaty way to go!

JC Penney had decent pants, and I loved the cute jean skirt I found at Old Navy. (Of course this was 2.5 years ago, so who know what the situation is now.)

Mar 14, 2013

Leggings!If you can get away with wearing them at work-DO IT. They don't have to be maternity ones, just go a size or two up in regular leggings. I wore mine with dresses and tunics all through my first pregnancy. They are the best and you can wear them after baby arrives as well. I am not a big fan of the full panel jeans/pants. Seriously though, leggings. I am currently 27 weeks with #2 and home with a toddler, and I live in leggings and Lulu Lemon pants. Those are also great post-baby. An investment, but worth it. Good luck!

Stephanie S
Mar 14, 2013

Maternity Pants - just do it. I remember the first time I wore maternity pants to work. It was like the heavens parted and angels started singing! Comfort like no other. I kicked myself for not starting to wear them so much sooner.

Mar 14, 2013

I have really liked Gap for maternity staples. There always seems to be a sale or I have a 30% off coupon and I've been much, much happier with those purchases than those from Motherhood. Mind, the Motherhood stuff is not bad, just very cheaply made and the price tag doesn't match the quality. Old Navy is okay as well but the material quality is just not there...but at least the price matches it so you are getting what you expect.

Also, I used the band thing to squeeze extra life out of my work pants and I TOTALLY regret it. Wearing them that way somehow still stretched them out. This second time around, I went to maternity pants by I swear week 15 and it was the best thing ever. So much more comfortable and I knew I wouldn't be ruining my regular clothing. The maternity pants will be annoying in the their own way for a little bit...weird gaps and gatherings but it doesn't last long.

Anna Louisa
Mar 14, 2013

My pregnant friends all suggested shopping at normal (lower end) places - they had good luck at Target, Old Navy, and Gap and felt like they could still have clothes that looked like them without paying for the pregnancy label!

Mar 14, 2013

YES to maternity pants with the full-belly panel! The ones designed to sit below your belly actually press on your bladder when you sit down, which is the last thing you need. And YES to jersey maxi skirts. From here to eternity, actually. They are the best for post-partum, especially if you have a c-section. I miss my maternity clothes.

Mar 14, 2013

I would recommend getting a few things that make you feel pretty and wearing them a lot, and then shopping at Target, Gap, etc... for some everyday basics. I had this shirt ( when I was pregnant and I may have never been complemented more on any other piece of clothing I've owned. Also, I found a few things at websites like this, that had Motherhood Maternity & other maternity store items, but without the fleecing aspect of being in the store itself. :) And hang in there -- the "I just look bigger but not necessarily pregnant" stage doesn't last long.

Mar 14, 2013

I really loved my gap maternity jeans. But, I really love gap jeans to begin with....they have all the cute styles (even cords, etc) but with the maternity fold over top. I wore those things for months afterwards purely because I loved to just slip them on and off. Soo comfy. Ps, you look adorable (and I'm sure I'm not the only one who glanced at that picture first and gasped! if anyone looks that pregnant at 20 weeks :)

Mar 14, 2013

Old Navy maternity clothes are cute and relatively affordable. Buy yourself a pair of their maternity yoga pants. You will LOVE them. They are the most comfortable things ever made.

Also, with my first pregnancy, I stuffed myself into regular clothes for as long as I could before finally caving and buying maternity. But here's the thing: delaying the inevitable purchase just meant that I didn't wear the maternity clothes as much as I could have, which made me feel like I wasted money as well as time that could have been spent being much more comfortable. So, I definitely suggest biting the bullet.

One last thing: maternity jeans shopping is not fun. But do yourself this favor. Buy one pair of really nice stylish maternity jeans. They are way more expensive than the ones from Old Navy or Target, BUT you will feel cute and stylish, and you will end up wearing them all the time. They also hold up better than the cheap ones.

Best of luck! I'm 7 months along with baby #2, so I feel your pain.

Baby Robusto
Mar 14, 2013

I did not end up buying many actual maternity pieces, because I felt much the same way you do about maternity clothes shopping. I shopped a lot at Anthropologie, because they are lousy with flowy, drapey tops and dresses that look rad on a preggo. I had one pair of black maternity pants I got from Target, and 3 pairs of Gap maternity jeans, and that was about it. Oh, also, I wore a nightgown to work a lot, but it was ok because I paired it with a cardigan and kicky belt.

