I just donated some of my maternity clothes to charity (I think we're done with kiddos... well, 99% sure!) and I was thinking how maternity clothes have changed -- even in the past three years. Styles are getting more colorful, comfy AND fancier, plus with better fits -- and that's just what a mama with a growing belly needs!
Since I am a self-proclaimed cheapskate, I am always on the hunt for a good deal. (Why should that change just because my waistline was temporarily growing? Teehee.) Basically, I went into maternity-clothing-shopping with the assumption that preggo outfits shouldn’t cost a fortune because it’s not like I’d be wearing them for a solid decade, like an expensive pair of jeans. Well, then I got pregnant rather quickly for our second child, so low and behold my maternity wardrobe held up to lots of wear over the past two years. I definitely think I found some great prices on maternity wear, and below are some local and online ‘sure-bets’ for belly beautification, starting with my personal faves.
Motherhood Maternity is the first stop for many first-timers (as was mine) and I was impressed with how their jeans lasted well into my second pregnancy. Monmouth Mall used to have a stand-alone store, but now the mall has MM at Macy’s and Boscov’s, and down the street BabiesR’Us has a MM section by the boys clothing department. (Anyone try on the new Jessica Simpson collection there? LMK! I love how she's a real woman with curves, so I'd bet her maternity wear is super comfy.) Says my friend Fran, a mom of three, “Motherhood Maternity made easy, wearable clothing, not stuff that was so heavy and form-fitting that you couldn't breathe.”
There’s also a fabulous MM stand-alone store at the Jersey Shore Premium Outlets http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=78) and when they have big sales you can score amazing deals, especially on formal-wear (as an outlet store, their prices are great anyway, IMHO). There’s another stand-alone store at The Commons at Hooper in Toms River, and at Freehold Raceway Mall, too (with a great plus-size section!). Motherhood Maternity is often applauded for having plus sizes, and hats off to them! To find a MM store or collection near you, go to http://www.motherhood.com/maternitystorelocator.asp.
Speaking of maternity-wear in Freehold, here’s a tip from my mommy friend Shawna: “I always got really cute maternity stuff from Gap Maternity. They've got a great section in the back in the Freehold Mall Store.”
I was super fond of Target and Old Navy’s maternity sections, though sometimes the Liz Lange line at Target can run small (especially in the pants/jeans, as me and some of my friends have discovered). Still, when you suddenly “pop,” it’s the easiest thing to run over to the Bullseye, isn’t it? Kristyn, a local mom, told me, “Target has nice sweaters for the winter season. My mom got me a couple there when I was having my first and I plan to reuse them this winter with my second child.”
I personally love the stretchy nursing tanks sold at Target; I packed them in my hospital bag before I went into labor, and I still wear them! My good friend Hawley agrees: “I loved Target for dresses, but I got most of my stuff from them online as the selection was a lot better.”
Sometimes it’s hard to find maternity selections in-store for Old Navy, so I’d definitely recommend shopping online, too. So many options! Adds Fran, “most of the maternity shirts from Old Navy could be worn after you deliver, too, and they were stylish enough so people didn't think you were still wearing preggo clothes!”
Fellow local mom Carly told me, “With both of my pregnancies being in full bloom over the summer, I lived in pretty cotton sundresses from Old Navy maternity and glorious flip flops. I always felt pretty and I never had to squeeze my feet into tight shoes.”
Jamie, another local mom, adds, “I love my Old Navy maternity jeans and found some cute dresses and shirts on their online site. I also got a lot of maternity clothes from Kohl's online. I would wait until I got a 30% off coupon and then go to town. I bought two maternity bathing suits off of their site as well and wore them right up to the end. They fit really well!”
BabyDepot at Burlington Coat Factory (Ocean Township, by Costco) has a nice-sized maternity department, and you can score great-priced tees, plus jeans with comfy above- and mid-belly waistlines for $7! (I did, on several occasions, I swear.) I found their maternity bra selection large, too, and when you’re not really sure what size your breasts will end up being (ah, the perks of pregnancy and delivery), I ended up buying probably four or five nursing bras each from Target and Baby Depot. (Another big brand for nursing tops is Bravado. They can run you more than $50 a bra, but testimonials from fellow moms in your circle might convince you to splurge!)
For formal attire, Pea in the Pod (The Grove, Shrewsbury, and other locations) has hands-down the best local selection, though their prices are higher than some other stores mentioned above. (I got a floor-length black jersey gown there that I have worn to two weddings, and I can definitely wear it post-partum, so it has been worth the bigger price tag for me.) Local mom Kate says, “I splurged on a pair of designer jeans (there). I was hell bent on still feeling stylish and trendy while preggos and working. They have a great selection of professional business clothes there too which was great for work.”
My good friend Jen also had a last-minute formal dress FedExed to her right before a wedding, courtesy of Nordstrom’s vast maternity selection online (at http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/womens-maternity-clothing?origin=leftnav).
(I think I have half-dozen pregnant friends right now, and my corps of awesome mommy-group friends added some more of their faves, as well! Here are their suggestions.)
Local mom Marisa says, “As for 'boutique maternity wear', I ordered nursing dresses from http://www.onehotmama.com and they were stylish and practical. They have a lot of nice maternity-into-post-partum things too.”
If you have a fancy occasion (like a wedding) but don’t want to shell out over $100 for a dress you’re only going to wear once (or possibly, ever again), many mamas-in-the-know like renting maternity clothes. My friend Lina, a mom of two, says “there are a couple of sites that rent maternity wear for special occasions, like: http://bellybumpboutique.com/ or http://www.rentmaternitywear.com/.”
With my second pregnancy I was craving some of the designs from Project Runway’s Christian Siriano. It appears his line is only available through rental sites or eBay, which is another great maternity resource. (Search under Fierce Mamas by Christian Siriano for Moody Mamas.)
Rosie Pope is a favorite designer for Jeanine, a local mom of two. “My favorite tee shirts were from Rosie Pope. Her stuff is great quality!” Check out her collections at www.rosiepope.com. (If you’ve seen her show on Bravo, you know she knows how to style modern moms, and you don’t need to be a wealthy celebrity!)
Another mommy group friend, Beth, shared this pregnancy find with me: “I just found out about Asos. They are pricey but if I'm ever pregnant again and have a little extra cash to splurge on a nice outfit, I'll definitely look there.” You can see the collection, too, at http://www.asos.com/Women/Maternity/Cat/pgecategory.aspx?cid=5813&a....”
And don’t forget about Ann Taylor Loft – though I must admit I didn’t know they carried maternity until recently. Mom Melissa says “I liked the stuff I ordered from the online site!”
It used to be that finding maternity clothing wasn’t a fun shopping experience, but now with so many stores carrying expectant-mama-friendly collections, the choices are almost endless. Now, if I ever have a third kiddo, I know some other places to shop!
(If you know of any other great maternity wear stores or online shops, please share!)