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The Everything Maternity Wear List

Oct12

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Hi Amalah,

I have been a loyal reader for I don’t know how long now, and seriously, you have helped me out of many a fashion and styling dilemma (who knew, for example, that I could save myself from looking like I’d just left the gym simply by backcombing the top bit of my ponytail? That was a revelation and a half, I can tell you). However, now I find myself in the midst of quite nice dilemma that I don’t think you’ve answered yet!

I’m 4 months pregnant and due in April. I am currently in that “who ate all the pies?” phase, in which nobody is asking if I’m expecting, and everybody is thinking “Step away from the biscuit tin!”, but the waistband of my fat jeans is telling me that maternity clothes are not far away. The question is this – what do I really need? I’ve found about seventy billion lists of what I need for the baby, but absolutely none for me. Basically, I will only be wearing these clothes for the next 6 months (if I can’t fit into my old stuff after the birth, I’ll need new summer stuff anyway), so I don’t want to buy too much, but on the other hand, I’ll be wearing these clothes for the next 6 months, and I really don’t want to be wearing the same 2 t-shirts non-stop.
So here’s the deal: I work 3 days a week at a university, which does not require me to dress up too much, my standard outfit is a pair of dark coloured jeans and a blouse or a nice t-shirt or jumper (what you would call a sweater, I assume). The rest of the time, I wear pretty much the same stuff, just more casual (a washed out pair of jeans, more casual t-shirt, whatever). I do own a couple of smarter skirts, and trousers for more formal occasions, which take place about once a month. Other details, I live in Munich, Germany, which means a fair amount of snow and ice in the winter, so I’m thinking I’ll need a new coat as well.

I’ve tried sitting down and making a list, but the pregnancy OTT worrying keeps kicking in, so I’d love to hear the experiences of you and your readers on this one…
Thanks a lot,
Love,
Kathie

Ha! I just gave away about 90% of my maternity clothing (and hand-me-downs from my sister) to a due-in-February friend, so this topic is at least somewhat refreshed in my mind.

(I will not lie…I gave the clothes away in hopes of tempting fate and a second pregnancy. Although I gave away about 150% of Noah’s baby clothes and toys about six months ago and NOTHING. ARGH.)

So. First up, if you can scrounge up some hand-me-downs, start there. A twice-pregnant coworker lent me her stash, and dude. Huge help. Some of the stuff wasn’t exactly my style and there was an AWFUL LOT OF PINK, but by the ninth month I did not care. Anything that covered mah belly and saved me from spending another dollar on maternity clothing that late in the game was welcome.

If hand-me-downs aren’t forthcoming, however, here’s a list of stuff I wore a lot. Like, a LOT. I really did wear the same few pieces over and over — I had a problem with buying stuff because it was on sale instead of really shopping around and buying things I genuinely loved. Whenever I DID treat myself to something cute and full price, it was usually worth it because I wore it to death.

ANYWAY. LISTY.

Jeans. Cute jeans. Think about how many pairs you have in regular rotation now and get about that many. I’m not sure what shopping options you have in Germany, but my favorite jeans were good old Gap Maternity. Nowadays more and more high-end denim brands (Citizens of Humanity, for example) are coming out with maternity lines. Since you wear jeans most of the time already AND have quite a few months to go, I would definitely say you’re justified in splurging on a great pair of jeans. (Especially if you’re thinking you might get pregnant again.) (Oh! And part of the reason for my cheapness during my own pregnancy was because I was sure we were only having one, and yeah. That went out the window by the time Noah was a month old.)

Black pants. A stretchy casual pair and a dressier pair. Slimming for the spreading-out ass! And since you’ll be pregnant in the winter you probably won’t want to wear a lot of dresses (maternity tights and hose = gah, and to be avoided if possible, says the girl who worked in a hose-required-at-all-times office), so black pants are fantastic way to dress up a little, especially when paired with…

Twinsets. I know! But seriously, sooooo versatile. A lot of maternity tops tend to be a little….sack-like, so I love the look of two pieces to break up the hugeness. Plus your body temperature tends to go kind of kaplooey during pregnancy, meaning you are forever too cold or too hot. A tank/tee paired with a cute cardigan or shrug works really well.
Enough tops to get you through a laundry cycle. Tees, sweaters (jumpers!), whatever. Try to find stuff that looks the MOST like what you wear now — trust me, you’ll wear that stuff way more than some polka-dot-and-bow monstrosity. With the current trend of big, long and voluminous-type tops, you could probably even wear some non-maternity tops for a few months.