Mar 14, 2013

I'm 18 weeks today, and I feel your pain. I did buy two pairs of designer (yes, designer--I tried Target, etc., and did not like the way the jeans fit) maternity jeans--one is J. Brand and one is from a boutique maternity store in my city. I can already tell they will be life-changing. I did find some cute maternity shirts at Target and a cute dress, so I bought those. A lot of my regular stuff still "fits" for the most part, but it's starting not to and not looking as good. Like you, the first thing I do when I get home is change into my velvet Victoria's Secret Pink lounge pants. :)

Mar 14, 2013

Yes Holly. I completely know where you are coming from! Feeling huge in your head but then actually, no, to someone else you might just look like you are getting fat.
I bit the bullet earlier this week and bought two pairs of maternity jeans. The saleslady was actually quite helpful, but I hear you on the utter mystery of it all, and the vague sleazy feeling! And the signing up for things - I swear I didn't mean to!

Mar 14, 2013

Maternity jeans were so comfy I wished I could wear them forever. Imagine a lifetime of meals with a stretchy waistband!

Mar 14, 2013

I am not usually a spender, but after being pregnant three times, my advice is this: Go to Pea in the Pod and buy jeans and pants...splurge. I promise you will get your money out them, and they will make you look fifteen pounds lighter. The bonus is that they will be made well enough that they will last through multiple pregnancies.

And then for tops, do not spend, just try a ton on...I liked Gap, Old Navy and, occasionally, H&M (although, really, they are so edgy for everything else and then maternity? Not so much).

Once you buy some ,you will get coupons too...

Mar 14, 2013

One thing I didn't find out until I went through my first pregnancy: Whatever you buy now you will also be able to wear after the baby is born. Unless of course you have a personal trainer. It takes 9 months to gain the weight and 9 months for your body to transform back to it's semi-original state. I naively believed I would be wearing my Pre-pregnancy clothes after the birth, so I didn't invest in clothes I would be willing to wear again. Good luck shopping :)

Mar 14, 2013

It's sad that life experiences as special as motherhood are tainted by commercialism and predatory sales clerks. I am particularly acerbic when people I don't know ask me for my phone number and personal information - sales clerks tremble when they see me approaching. Seriously, though? If you are pressed for information, just say "Phone number? Sure - 555-1212. Address? Sure - 123 Main St." - that usually shuts them up. If it doesn't, just throw a packet of pop rocks in your pie hole and stand there with your mouth open. Quickest checkout in history, I guarantee it.

Mar 14, 2013

Comment attempt number two.

It's sad that an experience as special as motherhood has to be tainted by commercialism and predatory sales clerks. Whenever I'm pressured at the checkout counter for personal information, I find that spitting out a generic phone number (usually starting with five five five) and a generic address like one-two-three Main Street shuts them up pretty well. You could also try dumping a packet of pop rocks in your pie hole and standing there with your mouth open. I bet that would be the quickest checkout in history.

Mar 14, 2013

Third time's the charm?

I was just trying to say that it's a shame that expectant mothers have to deal with predatory practises along with everything else they're up against. When I'm being pressured to give personal information by a clerk, I give an obviously generic phone number and address. This usually works well. You could also try dumping a packet of pop rocks onto your tongue and standing there with your mouth open. Guaranteed quick service!

Mar 14, 2013

Mother of a two-year-old and a four-year-old here. Do you WANT advice or will advice make you crazy right now? Let me know, seriously.

Mar 14, 2013

You'll probably get formula cans in the mail now. Yay.

(It's entirely possible that one little bottle of formula won't hurt right at the beginning. But it's entirely possible that it will. It's better to have the number of an IBCLC and a Breastfeeding support Facebook group, than a "just in case" formula can. If you really need it, they sell it at drugstores.)

(If you're seriously wanting to breastfeed, that is. Not everybody does!)

I got enormous tubfulls of maternity clothes from friends the second time around. I used what I needed, then passed them on. The first time around, I didn't have any friends with kids. Check ebay, swap groups, and cl :)

Mar 14, 2013

I just sent you this via Twitter last night, but I finally got past the "is she just eating too much?" stage and firmly entered the "she's definitely pregnant" look about 3 weeks ago (I'm now 26 weeks). I have resisted buying maternity clothes because everything still a way, but a sort of uncomfortable way.
I'm not one that can feel dressed if I'm wearing workout clothes all day - even though I work from home, so I finally took the plunge and ordered some maternity clothes from ASOS. Holly, they are AWESOME! Not expensive, seemingly good quality, wonderful fit, good style and I finally feel like a cute pregnant lady. I even bought some maternity jeans and leggings and they are heaven. I can't believe I spent this much time resisting.

