Friday, March 16, 2012

Where to find cute maternity clothes

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Welcome to the Pregnancy Necessities Carnival!

This post was written for inclusion in the Pregnancy Necessities Carnival hosted by Parenting God's Children. Today, participants share what they simply cannot live without during their pregnancies or what to gather for their upcoming new addition. Please see the full list of links to the other carnival submissions at the end of this post. Enjoy!

When I was pregnant with Mikko, I began feeling uncomfortable in my regular jeans very early on. I hadn't gained any weight, but I'd gained … middle, apparently. I toughed it out until twelve weeks. We had ahead of us a long holiday weekend of cat sitting (our business at the time), and I wanted to be comfortable. I pulled on a pair of maternity jeans. That stretchy waistband — it was like a hug. I tried to go back to my old non-stretch jeans for a few more weeks and couldn't take it. I gave up on pride and embraced comfort.

I understand why some people resist moving into maternity wear when they're newly pregnant (or, for some hardy and surprisingly slim souls, the entire pregnancy). Maternity clothing has a reputation for being frumpy, and those waistbands seem so weird before you feel how wonderfully they rest over a sensitive tummy. Then, too, most people don't have as extensive a maternity wardrobe as their regular clothing, which can seem like boredom will be a looming concern as the months drag on. But I believe you can be comfortable and chic, and happy in your maternity clothing.

The best I can do for you is present this non-exhaustive list of places to shop for maternity clothes, and my take on the pros and cons of each. This is just one person's opinion, so I hope you'll add your own resources and recommendations in the comments.

For reference, I'm 5'9" and wear a U.S. size 18, so I kind of straddle plus size and misses (why do they call it misses??), and I wear both long and regular length pants. Petite ladies, you're on your own, because I have no clue. I work from home so don't have much experience with business wear. I live in the United States and am middle income. Even if you can't afford the clothes I like new, it's possible this list might help if you're sorting through secondhand options at a thrift store. I also have the sense that I should really pay more attention to workers' rights in other countries as well as the ecological impact of buying new clothes, but this list will not reflect that (sorry!). Also? And this may come as some surprise to you, but I am not a fashion model or design genius. I know, shocking! Not at all what you'd expect from someone who named herself Hobo Mama. But I try to look decent. I am 35. I am not, nor have I ever been, cool. Again, any of you with broader perspectives are welcome to add your voice to the comments.

Ok, let's (virtual) shop:

Thrift stores

True confessions: I still wear this maternity hoodie as lounge wear, bought at a thrift store during Mikko's gestation.
I bought almost all my maternity clothing at thrift stores for my pregnancy with Mikko. The other half was mostly from discount stores and on sale at Old Navy.

The good news is pretty obvious: The prices are very cheap. The bad news is it can be hard to find exactly what you want, when you want it. Most thrift stores will have only a tiny maternity selection, so you have to shop gradually to build up a wardrobe that fits your body and your style. I started before I got pregnant, even though I felt ever so slightly sheepish and jinx-y about it.

Be particular about checking for quality. Some items had stains and rips that I didn't see before I got them home (and some had ones that I saw in the store because they were so obvious). I found some cute scores, and some duds. Most of the clothes that end up at your garden-variety thrift store, or are still there when you arrive, are likely not designer fashions, merely secondhand discount clothes. This isn't a problem, just a call to be discerning about quality even though the prices are low. There was one light-blue cotton tunic top I bought where I wasn't sure if it was too reminiscent of scrubs. I got my answer when I put it on for the first time, walked out to see Sam, and he immediately said, "Paging Dr. Wayne. Please come to OR Three stat." As much as I got a thrill out of being called Dr. Wayne, I retired that one back to the thrift store from whence it came. So, to be more frugal, make sure you try things on at the thrift store (bring or borrow a fake-bump pillow if you need to!), and be picky about what you take home.

A virtuous bonus of buying secondhand is that it's better for the environment and doesn't exploit workers. If there's a brand you wouldn't otherwise support, there's no benefit to the company in buying the goods secondhand, so you can shop with impunity. And many thrift stores are charities, so win win all around.

Consignment stores

In lieu of a picture of my consignment store swimmy suit, here's a cardi I picked up there as well.
Children's consignment stores usually have a maternity section. Often the clothing there is from higher-end stores originally (though not always), and the steeper secondhand prices reflect that.

I've gotten a few nice pieces at our local consignment shop, including what would have been a pricey swimsuit marked down to my range.

