Maternity Wardrobe: Tops

 I'm continuing my series on building a maternity wardrobe today - if you missed my first post (my thoughts about maternity pants), you can check it out here!

I have a few thoughts when it comes to finding cute tops and outerwear when you are pregnant.

1.  Don't limit yourself to the maternity section.  You would be surprised at how many non-maternity tops will work (and look cute) while you are pregnant.  And I don't just mean the looser, flower styles that have room for a belly.  You can find fitted tops too.  

2.  Look for tops that are extra-long.  My favorite place to look for tops is Forever 21, because they sell "bodycon dresses".  These are basically skin-tight, super-mini "dresses" that I would never in my life actually wear as a dress.  Why do they work?  Because they are usually made of stretchy fabric, and they are long.  Anything that is stretchy is good for obvious reasons, and if you can find something that would normally hit just past your bum, you can take the fabric and bunch it up so it will accommodate your pregnant belly.  Like this:

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(Baby #3 at 32 weeks - this lace top was one of those Forever 21 "dresses".)

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(28 weeks with Gwen in a "dress" that I just bunched up around my belly.  This one is so stretchy that it looks fine even when I'm not pregnant.)

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(Almost 39 weeks pregnant with Gwen - that is a non-maternity top too.) 

All of those tops are just long shirts or dresses.  I usually buy a size larger than my normal size (one size larger will still fit relatively well in the shoulder/chest area, but it will give you more room in the tummy).  

3.  Look for things that will work during and after pregnancy.  The major plus to buying extra-long non-maternity shirts or dresses is that they usually work well after you are no longer pregnant too!  When you shrink back to your regular size you can wear them as a tunic with leggings, or if you are done having kids you could probably even shorten them to shirt length.  Obviously it helps a lot if the fabric has some stretch to it, because it will be less likely to stretch out too much in the belly.  I wore/plan on wearing all the shirts I showed you above after I have this baby too.

4.  Sweaters and jackets always work, whether you are pregnant or not.  I think the open maternity cardigans that some stores sell are so funny, because they are basically no different than a regular old non-maternity open cardigan.  If you want a cardigan or jacket that will button over your belly, you'll need to go to a maternity store - but open jackets and cardigans look just fine.  I wear all my regular sweaters and jackets unbuttoned when I'm pregnant, or I might throw a belt around a cardigan over my belly.  Save yourself a little money and just stick with non-maternity cardigans and jackets.

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(The jacket Derek gave me for Christmas, 23.5 weeks pregnant here.)

5. Layering tanks.  I haven't bothered with maternity layering tanks.  The ones I usually buy when I'm not pregnant are these inexpensive, exra-stretchy ones at Charlotte Russe.  My regular ones fit during the first half of my pregnancies, and then I have a couple of the same layering tanks in the next size up for the second half.  Toward the very end of my pregnancies they have a hard time stretching all the way around my belly, but for the most part they fit great.

6.  Coats.  I have no advice on where to buy a maternity coat.  Even though I have been pregnant during the winter all three times, I have not bothered to buy a maternity coat.  I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money.  When I was pregnant with Wyatt, I went to Ross (yay discount stores!), and found a coat/jacket that had a good amount of stretch to it, and it lasts all the way through my pregnancies (I can even button it up all the way!).  For the most part I just wear my regular coats and jackets open, or I use my Ross faux-maternity coat, and I just don't stay outside that long.  Would a maternity coat be worth the money?  In hindsight, yes, it probably would have been worth it for me since I have been largely pregnant in the winter months all three times, but there was no way of knowing that beforehand.  If my next babies had been summer babies the maternity coat would have only been used once.  You just have to decide whether it's okay for you to buy a coat that you might only wear one winter in your life.


Maternitywardrobetips

Check back soon for a post on the stores where I shop!
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Melanie said...

Yeah I'd never wear a "dress" that short either!! Good ideas..I wanted to comment about the coat dilemma..we (as in Damon insisted!) found a sweater "coat" at Motherhood on clearance when I was pregnant with Makayla! The only reason I went ahead and got it is because it's something that can be worn when your not pregnant as well!

Rae said...

Thanks for all the great tips! You always look so pretty and fashionable when you're pregnant (and when you're not:) and I'm glad I have you to learn from! I've already taken your advise and bought a bodycon shirt from Forever 21 and it fits great!

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