Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Maternity Clothes Mistakes

I recently unburied and inspected my large plastic bin of maternity clothes. This is not a pregnancy announcement...what a lame announcement that would be. I'm just getting them organized to loan out. With a couple newly pregnant friends, it's time to share the wealth (read: moderate financial means) of my maternity wardrobe. 

In going through my various dresses and pants and extra long tank tops, I started to think about mistakes that I made in my maternity wardrobe purchases and things I will do differently for round two. It also made me realize that much of my maternity wardrobe may be completely useless for round two, depending on the season during my most pregnant months. So, I've made this list for myself (and for your pleasure) about things I'll do differently in round two. Before I get started, a quick note that none of the clothes and brands that I'm about to mention are affiliates of NSB (i.e I get no kick backs of any kind). I genuinely like (or dislike) them.

Maternity Underwear

I learned about these enormous, beastly things mid pregnancy and I refused to bring myself to purchase any...until about month eight. By month eight, I was begging for these enormous, beastly things. There are two options when it comes to maternity underwear: below the belly fit or over the bump fit (like a pair of full panel maternity pants). When I caved in month eight, I got two pair of the below the belly kind from the GAP. I liked wearing full panel pants, so full panel underwear would have been overkill. Next time around, I won't wait until month 8 and I will buy more than two pair.

Fancy Shmancy Blouses

During my pregnancy, I was in a full-time job that required formal business attire. Yes, I had to wear maternity suits. Yes, it was awful. In an attempt to keep up my professionalism, I focused a lot of my maternity wardrobe purchases on cute tops. Mistake. There's no such thing as a "cute top" when you're super pregnant. Everything is just a tent that drapes in one way or another with some cinching that attempts to flatter. After several regretful blouse purchases, I realized that I looked the best (and felt the best) in a simple, cotton, form fitting shirt...also known as a t-shirt. 

I loved my GAP pure body maternity t-shirt (above).
It held its shape better than a comparable one I had from Liz Lange (designer for Target).
(image source)

Extra Long Tank Tops

Target sells super cheap, super long tank tops. They are not maternity tank tops, but they work just as well. I was gifted one and it was fantastic (held up better than my GAP maternity tank top and fit just as well), yet I never thought to get a couple more. Mistake. I will get more next time. 

Maternity Jeans

I'm a jeans wearer. Aren't we all? In the summer I live in dresses, but for 9 months of the year, I wear jeans (remember, I live in New England and my prior residence in NY wasn't all that different in terms of weather). So, why, pray tell, did I purchase only one pair of maternity jeans? Why? And they weren't even a great pair of maternity jeans. At the time I couldn't stand the idea of spending big money on clothes that I would wear for 5 months. With a little perspective, I've come to realize that it's really important for clothes to fit and be comfortable during those 5 months, more so than other months. And it's especially important when it comes to jeans because I wear them so very often. I also realized that those clothes will be worn for future pregnancies and, in my case, by friends who borrow them. Next time around, I will get a nice pair of maternity jeans. That way I'll have my mediocre ones from last time and a shiny, new pair.

This fashionable mom-to-be is wearing Boden maternity jeans, which are a bit nicer (and better quality) than what you will find at Old Navy or Target. And yet, they won't break the bank. Most are priced between $50 and $100. (image source)

Online Shopping

I'm an online shopper. So, of course, I made many maternity clothing purchases online. Mistake. When you make a regular online purchase and it doesn't fit or isn't exactly what you wanted, you mail it back and get another size or move on. When you make a maternity clothing purchase online that doesn't work out, its a huge time waste. The two weeks it takes to get the top, decide you don't like it, return it and wait for a new top to arrive is way too long when you only have 5 months to wear the top. I will do my future maternity clothes shopping in stores.

Even considering all my mistakes, I still did pretty good with my first round maternity wardrobe. I used a belly band for the first few months and loved it (though I have friends who strongly disliked it), I relied on dresses a lot because they felt the most flattering and comfortable, and I borrowed whenever I could. I plan to do all three of these again. For those of you without formerly pregnant friends to borrow from, check out Mine For Nine. It's a maternity clothing rental website, the preggers equivalent of Rent the Runway. I think this is an especially great option for formal events.

How about you - any favorite maternity clothing stores? Or favorite pieces? What mistakes did you make in your maternity wardrobe?

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