“I’m so BIG!”
I think I said that about thirty times this past weekend. It wasn’t as much of a dig at how much weight I’ve gained or anything like that, but more so just an observation that seemingly overnight my belly grew from “cute baby bump!” to “WOW you definitely have a baby in there.” I said it so much so that my husband gently pointed out around dinner last night that I only had about three more free passes for saying that before he was going to tell me to stop. I am, after all, officially 36 weeks. So naturally, I AM big. That’s crazy.
As all pregnant mamas know, as much as you would like to wear around in your husband’s shorts and tshirts for the final trimester of your pregnancy, you do have to go out in public at some point. Sometimes I get so annoyed with the maternity fashion industry because they really have it made. I mean, think about it. Maternity wear is like a necessary evil. You don’t really want to cave into it, but at some point you have to because no matter how hard you try, your hips will move too much that regular pants won’t fit you (even with the button…and zipper…undone) and XL tshirts will stretch in weird places and it’ll look like you stuffed a basketball under your shirt.
Once you do admit defeat and decide to buy some maternity clothes, it baffles me that some of the clothing options are so unflattering. It can be hard to find something that doesn’t look like you just decided to put a bag of fabric over your body. Oh, and paid full price for it because you have no other option. I mean, way to hit a girl when she’s down. In case you weren’t feeling like your normal self already because your body has changed into a baby-bearing machine and you hardly recognize yourself in the mirror, try finding fashionable, flattering clothing for a reasonable price.
I put together a little list of maternity fashion rules for myself (guidelines, really…Pirates of the Caribbean reference, anyone?) and thought I’d share them here as I know there are plenty of first-time pregnant mamas out there. I don’t claim to be a fashion expert by any stretch of the imagination, but here are my top five:
- Stick with the basics. A pair of jeans that fit you well, a couple of maternity shirts (tshirts or long sleeve, depending on the season), a couple of tanks (different colors), a cardigan (doesn’t have to be maternity), and a nice dress for special occasions. Those are the staples of any closet really, maternity or not. If you’re pregnant in the summer, at least one pair of shorts is a must. I was so paranoid to show my legs during my last pregnancy and got away without wearing shorts because I was never outside (busy season, yay). This time around, though, I really had no choice since being pregnant + 90 degree weather + very little air conditioning = either wear shorts or go naked. Shorts seemed like the more reasonable option.
- Avoid stripes…in moderation. Who thought it would be a good idea to put stripes on maternity wear? Seriously, though. 8 times out of 10 you’ll see shirts or dresses with stripes on them. I suppose they do it to accentuate the bump but I’ve found that stripes can either make or break an outfit. They should be worn in moderation. And yes, I realize that the photos for this post I am wearing a striped dress. I like that those stripes are thin and kind of spread out. It really just depends on the design. Another option? Find clothing that has stripes in an asymmetrical pattern. It gives you a different look and also helps minimize the “I feel huge and very wide” feeling when looking in the mirror. I recently purchased THIS DRESS from Target and like how it looks.
- Don’t be afraid of color. I’ll be honest, I don’t follow this rule or guideline at all. During my first pregnancy, I was all about the color. Like, too much. I went out and bought red and purple skinny jeans because my attitude was “why the F not?? I’m pregnant, flaunt it!” Until one day I showed up to work and realized I looked like the purple people eater. Ugh, I cringe just thinking about it. I’m definitely more of a neutrals girl…give me blue jeans and a black or grey tshirt any day and I’ll be a happy camper. With that being said, the neutrals can get really boring after a while. Find a color or two that you like and don’t be afraid to wear it. I have a really pretty blue dress that my mother-in-law bought me when I was pregnant with B and the dress I linked up to above is the same color as well. Whether it’s pink, red, or some other accent color, adding a little variety to your wardrobe will make those 40ish weeks go by a little faster.
