The first time I was pregnant I went out and made a large initial investment in maternity clothing. It was a fun day of shopping with my mother and aunts. When my husband saw the exorbitant bill from Pea in the Pod, I simply explained that I had to wear something. We knew we wanted more children, so these clothes would last me for years to come. We were saving money, really.
I have now reached my third and last pregnancy, and while I did wear some of the same maternity clothes with my second child, this time around I am not due in the right season to enjoy the maternity clothes of yore. So here I am, having spent the better part of the last five years pregnant, and having grown quite tired of my maternity wardrobe, with its ridiculous string ties in the back of every outfit. What a shame that they’re winter clothes, and mine is a summer pregnancy!
Circumstances are different now: maternity clothes aren’t so much an investment in the future of our family as a burdensome necessary evil, to be discarded for the final time as soon as breastfeeding starts to burn off the pregnancy weight. Here’s how I plan to navigate the maternity fashion this time around: by avoiding the maternity stores as much as possible in favor of loose-cut normal clothes and decadent accessories.
Loose-flowing material and spaghetti straps can be a pregnant girl’s best friend in the summertime. Pretty looks like the Shaped Feather dress from Anthropologie work because they’re high-waisted and the pleats in the front are forgiving to a growing belly. When paired with the right pair of dangly earrings, this could be a great look for dinner alfresco or summertime cocktail party. Since it’s so cool and loose, you’ll want to wear it every day.
High Waists and Stretchy Material
Maternity dresses have relied on an empire cut and cotton jersey for decades, but don’t limit yourself to what the maternity stores offer. Lilly Pulitzer has lots of gorgeous dresses in stretchy material that are comfortable, flattering, and not-at-all tentlike. Look for dresses like the Briony: the v-neck and dainty ruffles on the sleeves will flatter your neck and chest.
Cheap But Cute Staples
Check out Old Navy for basics–they have one of the most affordable maternity sections around, but don’t stop there. Classic looks like the Women’s Cross-Yoke Dress (for a reasonable $24.94) is not in the maternity section, but is still high-waisted and forgiving. Accessorize it with a chic scarf, and no one will know the dress cost less than your lip gloss.
Invest in Chunky Jewelry and Good Shoes
A stunning piece of jewelry like the Beautiful Friends necklace from Elva Fields can distract from a growing figure and bring attention to the face. Stylish (but still practical) shoes like the splashy orange Aaden ballet flats from Tory Burch can add a little spice to any ensemble and make a pregnant girl feel very pretty and polished. Best of all, these pieces will still be with you even after you send all those maternity clothes to Goodwill, or pass them along to your newly-pregnant best friend.