Why I did not enjoy shopping for maternity clothes…

In my opinion, they were mostly ugly.  I was annoyed by the small selection of mostly strange prints.  We started at a maternity/children’s consignment shop that had almost no maternity clothes at all.  However, I did enjoy looking at the kid’s Halloween costumes.

Next, we went to Target.  I heard a rumor that Target had some nice maternity clothes.  It was a lie.  I complained rather loudly about the lack of selection.  They had ONE style of maternity jeans, which I didn’t like.  They had ONE style of polyester dress pants.  The shirts were hideous.  I’m a jeans and T-shirt kind of gal, and I was looking for some simple, plain tops.  It was pretty frustrating, since I need to buy clothes but hated pretty much everything there.  Then, my mom decided to take out her camera, and we had fun.  Here were some of the choices at Target.

maternity clothes 002

Who doesn’t like purple flannel? Or a black ruffled dress?

maternity clothes 003

I really need a practical, belly-showing faux leather motorcycle jacket.

maternity clothes 001

How about a crazy printed tunic?

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What maternity wardrobe would be complete without a mumu? Or perhaps the correct spelling is moo-moo.

I left Target feeling pretty ticked off, but my mom convinced me to go to Kohls.  As we were walking in, I said, “If they ask me if I want a Kohl’s charge card, I’m going to punch them in the face.”  Two seconds later, we walked through the door and a lady asked me if I wanted a Kohl’s charge card.  As you probably guessed, I didn’t punch her in the face.

Kohls had a small maternity section, with normal-looking clothes.  I ended up getting a pair of jeans, khakis, black pants, and three solid tops.  Everything was on sale, too.  My only concern is that I now have to wear pants with this kind of waist-band:

maternity clothes 005

My mom has told me that I should realize how lucky I am, since maternity clothes have come a long way since I was born.  However, I still don’t like feeling as if I have to buy something I hate, just because I will soon outgrow my old stand-bys.

Moms and moms-to-be out there, what’s been your experience? I’m thinking shopping online is going to be the way to go here.  Can you point me to a good website or store? My mom would appreciate it, since she told me I embarrassed her in the stores today.  At least I’m learning the motherly art of embarrassing people.

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32 Responses to Why I did not enjoy shopping for maternity clothes…

  1. Jena

    Two tips I learned from my cousin:
    Buy one of those big stretchy band things. You can wear it with your normal jeans you just have to leave them unbuttoned. And don’t try to fold it in half, just let it go way up towards your chest or it will roll down constantly
    Also, she is buying all of her tops in the juniors section. The big flowing styles are in and very accommodating to her growing belly. She had a really nice top on at her baby shower that came from that section, and I’ve seen her with quite a few since then. She’s a teacher too and most of them I think she could wear to school. They even had solid colors.
    Some of those you saw are hideous!! I think a lot of stuff now if very ugly. The 80s are over and everyone should just face it! Hope this helps!

    • Jena~
      How’d you get to be such an expert? Great advice!

      I already bought Abbie a “Bella Band,” that she “lost,” so we picked up another one today! A friend of mine who is also due in March was wearing one at school the other day and swears by it! Anyway, we picked up another one today . . . so, Ab, keep track of it!

      This pregnancy seems to be changing Abbie’s personality, don’t you think? I’ve never heard her talk about punching someone before, but I do find that lady constantly asking if we want a Kohl’s card, very irritating, too!

      Ha!Ha!

    • zillalatte

      strange enough, go for the “really” low rider jeans. i had trouble with anything over my tummy, itchy, and unconfortable-made the morning sickness worse. Gave the fancy pants a try and it was wonderful, top went really low and worked great. OK I did feel a bit of a fool but I was comfortable and happy!
      I was also a bum and raided my hubbys shirts, jean shirts and one color hanes cotten tops were heven.

  2. alisa leahy

    hi-I enjoy your web-site tremendously!! About maternity clothes-when I was pregnant consignment stores was where I managed to find the best selection. Since you live in CT-the Tangers outlet in Westbrook has a Motherhood Maternity outlet. I remember finding some nice things there. There is also a consignment store in Old Saybrook-that might have some things. its something about a stork. Have you been to SAvers thrift store yet? there is one in Providence and one up in Manchester-I tend to find really good clothes at a decent price! Best wishes!!

  3. Abbie, you are a HOOT! Yes, you certainly are learning the “motherly art of embarassing people” as you put it, but of course you’ve had a good model for that!

    I must admit, it takes a lot to embarass me, but today you were coming close! And, yes, you were a bit loud, but I know you don’t enjoy shopping as much as I do.

