I can remember being SO anxious to wear maternity clothes when I was pregnant with Ezra, my first. I coached my belly daily with exhortations like, “SHOW, darn it!” and, “C’mon now, little fella. Grow, grooooooooowwwww!”
Of course, a half a dozen-ish babies later, and I sing a slightly different tune. Mostly because of the discovery that maternity clothes are no friend to women. At least in the self-esteem department. Or the wallet department (seriously? $80 for an ugly pair of jeans just because they have a lovely flesh-colored stretchy thingy attached to them??). And while they’re definitely kind to the comfort of your front side (belly), their entire goal in life seems to be to make a mockery of your backside (hello, pancake rear).
Plus, I have yet to find a pair of truly great maternity jeans that doesn’t do the sliiiiiiiiiiiide, all while giving me pancake rear. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to spend half my time hitching up my pants with one hand, I’d really rather do it knowing that I’m not giving anyone a sudden craving for breakfast food just because they’re standing behind me.
So, what’s the solution?
(MuuMuus for life!)
No, but really, my solution is to size up.
See that ridiculously pregnant woman up there? That would be me, 36-weeks-pregnant. With twins, no less. But you know what? I’m not wearing a stitch of maternity wear. Instead, I’m wearing “regular” clothes in a couple sizes up from what I would normally need.
And the best part of all? My hindquarters, while considerably wider and more substantial than pre-pregnancy status are still reasonable facsimiles of their normal selves.
Which brings us to this pregnancy. As a rule, I tend to measure small (in the belly-department). I’m long-waisted and can “hide” my babies down in the lower part of my torso. My belly doesn’t “pop” so much as “slope” (pretty sure some of my BODYPUMP participants are still just scratching their heads wondering why I won’t slow down on the cookies because, depending on what I wear, I look less pregnant and more, um, thick).
(This was taken last week at 21 weeks pregnant)
I had my husband take this picture because I haven’t weighed myself once this pregnancy (or before that for a good six months) and being in a room full of mirrors (the gym) messes with my head, and sometimes I just need the camera’s eye to give me a dose of reality (be it good or bad). Anyway, I had no intention of showing it to anyone (what with my schlumpy posture and messy living room, which are both oh-so-NOT-blog-worthy), but I thought it illustrated the “belly slope” thing I was talking about fairly accurately (and, well, this is me and my living room after we get home from the gym and my kids haven’t picked up yet before bed. Tada!)
ANYHOO, I haven’t been wearing much other than exercise clothes and old painting clothes all summer, but I do like to get a little gussied up on Sunday mornings. And, while I’m still wearing most of my pre-preggo clothes so far, I have been using either the size-up rule or a little creative adjustments to avoid entering the world of maternity wear for as long as possible.
I bought that bird shirt on sale for $9 at a local boutique in my normal size because it ran big and had a blousy fit. (I will say that this whole “size-up” business would have been a moot point in the 90’s when every shirt seemed designed to make you look like a cardboard box. Which makes me very grateful that we live in an era where long, loose-fitting tops are in style).
(Of course, it could be argued that I should worry less about the fit of my clothes and more about ironing them every now and then).
That Old Navy skirt certainly doesn’t seem like it would be pregnancy-friendly, what with it’s fitted waist that zips up to my belly button, but because of my long shirt, I was able to wear it partially unzipped. It still “fit,” my belly wasn’t squished, and no one was the wiser (you know, until I wrote all about it on my blog).
And this next dress was a $10 Clothes Mentor find. It’s made of stretchy jersey material, and is technically 2 sizes bigger (although I would say it runs small, if that’s confusing enough for you) than I would normally wear–which translates to a fair bit more roominess in the chest than I need (right now, anyway) but overall a comfy, flowy fit.
I’ve done the same with most of my other clothes, scoring cute elastic-waisted skirts (not to mention those fabulous green size-or-two-bigger-than-usual shorts) at Goodwill for next to nothing so that I can still have a reasonably current, comfortable look without having to pay maternity clothes prices (because while, yes, I do re-wear clothes from past pregnancies, I also find that they get a lot of wear and need to be replaced, or I’ve loaned them out to a friend, or I just have a grudge against something and never want to see/wear it again).