Mar 14, 2013

Hopefully I'm not telling you something you already know by now, but get some of those cheap jersey knit skirts at Old Navy! I think they're $15 regular price, but you can usually get them for $10. They come in all colors, are machine washable, and at $10 they're practically disposable! (Also good for when you're post-baby!)

Mar 14, 2013

Right around the time we found out we were pregnant (I'm 32 weeks, right now), I also found out that I was getting a job promotion. For the new position, I needed to get some dressier outfits, so decided to just take an early plunge into maternity shopping (around 13-15 weeks, I think?). And oh my goodness, I was so grateful for clothes that looked decent and were comfortable! Like many others have said, I think maternity pants are one of the best things, ever. They were the last thing I splurged on because I had the Bella Band and now I just kick myself for not getting them sooner. They immediately made my outfits look more pulled together as I didn't have 15 layers to tug at and reposition every single time I stood up. I do hate spending money on something that is, by definition, so limited in the time frame I can wear it... but I can't say that I regret one penny spent. Feeling cute while pregnant is hard enough without having to worry about how my clothes fit :)

Mar 14, 2013

I 100th the part about maternity pants... I tried the wretched awful under the belly jeans because they were willed to me and they drove me crazy. Nothing more comfortable than the awful cotton panel ones--just make sure you love the jeans/pants material and it'll be fine.

Mar 14, 2013

As a super petite lady, I found it really, really difficult to find maternity clothes that actually fit me, and weren't just, like, enormous tent-like drapes disguised as shirts. The Gap was a great resource for maternity jeans and trousers, but I never wore a single maternity shirt (see previous observation re: tent-like drapes). If I bought regular, non-maternity shirts that were cut long, I could just buy them one size larger than my normal size and they would fit perfectly. Or, in what I thought was a moment of sheer genius, I figured out that I could order regular shirts, but in the TALL size, so they would be longer and more concealing in the belly area. Towards the end, I wore a lot of stretchy, jersey-type fabric mini dresses and summer dresses, only I wore them as shirts, with my aforementioned magical Gap jeans and trousers. Worked like a charm!

Anna Louisa
Mar 14, 2013

Oh! I also forgot about Asos maternity clothes! I've heard awesome things, and they're cute enough that I accidentally click on maternity thumbnails while shopping for myself, and am bummed when I realize my mistake :)

Camels & Chocolate
Mar 14, 2013

Back to the Pop Rocks, have you tried the pop rock dark chocolate from Christopher Elbow? INSANE. It's a Kansas City brand, but they have a shop in San Francisco. Get on that.

Mar 14, 2013

Asos maternity, Topshop maternity and Gap maternity - all you need right there (and its online) - in-expensive and definately not frumpy :) I used to wear leggings, leggings, leggings... with tunic tops, oversized jumpers and boots (or wedges) dressed up with little blazer type jackets which you can wear post pregnancy too. Congratulations by the way! :D

Mar 14, 2013

Do you have Kohl's there? They had a small but decent maternity section . My daughter-in-law also liked Penney's.

Mar 14, 2013

Maternity clothes are bad. And Motherhood Maternity is the worst. Weird prints and questionable materials that are (relatively) expensive? No thanks. The internet and Target are your friends. Target has cute basics, and you can find cute maternity stuff at Gap, ATL, or even pea in the pod.

I hated buying maternity stuff because it felt like such a waste. The plus side is the elastic panel. :)

Kat Hart
Mar 14, 2013

I loved a Pea in the Pod.

Mar 14, 2013

I only shopped at Pea in the Pod (sister store to MM) once, but left with the same feeling. I've had good luck with the Gap (lots of sales and coupons) and Target (order online and return in the store), so most of my wardrobe came from there. Along with a few knit dresses I already had that have stretched with the basketball, and leggings. If you have a long torso by chance, beware the Gap tops aren't quite as long - I'm finding now at 37/38 weeks that I'm flashing a little belly.

Oh, and YES to maternity pants!