    I’m so glad we found a few suitable items for school, but maybe we’d better look some more online. Oh, and by the way, I have a few things in my closet that I won’t wear b/c they make me look PG, so I’m sending them over!

    Love you! Keep laughing!

    Love,
    Mom

  4. Ugh. I hear you. Now try finding maternity clothes for a 6 foot female. One thing I did was wear normal jeans that are low cut and just didn’t button the top. That lasted for a while. You can also do a sewing project and sew an elastic band onto the top of pants that fit. Just cut the top few inches off and sew it on.

    Mostly I really found Gap had the best, most comfortable stuff that didn’t make me look like a cow and didn’t cost too much.

  5. I am going to send my wife over here. Last time some hapless nurse had told her to wear her husbands clothes. That went over well. What she did look good in was some bibs from Old Navy.

  6. I feel your pain. I had the most luck online, but even the selection there was abysmal. Just hope you don’t have to go to a formal event. The dress I wore to a wedding when pregnant with my son was so awful I wanted to burn it afterwards.

  7. Eileen

    A VERY long time ago when I was pregnant and lived in Connecticut, I found JCPenney at the Crystal Mall in Waterford had some practical, plain maternity tops. I too am a t-shirt and jeans type gal and JCPenny had what I was looking for. :0) You might check them out online and see what they have.

    Good Luck!

  8. Toni

    The place where I have had the best luck finding maternity clothes has been Old Navy. They are really hit-or-miss though, so either you will find plenty of good things, or lots of crap. But I have gotten several plain T-shirts, long sleeve Ts, and normal-bellied pants. I am very much a jeans and T-shirts kind of girl, no crazy patterned moo-moos here. Good luck, and most of all, congratulations!

  9. My daughter (also pregnant) learned about that belly band thing from her friends who’ve had children in the past X years.
    She was counting on some of those tops someone above mentioned, but her breasts have gone from maybe a B cup to a DD and those tops can no longer accommodate the mammoth chest area. She’s only 18 weeks and was a skinny waif of a thing. Heh.

    I’m looking forward to going with her to the Thrift Store as she develops. Right now, though, she’s complaining that she can’t even stand 10 minutes without getting dizzy. I was a “born to breed” type with absolutely NO problems with pregnancies or even delivery, so must STFU on anything pregnancy-related, because she’s NOT me.

    I was teaching during my third pregnancy and went with jumpers (dress-like jumpers with a regular blouse unbuttoned at the bottom underneath). I found them both comfortable and attractive for work.

    You’re gonna love this passage in your life, Ab.

    • Oldnovice~I should take your advice to STFU at times, too! I also loved the jumpers; my Mom got a pattern and made me a bunch of them. I was working full-time while pregnant w/ Abbie and they fit the bill quite well. I actually mentioned that to Abbie today and she just kind of turned her nose up on my idea. Maybe she’ll like it better coming from you!

      • Maybe she’ll like it better coming from you!

        No, she won’t. Heh. My daughter wouldn’t like it better coming from you, either. No offense intended to you OR me; it’s just a different era and I’m sure that both of us will be content to simply sit back and watch our daughters do the best job they can and we’ll be pleased.

        • zillalatte

          Jumpers rock, I could not stand to have anything on my tummy and had NEVER worn them, Cute Kris bought me some as I had refused to go into the stores anymore, loved them. Looked like a cow but they were confortable, grew with me, soft, could get both jean and kaki.

  10. Old Navy.com had some neat ones when I was pg with my last (albeit that was about 5 yrs ago.) They had normal, nice jeans and tshirts that were cute, but practical. Don’t think they have them in the stores though…

  11. The styles are terrible this year for all clothes. Shoulder pads, big shelves, PLAID, neon colors, etc.. 80′s everything lol.

    Good luck! This is a bad season hehe.

  12. I liked Old Navy. Sadly, they don’t ship to Canada, but since you live in the US you have many mail-order options. You’re right, it’s totally the way to go.

    I hated buying maternity clothes. It’s the worst. You need this whole new wardrobe for a very limited time, the pants are always falling down, and the selection is limited. And the worst part is that you outgrow them all when you’re like 8 1/2 months pregnant, leaving you in this horrible quandary of buying more clothes for an even more limited tenure or exposing 2″ of belly to the world. Awful!

    At the risk of shameless self-promotion I thought you might appreciate this post I wrote on the subject nearly 4 years ago: http://www.strocel.com/its-hot/ ;)

  13. Aunt Sara

    I made most of my maternity clothes 32 years ago.
    The same pattern made lots of different colored jumpers, and I just wore them over neutral colored tops ( or wore just the jumper as my daughter was due the end of August (but didn’t arrive until Sept 8th!)

