Thursday, March 16, 2017

Maternity Math: Figuring Out How Much Clothing to Buy When You're Growing Fast

By Amanda Light

When you’re growing a tiny human inside of you, your health and the baby’s health should be your main concern. That being said, while your tiny human is growing, so is your body. This can be a hard thing to cope with whether it’s your first, second or fifth pregnancy. Each pregnancy can be different and your body may not act the same way each time. Buying maternity clothes that can work for your pregnancy, through the trimesters, no matter the season, can be tough.

The goal of most moms, post-pregnancy, is to get their body back to its pre-pregnancy state. With this goal in mind, most mothers to be don’t want to spend a lot of money building a maternity wardrobe that will only be useful while pregnant. There are some key pieces that every mom should have that can be useful during pregnancy and directly afterwards. Basic layering tops, as well as a couple of versatile bottoms, are a great start to any maternity wardrobe. You can make the most impact with the least amount of spending using these items through your first pregnancy and beyond.

2 Maternity/Nursing Camisoles
Many nursing tanks come ready to be used during pregnancy, equipped with side ruching to accommodate a growing tummy. The wonderful thing about these tanks is that as soon as you give birth, you will need them—whether you intend to nurse or not. If you plan to nurse, they add another use to these already versatile layering pieces. If not, you’ve got a roomy basic that will fit your ever-changing body. During the colder months, wear these tanks under non-maternity items such as cardigans (like I did here), your favorite button-up (left unbuttoned) or oversized sweaters. When it’s warmer, you can wear them on their own.

3 Basic Maternity Tees
Finding maternity tees in versatile, wear-with-everything colors is a must. Look for white, black, navy and gray tees—long- or short-sleeved depending on the season. Choosing seasonal colors or prints is another option, but if you’re looking to spend as little as possible, make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck by sticking with neutral colors. The beauty of neutral tees is that they go with everything. They can seamlessly pop in and out of your wardrobe as you grow, and even right after you’ve given birth.

2 Pairs of Black Leggings
These will be your go-to during and after your pregnancy. They provide comfort and a versatile bottom that will pair with much of your wardrobe for most of your pregnancy. Getting a couple of pairs, some capri length, can keep you comfortable and also feeling somewhat chic. They can be dressed up with a pair of heels or made casual for errands with your favorite loafers. Bonus: During post-pregnancy, when you just want to hang out and bond with baby, these will provide the stretch and comfort you’ll need.

1 Pair of Maternity Jeans
Jeans are imperative as a building block to your maternity wardrobe. Just like the black leggings and basic tees, you can mix and match jeans with other pieces to no end. I recommend over-the-belly options, as these will leave no pesky “waistband line” as you grow larger, and they tend to fit better throughout the pregnancy. While some people swear by belly expanders for non-maternity jeans, you may not feel as comfortable, and sometimes it’s not just your abdomen that grows but your waist and thighs as well. Whatever option you choose, comfort should be key!

1-2 Seasonal Items
If you’re in your second and third trimester during the winter months, you may want to invest in a warmer coat or some zip-up sweatshirts, especially if you’re prone to being cold. While you may not need these in future pregnancies, it’s worth it to spend a little money on items that will keep you comfortable for those last few months.

On the other side of that coin, you may need a maternity dress, skirt or shorts if you’re finishing your pregnancy in the middle of summer when the temperatures can make remaining comfortable a chore even with air conditioning. You don’t need to spend a ton—just pick up one or two items that you can wear over and over during that stage of the pregnancy.

Shop Smart
At the end of the day, you want to feel stylish and comfortable during your pregnancy without breaking the bank. Fortunately, it’s easy to find affordable options. You don’t even need to head to a pricey maternity store—many mainstream retailers like Target and Old Navy offer affordable maternity options. Alternatively, you could shop for maternity clothes secondhand. Nowadays, you don’t even need to leave your house to do so—online thrift stores and resale sites let you shop for inexpensive (but high-quality) clothes from the comfort of your couch.

You can still be quite the fashionista if you’re smart about where you’re spending your maternity clothes budget, not to mention comfortable for the duration. Think of ways to incorporate your new and versatile “capsule” maternity collection with your existing accessories, shoes and handbags. You know how much you have to spend. Pick up your basics and build from there but most importantly, try to enjoy your pregnancy and this special time of your life!

Amanda Light learned how to create the perfect maternity capsule collection through two pregnancies and a little bit of trial and error. Spending money clothes shopping can be a lot of fun, but not on an excessive wear-once wardrobe during pregnancy. Amanda believes that maternity wear is a mere blip on the fashion journey.

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