Of course, there are exceptions.
I splurged on these Pea in a Pod denim shorts (I think they were $40 on major sale?) during the twins’ pregnancy and wore the mess out of them, loaned them to a friend who also wore them like crazy, then got them back and have been wearing them for a few weeks during this pregnancy and loving them just as much as last time.
They’re a good length, they’re crazy comfy/stretchy without losing their shape, they have the belly panel without sliding down. And, and, AND! NO pancake butt!
If I could clone these shorts into multiple washes and lengths, I would totally splurge on a few more pair.
SO! Now, you know my thoughts on maternity clothes.
But I’d love to hear yours!
Have you found THE maternity jeans? If so, please share! I’m not above spending a little more on something like those shorts if it really is worth the money.
Do you size up too? I still have jeans from past pregnancies that, fingers crossed, I should be able to wear til the end. We’ll see how it goes. And I will say that, while the rise in vanity sizing usually annoys me (if a normal-sized, 5’7″ish girl is wearing an x-small in shirts sometimes, what are the truly tiny people wearing???), it definitely works in my favor with pregnancy since it’s easy to find shirts that fit.
I had to have maternity shirts, other wise I just looked fat. As well, the fabric on non maternity shirts didn’t seem to hold up as well. Lots of pilling and stretching. I have 1 pair of 7 for all mankind jeans that were my size but fit me all throughout pregnancy thanks to the ultra low cut, nice waistband, and belly bands. Any other brand just, well , fell down. I usually felt more comfortAble sizing down in maternity pants but cuffing the bottoms to turn them into cropped pants (I’m 5’8″ and regular length pants are just a wee bit short for me and it wasn’t easy to find longs in maternity pants). Dresses solved everything!!
I have a long torso too so I’ve had the same experience as you with both my kids. I didn’t get big very fast and with my second I just didn’t get terribly big at all because I exercised the whole time. Of course, she was born 12 days overdue so I definitely felt huge at the end! I splurged on a pair of Citizens of Humanity and was able to wear the heck out of them both times. I passed them on to two friends as well. I had pretty good luck with a pair of H&M skinny jeans too but they did fall down a lot. But no pancake backside so I call that a win! 🙂
I had a friend who just bought a few pairs of her favorite jeans and her mom cut sewed in a stretchy piece of fabric so she didn’t have to buy maternity. If you are handing with a sewing machine (or know someone who is) that might be a compromise!
Never fails… Pancake butt always with maternity pants! Or as I like to call it, wheel chair butt!
I am 34 weeks pregnant right now and have bought *some maternity clothes. I find that maternity tops are a waste of money as they are no different than regular tops (and dresses). But pant wise I’ve been wearing maternity since 11 weeks. I bought an amazing pair of maternity jeans for $50 from H&M, a pair of jean shorts from Target for $20 and a pair of olive green skinny jeans from Old Navy maternity for $15 on sale. All of which stay up and give me a nice booty shape, I also figured that I will use them next pregnancy since they are fairly neutral fashion wise.
For shirts and dresses I just size up and tailor where needed to allow room for the girls more so than the bump.
Sounds like you’ve got your system down! 🙂
Wow you are lucky, I am in maternity clothes at 10 weeks! I just show quicker and all I want is comfort around my belly area! Yes some maternity pants are annoying! Gap at thrift shops are great!
Awesome tip. This is one area where I haven’t had a lot of luck thrifting. Then again, I haven’t tried too hard. 🙂
I love, love, love my jeans from Target! I don’t remember the brand, and they are in totes in our basement, but they were pretty much the only maternity jeans I wore during my last pregnancy. They weren’t full panel, just an elastic stretchy band around the waist.
Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to swing by Target and see!
Motherhood maternity makes a pair of skinny jeans that don’t fall. They used to be “loved by Heidi Klum” but it looks like Jessica Simpson is their new promo gal. Anyway, they don’t have a big elastic waist…instead, it sits lower and is more like a 2 inch elastic waist. Super comfy, reasonably priced (I thrifted mine) and totally work with non-maternity tops.
Off to check them out!
