Top 6 Rules for Maternity Shopping

1.  Give yourself some TIME

Is it your first time Maternity Shopping? Allow for at least 2-5 hours. Are you into your second/third trimester and you know what you want or need? Then give yourself at least an hour.

That may sound CRAZY, but you’re about to embark upon 40 weeks of an ever-expanding (beyond your control!) body and while the selection of choices is growing, with budget and style limitations, you’d be surprised how hard it is to find good-looking and good-fitting maternity clothes. Unlike typical “Size 8″ or “Size 10″ – there is no one size fits all for maternity. Sure the manufacturers will say “stick to your pre-pregnancy size” but even when you do that, you’d be surprised how one person’s pre-preg-size-8 maternity is not another person’s pre-pregnancy-size-8 maternity.

2. Invest in pieces that have more than enough room to grow

I am of the mindset that the earlier you go shopping for your maternity wardrobe (12-16 weeks), the better off you are.  Some people would say that you should wait until the end (or as  long as you can stand it) because that’s when you’re going to really grow, but my theory is if you’re going to buy new clothes, for a new bigger, body, then buy them sooner rather than later so you get to really use them.

If you follow that rule, that’s why you need to invest in pieces that have room to grow. But what does that mean and how do you do it? Read on …

3. Don’t purchase it unless you’ve tried it on with a belly

For newbies out there, the “belly” I’m talking about is a “fake belly” with velcro straps that you can strap on your waist, under your clothes, thus simulating what you might look like down the road of your pregnancy.  Here’s an example of what this fake belly looks like:

Following on the rule above in terms of size, you’d be surprised how many things you try on that look “really cute” and then suddenly “very hideous” once you’re sportin’ a fake belly.

I was in a Motherhood Maternity once and I saw the cutest little pink and trendy top; It actually looked like something I would wear!  So I tried it on.  It was cute! Then I put on with the belly and checked myself out in the mirror again. The second time around? Not so cute! In fact, disgusting.  It looked like I was wearing a mumu (and I almost cried, but that’s neither here nor there …)

Many stores that sell maternity clothes don’t have a belly, including consignment stores. All that being said, here’s the rule: No belly, no buying!  Maternity attire can be expensive. Do yourself  a favor and save your dinero for establishments that cater to your situation and investments.  Unless you’re picking up something that can be easily returned, or for super-cheap, or you know it will last because it’s so stretchy you can’t imagine it won’t, then don’t touch your wallet.

4. Speaking of the belly, when you try it on, sport it high and low

Have you heard? Girls carry high and boys carry low. Or vice versa? [I can’t remember] Or how about “torpedo belly” (I made that one up, you’ll have to follow my blog for the exact definition ;P).  My main point? You can’t quite be sure how your belly will grow, so while you’re trying on some new clothes, move the belly all around underneath (high, low, and off to a side!) and make sure that your potential new attire looks good from a variety of angles (PS – now you know when I said you need HOURS in Rule 1 above!).

5. Purchase every day pieces in BASIC colors and make sure everything else is in the same color palette

This may sound overwhelming, particularly to those of you who are colorblind or who are not designers, but so long as you can help it, do yourself a favor and try and pick pieces that are kind of similar in color.

First and foremost, buying pants? Stick with black, brown, and white.  Sure you could get something plaid (how trendy!) but do you know how hard that’s going to be when you’re trying to “make outfits” a few weeks down the road – with “pregnant brain”? – Trust me:  HARD.

As for shirts, sweaters, and other tops, try and get things that are in the same color palette to maximize your ease at assembling your new clothes. For example, if you’ve got brown pants that you’re planning to wear a lot, then purchase some khaki, white, dark brown and navy blue shirts for mixing and matching. And if you get a navy blue shirt that you love? Then pick-up a navy blue dress should you decide to invest in that piece because you’ll be able to wear the same shoes for each outfit. Does that make sense? I’m going to assume the answer is yes for most of you and leave this rule at that. Leave me a comment if you have more questions.

6. Consider your current accessories for what colors you should be choosing as your “palette”

Maternity clothes come and go, but accessories are forever. While you’re indulging on some new attire, you’re probably going to be buying less bags, shoes, scarves, and jewelry. So, do yourself a favor and consider this:  Whatever colors are dominant in your current accessory closet should be dominant in your new attire.

For example: Don’t really own a lot of purple? Then I’d err on the side of disregarding that “really cute purple maternity top.”  Why?  Because: (a) chances are you won’t wear it and (b) even if you try to, you’ll probably wind up in a situation where “nothing matches!” (and then changing). Going back to the rule above, if you already have navy shoes, then navy would be a wise choice for any investment pieces or color tops/jackets.

This rule, overall, probably shouldn’t be too hard since most people gravitate towards the same colors (i.e., their favorite), but since hormones mess with your brain, I just want to put this rule out there so we can also prevent it from messing with your wallet.

Happy Shopping!

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