    Jumpers are quick to make, very affordable, can be dressed up or down, and are perfectly appropriate for school.

    Have fun!

  14. I too was disappointed by target maternity, tho I did buy a pair of jean capris (they fit differently than the jeans, for some reason, and are great). Last time around I bought one pair of jeans at the Gap. An investment at 68$US — but I wore then every day from 4 months to birth, they looked fantastic, and I wore them a couple months after birth too. Just loved them. Unfortunately, I can’t find them in my attic, so am planning to go buy another pair… which is OK anyways since back then I was a 10 and this time around I am an 8. I also plan to check out Old Navy, but since their pants never fit me right, I don’t have high hopes for their maternity clothes…

  15. Stephanie

    I really enjoy your blog since I discovered it. I’m also a country girl who got relocated to NYC when my husband landed a job here. So I enjoy reading about country life through your antics as a way of remembering where I am from too.

    I too am expecting in March so it will be even more fun to read your posts as we’ll be going through similar experiences. I’ve also tried to start maternity shopping and am equally frustrated. Thankfully I’m still able to wear my usual stuff but it’s all growing tighter every day. My SIL suggested I have a look at Old Navy as she found her maternity wear there and it wasn’t as ugly as other places. I have been stocking up on the flowy tunic type blouses that are (thankfully) so popular these days.

    All the best to you – seems you have a wonderful community around you to enjoy this new experience :) Being pregnant has only made me more home-sick for my friends & family back in the Midwest.

  16. While not pregnant yet (I’m hoping that will change soon), I have already been looking at what to do. Frankly, I plan to take on as much old maternity stuff as my friends will give me, scour the consignment shops (though it sounds as if that was a bust), and, if I have to, get one nice dress from Ann Taylor Loft maternity online. The rest of their maternity stuff is a bit expensive, but it’s worth looking at–maybe something will be on sale…. Oh, and perhaps a good wrap dress will work for a while, the kind with the hidden strings inside to let it out….? Good luck!

    Thanks for the Target tip…too bad it looks so ugly. For crying out loud, doesn’t Liz Lange think pregnant women want to look beautiful, too? Congrats on the pregnancy!

    p.s. My mom says the same thing about how hideous and limited maternity clothes were. Must be generational, ladies!

  17. OK, I meant actual congratulations, not sarcastic, Liz Lange-related commentary. That was a misplaced sentence. :-P

  18. Ok everyone, I had some success today, too!

    Went to Stork Exchange, a consignment shop, and got a nice denim jacket for $11, and a black tank. Also visited Motherhood outlet and got 4 cute tops. So those two stores today and Kohl’s yesterday were the best places I’ve found so far!!!

    Congrats to all the other expecting moms out there!

  19. I am going to agree with everyone else and say Old Navy. I found a pair of capris that I will never ever give up there and several shirts… 97 cents for the tops! I pink puffy heart their sales! Other than that, I hated Target because nothing was appealing to me and the few items that were made me look like a cow long before I was ready.

    What really worked out for me was that I have several friends who have had babies within the last few years and we are all close to the same size. So we have a maternity clothes pool (which I now get to contribute to! :D) and when someone is preggers, the bins of clothes go to them!

  20. WOW -those are hideous. I always found the best stuff at Motherhood Maternity – they were dressy enough I could wear them to work. Target’s stuff. OMG. AWFUL. So glad you took pics so we could all die over it! :)

  21. Rob

    One thing my female cousins used to fdo was sew panels in their jeans made from sweaters! And I noticed tha black ruffle thing the model was wearing looked pretty stylish. Oh marketing!

  22. I’ve heard The Gap has some fantastic Maternity stuff.

    Also, I feel like if it was me, esp, in the beginning, I might be able to get away with low-rise jeans and the billowy tops that are so very ‘in’ right now. Not sure how long you can get away with that, but worth a try! My friends call my regular clothes ‘maternity’ anyway. Eeep!

  23. Back when I was pregnant (5 years ago almost), Babystyle was the way to go. I think they’re now defunct. Old Navy was a good second. I’m assuming that this will probably be your first – meaning that you’ll be pregnant more than once. I’d buy three or so quality outfits that you really really like and feel good about yourself in. They’ll get a lot of wear so it’s worth it to spend the money. A single pair of good jeans and a sweat outfit/sun dress for the last month when you feel like lying around all the time and you’re good.

  24. Hey there. I ran across this today and thought of you.

    It’s a tutorial for converting your regular pants into maternity pants:
    http://grosgrainfabulous.blogspot.com/2009/09/maternity-pants-tutorial.html

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