To give you an idea on a number: Don’t count on wearing anything twice before washing it. You will spill EVERYTHING on yourself. You will be klutzy and completely forget how to eat without dribbling food down your front. They don’t make napkins big enough for pregnant women. Unless you’re talking about tarps.

(Now would be a good time to interject that you don’t have to buy EVERYTHING right now. You are allowed to shop during your entire pregnancy! You get multiple trips! I know it’s natural to want to buy stuff now for maximum wearing time, but as you expand it’s inevitable that stuff you buy early on won’t work anymore.)

A dress or two. I had a ton of dresses since mine was a summer pregnancy, but it’s a good thing to have no matter what. Black and stretchy works the best, although if there’s a specific special occasion it does feel nice to go with something more tailored to your shape. Oh, and a plunge-y neckline to show off the pregnancy cleavage. Heh.
A coat. Again, I didn’t need one, but my sister did. She bought a nice wool peacoat from the Gap, and then layered thin ski-type thermal fleeces underneath when it got really cold. I think this is a great idea, since really, the LAST thing a pregnant woman needs is a bulky puffy coat that makes her look like a lumbering abominable snowman.

Underwear. It never occurred to me that I’d need special maternity underwear, but I did. Low-cut in the front and a little more generous in the back. (I actually still wore thongs most of the time, but y’all know my documented panty-line insanity.) They were also great to have postpartum, when things aren’t yet back to normal and also way too…messy. (Sorry, it is true.) I let the maternity panties get all ruined and gross, then tossed them.

Don’t worry about nursing bras — buy regular bras as your boobage grows and wait until your milk comes in to get measured for nursing bras. I bought a few ahead of time and completely misjudged what size I’d need. Waste of a lot of money, honestly. Get a sports bra in a bigger size to wear in the first week or so postpartum (if you even get to put your boobs away that long).

Soft cozy jammies and stretch pants. Embrace your inner slob, at least occasionally.

You might also find in a few months that you need to go up a half-size or so in your shoes. Buy some nice flats and don’t panic…my feet went back to my old size immediately, so there’s no need to cry every time you look at all your pretty, pretty shoes that will never fit AGAIN, MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE, GO AWAY YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND MY FEET ARE FAT AND HIDEOUS SOB.
(That may have just been my particular brand of pregnancy brain. But yeah. Get ready to be a little…emotional sometimes.)

Don’t forget to visit Amalah’s Weekly Pregnancy Calendar.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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8 Responses to “The Everything Maternity Wear List”

  1. psumommy Oct 12 at 11:55 am Reply Reply

    Oooh, ooh! I can add to this! Yippee!
    First, Amalah’s list is awesome. I wish I’d had that list when I was pregnant with my first…see, I didn’t want to spend any money on maternity clothes, either, because what if I didn’t have any more kids? I’m only wearing these for 6 months! So I got 1 pair of jeans and 3 XXL t-shirts. And spent the entirety of my pregnancy feeling so nasty that I never went outside.
    It wasn’t until my third pregnancy that I went out and spent money on an entire NICE wardrobe, and it was worth every single penny. I felt like I really was cute (as everyone was telling me I was, but, when you’re wearing a sack, you feel horrible).
    My advice? GET GOOD CLOTHES. Spend money on them. Because although you’ll only be wearing them for 6 months, even if you think you might only be pregnant this once. And get more closely-fitting clothes (there are a lot more out there now…stretchy tops and such). You will look smaller than if you’re wearing a tarp. I *promise*.

