I know some of us moms couldn’t wait to get pregnant, but I don’t think any of us were eager to start wearing maternity clothes. While maternity fashion has come a long way from tent dresses, there are still things no one actually likes about maternity clothes. Most of my maternity wardrobe consisted of hand-me-downs, for example. I was so grateful to not have to shell out much money on clothes that would only serve me for a few months, but I was equally grateful to pass them on to the next expectant mom. #GoodRiddance, is all I'm saying.
Discomfort is an undeniable fact of pregnancy and one most women can come to terms with until, of course, maternity clothes add insult to injury. I resorted to mostly stretchy leggings and skirts and occasionally raided my husband’s large shirt drawer. However, I still had to look presentable at my office, which skewed casual but not “yoga pants” casual.
Shopping for maternity clothes was definitely a low point during my pregnancies. I equated it to buying tampons; purchasing stuff I needed but couldn’t get excited about and that, criminally, never went on sale. Even though I just needed a few staple items to bridge the gap of what fit, during the last trimester and for a few months postpartum, it was such a chore to comb the racks for something to wear while pregnant. That's probably why I didn’t even bother upsizing my bras during pregnancy; I just resorted to sports bras (and not caring about being anything more than comfortable).
Shopping for new clothes is usually fun and exciting and a great way to feel awesome in your body. Unless, of course, you're pregnant. Sure, you have your moments of feeling fabulous and comfortable, but there's no denying that there are things no one actually likes about maternity clothes, including the following:
Not that you really need a ton of options when you're going to be wearing a set of clothes for a pretty small amount of time, but it would be nice to have more choices. Large retailers have maternity lines, but if you prefer to curate your wardrobe from smaller boutiques and vintage shops, you might be SOL finding anything for a mom-to-be.
I thought the pickings were slim when I was just shopping for a few key work pieces to get through the latter half of my pregnancy, but there was truly a dearth of options for maternity bathing suits and formal dresses (if you didn’t want to spend a fortune).
I have never rocked a bikini so often as I did when I was seven months pregnant with my daughter. That summer, the only comfortable, affordable options that fit were 2-piece bathing suits. The maternity suits were expensive and didn’t feel great and forget about finding something nice to wear for my anniversary dinner at almost nine months pregnant.
For those of us who aren’t into frilly things, maternity clothes can be a real drag. True, there is no greater indication of your biological “female-ness” than your pregnancy, but some of us aren’t always into flaunting it. Androgynous maternity fashion is hard to come by, so we might just wear guys’ clothes to accommodate our growing shapes. Sadly, those clothes usually don't fit very well, either.
Namely, our boobs. I don’t know how many maternity shirts I tried on that had plenty of room for my belly, but stretched uncomfortably across my chest. And if I sized up to accommodate my swollen rack, the sleeves kept going way past my fingertips. Get it together, designers!
This didn’t happen to me, but I have mom friends who got narrower in some places as their midsections grew wider. With non-maternity clothes, we know which brands fit our bodies best because a size in one line may not be comparable to the same size in another line. But since there are far fewer maternity clothes lines, it’s tougher to find the “right” (or “good enough”) fit.
Maternity clothes can use a voluminous amount of fabric and, at barely five-foot-one, I often felt swallowed up by skirts and dresses designed for expecting moms. If I wanted to wear something that didn’t drag on the floor, I hiked my elastic waist skirt up over my chest and wore it like a sundress. (Do not attempt this in December, however.)
Flimsy. Scratchy. Ill-fitting. Bargain-priced maternity clothes were definitely a “you get what you pay for” situation. Still, I was reluctant to spend much on clothes that (I hoped) were going to be temporary wardrobe solutions.
High-end maternity clothes are a great way to get us pregnant ladies to drop even more cash, by perpetuating the belief that gestating a human is no excuse for not being fashionable even though it is the perfect excuse. Seriously, stop up-selling us on maternity fashion and just treat us like any other woman shopping for the elusive, flattering pair of pants.
Sizing according to trimester would have been really helpful for and to me. Not everyone grows or gains the same way, yet maternity clothes often felt like a “one size fits all,” and that size was always “full term.” I would have liked some early second trimester options, when you have to accommodate a bump but you’re not quite ready for the empire waist uniform.
Has a pregnant working woman ever not been photographed in a wrap dress? I can’t even look at one, having practically lived in them as office wardrobe staples during both my pregnancies.
The fourth trimester, you guys. It’s a real thing and it’s even more of a call to action for retailers to offer cute, affordable, comfortable maternity clothes. We will be in them for a while, and we can’t wear yoga pants all the time. Actually…