I never realized what a luxury it was to be able to wear dresses and sandals every day; with the cooler weather in Paris, my wardrobe has gone from feminine to functional practically overnight.
Now that I’ve traded the warmer climes of Abidjan for the dull drizzle of Paris, my maternity wardrobe is priority number one. And at seven-and-a-half months pregnant, comfort has become paramount (although to be fair, it describes the fashion aesthetic I’ve had for most of my life).
Here are my dos and don’ts for maternity wear:
DO know when it’s time to shop for maternity wear.
In the early stages of pregnancy, I resisted buying maternity wear out of some misguided notion that I was being frugal. I fastened my jeans and shorts with a safety pin up until the fourth month, despite the discomfort. I wore out old t-shirts and tank tops until they became almost indecent.
Big mistake. There’s nothing to be gained by procrastinating on maternity clothing purchases — embrace your new silhouette! You’ll breathe a lot easier once you wear clothes that fit.
DON’T feel you have to sacrifice style for comfort — and vice versa.
With the abundance of maternity stores out there, there’s no reason you can’t outfit yourself in attractive maternity clothing. It will lift your spirits — even if you’re not particularly thrilled that your waistband is eclipsing that of your partner!
I bought dresses and shirts in soft, natural fibres like cotton — these pieces are not only cozy, they’re also chic.
DO borrow clothing from friends and family if possible.
Chances are you have a few friends or family, who would be willing to loan — or even give you — their maternity clothes. It’s a great way to add some variety to your wardrobe without breaking the bank.
DO keep budget in mind.
It goes without saying that you should be wary of spending too much on your maternity wear — even if you get pregnant more than once. Look for clothes that can accommodate your post-pregnancy figure, but can also shrink back as you lose weight.
DO invest in the essentials.
Although budget is important, at a minimum, you should invest in the essentials — in my case, a maternity bra, a few shirts, jeans and comfortable shoes were my go-to items.
The maternity bra is a no-brainer — I’ve read that your breast size can increase by up to four times! As for shoes, I’ve gone up two sizes so I had no choice but to invest in a new pair. (I shudder to think of what my feet will look like in another month!)
Jeans with an elastic waistband are my wardrobe staple and have helped me accommodate my expanding belly. And I’ve learned to layer cotton shirts so that I can easily remove or add items according to my body temperature.
DO keep back support in mind.
At the beginning, back support may not be uppermost in your mind, but trust me, in the later pregnancy months, you’ll be grateful for the support. Thankfully, the age of rigid undergarments has passed; instead, you can opt for a bellyband.
These bellybands can not only help you transition out of your pre-pregnancy clothes, but a more robust bellyband or maternity support belt can provide an extra lift for your belly and relieve lower back pain. Or you can buy clothing with the bellyband built in: My favourite pair of pants right now is my denim leggings — it has a wide elastic stomach panel and offers considerable back support.
What were your go-to maternity clothing items?
Originally published in January 2013.