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Looking For The Right Maternity Clothes

Oct 17, 2007
When you are pregnant, the whole notion of "does this outfit make me look fat" takes on a whole new meaning. Not only do we not want to look fat, we want to look beautifully pregnant without looking like we put on extra weight. We want curves to show in the right places, but we don't want our bottom to look as big as our belly! More than ever, this is a time in a woman's life where smart shopping is key to building a stylish, functional and flattering maternity wardrobe.

The average weight gain for a pregnant woman is between 25-35 pounds. This weight gain starts to occur in the middle of your first trimester, unless you have severe morning sickness, and continues to the day you have your baby. Not only are you putting on more weight overall, your weight gain might shift to new places on your body such as your arms, thighs and even feet! Nearly every pregnant woman finds their bust size increase by a cup during pregnancy and oftentimes more during nursing. Women who never gained weight in their bottom or hips suddenly find they have more to address than just an expanding belly. On the bright side, being pregnant can have some huge shopping perks, because now is the time you have the license to buy yourself a new wardrobe so why not have some fun with it!

If you want to find some great fashion that is comfortable and doesn't break the bank, shop first for some good basic mix and match pieces. Here are a few tips to keep in mind in building your wardrobe:

- The sooner you start your maternity wardrobe, the more mileage you will get out of it and the more comfortable you will be in your clothes. Once you stop trying to squeeze into your seemingly shrinking regular clothes with increasingly tight waistbands, you will no longer feel bloated and overweight. Others will also recognize you are pregnant and stop worrying about your weight as well! Also, you are less likely to feel morning sickness from comfortably fitting maternity clothes.

- Remember that maternity sizes should be roughly equivalent to your normal, pre-pregnancy size. However make allowance for your weight gain. If you find that you are gaining at a quicker rate than average, you might find going up a size is more comfortable. Oftentimes overseas brands such as Ripe Maternity and Noppies Maternity will run slightly smaller than many American brands such as Japanese Weekend and Maternal America. If you are shopping online it is a good idea to check out the size chart and description to see if there is any note of the item running large or small. You can also call or email customer support on brand fitting information.

- When in doubt, always go up a size. Now is not the time for sizing vanity. You are pregnant and expected to gain weight and you will be much more comfortable in a size that fits you with room to grow. If you buy an item that barely fits you today with little room to grow, you will find yourself staring at it in your closet for the remainder of your pregnancy. Remember you will get bigger until the day you have your baby, you will not be going on a diet while you are pregnant! Look for comfortable elastic waistbands that have the same color waistband as the rest of the pant.

- Never buy a tight maternity or nursing bra or undergarments. Not only will a maternity or nursing bra be uncomfortable, if it is too tight it can also lead to clogged milk ducts and mastitis when you are nursing. Also, your breasts need to have room to grow even after delivery of your baby. Some women go up another cup size after their milk comes in.

- Invest in a good maternity jean. There are stylish and comfortable maternity jeans at every price point. If you do want to splurge a bit on one item, do it on a well fitting maternity jean, particularly if you are jeans person. Aside from sleepwear, this is one fashion item you will get the most mileage from, so it is worth it to spend a few extra dollars to find a pair that will last and stretch you through your pregnancy. Many maternity jeans, such as the Noppies 4 Pocket Jean, looks like a regular jean as it does not have an elastic maternity band and fits below the belly with an internal waist adjuster. This type of jean can also be worn as a transition jean after the baby.

- In cold weather dress in layers. Buy lighter weight clothing than you would usually wear as you will find your overall body temperature higher when you are pregnant. Even in the winter months, and particularly in places like an office space, an overdressed pregnant woman can easily overheat. By dressing in lighter layers you can shed or add clothing as needed.

- Don't wear restrictive clothing, if you we must wear pantyhose, buy maternity pantyhose, such as Noppies Maternity Tights. Maternity pantyhose will allow belly support and allow for better circulation. Maternity leggings are a good non-restrictive and trendy option over pantyhose. Japanese Weekend, Maternal America and 1 in the Oven all make a high quality legging in a variety of styles and colors to choose from. Leggings look great under a maternity tunic, dress or skirt!

- When shopping, look for similar color families than can be easily mixed and matched and are layer friendly. Tanks and camis make an excellent first layer as they are comfortable and add a light layer of warmth. Also, camis and tanks can be worn alone in the warmer weather and many are made with support bras. There are also many transitional camis and tanks out there, such as Glamourmom's maternity/nursing tank, that can be worn for maternity as well as for nursing after the baby is born.

- Look for transitional maternity tops and maternity dresses that can double as nursing tops and dresses which can be worn after the baby. There is now a wide variety of fashions available for transition wear. Japanese Weekend has an excellent selection of transition wear nursing tops including a very versatile office-friendly Cross Over Top Maternity/Nursing top. Majamas has a whole line of transition wear clothing including their super soft yoga pants that can be worn throughout pregnancy and beyond. The Maternal America Nursing Dress is a beautiful new dress by Maternal America which can be worn throughout your pregnancy and does not look like a nursing dress.

- Buy an all purpose black pant that is comfortable to wear. Black goes with everything and is slimming as well so don't forget to stock this basic. Also, make sure you have some comfortable loungewear pants for the house. 1 in the Oven's Super Soft Ruched Fold Over Pant and Corduroy Lounge Pants are stylish enough to wear outside the house. They are very comfortable that you want to live in them.

- Make sure you spice up your wardrobe with a few fun patterns and flirty dresses. Remember, you will be living in this clothing for at least 6 months. If you plan to get pregnant again in the future, you may be looking at the many of these same maternity clothes in your closet. Make sure you have some fun and mix in some fashion pieces that you will enjoy wearing. Solids are important for your wardrobe, but they can get boring pretty fast if that's the only thing you are wearing everyday!

Shopping is supposed to be fun, not a chore. So, have some fun with the wide selection of maternity fashions out there. You have a whole new and evolving shape to dress, so try some new looks, show some cleavage, and have fun shopping!
About the Author
Amy Jarman is owner of maternity clothes store TummyStyle.com, with brands like Majamas, Maternal America, & Japanese Weekend.
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