When You're Pregnant and You Hate Maternity Clothes
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Let me preface this article with a little disclaimer: I feel so incredibly lucky to be pregnant. Getting pregnant was not easy for me--I had to deal with nearly two years of infertility which in the end turned out to be solved by fibroid removal surgery and an amazing doctor. But since I didn't really have a great resource for maternity clothes when I first got pregnant, I wanted to write this to share some of the things I've found that work. And to complain about the ugliness that is maternity clothing.
I wouldn't say my style is typically very traditionally "feminine." I'm not a big wearer of dresses, don't go for much makeup, and limit my hair styling efforts to 15-minute routines that never involve a hair dryer (I don't even get how to hold one). An everyday outfit for me might be a pair of relaxed jeans with a t-shirt tucked in, maybe a chunky cardigan or a denim shirt on top.
So when my jeans stopped fitting pretty early on in my pregnancy, I got a little panicky.
Maternity fashion can be so bizarre--for someone who hates empire waists, ruching, and wacky patterns, it can seem impossible to find things to wear that are comfortable, yet still feel like myself. I don't really understand how stores that specialize in maternity wear assume that women just drop all sense of sensible styling when they get pregnant. Am I supposed to suddenly want everything to be ethereally pastel?
I started with leggings, which was a strange experience in itself. I am not a leggings girl, but yeah, suddenly I'm a leggings girl. I bought some simple, yet slightly stylish black leggings with side taping from Target in a size larger than I normally wear, and I'm actually still rocking those at 25 weeks. The purchase of a couple of maternity tank tops (without ruching!), paired with larger sweaters, helped tide me over through the colder months of winter.
One of the other first things that I tried, based on recommendation from a lot of experienced women, was a belly band to wear with my regular jeans when leggings wouldn't do. Don't get me wrong, a belly band is a great cheat code when it works--but I stopped being able to comfortably wear those at around 15 weeks, and I was forced to reconcile with the dreaded Maternity Jeans.
While you're pregnant, you're supposed to love empire waists, ruching, wacky patterns, and pastel colors--but you're also supposed to exclusively wear skinny jeans. Yes. During a time when skinny anything feels reminiscent of a corset in olden times. It took me a while to find any maternity jeans that were not skinny. ASOS has been a great go-to for atypical basics, but their jeans selection was limited for me. I just wanted simple jeans that were relaxed, and surprisingly, a maternity clothing store was the place that delivered. These jeans from Motherhood Maternity have been SO comfortable, and surprisingly stylish.
Oh, and side note: I'm going to choose to ignore the "boyfriend" label just this once. Feeling conflicted over things being labeled "boyfriend" when they really are just "not boa constrictor-like" is outweighed by the fact that omg I found jeans that are comfortable and accommodate my baby bump. But if you ever want to chat about how much I hate things being called "boyfriend cut" then I'm all in on that conversation.
There have been a few other key items that I have added to my wardrobe that are not "maternity wear," but have been working for me so far.
Jumpsuits are my savior. My favorites are a sweater jumpsuit from Madewell that I bought in a larger size (it's no longer available, sadly), and this linen one from Etsy. The fact that jumpsuits have no waistband makes them very pregnancy-friendly, and I imagine they will fit me for weeks to come.
Larger shirts, sometimes ones that are supposed to be dresses, have been great additions as well. Once the weather gets warmer, I'll be wearing wrap dresses and t-shirt dresses (maybe sizing up if needed).
At this point, I think I've got this maternity fashion thing down. But I am also only at 25 weeks, so who knows what I will be wearing into my third trimester. The tough thing is since it's my first pregnancy, it's impossible to predict how much weight I'll gain and where--so I've been buying slowly, ignoring "maternity" clothes as much as I can in order to feel like things can be reused later. We'll see how far it takes me.
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