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Maternity Clothes
by Rebecca Garland

There are two schools of thought on maternity clothes. One batch of newly expecting mothers can’t wait to jump into baggy overalls and elastic waist jeans. The other will try for months to find comfortable “real” clothes in an often losing battle to stay completely stylish and feel trim. Neither party is better off, although those in maternity wear at six weeks are most likely more comfortable.

The Stigma of Maternity Wear
There is an old joke around been-there-done-that moms. When you’re pregnant with your first, you hold out as long as possible before wearing maternity clothes. When you’re pregnant with your second, you pull out the maternity clothes immediately following the test since there is no use pretending you’re stylish when you can be comfortable again. Finally, moms pregnant for the third time have nothing to do regarding their maternity wear – they’ve been wearing it for years.

For years maternity clothing was pretty slim pickings. Bows and ties were style dejour and trendy fabrics and styles were not available for the giant bellies of the world. Panels to accommodate your belly went to your bustline and to find a flattering fit you either shelled out big bucks for designer labels or had your clothes made by a custom designer.

Even then they were only flattering for two months. There just isn’t much flattering on a swollen pregnant woman waddling around at nine months.

The New Maternity Wear
Fortunately for moms today, there is a new influx of stylish, affordable maternity wear. Popular clothing stores that sell trendy and youthful fashions are expanding into maternity wear. There is a huge market for clothes that are stylish yet won’t break the bank. Expecting moms want to be comfortable. They want to look like something other than a round blob in a horrible sailor suit, and they want to spend as little as possible since the clothes will be used for about six months or less. Designers are rushing to fill the need.

Today you can buy maternity clothing that is almost indistinguishable from current fashions at large retailers such as Target and Old Navy. The Gap, Old Navy and Target also sell maternity wear online. Finally, pregnant women can feel cute (even when swollen) without breaking the bank.

When to Buy Maternity Wear
There is no set time to buy maternity clothes. A lot has to do with how you carry your baby weight and your individual comfort level. If tight clothes make your morning sickness worse or just drive you crazy, ditch your regular clothing the minute you start to feel it touching your sensitive belly. On the other hand, if you seem to be gaining only a belly, not only are you the envy of those who gained a rear end first, but you can also get away with low ride pants you already own for months.

Eventually you will need some form of maternity wear. Even the smallest baby bump won’t be covered by a regular shirt by the third trimester. You can buy larger shirts, but you may look dumpy with gaping arm holes and misplaced darts. You’d do far better to take advantage of the cute maternity fashions available and invest in a few basic staples to get your through until delivery.

After that, you just may find you’re so comfortable without stiff denim and button flies, you stay in your maternity clothes a bit longer than expected. Most likely, however, you’ll be like most moms and find anything you can that is not maternity but still large enough to fit the moment you deliver.

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