Better than Bare

Pregnancy kicked my ass.

My body ballooned.  I gained over 50 lbs and progressed from a size 4 to a Maternity Large and XL in certain brands. (Anyone who thinks the weight gain is grossly unhealthy can go suck it–it’s not the weight gain that was unhealthy, it was my lack of bloody exercise.) I got really irritated with those twentysomething girls, who in response to maternity clothing dilemmas, would randomly post on various threads, “I only spent $150 on maternity clothes,” or “I just borrowed my boyfriend Robb’s t-shirts.”  You girls can go suck it, too.

This was definitely not my situation.  I was living in NY for half of my pregnancy: going out and dressing in a fairly professional manner were important to me.  And the drastic changes in my size meant at least three different trimester/sizes of clothes.  I decided to put comfort before cost and I don’t regret it.  I spent a lot of money on maternity clothes.  I tried this, I tried that.  Anything to feel comfortable and reasonably cute.

If you’re able to avoid it, spending a lot is certainly not an approach I’d advocate.  Here are some of the clothes and stores that I found to be staples.  I realize that this list is seasonal and certainly specific links will soon be outdated and broken, but in the meantime, I hope its useful.

Liz Lange long sleeve tee in modal/cotton bland

Liz Lange.  Long sleeved t-shirt in a modal/cotton blend. The modal provides enough stretch and gives it more of a tissue-tee appearance.  On the whole very attractive, and I think a much better value than most of the Michael Stars tees that I found.  Very soft.  I would really encourage an expectant mother to stock up on these. I bought at least three each in two different sizes and they took me all the way through the pregnancy and should be helpful postpartum.

Old Navy maternity tank, ribbed cotton

Old Navy.  Cotton ribbed, maternity tanks. Not much to say about these, but they’re excellent basics.  Get a few.  Perfect for running around the house or with skirts.  I actually thought these ran a little small.

A Pea in the Pod secret fit corduroy bootcut

Pea in the Pod. Secret fit belly™ corduroy bootcut pant. These lasted two trimesters and were very comfortable.  I think they were fairly flattering as well.  I’m not a huge Pea in the Pod fan, as most of their merchandise seems overpriced, but these were very affordable–and since I new my bum was going to grow bigger, I wanted to spend as little as possible on my lower half.

Hanky panky thong

Hanky Panky. While not exactly cheap, you can find bargain prices at Marshall’s (or Century21 if you’re in NYC).  These might not work for the entire pregnancy.  I like the tanga panties, the thongs, and the regular grandma briefs–though none of them took me allll the way through, they did work for at least two thirds and I got to feel somewhat sexy in the process.  They’re all reasonable flattering, very comfortable, and seem to have weathered the wash (coldwater! hang up to dry!).  I’ve tried Cosabella and some of the other touted brands, but Hanky Panky are in my opinion the best for fit, comfort, and style.  I just wish they made nursing bras.

WalmartGrannyThe Walmart Granny. Classic.  Comfortable. This is not it’s real name and I couldn’t find these online (and I was loathe to share any photos of mine…), but you just scoot down to your local Walmart and they’ll be hanging there, big and swinging on the rack,  for 2.00 a pair.  100% cotton.  Made in Cambodia.  Admittedly, most will find these fugly, but when you are nearing the very end of your third trimester and your bum has blossomed beyond bountiful, you just might find the Granny a good friend.  She’s awfully forgiving, she’s breathable cotton, she comes in at least two attractive colors, and at two bucks a pop I wouldn’t kick her out of bed.

barelytherebraBras. Bras were a bit of a dilemma.  I started off with some brazen cheapies purchased at Ross to showcase my newly ample rack.  Leaving the changing room with two Rampage bras, one in leopard with red trim and the other a bold red with rhinestones, a six year old boy crossed my path and mesmerized by the stripper classiness hanging from my hand, veered into the corner of a display stand and exploded in tears.  I felt…empowered.  The Rampage bras were actually very effective for two trimesters–plenty of give from cheap elastic and lots of support for newly tender regions.  Hanky Panky bralettes were another go-to, but I’m fairly small up top and these only lasted until I hit a C-cup with a much wider girth.  For larger cup sizes, my other recommendation would be the Barely There ™ wirefree bra by Hanes. It’s soft and affordable.  There are even connecting snaps at the top of the cups, so I’m hoping that it might also function as a nursing bra.


Nordstroms. Nordstroms has a surprisingly nice, though small selection of maternity clothes and their clearance section always seems to have something nice.  They currently have a fantastic sale going on.

Saks. I wouldn’t purchase anything for straight-out retail, because I simply couldn’t justify the cost of most items, but their sale items are very nice and I think the discounts are quite reasonable.

eBay. The best values I found were for dresses.  Maternal America and Japanese Weekend dresses ended up being terrific purchases for me.  A fraction of the price and I was able to find some in excellent condition.  One of my favorite spiffy dresses for going out was a Japanese Weekend dress that I bought from eBay for 10.00.  It’s fabulous and took me through the second trimester.  I recommend maxi-styles, fake-wraps, and real-wraps.  Since you can’t try these on or return them, gamble on the ones where there isn’t much structure to the style and where the fabric should be more forgiving.  My other good purchases were cardigans.  Nice soft cashmeres for layering.  I had a much more difficult time with bottoms and button-up blouses.  If you are trying to find bargain prices on higher-end brands, like Olian or Isabella Oliver (**update: Pregnant Fashionista has just posted that certain IO wrap blouses are on sale for 75% off through IO’s website), remember that these brands are based more on the sample-size mom and if, like me, you are of average height and build, you’ll need to size-up.  Double-check measurements.


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One Response to “Better than Bare”

  1. mommyimmaculata Says:

    My apologies to anyone coming here from, I believe they accidentally linked to me. Sorry folks. Um, can I interest you in maternity clothes? Surely those Walmart Granny panties appeal. No???

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