Now that I have children and their ever-rotating stash of stuff, it's an even better deal for me to shop there, because I can sell my kids' used items and use the store credit to get a further discount on purchases.

Friends' hand-me-downs

I've heard tell of these mythical creatures. I have yet to see any.

I have discovered that I am bigger than all of my friends, or perhaps it was that I started reproducing before they did, or something. At any rate, I just know this works for someone, so I include it in the list! It's a beautiful thing to pass on clothes you barely wore to someone you like and know will appreciate them.

TJ Maxx and Marshalls

This is an example of a shirt that looked kinda cute and was cheap but didn't wear very well.
I swore I bought about half my maternity wardrobe at these places for my first pregnancy, but then when I visited during Alrik's pregnancy, I saw no maternity section. What gives? Is that a very specifically regional thing, or a new change, or what?

At any rate, my review would just state that I was able to get cheap maternity clothes there that unfortunately looked it. I wore them a little, but they weren't my favorites. The material tended to be thin and insubstantial, not the best for flattering a fecund figure.

Old Navy

Old Navy basics at 39 weeks pregnant with Mikko: t-shirt and jeans. Those jeans are just barely hanging onto my hips.
Old Navy stores are easy to find, and fortunately more of them are now carrying a maternity section within their stores. My first pregnancy, this was not the case and I had to shop mostly online. However, if you do shop online, you can read customers' reviews of items before you purchase, which is a bonus. Plus, you can try things on in the comfort of your own home and non-horrifying lighting.

Old Navy style runs toward casual and young, so you can decide whether that fits your taste or not. I like that I can get a lot of basics there (dirt cheap maternity camis for the win!), but I usually look elsewhere for unique or statement pieces.

I found that the Old Navy maternity jeans I bought were more likely than most to be low riders, which irritated me. I was having enough trouble keeping everything covered, plus a stretchy waistband that didn't stay put, so every time I'd bend or squat, I'd have to hike my jeans up to cover my rear end. I suggest opting for the full panel jeans, though be aware that even a full panel doesn't mean that the denim part isn't going to ride uncomfortably low on your bum. To that end, I also suggest doing a lot of squats and sitting during the try-on period before committing to buying a pair of their jeans.

Trying to class up the joint a little with a non-maternity jacket and some Old Navy khakis. However, I found the crotch creasing not to be the pants' most attractive feature.
Another problem I've had with maternity jeans is making sure they're long enough for me. During my first pregnancy, I had trouble finding maternity jeans that were different lengths. It's as if the companies decided that pregnant women all became an average height, which is, in fact, not true. I appreciate that Old Navy now offers most of their pants and jeans in Short, Regular, and Long. Unfortunately for me, Regulars tend to shrink to highwaters, and Longs drag on the ground, but that's my own hemming issue to solve.

There's also a small nursing section with some basic tops and dresses. I didn't actually use it, but I appreciate the support for breastfeeding mamas.

I've had mixed results in the quality of Old Navy clothes. Some items have been just fine and have lasted me for years, and other items have started to unravel after one wash. I'd say you get what you pay for, but this has happened with more expensive clothes for me as well, so maybe it's just luck of the draw.

I have had terrible results with Old Navy maternity swimwear. The suits I've tried, both tankinis and one-pieces (I don't do bikinis), have not been cut right for a pregnant woman (in my opinion) — too skimpy, too prone to slippage, and just all in all no good for swimming. If you're a beach-lounging type, that's fine, but if you're trying to get in some prenatal lap swimming, stay away.

In labor the second time, in an Old Navy shirt that ran particularly roomy.
The sizing runs from 0 to 18. On the one hand, this works for me, particularly since Old Navy clothes tend to run big. On the other hand, I'm frustrated for my fellow plus-size sisters who wear bigger sizes than that.

There are often really good sales and clearance prices, which brings the cost down. Online, you can have items shipped to you for free over $50. However, most maternity items are marked "return by mail only," which runs you $6 postage for a return shipment and has to be within 45 days of your order date. If you exchange, the postage is comped. I get nervous at restrictive return policies when buying clothing online; I rarely find that more than half of what I order actually fits or is flattering.

The Gap

The shipping and return policies are the same as for Old Navy and have the same pluses and minuses, since the stores are owned by the same parent company.

