Dressing for Two
Finding maternity clothes that are fashionable, that fit, that grow comfortably with you, and that don't cost a fortune can be a challenge. Start out by deciding how much you want to spend; if you blow your whole clothing budget on a few items, you're going to be awfully limited in your wardrobe.
A few other things to keep in mind while you develop your wardrobe:
Consider your laundry threshold. Check the tags to make sure that the care instructions mesh with your lifestyle. Hand washing your delicates may not top your priority list right now. And make sure you get enough maternity pieces so you aren't washing the same three outfits constantly.
Mix and match. Try to build on what you already own by adding pieces that will work well in a variety of combinations.
Keep your sense of style. Although maternity clothes are getting more fashionable in response to women's needs, there are still plenty of overalls festooned with ruffles and appliqués, “I'm With Fetus” T-shirts, and similar maternity abominations out there. Buy what you like; even if it takes a little searching, it will be worth it.
Built to last? You'll only be wearing these clothes for a matter of months, so they don't need to be made to withstand a natural disaster. However, if you're planning on stretching their shelf life through another pregnancy, spending a little more on well-made, durable attire is more economical in the long run.
Look Good…Feel Good
Dressing well can improve your mood and self-image at a time when these may be shaky. Dressing well, according to your own personal style, does not necessarily mean dressing up. This could mean wearing a favorite jogging suit for running errands or a little (or big) black dress for a night out. Don't forget to purchase some nice loungewear or pajama sets for your take-it-easy days. Even when you're throwing up and miserable, slipping on something cozy can comfort your soul, if not your stomach.
Shopping by Due Date
Think about the time of year when you'll be delivering, especially if you live in a region with a variable climate. Being nine months pregnant in the dog days of summer wearing the wool pants you bought mid-winter will not be a good idea. To bridge the seasonal shifts, buy clothing that layers well — peeled down for summer and piled on for winter. Invest in mix-and-match pieces in breathable fabrics that are adaptable to temperature changes.
Beg, Borrow, and Rent
What could you possibly find in your partner's closet? Plenty, if you use a little imagination. Oversized button-down oxfords and a fashion-forward Hawaiian shirt or two if you're feeling adventurous. Even some of his khakis or other casual slacks may be a good fit in the early months of pregnancy when you're too big for your old pants yet not quite at the maternity clothes stage. If you're just starting to show in late summer but want to save your clothing budget for fall and winter weather attire, borrow a pair or two of his cargo shorts to fill the gap.
If you and your significant other aren't a good size match, tap formerly pregnant friends and family for contributions. Take what you're offered — graciously. Even if the item doesn't look quite you at the outset, try matching it with some of your own pieces and accessorizing; the diversity may do your meager wardrobe some good. If it's beyond help, it can stay on the hanger and no one will be the wiser.
Wondering how you can possibly determine how clothes you buy now will fit you in six months? You need a belly form, which is a small pillow that mimics the look of advanced pregnancy, available at maternity stores. You simply tie the belly form to your midsection before trying on maternity clothes.
There is also a new breed of maternity clothing boutique, where for a monthly or weekly fee you can rent a selection of outfits to get you through pregnancy. The benefit is more variety in your wardrobe, since you can switch out clothing on a regular basis. The downside is that if you're planning on a subsequent pregnancy, your investment won't leave you with anything to keep and wear again.
Dressed for Success
Women who work in an office or other professional environment have the added challenge and expense of finding appropriate clothes. Because of their limited lifespan in women's closets, maternity clothes make great resale shop fodder. You would be surprised at some of the bargains you can uncover. Consignment stores that deal specifically in maternity wear are also becoming more commonplace; check your local yellow pages to see if there is one near you.