Maternity Wardrobe: Stores

Maternitywardrobetips
There are a handful of stores where most of my maternity clothes have come from - here are my thoughts on each (in no particular order).


Target.  I have found a lot of cute things at Target over the years, as I'm sure many other pregnant ladies could tell you as well.  Most of my maternity tops are from Target. However, Target is not fool-proof.  I have been really disappointed in their selection over the last winter season - in my first two pregnancies it seemed like I was always finding cute maternity clothes there, but this time around nothing has caught my eye.  

Forever 21.  I mentioned already that I usually look for non-maternity tops and bottoms that will work when I'm pregnant, and I've had the most success at Forever 21.  I sometimes expect weird looks from people when they see I'm shopping there, since I'm usually obviously pregnant, but so far I haven't noticed anyone give me a second glance.  However, if you do choose to shop at Forever 21, be considerate!  You are pregnant, after all - don't try on something that has no stretch to it.  Your belly might stretch the item out and make it hard to sell if you don't buy it.  Thankfully a large majority of their items are stretchy, so I haven't had too much of a problem with this.

Old Navy/Gap.  I mostly order from Old Navy and Gap online, since I can never find what I'm looking for in the store.  Thankfully they are amazing for returns!  I have found a pair of skinny jeans at Old Navy that fit well, and a couple tops from Old Navy and Gap, but unfortunately most of their maternity items are too baggy or otherwise unflattering on me.

Kohls.  I have had precious little luck with maternity clothes at Kohls.  I found one pair of pants there when I was pregnant with Wyatt . . . I think that might be it.

Motherhood Maternity.  I have bought a couple items from Motherhood Maternity.  Their clothes usually fit me fairly well - the reason I don't have more clothes from them is that they are pretty expensive in comparison to the other places I shop!  I just don't want to pay a lot for clothes that I will only be wearing for a little while.

Pink Blush Maternity.  This is the first pregnancy that I have ordered anything from Pink Blush.  What I like - they have an amazing selection! Better than any other store where I've shopped for maternity clothes.  And their stuff is cute.  The downside is that it's an online company, so you can't try any of it on before you buy.  I ordered a top from them that I used in some of my maternity photos, and a cardigan (I know, I said maternity cardigans were silly, but this one was cute, and it's something I can also wear when I'm not pregnant).  The thing I noticed is that the top and cardigan I ordered both seemed to run ever-so-slightly big - they are probably geared more toward the very end of pregnancy.  I probably would be fairly safe ordering a size down from normal.  I can't say anything for the sizes of their dresses or pants since I only ordered tops.


I'm curious to hear about any stores that you other moms have liked for maternity clothes!  These seem to be the major ones that I've heard of (or at least the major ones in my area), but if you have found good stuff at a place I didn't mention, please share!

A Broken Kind Of Beautiful Review

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A Broken Kind Of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert is the story of Ivy Clark, a high fashion model who is "past her prime" at age 25.  Desperate to take keep her creed going, she takes a job as a model for her stepmother's bridal line.  BUt being back in Greenbriar, South Carolina brings up bitter memories of her father.  She gets to know Davis Knight while she is there, but through it all she can't seem to get past her own emptiness, until she finally realizes she can find the unconditional love she always wanted in a relationship with God.

I really enjoyed this book!  I was afraid at first that all the focus on the emptiness of Ivy's lifestyle would make the book depressing, but I actually thought the book was a very interesting read, with a lot of truths scattered in.  I liked the way the author developed the relationship between Ivy and Davis - it was a sweet love story, without being too obvious.  However, their story was not the main focus of the book - the other relationships were just as much a focus point, and just as interesting.  Ganshert is very good at portraying character development (which I like).

I also felt like the overall story was very touching.  Throughout the book Ivy has a hard time believing God could love her unconditionally because no one in her life has ever loved her like that - but as a reader, you know that Marilyn, her stepmother, has had a deep love for her from the time she was a little girl, and she repeatedly shows her love even when Ivy pushes her away.  By the end of the book Ivy finally realizes that Marilyn has shown her the kind of love she always wanted, and if Marilyn could love her, mane God would too.  I felt like crying at that breakthrough, because int he first part of the book I wanted to shake Ivy for not seeing how much her stepmother cared.  It was just really sweet.
Anyway, I'd definitely recommend this book, and now I want to read more from Katie Ganshert!

Note: I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multonomah in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

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!

Hermie And Friends DVD

We don't watch  ton of children's TV around here.  If I let Wyatt and Gwen watch anything on TV, I put in a pre-approved movie for them, referable one that teaches biblical lessons.

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Tommy Nelson gave me the opportunity to receive a Hermie and Friends DVD, and I thought it would be a great addition to our collection!  We received the I Will Trust God set, which included two Hermie and Friends episodes.

In the first episode, God tells Hermie (a green caterpillar) to build a boat.  He doesn't tell him why he just wants Hermie to trust Him.  Hermie obeys and builds the boat, and saves himself and all his bug friends from the upcoming flood!  It was a cute bug-version of a Noah and the ark story.

