Pregnant mothers have asked me many times where the best place is to buy maternity clothing. My answer? Pretty much anywhere...except maternity clothing stores. I am totally serious. I don't meant to be a hater, but those shops jack up their prices so high because it is a niche market. They know women will spend the money on a specialty item if they only need it for 9 months. It's just my opinion, but I don't think we need to buy from specialty maternity stores at all. They just don't do it for me.
That being said, the specific types of clothes that these stores carry (A-line shirts, wide elastic waisted pants, etc.) can be an essential part of your pregnancy wardrobe. I, personally, have loved Gap maternity jeans and jean skirts. I usually have a few good pairs of them as a staple item because at around 7 months, regular jeans just don't cut it. Actually they do cut it...they cut into your belly, that is. Ouch. I probably have permanent lines on my waist from wearing my regular jeans too long during pregnancy.
I know it may sound like I am contradicting myself by saying I don't like maternity stores, but I think some of their products are essential. Huh? Well, here's the deal...if you have no other option but to buy from places like Thyme Maternity or Motherhood, save up your money...you're gonna need it. Which would be fine if their clothes were totally awesome and amazingly stylish. But...sorry to say...they're not. My point is, you can find alot of these clothes at secondhand stores or from a generous friend's closet. And sometimes, if you plan ahead you can find good sales at maternity stores.
Now..with all that in mind, I would like to encourage you to get creative with your maternity style. I buy my clothes from almost any of my normal favorite spots. The key is, to try stuff on in the store. If you enjoy shopping, this will be easy for you. Think outside the box - the box being your regular size. Try on anything that might possibly work for you. Look for pieces that shape your belly nicely. Long tees are excellent for pregnancy. I normally would take an XS or S..but when I'm pregnant, I go for the L. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But you gotta try.
*Before I start with the photos, I should mention that everything you see me wearing here comes from normal everyday clothing stores. There are no maternity clothes involved. I'll make a list of where they come from at the bottom.
As you can see with the gray striped shirt, it seems ok from the front, but the drapey style (which is quite a popular trend right now) makes me look huge from the side. Plus it barely covers my belly, so I definitely need a long tank underneath.
Notice how the arms are fitted though? I think that helps keep it within my size. Otherwise I'd look like I'm wearing Mark's tee.
I do love this tee though. And it's going to be an awesome part of my postpartum wardrobe!
Now, notice what happens when I add a belt? It helps to show a little more of my actual shape from the side-view.
I do prefer a more fitted tee like the one below, because it makes me feel less...large. Plus it shows my little/big baby belly. :)
So, this black tank works, but I would normally wear it under something...
...with a short or long-sleeve sweater.
When I wear leggings, I like to wear something that covers my behind, like the sweater on the left. The sweater on the right could work with jeans or a maxi skirt.
Ah yes..the dress.
Dresses are "ok" during pregnancy, but it totally depends on the dress, and the way your belly is shaped. I have deemed my belly not dress-worthy because it sticks out so far in the front. Looks ok from the front view, but then drapes like a tent from the side! Yikes! Maybe this works for you. It does not work for me.
The following two looks are probably my most-used and favorite ways to show my belly.
The pink shirt is great because it's fitted, while allowing a bit of room at the bottom for drape. I like to add a jacket and belt when I'm going out for the day.
And this blue striped shirt is practically my uniform.
I love the length of this tee and the generous amount of stretch it has. Shows my belly, covers my behind, and looks great with a jacket or sweater.
In all the photos I am wearing regular black leggings. You'll want a few pairs of these kicking around. If I am going out, I will wear jeans, but these are pretty much protocol when I'm at home.
Side note: Elias giggled every time he heard the camera click..and then he would run to see the picture on the screen. He's so cute.
black leggings: gift from my sister
gray striped shirt: $7 Joe Fresh
black tank: $3 unknown
long-sleeve sweater: $2 Winners (I converted a man's sweater to my size)
short-sleeve sweater: $12 Winners
silk dress: $3 made by me from silk sari fabric
pink tee: $0 made by me
black bomber jacket: gift from my mom (I altered it to fit me a bit better)
blue striped shirt: $9 Zellers
belt: $2 Fairweather
Hope this helps you and inspires you to think outside the box when putting your maternity wardrobe together. Clothes are great, but really, it's the way you embrace your new body and this new season that makes all the difference in the world. :) You are beautiful!