I am 5′ 2″ and I often size up when pregnant and wear normal jeans without the buttons buttoned. There are some really fun maternity styles that I have found though as well. When not pregnant, I have to shop in the kids section when shopping for shorts (to answer your question about what “truly tiny people” wear). And by the way, you don’t look “ridiculously pregnant” in the picture of you at 36 wks with twins. You carry pregnancy incredibly well!
I should have posted another pic. The term “ridiculous” definitely looked more applicable in that one, but I actually WAS wearing a maternity shirt in that case so…
And, yes, now I know what truly tiny people have to do to find clothes that fit. 🙂
My past pregnancy(third child) was the first one where I absolutely loved my maternity jeans, and would totally still wear them if that wasn’t weird. Old navy skinny jeans (maternity) are the bomb! Awesome maternity jeans! And I found a pair on clearance for $0.97, so even if you didn’t like them, it might be worth a try! 🙂
I’m off to check out the Old Navy website!
That belly “slope” is actually the way a pregnant belly SHOULD be. It indicates strong, supportive core muscles. Unfortunately, i struggle in the core strength department and my belly always “pops”, sticks waaaaay out in front (those kind of bellies are actually pendulous from lack of core strength, diastesis recti, etc.). I avoid maternity clothes as much as possible, too, and I wear a belly band with my regular jeans for as long as possible, but I just can’t avoid the jeans thing in the last trimester. I actually have a couple pairs that fit pretty well at the end and look pretty good, so that helps. I HATE maternity tops (tents?) in general. I will admit I have a very few that I like, but they are nicely form-fitting. I love that the current long shirt style makes me able to find lots of things that fit over my belly.
Yeah, I know that my abs definitely keep me from showing quickly, but even before I exercised a lot, my belly tended to do the slope. I think it’s a long-waisted thing as well as a muscle thing. And I’ve never really gotten into belly bands, but I may try them this time around.
I’m tall (6ft) and not tiny. I wear a 12 most days and i adored maternity clothes. Finally there were clothes the right size for me. Now I will say I never did find jeans I loved. Totally sized up on that. Wore Gap 14’s the whole of one of my pregnancies. Always had the same problem, falling in the front, flat in the back. But man do I wish I could find shirts now that fit and flattered they way maternity shirts did!
Maybe you could do the opposite and size DOWN in maternity tops (since they’re long enough, but you don’t actually have the belly), and then no one would be the wiser! 🙂
I’m short. In fact, on Sunday I caught myself vainly wish I wasn’t soooo much shorter than you… Ha! But, my belly sticks waaaaay out there when I’m pregnant so regular tops are a no-go. I need the extra length that maternity tops have and I love that some of them hug that belly just enough to show it off. Maternity pants. Sigh. Not a huge fan, mostly because I typically have to continue to wear them post-partum for a while. (that massive belly likes to leave behind a lot of extra skin and flab) I could just size up, but that’s when the pancake butt appears. If it fits the booty, it’s too small in the waist, if it fits the waist, pancake. This is why I hate shopping for myself…
I think I’ll go eat some cookie dough or something now. 🙂
Oh, poor Shanna! Don’t despair! (Oh, and save me some cookie dough!
I go back and forth. At first I was determined to just “size up” but I ended up with shoulders that were way too big for me and saggy crotch in the dress pants. (It worked better in jeans) I found that if a shirt was long and stretchy in my normal size, I would wear it and love it more than maternity, but if I had to size up to get it to fit, I ended up looking like I was wearing something too big for me and in that case, the maternity was actually a better option. I would say I wore about half and half.
I love the sizing up option, but if you find you need maternity clothes eventually, a friend of mine has highly recommended ThredUP for buying what you need. https://www.thredup.com/r/79F0DO
Use that link and you get $10 credit (if you’ve never bought from ThredUP before).
Thanks for the rec, April! I’m off to check it out!
I feel like this would only work if I were as tiny as you! I’m a size 12 normally, and any time I try to wear regular clothes, I end up looking fat instead of pregnant. 🙂 I’m pregnant with my 3rd and am definitely loving my maternity clothes!
Ha! I love how we’re all different because I feel exactly the same way about the “looking fat instead of pregnant” in maternity clothes as you do in regular ones. Glad they work for you! : )