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The second episode is about Freddie the Flea.  Freddie realizes how talented all the other bugs in the garden are, and he starts to feel like he can't do anything special.  He has to trust that God has made him for a reason and has a plan for him.  

Hermie and Friends was created by Max Lucado, and he comes on between episodes and pulls the lessons out of the stories in cute conversations with Hermie.

I thought these stories were really cute, and I loved that the lessons were stated so clearly.  The kids really seemed to like the videos too.  Gwen giggled and bounced up and down at all the exciting parts, and Wyatt was enthralled through the whole thing.  I'd definitely recommend these videos - great movies to entertain young kids and point them back to God!

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Tommy Nelson is also offering one of my readers their own Hermie and Friends DVD!  Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win!

Note: I received this DVD for free from Tommy Nelson in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

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One Year Photos!

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This is a little sneak peek of what we wore for our family pictures for Gwendolyn's one year session a couple months ago!  I'm finally getting around to posting them.  These aren't our exact outfits, but they are similar.  Head on over to my photo blog to see all of Gwen's one year old pictures!  

500 Hats Of A Modern Day Woman Review

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The 500 Hats Of The Modern Day Woman is a book by Joyce Ellis that discusses some of the various roles that women fill in our everyday lives.  These roles might include wife, mother, working woman, daughter/daughter-in-law, and others.  Ellis offers advice and insights for 10 different "hats" that women wear in the chapters of this book.

I thought Ellis's writing style was conversational and easy to read.  She offers lots of stories to illustrate her points.  She concludes each chapter with resources to help with the particular "hat" she is discussing, as well as Bible verses and questions for further personal study.  This book would be great for a Bible Study in an individual or group setting, especially for those who are new to Bible Study since it was more light and conversational.

I felt like the train of thought in some of the chapters was a little disorganized for me.  I like clearly laid out points (that is probably my Type A personality showing through), and each chapter felt more like a stream of consciousness, so it as hard for me to pull individual points out at times.  Also, though she briefly touches on it in the final chapter, this is not a book on how to balance all of our "hats" as women - you won't find time management or organizational advice in this book.

Still, I thought the thoughts Ellis shared in 500 Hats Of The Modern Day Woman were helpful, and this was a fun book to read.

Note: I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Maternity Wardrobe: Pants


Maternitywardrobetips

Shopping for clothes when you are pregnant can be challenging.  Finding stores that sell maternity clothes is just the first step - you have to find them, and then you have to find the select few items that fit well and don't make you feel like a whale.

This is my third pregnancy, so I've had a little practice, and I have specific maternity clothes shopping tricks.  I also have a few places that are my favorite places to shop when I have a little one on the way.  Since I was asked recently where I shop for maternity clothes, I thought I'd write a post and let you all in on my strategy!  

When I actually sat down to write about maternity clothes I found I had a lot more to say than I thought, so I'm going to split this into a few posts to make it more manageable.  

Today let's talk about pants.

Maternity pants can be so frustrating - I have found precious few that have actually fit me.  Maternity pants designers seem to think all the baby weight will go directly to your behind - but for me, I actually lost whatever extra "padding" I had back there when I was pregnant with Wyatt.  

The pants I have found that fit have been from Old Navy, Kohls, and Motherhood Maternity, but they were the exceptions - most of the ones I tried on at those stores didn't fit me well.  This isn't a problem for all pregnant women, but it's one of my biggest maternity wardrobe challenges.

Because of this, I have two main strategies for pants.

1. Stay in my non-maternity pants as long as possible.  I use the rubber band trick, Belly Bands, and long layering tanks to make my regular pants work as long as I can.  This works better than you might think.  I was able to stay in my regular jeans for 6-7 months with this baby before I had to start resorting to my maternity pants.

2. Buy a size up.  When I was pregnant the second time, after my regular pants started getting too uncomfortable, I went to Forever 21 (mainly because they have cheap, stretchy jeans) and I bought some jeans that were a size bigger than my normal size.  I could actually button them!  Though they were a little baggier in the legs than my normal pants, the waist and bottom fit alright because of my growing belly.  Those jeans also ended up being great postpartum pants too - for that awkward period when you don't want to wear maternity clothes anymore, but you can't fit back into your old size just yet.

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(I was so excited when I found this pair of pants at Papaya when I was around 22 weeks pregnant - they are a bit bigger than my non-pregnant size, so they still buttoned comfortably for several more weeks of my pregnancy.  I think I got them for $5 on clearance?  The stitching on the side makes them unique for maternity wear, and they'll be perfect for those first several weeks postpartum too!)

Are non-maternity pants comfortable when you are pregnant?  No, not as comfortable as maternity pants.  But if you have trouble finding maternity pants that fit (like I do), actually feeling good in your clothes might be worth a little discomfort when you are going out.  I just change into my lounge pants when I get home.

Finally, when you just can't stretch the non-maternity pants anymore, the only piece of advice I have is to search high and low and try on every pair of maternity pants you see until you find a pair that works.  I have yet to find a store that carries maternity pants that I know will fit - I have just found a few pairs scattered here and there.  When you finally find a pair that fits, it's pretty satisfying!
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