Supposedly, we’re long past the era of the maternity tent. You know, the whole Jackie O smock that demurely hides a woman’s growing belly or the puffy mumus of our mamas’ vintage.
But I can bullshit!
Pinterest is chock-full of adorable maternity fashion pins, and I have now learned that all of it is a total sham. Where do these cutesy fashion bloggers come up with these beautiful outfits that showcase their bump while still maintaining the latest fashion trends? One step into Motherhood Maternity confirms that the maternity tent is still alive and well.
Contrary to the extreme side eye I got from the hipster 20-year-old salesgirl at Buffalo Exchange when I asked if they had a maternity section, twenty-somethings do need to utilize that genre of apparel and would like it to look at least a little bit cute.
Two major conundrums exist in regards to maternity fashion:
- The only live-and-in-living-color maternity stores are of your generic Pea in the Pod or Motherhood variety. You know the ones… you walk past their storefront and your brain automatically connects “maternity” with the styles of Chicos, J Jill, and your mom’s closet, until you get knocked up and realize that maternity isn’t actually supposed to mean old. However, it doesn’t seem like these big box maternity stores have really grasped their market yet and end up selling seriously outdated stuff. You can find some good maternity styles at staple stores like Gap or Old Navy or Target, but none of it will be available to try on in store and you’ll get real friendly with your post office’s shipping policies because you’ll return 98% of what you buy.
- Those perfect Pinterest outfits? $500. No really, anything tailored to make a pregnant woman actually look good will break the bank. Nordstrom maternity is not your friend. It may look gorgeous and give you false hopes of a stylish pregnancy, but it will break your heart. And your bank account.
I got a few Motherhood tops that I hated after 2 wears, and I bought and returned so many online exclusive! dresses from Target that my bank froze my debit card for suspicious activity. (I shit you not!) However, I feel like I’m finally settling into my maternity style.
And then I realized that almost NONE of it is actually “maternity.”
Anyway, we’re chugging right along into the third tri and I’ve come across a set of staples that I hold more dearly than my firstborn (wait, I can’t use that phrase anymore, can I?). There are a few designated maternity items in the mix, but I’m primarily relying on stretchy, breathable cottons to get me through the next three months.* Add a scarf or blazer to dress up these staples, and you can actually emulate some of those great maternity pins you’ve found.
1 | Target Mossimo Maxi Dress | $27.99
Boy did I ever want to make this dress work pre-pregnancy, but it just never seemed to agree with my curves. Add a bump, though, and this non-maternity dress is a DREAM I tell ya. It’s so stretchy that you’d never know it’s not meant for maternity, and it’s so basic that there’s a million and one ways to style it. My two favorite styles so far: belted waist and an infinity scarf, or throwing on a chambray shirt tied up at the waist.
2 | Lou and Grey Signature Tee (via Loft) | $29.50
I hope there are some readers still following along that aren’t currently pregnant, because this tee is just a life staple. I own four different colors, I’m not afraid to admit it, and I’ve gotten several friends hooked on them as well. Probably the most comfortable, softest slouchy tee you will ever own, the Signature Tee has gotten me through a solid 28 weeks of pregnancy. I’m not naive enough to think that this non-maternity piece is going to contain a full-term belly, but I’ll be damned if I don’t try to squeeze out the last bit of time I have in them. (Upon further review it appears that they are unavailable right now, but I’m sure they’ll be back! Until then, you can find similar here.)
3 | Lululemon Wonder Under Crops | $82
Oh Lulu, you know the way to my basic white girl heart. Yeah, I get a little starry eyed when I walk into that store, what of it? But their yoga pants are worth. the. hype. (And the money.) I bought this pair over a year ago (pre-pregnancy) and probably wear them 6 times a week. The fold over top is perfect for a growing belly… stretchy enough to cover and sturdy enough to contain the weight of this behemoth I’m carrying. (No seriously, he’s huge. We’re terrified.) Also, I hear you. This is not a “fashion” staple, but you can get away with wearing yoga pants as pants a loooooot easier when you’re knocked up. Throw on a long sweater and some riding boots and you’re good to go.
4 | Gap Maternity Pure Body short sleeved v-neck tee | $19.95
Oh look, an actual maternity item! I’m fairly certain that every pregnant chick I know owns this shirt in multiple colors, for good reason. It’s stretchy, it’s flattering, and it looks great with jeans, with shorts, under a sweater, and so on. (This is one item you can order online with little worry.)
5 | Ingrid & Isabel’s Bella Band | $28
This little contraption gets a spot on the list because: it allows you to wear pre-pregnancy jeans well into your pregnancy! I’ve not had any problems thus far, and I’m hoping to make it work for the rest of my pregnancy. I was skeptical at first, but the sticky stuff that holds up your pants is stupid strong and I like the way it smoothes out any bumps and lumps, giving you a pretty, round belly. $28 vs $100’s in maternity jeans right here, folks.
6 | Birkenstock Mayari | $89
Hi Beth, weren’t you just talking about how maternity fashion shouldn’t have to resemble our mom’s closet?? Hear me out. YES Birks are a relic of our parents’ yesteryears. But, BUT! They’re making a comeback, I promise. I’ve seen them on a couple more fashionable blogs (that I mysteriously can’t find links too, naturally), and even if I’m wrong, I don’t care. They make styles cute enough now that they don’t look exactly like mom sandals, and your sciatica and mom-waddle will thank you.
What did I miss? Mamas of many kiddos, have you found anything in subsequent pregnancies that have found a place on your list?
*Yeah yeah, I know that wearing non-maternity wear into late pregnancy can irreparably stretch the fabric. These pieces are either A. Cheap enough to sacrifice to designated future maternity wear, or B. Can withstand my use and abuse. BRING IT.