I found The Gap to have similar basics at a higher price point than Old Navy, but I did appreciate that they had some items that were a little more grown-up and sophisticated. I was able to buy a thin wool sweater, for instance, that was later (sigh) eaten by moths (but that wasn't The Gap's fault).

I also found my Gap maternity jeans to fit better, perhaps because they were styled for a more mature woman. (I threw up in my mouth a little writing that sentence.) They weren't as concerned with being low-rise is what I'm saying.

Along the same lines, they have a work section if you need professional or other nice clothing. Like for your trial date for being sued for being so darn cute and pregnant.

The sizes run from 0 to 18, but … and here's where I start frothing … I went to a store that promised a maternity section. I was visiting my in-laws, so I looked it up online and we made a special trip out to a distant location. Only to find that in stores, they carry only up to size 14. That just felt like an insult. As if only thin women get pregnant, and as if no one ever, say, gains weight during pregnancy. Hm. I'm giving you the stink eye, Gap. I had been hoping to pick up some jeans at the store so I could try them on and avoid the $6 return fee for online purchases, but nothing doing.


The shirt is H&M and one of my favorites from this pregnancy. The cardigan is Old Navy.
I had never shopped here pre-pregnancy with Alrik because — I don't know — I'm not cool? But I was ever so pleasantly surprised when I waddled past the hipster waifs in the main section and made my way back to the maternity racks by the baby clothing.

The maternity clothes there are totally cute. And fun. And stylish, and unique. I mean, not that unique, considering you're buying them at a mall store, but more unique than the basics you'll likely pick up elsewhere.

I found the sizing forgiving. I could wear an XL in their jeans and a L or XL in the shirts, even though I went back postpartum and could fit into nothing in their non-maternity selections.

I also picked up some adorable baby clothes while I was at it. That's the fitting temptation of putting those two sections together.

I found that some of my H&M clothes held up really well, and some had quality control issues. The prices were very reasonable, especially for a mall store. You can also pick up a lot of accessories — scarves, hats, brooches, hair things — that will help deck out your limited maternity wardrobe with some welcome flair.

JCPenney maternity dress worn postpartum as a nursing dress. Because, hey, it's stretchy! Random styling points: That's an H&M flower in my hair, and I'm wearing a Skinies nursing cami.
JC Penney

JCPenney has some decent maternity offerings. I didn't see anything in stores that resonated with me, though their online selection looks like a mix of cute and … department-store-ish. (That's a thing, right?) Online at least, they have sizes from small up to 4X (select styles), and some tall lengths.

I probably shouldn't have included them in this list since I didn't actually buy anything, but I wanted to point out that I didn't buy anything. So there you are.

Oh, but wait, after the pregnancy, when I was two months postpartum and needed to attend a wedding? I bought a maternity dress then. Sam picked it out, and it worked out beautifully. So there you are, again.


I didn't even check at Sears, despite the fact that I used to work there (!), but I just did a check of their site and they do sell maternity as well. And then I just had to share that they have an anti-radiation dress. Um…what? You're welcome.

Lands' End

The pink button-down is from Lands' End, and I am finally wearing it here at 38 weeks pregnant with Mikko. I never did get big enough for the pants to fit. Incidentally, I really liked that shirt I'm wearing under, which is from a discount store and is not maternity but is super stretchy.
I got a couple pieces of maternity wear at Lands' End during my pregnancy with Mikko, thanks to my mom. They've cut way down on their maternity section and have just a handful of basics. I found that Lands' End clothing was very durable and substantial, but it runs huge. I couldn't wear the pieces I'd gotten until my third trimester. With an almost 12-pound baby. Size down.


I kept wanting to buy maternity clothes off Etsy and never taking the plunge. I thought I could find one or more discrete shops that sold just maternity clothes, but what I found was mostly a confusing jumble of loose-fitting dresses and caftans that were tagged as possibly being useful for maternity clothing. (If you click my maternity-search link there, you'll see what I mean.)

I absolutely suppose you could contact any of the many ├╝ber-talented designers on Etsy and say, "Hey, I want those fabulous [tops, gowns, culottes] you make in a maternity version, and here are my measurements. And a huge wad of cash." But I never quite got up the nerve, or opened my pocketbook.

Shopping Etsy is usually very green, and it supports small business owners and artisans. I do shop Etsy for other things and am happy with the experience.

Please, anyone who knows of cute Etsy maternity finds, let us know!


