I have been asked a lot of times during my pregnancy where I tend to shop for maternity clothes – not sure if it’s a good thing because people think I still dress well for a preggo? ;) Anyways I figured I would make a review of my maternity favs and the staples that have gotten me through just about eight months.
I should preface this by saying that while I don’t consider myself a true bargain shopper, I still try to not spend a ton of money on my clothes. I usually only buy things when they’re on sale or I have a coupon (even though I know most stores just mark stuff up to begin with, I just feel better shopping with coupons!). My favorite stores pre-maternity were New York & Company, Target, Old Navy, Kohl’s, JCPenney’s, and The Loft. For maternity shopping, I have had the most success at Old Navy, Target, Motherhood Maternity, JCPenney’s and Kohl’s, so many of my favorites stayed the same.
My local Old Navy has a maternity section in the store, though it’s very small. However, their clearance section was pretty good and I often found dresses there for less than $15 (one I found was $8). Old Navy’s online return policy for maternity items is that you have to return by mail only, however, I asked two separate times at my local store if they would accept maternity returns and both associates said yes, it would not be a problem. I never had to return anything to the store, but this made me feel much better about ordering items online. I would wait for 20% or 30% sales and then order a bunch of items at one time to get the free shipping (spend over $50). I love just about all the clothes I have ordered from Old Navy, though their sizing tends to run big for most items. A couple t-shirts I ordered months ago, I’m just fitting into now with a bigger bump. So they may be best to shop for in the middle of your second trimester or try going down a size.
Target has been another store I check every few weeks. It’s rare when their maternity items go on sale/clearance, but I did find a few t-shirts awhile back for $5 and use those now for sleeping/working out. My favorite work pants came from Target. At $35 a pair, that’s more than what I usually want to spend on dressy pants, but they were the only ones that came with a big enough belly panel that covered my entire tummy and back (no weird muffin top in the back). They have lasted all the way from 13 weeks until now (and they will still stretch), so I’m glad I sucked it up and bought a few pairs of them, as I definitely got my money’s worth. They were basically all I wore in the winter unless I did a dress with leggings combo. Target also has very cute dresses that are usually under $30, so I have picked up a couple of those. All of their pieces have fit true to normal pre-maternity size.
There is a Motherhood Maternity in the outlets about 35 minutes from our house, so I have visited there 3 or 4 times during my pregnancy. I don’t think I have bought anything regularly priced there – usually I only let myself shop their sale racks. I have found tops, dresses, leggings, and one pair of gray chinos there, usually ranging anywhere from $15 to $30 a piece. One time I also had “bump bucks”, so if you spent $75, you would receive $30 off. Some of the items I love, while others I’m not a fan of now after wearing them a couple times. A couple of the dresses and one of the tops I bought back in my second trimester are now a little too short to wear. And the tops that come with coordinating sashes never look right – I would rather wear one of my own belts instead of the sash/tie. I would definitely recommend trying their items in the store, since they provide the fake pillow bump in the fitting rooms so you have an idea of how big you will get later on. Their sizing really depends on the piece – some things were really big while others fit tight.
JCPenney and Kohl’s are stores I would check every so often but didn’t buy a ton of things from. I found my favorite tank tops, a t-shirt, and a pair of jeans at JCPenney and I bought 2 pairs of jeans at Kohl’s that are still my favorite pairs. The maternity clothes are pricey at Kohl’s and even though I tried a lot of tops on there, I never bought any since they never seemed to fit right.
I really have no idea how much I spent total on my maternity wardrobe – probably a lot more than I would have liked to spend, but I do know that I have gotten pretty good use out of just about everything I purchased. I know some women try not to purchase maternity items until they really don’t fit into their regular clothes anymore, but that didn’t work for me. My regular tops started to become very unflattering as I started to have the “bloat” bump towards the beginning of my second trimester. They didn’t show off my stomach in a good way and I found that maternity tops just looked better. Same with dresses – a lot of blog moms-to-be that I follow still fit in their regular dresses well into their third trimester, but I have found my normal dresses are too short in the front. Maternity dresses have extra material in the front and the ones I have purchased aren’t “tent” like. I think a common misconception is that maternity clothes are frumpy and expensive – yes, there are definitely more pricey stores out there, but I think most stores have come a long way and it’s much easier to find cute “normal” clothes that are decently priced.