- If you can, accessorize. I haven’t been able to follow this rule nearly as much as I would like for the second pregnancy because running around with a toddler all day makes it nearly impossible. However, I will say that wearing jewelry that made me feel pretty was one of my saving graces during my first pregnancy. A statement necklace and some earrings can make an outfit look and feel a thousand times better. This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but lately I have been finding myself pretending to accessorize when I get ready for the day. I’ll choose my outfit and then imagine how I would accessorize it if I didn’t have a toddler who would either pull on what I’m wearing or ask (constantly) to wear it herself. If you are looking for some jewelry, I’m currently crushing on anything from Dear Mushka. Her necklaces are the anti-statement necklace, but in a good way. Instead of being bulky and costume-y, her work is so simple and elegant. I want everything in her shop. Other great stores to check out are the J. Crew Factory and Target (obviously).
- Avoid paying full price. Unless you’re a millionaire, then go for it. But seriously, it bugs me that if you want to try and find some maternity wear that is unique, you’ll probably have to pay a pretty penny for it. Sometimes it is nice to purchase a piece or two that is a little more expensive because the quality is better and it also helps you feel special. I totally get that. If you are in the process of building your maternity wardrobe, though, things can get expensive really quickly. If I may suggest, the Motherhood Maternity outlet store usually has decent basic pieces for good prices. If you’re looking for something a little different, you can also try H&M. I love H&M in general and have had friends who’ve had successes with their maternity clothes. They’re still a little pricey for my taste, but I am a stinker when it comes to paying for maternity clothes. Which brings me to the second part of this post…
The website that restored my faith in humanity.
Yes, I realize that is the most dramatic intro ever and probably a little over-exaggerated. But you’re curious, right?
A month or so ago, I started running into articles on the internet about online consignment stores. Some of you may know, I have the tendency to buy my clothes secondhand. Some of it is budget related but most of it is me just wanting to purchase something made by a good brand without paying that good brand price. I rarely ever buy jeans full price, actually. Usually I’ll buy my shirts brand new because, well, personal preference. But I have purchased jackets and even boots secondhand before and have been really happy with them.
With all the heat this summer, I had been on the lookout to find a dress of some sort that I could wear around the house and when going out, if needed. I was really fed up with the options I was finding online because dresses can get really pricey, really quickly. When I did find something that I thought I would like, it ended up looking like I was wearing a bag. No shape whatsoever. UGH, talk about disheartening.
I decided to give ThredUP a try, because I had read good reviews about it online. What I liked about ThredUP is your ability to easily pare down your search results to a specific size and style you want. They also make it clear that they only accept clothing in mint condition and focus on selling brands that are a tad nicer. Yes, they totally have Kate Spade and other amazing designer brands, but they also offer pieces from ASOS, Old Navy and H&M. Oh, and the prices are amazing. Within minutes of filtering on my size, I found this great Old Navy dress (the one in all the photos above). I knew it was the one. I added it to my cart. And then I totally chickened out. I mean, I was about to purchase a dress that looked pretty on my screen…but it was from an online thrift shop! How did I know the quality was going to be good? That it wasn’t going to smell? And it had STRIPES! What was I thinking?
Given the inventory turnover they try to maintain, ThredUP will let you keep items in your cart for 24 hours and then they’ll have to remove those items so others can view them. I followed one of my rules for shopping (See THIS POST for reference) and was still thinking about the dress the next day. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. And then, an email came in from the CEO of ThredUP explaining that he noticed my cart was still full, sharing little bit about the company and why he believes in it, and offering me 40% off. Yes, I know it was an automated email, but what a cool thing to do. This company very much has a start-up feel and mentality about it, and as a former business student I can totally appreciate that. So I went ahead and bought the dress, and I’ve worn it at least once a week since having it delivered. I love it so much and it makes me feel pretty. And I only paid $14, including shipping. WIN.
The best part is that ThredUP offers pieces for men, women and children. All of their prices are super reasonable, and I’m noticing that once you purchase something you will more often than not get a 15-20% discount on a future purchase. They also have a ThredUP app for your phone that is super easy to use. With how pricey kids clothing can get (like toddler shoes?!), this is a great alternative. You better believe I have a bunch of filters already saved for when I’m ready to start shopping post-baby!
When you make a purchase from ThredUP you also get a referral code to share with anyone you want, so naturally I want to share it with you! If you click THIS LINK you’ll automatically get $10 off your purchase. That’s pretty nifty (and thrifty! Ha). I also get $10 if you spend $10, which is cool. Go ahead, take a look and let me know if you buy anything! I’d love to hear what you think.
Hope you have a fabulous Monday!