Mar 14, 2013

The ONLY thing I loved about being pregnant was being able to wear stretchy pants. I had a few from the gap with the over the belly band and I thought they were fabulous. Invest in 2-3 pairs of pants, plus one pair of good jeans. You will be happy. (And I only kind of seriously thought about getting pregnant again when I saw Boden has maternity clothes now....) But start asking friends with kids about their maternity clothes... everyone has a box they would love to share. You won't love everything, but it helps expand the wardrobe options without too much spending.

Amanda B
Mar 14, 2013

I'll chime in on what others have already said about the maternity pants. I had some suitable-for-work slacks with the "under-belly" type band for those first couple of months of the bump, but now that I have a real belly (28 wks) I am much more comfortable in the full-belly panel type pants. The expensive ones I bought from Motherhood are worth every penny. Definitely buy tops on clearance and buy non-maternity (you'd be surprised at what works), but don't cheap out on the pants.

The Bella Band was good for a while, but even unbuttoned, my pre-pregnancy jeans aren't working anymore. Plus, I was always hitching it up. BUY THE PANTS! Another tip, they are much less pushy with the promos online rather than in-store shopping...

Mar 14, 2013

Not sure what H & M is like in the States, but both times I was pregnant I lived in Europe and H & M maternity clothes were fantastic: affordable, comfortable, and stylish. I loved my maternity jeans from there and wore them post-pregnancy too while I was waiting to be able to fit into my regular jeans again. And, okay, I probably wore them longer than strictly necessary, but they were SO comfortable! :)

Mar 14, 2013

There's a Japanese Weekend store in San Francisco, I think, and I recommend checking them out if you haven't already. Most of my mat clothes were from the usual suspects (Target, Gap, Old Navy), but I splurged on a few JW pieces and wore the hell out of them. And I LIVED in their nursing pajamas for, like, a year after my kid was born. I gave away all my maternity clothes to pregnant friends, but I hung onto those PJs because I couldn't bear to part with them. So comfy.

Heather B
Mar 14, 2013

Hi Holly!

Finally, since being a loyal reader since before your wedding, I am delurking to say congratulations!! I am 22 weeks pregnant and love that currently your blog is like reading my own thoughts!

Here are a few of my favorite things that I have found so far in my pregnancy:

pants- Old Navy Shirred waist compression pants- get 2 pairs... I live in mine. You can dress them up or dress them down, but they are oh so comfy.

tops- I am currently collecting the Target Liz Lange tank tops... they are super soft, don't stretch out, and I am pretty sure I will wear them way past givig birth. Pair them with a cute cardigan and you are good to go!

Lotion- Burts Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter. Get ya some. Say goodbye to the itchies and hello to moisture that stays all day.

That's all the tips I have for now! Looking forward to your next blog!

Mar 14, 2013

You absolutely MUST buy at least one pair of nice maternity jeans and slacks (for work) because they are so comfortable once the belly really comes in and you will feel so much more "put together". As for tops, I really liked GAP maternity tees. They are so soft and comfy and I lived in them during the last couple months of pregnancy and for at least a month afterward. Accessories are key :)

Mar 14, 2013

So, I'm right there with you.
My first maternity purchase (not including 2 Bella Bands which I bought around week 12) were a pair of straight leg, dark AG maternity jeans. I got them at Pea in the Pod which I understand is a Motherhood Mat affiliate but there was none of the sketchiness you described. They have high end brands and I felt justified in splurging on one pair of jeans that I know will carry me through the next 8-12 months (pregnancy plus post-preg). They are beyond comfy both in the band part and in the fabric--I swear they are softer than any of my non-maternity jeans.
For tops, I'm able to wear most of my normal ones, esp the blousier shapes, at least for now. And I'm still jamming myself in my work dresses--the bump is noticeable but I'm hoping that going tighter works to my advantage during this limbo time--yep, see, a bump...filled with a baby, not carbs/beer.
This past weekend I dropped a load of cash on fancy Paige boyfriend jeans (at Mom's the Word) and within 20 minutes of wearing them at home, they were slipping and had to be hiked up every few minutes due to lack of belly panel. So they are going back. Instead, I went to The Gap (Flood Building location) and scored THREE pairs of maternity jeans (white, blue, coral) for under $100. They aren't overly soft and some tugging is required, but for $30 each, I can handle that. I also picked up a few basic tees there that seem great. I think that's it for now--going to try to hold off for awhile longer. I may splurge on a pair of black Theory work pants (maternity) since I have to dress up for the office and the polyester versions make me want to cry.
Oh, I also found the world's best underwear at Nordstrom--by Natori and they are SO soft and don't have any painful elastic at the leg openings? Am I officially in overshare territory yet?