  2. ethansmomma Oct 12 at 12:09 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with Amy. I got a lot of clothes from my sister who had twins exactly one year before my son was born. I like her list and I just wanted to add one thing. I also bought some really cute corduroy pants. I got sick of wearing blue jeans but I didn’t want be too dressy with black pants. I bought some at http://www.oldnavy.com and got lots and lots of compliments and they were warmer than jeans.

  3. Isabel Oct 12 at 12:13 pm Reply Reply

    I’ve been reading a lot of novels set in Ireland and have been wondering why they are wearing jumpers WITH skirts. Now I know.
    I was lucky to get loads of hand me downs when I was pregnant. It saved my life. The best thing was the designer jeans, and I don’t even usually wear jeans. I also loved the plain black slacks I got for $20 from Motherhood Maternity. I was also lucky enough to find quite a few sale sweaters at GAP Maternity. (I live by one and was able to stalk it for sale prices.)
    I went to Germany while pregnant…without a properly fitting maternity coat. Dude, Germany is cold. So yeah, buy a coat!
    I also make sure to now loan my clothes out to friends. I know how much it helped so and I’m happy to return the favor. Us ladies need to stick together! Looking good really does help you feel good.

  4. leahkay Oct 12 at 1:26 pm Reply Reply

    The concept of maternity hose blows my mind

  5. Colleen Oct 12 at 2:10 pm Reply Reply

    I agree…don’t buy all your stuff in one trip because by the time I got to month 7, I was so stinkin’ huge that I needed to get the next size up in maternity clothes…plus, you will be wearing these things for at least a good 6 weeks after the baby’s born (or at least I did since my waist went from 27″ to 43″…had to put some of that extra tummy SOMEwhere)! A lot of my size woes were also related to the fact that I’m short and short-waisted, so if you suffer from either, definitely wait, or borrow from someone a little bit taller/bigger than you. I also found that tie-shoes (tennis shoes, oxfords) were a little more forgiving for those swollen feet without needing to splurge on a whole bunch of new shoes that will probably be too big by the time baby is 1 month old or so.
    Good luck! and Congrats!

  6. Arwen Oct 13 at 10:44 am Reply Reply

    This is a great list! The one thing I’d add to it is a Bella Band (can you get them in Germany?) which is what got me through the stage Kathie is in right now.

  7. appelsauce Oct 14 at 1:04 pm Reply Reply

    I live in Germany, too, and here are my maternity shopping suggestions:
    - Get your tops from H&M. Their maternity stuff is cute and affordable, and they rotate their selection regularly. And did I mention it’s affordable? So you can get lots and lots and layer them for warmth.
    - Look for long tops, even if they aren’t maternity. They’ve come in fashion in Germany, and you can often get away with wearing them until the last 2 months or so, when the real maternity wear becomes a must.
    - Invest in a really good pair of maternity jeans. I don’t know about Munich, but Berlin has lots of boutiques geared toward pregnant and nursing ladies. They’re too expensive (in my opinion) to get everything there, but I went to one in Berlin called “Sexy Mama” and bought myself a pair of maternity jeans for 80 Euros, and I wore them almost EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY. It was sooooo worth it.
    - For sweaters and general warmth, look at wrap-type, poncho or drape-like styles. These were never exactly my style, but I fell in love with them when I was pregnant, and they have the advantage of not necessarily having to be specifically maternity wear. Also, this is a look you’ll find easily in Germany. They accommodate your expanding belly and really come in handy when breastfeeding (think easy access!).
    - When in doubt, look in baby stores (Babyfachgeschäft, in case your German isn’t fluent). They often have sections with maternity clothing.

  8. Melissa Oct 15 at 11:17 am Reply Reply

    I’m due in April too (end of the month).
    I’ve been using Bella B@nds to keep my pre-pregnancy pants on (wearing them unbuttoned). I’m not really showing, just getting a bit thick at the waist. However, I know some people hated Bella B@nds so try to find a store that carries them and try on first.
    I’ve been wearing a lot of A-line skirts. I can hike the waist up a bit and they still look good.
    Besides friends, have you tried consignment stores? I know someone people have issues with used clothes so this might not work for you but I went to a nicer consignment store and found lots of barely used Pea in the P0d clothes, including a couple of cute dresses.

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