*Guest post by Megan Guimarin of Many Things Megan and all around awesome mama-to-be.
When it comes to fashion, I like to keep things simple. I thrive in the world of comfortable, elegant basics and statement-making accessories. When I got to the point in my pregnancy where I could no longer get away with wearing my regular clothes (trust me, I put it off as long as humanly possible), I found maternity clothes shopping to be a miserable experience. Where my fellow pregos with a modicum of fashion sense at?
I did some leg work so not all women everywhere will have to go through the pain. These are the WTFs of maternity clothes shopping.
Where the F is the maternity section?
When I asked this question at Nordstrom while on the hunt for a decent pair of jeans, the answer was basically something like, "Ha! Maternity section? You cows don't get pretty clothes. Sorry not sorry." (I think she actually said, "we only sell maternity clothes online," with a slight sneer on her face.)
I ventured over to Macy's (Nordstrom for plebs) and after navigating my way to the dankest, dimmest, saddest corner of the expansive store, I found the maternity section-- all six clearance racks and four sad piles of cheap denim of it. As I browsed the racks, a look of utter disgust settled on my face (my poker face needs work). I started to panic. Would I have to buy some of this hideous, cheap crap because there's nothing else out there and my only alternative is to wear a muumuu?
Insider Tip: The answer is the maternity section is online. Don't even bother with physical retail.
Why the F is the quality so awful?
Most maternity wear is throwaway quality, shoddily made of crappy fabric somewhere in the third world. That cheap stuff is not going to make you feel pretty, that I can promise you. If it’s not something you’d put on your body before you were pregnant, maybe don’t start now.
Insider Tip: Hard pass on cheap crap. Even when it comes to maternity clothes. The reality is that most maternity tops will fit not only throughout pregnancy, but throughout your my-boobs-are-ginormous breastfeeding stage (if that's a thing you're doing) too. Also, if you're planning to be pregnant multiple times, you'll get a good amount of use out of these clothes. $200 maternity jeans may seem like a careless splurge, but if you'll be wearing them for 6-10 months per pregnancy (and for Thanksgiving dinner, obvs), they're probably worth it.
What the F is with the hideous patterns? Specifically, why the F is everything patterned with horizontal stripes?
Us mamas-to-be are wide loads-- or at least wider than our pre-pregnancy selves. We don't need horizontal stripes accentuating our newfound rotundity, thankyouverymuch.
Insider Tip: Stick to solids in your colors. Although, on second thought, maybe get one striped thing, because in the right colors, with the right cut, the striped look is actually kind of cute.
What the F are the good maternity brands?
I remember hearing about A Pea in the Pod (and seeing actual, physical stores) when I was younger, but their online selection is pretty spotty. I heard decent things about Pink Blush, but they turned out to be pretty iffy. Supposedly H&M, Gap, and J. Crew have maternity wear, but a quick perusal of their online selection and I'm already disappointed. Where's the Anthropologie of maternity, ladies?
Insider Tip: Good places to look include Nordstrom (for tops), Paige (for jeans… side note, get the paneled ones, not the belly band), straight up Anthropologie & Free People (for tops and dresses, especially in earlier pregnancy), Motherhood Maternity (for tops and basics), and, surprisingly, Amazon (for tops).
What the F is my size?
I'm normally a small-sometimes-medium, but lately, if I fit into my old tops at all, it's only the mediums. So naturally, when ordering maternity clothes, I ordered everything in a medium. Rookie move. Everything was humongous and made me look like a potbellied whale swimming in a sea of fabric. Apparently, when it comes to maternity sizing, I'm a small again? (Except when I'm a medium, which is still about 20% of the time. Not confusing at all.)
Insider Tip: Most brands will tell you somewhere (usually hidden) if their sizing is similar to your "pre-pregnancy size". As someone who hasn't grown too much except in the belly region, this makes sense, but if you've grown in more places than one, sizing is still going to be a giant effing question mark.
So there you have it. Conclusions: Try Anthropologie, Free People, and other brands with flowy tops early in pregnancy. When those clothes no longer fit your potbelly bump, head to the maternity section online at Nordstrom, Motherhood Maternity, Amazon, and Paige denim. You’ll find what you need to get through the last stretch of this whole “growing a human” thing while still resembling your old, fashionable, fabulous self.
Megan Guimarin is a mom-to-be, expecting a baby girl in early June. When she’s not wearing ten hats at her day job, where she runs marketing and does other start-up-y things for a men’s apparel brand, she writes for Many Things Megan, her personal blog dedicated to the things she loves, namely ladies kicking tail and taking names in the professional world, the cult of motherhood, and beyond.