Let’s get real. If you are a normal woman, you don’t have a celebrity stylist dressing you through your pregnancy. In light of the length of time you will be wearing maternity clothes, you probably don’t want to spend a fortune building your pregnancy wardrobe. Here are some tips to help you get through the six to nine months you’ll need to re-route your work wear.
In the first three months you will probably be able to sneak around in your regular clothes. There’s the rubber band around the buttonhole and then wrapped around the button trick. It can look pretty lumpy under a knit shirt so adjust your tops accordingly. This will provide that crucial extra inch or two of breathing room. There are also inserts that you can add into your pants that will give you a little more wiggle room.
After three months, you’ll go into this weird phase where you may not look pregnant but you may be a little fluffier. Most maternity clothes will be too big but you’ll find that your regular clothes may feel pretty restrictive. You may be able to get through this phase by buying a few regular skirts and pants with elastic or drawstring waistbands in a size larger than you usually wear. Sweaters, long jackets, tunic tops work well for tops. ” Knits, knits, knits” will be your mantra during this time. It may seem like a waste (or a really bad omen of the future) to buy clothes a size or two larger than your norm but these pieces will help you get through your post baby weight loss.
At some point you’ll either determine that you’re not fooling anyone and it’s best just to start wearing maternity clothes. For me, this also signaled a really cool transition to the “I’M PREGNANT EVERYBODY!” phase. Here’s what I’d recommend you have on hand as base if you work in a formal office setting:
- Black pants (2 pair)
- Black skirt
- Black dress
- Matching black jacket if you have to have a full suit
- White and/or button down dress shirt
- Dark trouser type jeans – for casual day
- Tunic tops
- Nice short sleeve knit shirts (you’ll be hot and can always throw on a sweater)
Combine those pieces to create different looks — mix the tunic with the skirt or pants; the jacket with the dress, pants, or skirt; or wear the dress on its own. You can get a few more outfits out of the mix by adding roomy non-maternity sweaters and tops. Accessories will be your friend and help you from feeling like you’re trapped in a fashion version of “Groundhog Day”.
This is also a good time to get over any hang-ups you may have with borrowing clothes from friends, relatives and co-workers. Consignment shops, online auction sites and thrift stores are also great sources. My local Goodwill usually has a pretty decent selection of maternity work clothes in good shape since they only get worn for a few months.
One last thing. If you are like me, your feet will, without warning, expand overnight. I had to go to work in flip-flops one morning because I wasn’t prepared. Plan ahead and buy a pair of inexpensive black flats or loafers in a half size (or full size) larger that what you normally wear. The shoes I ended up wearing were from the highly unfashionable Frankenstein collection but they were the only thing that I could stand to wear on my feet.
I’d like to hear from others on this topic. Where are the best places to get maternity clothes? What would you add to the must-haves list?