Mar 14, 2013

It's maternity pants time. Every person I know that dragged their feet in getting some regretted waiting so long. It is such a relief to wear them after trying to cram yourself into your regular pants!!

Mar 14, 2013

I thirty-seventh the maternity pants encouragement. They're awesome. My first pregnancy, I tried to be cute, but I was not a cute pregnant. I was an eat-too-much, stomach-so-big-I-couldn't-stand-for-more-than-five-minutes, crabby-as-all-get-out pregnant. And it's soooo hard to buy maternity clothes. My prior clothes-shopping criteria of "does it make me look skinny?" and "will I wear it a lot?" didn't work at all.

My second pregnancy, I bought two pairs of cheap-ish maternity jeans and a half-dozen knit tops and called it a day. And I have to say, it was really freeing to not even think about what I was wearing. It was my pregnancy uniform.

Also: pregnancy yoga pants are key. And I don't do yoga.

Mar 14, 2013

With my second pregnancy, I found a maternity consignment shop. I was able to try on a variety of brands and get a lot of stuff for not much money.
Maternity pants are awesome. They do make cute ones, honest.

Mar 14, 2013

If you're actually reading all of this maternity advice (do, but only listen to half, maybe. This half.) I found my favorite tops at a Loft outlet - REGULAR tops!!! I literally bought five. They are a peasant drapey scoop neck style with elastic around the bottom, which is great for going over the belly so they don't ride up, and you can wear them afterwards to disguise your leftover belly (keep repeating: nine months up, nine months down). I also found plain maternity yoga pants or capris were MUCH better than jeans - those never sat right on me although I only got one pair, and at Marshall's. they were my dress pants. Good times. Dresses/long tops with tights are also cute and easy preggers, but not so great nursing (unless you can pull the topmdown instead of hiking it up). Also, pick a day 3-4 weeks after baby comes and make yourself an appointment for a fitting at intimacy ( and then pay the $50 for the best bra you will ever own - Anita brand nursing bra. Get your size then order a dozen more on amazon. I literally didn't feel like a normal person again until I got this bra. The. Best.

Mar 15, 2013

My Japanese Weekend jeans were over-priced and worth every penny.

Mar 15, 2013

JC Penney, Ross, Walmart. That is where my maternity clothes came from except what my mom found on clearance at Macy's. by the end none of it fits and you want it all to go away so don't spend too much except on jeans. They will be your best friend even after Hamish gets here.

And try Avon max blast mascara waterproof. I have blond thin eyelashes this makes them pop and usually get smudges not with this. Cheap and fabulous.

Many blessings to you for this adventure!

Mar 15, 2013

Old Navy's maternity jeans are some of my favorite. Seriously, make the leap!

Alicia C.
Mar 15, 2013

I totally put on that belly in motherhood and took a picture too! Only i texted it to my husband! Then 4 months later I took another picture in the dressing room with my real pregnant belly. Not quite the same thing. I will say that as far as maternity clothes go, there are these cotton tanks at target ( i am pretty sure they are liz lange) that are the softest most flattering things ever. I had to force myself to put them away now that I have a 10 week old. They are really long so they take you all the way through pregnancy and I wore them under everything. I contemplated buying more than just black and white but since it was winter I found that turquoise wasnt the best to go with all my earth toned sweaters. But seriously, go get them today. They are only 12.99 and I wore them weekly. I sometimes washed in the middle of the week so that I could wear them again. Here's the link to them!

Mar 15, 2013

Ugh, Motherhood Maternity is the WORST, yes?? Double blah points for them because none of the maternity wear I purchased there transformed easily into nursing wear ... so heads up to you. Also, as unappealing as maternity jeans shopping sounds, maternity jeans themselves are Gods gift. Seriously. I never ever wear pants, especially jeans, when not pregnant, but those were easily the most comfortable attire I had during my pregnancy.

Mar 16, 2013

Those belly bands on maternity pants are like butter. They're the exact kind of soft, warm material you want on your tired, itchy, stretched-out skin. You won't regret it! Just make sure you get the right size. I didn't listen to the store lady and bought mine too big (it was my first pregnancy, and not knowing from experience, I expected my girth to reach epic proportions). I was forever hiking them up, which was frustrating, given all the layers of maternity wear I had to dig through to get down to the pants. Good luck! xx

Mar 16, 2013

I hate everything about pregnancy except the maternity pants. Those things are awesome! So damn comfortable I wish I could still wear them.

