Monday, October 10, 2011

Maternity Shopping Tips

I just pulled my last pair of maternity pants out of my closet to stow, and I have to say I'm a little sad to see them go. I LOVED wearing maternity pants! The first time I tried them on I squealed with excitement from the fitting room. Shopping for maternity clothes is no easy business, and there's a lot of poor advice online. Think about it; you're shopping with an expanding waistline for 3 seasons. Pregnant women also have less shops to choose from, so it can be difficult to get started if you're not familiar with the territory. The hardest part is that you are about to have a baby, which is a huge expense in itself, so you need to curb every expense that you can.

Here are my tips to build a fantastic, fashionable wardrobe that will accentuate your beautiful bump!

Pre-pregnancy Shopping:

Don't wait until you are pregnant to plan your maternity shopping! When you're TTC, keep your belly in mind. Purchase knit dresses, long knit shirts or sweaters, and anything with an empire waist. If it doesn't fit into one of those categories... don't buy it! Save your money for baby clothes :) The benefit here is that you won't have to sub in new wardrobe items right away- which can be a giveaway that you are pregnant. Keep comfort in mind, especially with shoe purchases and don't be afraid to go a size up if you are between sizes.

Useful tools:

Black Goody Hairband- Purchase this in the beauty aisle to expand pant waistlines. Simply loop it through your buttonhole and around the button and leave your pants unzipped a little. This is where the long pre-pregnancy shirts come in handy! These are handy post pregnancy when you're on the way back into pre-preggo jeans. You can also slap one on your wrist to recall which side to use for nursing.

BellyBand- Purchase this at Target in your pre-pregnancy size and wear it over your unbuttoned bottoms. It comes in tan, white, or black. The benefit of tan is that you won't see it through a top layer. If you get black or white and they peek out below your shirt it just looks like a tank top underneath.

What to buy, when to buy, and where to shop... after the jump!

What to buy:

Take a look at what you wear in a typical week and buy that. Don't follow a list that suggests you purchase 2 skirts, 1 dress, 4 pants, etc... if that doesn't match your regular style. Since it's hard to gauge how much you will grow, buy a little at a time. Try not to be tempted to buy something just because it is a good deal. If you have the energy, try on items you wouldn't generally like. Your body is changing, so you may find out that a new style suits you better than ever before. Most importantly, accentuate your best (ahem) features. A tasteful, low cut shirt is a great item to make you feel confident and pique your husband's interest.

When to shop:

Most sites will suggest waiting until at least 14 weeks to begin shopping for maternity clothes. I don't agree because this leads to two bad situations. You can end up needing to splurge on a last-minute purchase and you'll spend time in discomfort. The whole point of maternity clothes is that they S-T-R-E-T-C-H. As long as you follow your physician's recommendations for gaining a reasonable amount of weight, you will find that most staple wardrobe items can work through your entire pregnancy.

Early Pregnancy- Shop stretchy bottoms that will last across multiple seasons such as jeans, black pants, or leggings (yes pregnant women can wear leggings!) If you're planning to splurge on your pregnancy jeans buy them early to get your money's worth. You will also wear them on the way back down post-pregnancy.

Mid Pregnancy- Think about layers when you shop to build a transitional wardrobe. Ribbed tanks and tees beat long sleeve shirts since they will last longer. Pair them with an unbuttoned pre-pregnancy cardigan in the cold. This is a tricky time if you have to deal with outerwear. Raid your husband's closet if you're in a bind.

Month 5- Do you have comfortable workout clothes? You've probably outgrown most of your stretchy pre-pregnancy gym sweats, so get a new outfit for exercise inspiration. Old Navy and Gap have great options. Don't go overboard and buy a lot, just do laundry more frequently. If you wear mostly black no one will even notice you're wearing the same outfit again. Get your PJ's now, too. Target has really cute chemises that are forgiving to expanding bellies.

Month 6- By now your belly has popped and everyone knows you are pregnant. Remember that the pregnant form is beautiful, so drape it with empire waists or ruched, fitted knits. You don't have to wear baggy clothes! Get roomy undergarments this month and take a note of what fits. This is likely how big your belly will be when you leave the hospital. Buy dresses and skirts since they will probably be the most comfortable items to wear late in your pregnancy.

Month 7- Undoubtedly you will have a wedding or baby shower to attend before you pop, so you'll need a pretty dress. Don't feel bad about wearing the same dress to multiple functions, so choose one favorite and save the stress of shopping for multiples. Also grab a maternity swimsuit or a bikini if you plan to hit the pool.

Month 8- Shop for nursing necessities now if you're going that route. Buy 3-4 daytime bras, 2 nighttime bras, and 3 solid tank tops. Nursing shirts are tricky and awkward so hold off buying anything that's not basic until after baby comes.

Month 9- Frilly Tutus, Overalls, and Onesies should be the only things on your shopping list this month if you've planned well. (For baby, of course!)

Where to shop:

The best place to find maternity clothes is in your current closet! Stash outgrown clothes and keep your closet organized as you grow to avoid buying duplicates or feeling like you don't have anything to wear.

Mothers Work, Inc.

Budget- Old Navy, Motherhood Maternity, Target

Mid Price- Gap, Motherhood Maternity (Available at Macy's and Babie's R Us),

Splurge- A Pea in the Pod,,,

Helpful Suggestions:

Save pre-pregnancy tank tops. You can cut the top off the tank top and wear it like a belly band or sew it to your pants to create a true maternity pair.

Maternity shops sell bra hook extenders for $15 each. If you're throwing out bras, save them instead and cut off the portion at the end to make one yourself!

Make exchanges instead of simply returning items online. They will usually comp your shipping if you shop again.

Read fit reviews online and always buy your pre-pregnancy size.

Post a comment if you have any questions or drop me a line on Twitter @5weeksearly.


  1. I did the same thing. I started collecting clothes when we were trying for a baby as they are so expensive and I didn't want to be hit with a massive expense all in one hit.

    Great read!

    Josia @

  2. Great advice, Jeannette! I will definitely have to link to this post when my blog is up and running. :)