Everyday Fashion: When You're Pregnant and You Hate Maternity Clothes

Everyday Fashion: When You're Pregnant and You Hate Maternity Clothes

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.

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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. 

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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).

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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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