Also a bunch of wrap tops and wrap dresses that I bought for pregnancy I can still wear and do. I have no idea what Motherhood Maternity is, but H&M and GAP both did very nice maternity things in the UK that aside from (sob!) the trousers I still wear some five years later.

Mar 16, 2013

Gap maternity jeans! So comfortable, and not frumpy. I avoided the maternity stores, because all the clothing is crazy expensive and ugly. It's like the designers think that because a woman is pregnant, she loses her fashion sense. The patterns, the cuts... yikes. I liked the Gap, Target (Liz Lange tshirts and tanks), and H&M.

Mar 21, 2013

Pants and a bra that fits will instantly transform you to a non-dowdy feeling mama to be. Trust us who have been there. It is time to take the leap.

Also, I found maternity tank tops to be worth the investment. They could be used for a layering (wearing a non-maternity cardigan or wrap with a tank that covers the ever expanding belly). They are indispensable if you are nursing. I picked up the ones that Alicia C mentions from Target. They are awesome.

Mar 21, 2013

When your belly is actually that big, your vagina hurts.

Seriously. I can't explain it.

Also, I just want to whine. Don't mind me.

(PS I spent $150 on maternity jeans five and a half years ago. It seemed INSANE at the time. Now, on pregnancy #3? Totally glad I did it. They are the only pair I ever wear. I think I've gotten my money's worth!)

Mar 23, 2013

Holly: I am about to change YOUR LIFE.

Well, when it comes to maternity jeans, anyway. *If* you have a sewing machine, or *if* you have a friend with a sewing machine who knows how to use it even the tiniest bit, DO THIS.

You can hack a pair of your own jeans to create maternity jeans (I did this with NO sewing skills, and it was fairly simple. AND they were the BEST MATERNITY JEANS EEEVVVVEERRRRRRRR):

Just use a pair of jeans that fit you well in length/hips/thighs, and that you don't mind cannibalizing (or at least you know you can easily replace). Trust me: maternity jeans are FROM THE DEVIL. They sag in weird places and cling in others, and they are NEVER FLATTERING.

Not true with your own pre-preg jeans! All you need is jeans, a Bella band (use instead of the elastic and t-shirt tube in the tutorial), and dark thread. Seriously. Fo realz. Trust.

Mar 25, 2013

The in-between is really hard. But it doesn't last long! I lived in Old Navy leggings with long cardigans and tank tops and scarves and tall boots. You'll be PG in the summer which is even better because you can wear all manner of sundresses, etc. I actually had good luck going to consignment stores and buying things up about four sizes, until the very end, when you really need the extra length in the front. I also had good luck at Macy's in the sale department of the maternity area. I HATED Motherhood, Destination Maternity, etc. H&M is decent, Target is decent, Gap & Old Navy have the "cutest" things unless you wnat to spend a mint on Hatch, Pea in the Pod type stuff. It's not worth it. It goes fast and people give you a pass. And then when you're not pregnant anymore you kinda want to continue to wear all that forgiving stuff. :)

Mar 27, 2013

i didn't look through all the comments, but you will love maternity pants in a month or two. i have the feeling other people have been saying this, so i apologize for the repeat. you'll be the most pregnant when it's warm, and while pregnant, you will be (much) warmer than usual (i was due in aug and thought i would melt every day starting in may), so i say skip pregnancy jeans, and get cotton and linen pants and skirts and dresses. i like h&m best for pregnancy clothes, then old navy and the gap. buying regular clothes a size up is a good trick, too, and those items will fit you postpartum.
pea in the pod and other really fancy places if you feel like splurging are, of course, fabulous.
the biggest problem i found was that there's no way to tell how your belly and body will grow and change (and it won't look anything like those silly belly pillows).

Mar 29, 2013

Obviously, a lot of you have never been to a specialty boutique to shop for maternity clothes. They are more personal, usually small businesses, and would love to outfit you during your pregnancy. The in between is really hard. My suggestion for maternity pants, Maternal America's Wide Leg Knit Maternity Pants- great for lounging or as a career pant and hem able. 2nd pair of pants Japanese Weekend Maternity's Bengaline Trouser Pants- flexible and comfortable and usually come in 3 colors. Spend the money on quality items and then go by the cheap stuff from Target, Walmart, or the Gap....(

May 18, 2016

Great ingihst. Relieved I'm on the same side as you.

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