my maternity wear experience

March 20, 2012

dressing the bump: what i know now

disclaimer: these are my experiences
as i sit here at 38 [!!!!!] weeks, i think i’m finally far enough along to share my perspective on one seems-peripheral-but-really-is-necessary pregnancy issue: finding clothes to accomodate the growing body over its 9- [or 10-] month adventure. one major caveat is that i think this is an area where everyone is different — and every PREGNANCY is different! so if you’re just starting out, i think the best thing is to read a lot of perspectives so that you can at least have an idea of what might work for you. and at the very least, you’ll see that you’re not crazy if you need maternity pants by week 10 — or barely need them by week 30.

things i wish someone had told me
that you’re not crazy if you’re outgrowing your clothes in the first tri. and that this sign is NOT necessarily a harbinger of a future 60-lb weight gain! looking back, i laugh at the idea that i was ‘showing’ in this picture. however, i had gained a few pounds [my first tri was the hungriest by far!], and had an incredibly slow-moving GI tract, and the fact was, my clothes didn’t fit. it didn’t help that many of them tended to be fitted in the waist — after all, previously it was a body part i liked to accentuate.

in this picture, i’m wearing a dress borrowed from a generous friend and ended up attending a wedding feeling confident and happy. if i had tried to squeeze into my own frocks, that would not have been the case.

SO: if curves and a little bumpiness appears early, don’t be ashamed — own it and don’t worry. borrow some transitional pieces. wear leggings and forget fitting into your jeans. if you listen to your body, things WILL even out in the end.

that you are probably going to want to wear the same types of things pregnant that you did before.

loved my pregnancy basics — and my heels
i spent most of my pregnancy in very similar styles to what i might have sported a year prior — down to wedge heels that somehow worked in my front-heavy state! it makes sense to keep this in mind while maternity shopping. the idea that ‘hey, it’s just for 9 months, i can branch out with my style’ actually doesn’t make that much sense, since you end up wearing every piece A LOT [at least, i did, since my wardrobe wasn’t that huge!]. since you’ll be sick of everything by the end, one way to ward against this is to go with your ‘normal’ looks as much as possible.

things i’m really glad i did
borrowed a TON of stuff! clearly, this tip isn’t going to work for everyone — but if you are lucky to have a close friend/sibling/etc in your size and they make the offer, this is a fantastic option. my wonderful sister-in-law happens to be very similar in size to me, and several of her hand-me-downs became absolute staples in my maternity wardrobe.

celebrating thanksgiving in a borrowed frock
skipped on spending lots of money on workout gear/pajamas/extras. while i did continue running through pregnancy, i was not very glamorous about it.

5K at 21 weeks in yoga pants + a running jacket that was about one week away from being too tight
the items i bought for working out included one running jacket [that i wore religiously from weeks 22-38] and several cheap maternity t-shirts which doubled as sleepwear. i did splurge on some nicer sports bras — that was an absolute necessity! but otherwise, i just wore my own capri pants and yoga pants folded below the bump. they worked great and i’m glad to have not spent the extra money on gear with such a limited lifespan.

used that faux bump when shopping! i felt ridiculous strapping this thing on at the maternity store, but it really did help me to get a good idea of what would work in later weeks. in particular, it helped me realize that shirts needed to be bigger and longer than i could have ever imagined to last past the 2nd tri.

17 weeks in this picture . . . PLUS a 7-month faux bump

other tidbits
not everyone likes the full-panel pants — even in the third tri. i have actually worn my below-bump bottoms throughout the pregnancy and have felt really comfortable. in fact, i have one pair of hand-me-down khakis that do have a panel, and i always wore them with it pushed down because i hated the feel of the fabric on my middle!

the aforementioned pants at ~18 weeks
and then at 34. with a long top, no one is the wiser
layering pieces are important. because of the whole bump-growing-to-giant-proportions thing, it’s good to have some long maternity tank tops on hand. layering is good! i had a very embarrassing trip to whole foods once where at the end i went to meet josh [he was sitting the cafe] and he burst out laughing because my shirt had ridden up and i had no coverage underneath — ie, i had given all the poshest downtown durhamites a belly show. AWESOME. sorry, no pictures for this one!

a few splurges are worth it! while i mostly stuck to super-practical basics, i did splurge from time to time — especially if i had an event to attend. it’s very easy to feel frumpy and shapeless during pregnancy, and sometimes the right dress really can turn everything around in an instant. as a bonus, i’m sure i’ll wear this again in future pregnancies — and i’ll be happy to lend it out to preggo friends.

feeling classy at an early-2nd-tri wedding

so that’s all i got
because all i can share is what worked for me! i’d love to hear your experiences [similar or different].

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