|From 5 Minutes for Parenting|
Today is my birthday.
It is my tradition to wear my favorite outfit on my birthday, something that is fun yet practical, comfortable yet chic.
When I was in the shower this morning, I mentally sorted through my clothes to see what I might don to make today sparkle.
Then I remembered: I’m pregnant. I have about five outfits that both fit and look stylish right now. And I’ve worn them nonstop for the last four weeks. (I did wash the sweater that got cookie dough on it. I think.)
Welcome to the wonderful world of maternity clothes.
To be fair, I know we’ve come a looonnnnggg way in the last decade. When I was pregnant with my first, in 2001, designers were just discovering the maternity market. My pregnancy books (most notably, “The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy”) lamented that the only options for expecting moms were tent-like dresses with sailor collars, flowing, hippie-like dresses covered with Laura Ashley flowers or leggings and your husband’s shirts.
Compared to the days of yore, we are living large in 2010. Not only do we have innumerable choices, but designers and celebrities alike have made maternity wear stylish and hip. Heidi Klum just announced she’s releasing her own line of maternity clothes, and there are whole websites devoted to what pregnant movie stars are wearing.
Still, for mere mortals like myself, maternity dressing can prove a challenge. So because I like lists, here are a few of the best and the worst about maternity wear, according to me.
Best Development – the Bella Band
For the uninitiated, the Bella Band is a super-soft band of stretchy nylon and spandex, designed to hold up your pants and/or cover your bulging belly through the entire course of your pregnancy.
I bought my first Bella Band in 2007, when I was about 34 weeks pregnant with my third baby.
And I haven’t taken it off since. (Not really. But close.) Best invention ever.
Best Style for Cheap – Liz Lange Maternity
Almost all the maternity clothes I’ve bought this time around have been from Target. They are cute, comfortable and – most importantly – inexpensive. I can’t stand paying $45 for a sweater that I know I will only wear for a few months. (More about that in a minute.) The Liz Lange line at Target doesn’t always fit my personal style. But it does preach that you don’t have to look maternal when you’re pregnant. I love that.
Worst Store - Motherhood Maternity
I’ve tried to shop at Motherhood Maternity. I have. And I do like their cloth tummies that allow you to see what you might look like later in pregnancy.
But every time I walk through their doors, I am accosted by their return policy – which is: No matter what, you will never get your money back. Even if the clothing falls apart after its first wash, you will only be offered an exchange or a refund in the form of store credit. And no returns or exchanges at all after 45 days.
I’m sorry, but I have a hard time making up my mind about clothes even when I’m not pregnant. I buy everything I like in the stores, take it home, try it on, think about it for days and then return what I don’t want.
When I’m in the throes of pregnancy hormones? There’s no way I can make the kind of commitment that Motherhood Maternity requires.
Not to mention that Motherhood has some of the most expensive clothing outside of actual designer labels. To be a store that supposedly caters to pregnant women, they do everything they can to ostracize their audience.
Worst Maternity Style – Pregnancy Overalls
Do I really need to say more?
(OK. Maybe one more thing: maternity overall shorts. I mean – really?!?)
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, really. Join in, fellow moms. What have you found to be the best and worst about maternity wear?
Kelly didn’t get paid to write any of the reviews above; she just has strong opinions on maternity clothes now that she’s halfway through her fourth pregnancy. She blogs at Love Well.