Photographic proof that I have
a maternity unitard.
If you don't want to do the legwork of going to thrift and consignment stores, order a bundle of secondhand maternity clothes and let them come to you! I love how people on eBay will sell off their whole wardrobes at a fraction of the price. I've also picked up specialty items that are really hard to find in thrift stores, such as (not joking) a maternity unitard for my ballet class.

The downside, of course, is that you can't try things on before purchase, and returns are usually not worth the pain. But you could just resell it.


I looked at Amazon's maternity selection a lot but never actually bought anything. They have a lot of designer items, which gave me something to drool over as I put together much cheaper outfits elsewhere. They have plenty of affordable things there, too, though, and I got some maternity basics like nursing bras online. If you look for items that are fulfilled through Amazon, you can enjoy the Free Super-Saver Shipping and no-hassle returns.


I liked this sweater I got from Target during Mikko's pregnancy.
I remember shopping for more maternity clothes at Target with Mikko's pregnancy but was disappointed with the selection during Alrik's pregnancy. This might be a regional difference or a temporary lull, but I found shopping there frustrating and didn't get anything. For one thing, our Target smushed the maternity and plus-size sections together. There were racks of both kinds interwoven with each other, particularly the clearance racks. I figured the frustration went both ways. Who wants to go shopping for plus-size clothing and pick up a maternity dress instead?

I also found the selection was limited to just a very few basics. Disappointing. But, like I said, that might have been just our Target or just in that moment. I was in the store a couple days ago and scoped out the maternity racks to see if anything had changed. The racks were still hidden amongst the plus-size selections, but there did seem to be a couple more racks and a bit more color. So here's hoping!

I also liked this shirt, but looking back it's a good example of why Target clothes aren't always the best. It doesn't fit very well (large-busted ladies should avoid the ubiquitous empire-waist maternity styling like the plague), and the material was really thin and wrinkled easily. I guess what I'm saying is, Even if it's inexpensive, even if it's on sale, be discerning if at all possible.
I also found that Target had cheap and pretty nursing bras. The quality's not as good as the ones I wear now, but the price was right!

Making your own

I did not do this, despite the fact that I can sew. I get intimidated when it comes to making clothes for myself. But if you're already adept at making or repurposing clothes for yourself, you can certainly add maternity duds to the list. I did sew myself some belly bands and altered a baggy shirt to make it look better.

A Mother's Boutique

I like A Mother's Boutique because I like the owner, Judy, who also blogs about breastfeeding and other parenting topics. I frequently browse there to drool. I haven't bought anything yet, even though I keep almost doing so, but I know that there are a ton of super cute items, from elegant dresses to slinky jammies to lacy nursing bras. I've won from there both a Skinies and a swanky belly band. The price point is at the boutique level, but not outrageously so. She also carries a lot of nursing wear, if you need specific items to make breastfeeding more comfortable for you.


Speaking of boutiques, I've popped into other boutiques offline and on, and then popped back out. They're unfortunately not in my budget. But if you know of good ones to recommend, let me know.

What I do like about local maternity boutiques is you can usually get fitted for a good nursing bra. You don't necessarily have to buy it there, but knowing your correct size is invaluable.


Ok, I have a love/hate relationship with Motherhood Maternity. No, let's make that a lukewarm-like/hate relationship. Here's the thing: They're in malls, so they're easy to get to. They have frequent sales. They sell awesome jeans. Seriously. Love my jeans from there. They have a fake bump in the dressing rooms that you can strap on so you don't feel silly wadding up your jacket to see how the clothes will look when you're fuller.

However, they are blatant violators of the WHO Code. So much so that, although I have affiliate links I could rock for them, I'm not, because I no longer want to profit from their tactics. They collect shoppers' addresses at checkout and use that to send "free gifts and product samples!!" = formula samples, and magazines full of ads for formula (not to mention disposable diapers). They're in big formula's pocket, rather shocking for a maternity store. Please, please, please, if you feed your baby formula, understand that the WHO Code is not against formula or against parents who use it; it's against this kind of slimy and overwhelming advertising by the megacorporations that undermines women's and infants' health. And Motherhood has signed on to this. Now, don't get me wrong — Target, Walmart, and Amazon advertise formula, violating the WHO Code, and I'm sure other companies violate it as well. But Motherhood is really particular about doing it at the checkout line, to each individual woman who walks through.

So I say that, and I acknowledge that you might shop there for the jeans that actually fit (!) or the deals on jersey shirts or whatever. I did. But don't give them your address. Opt out of samples if you're ordering online. And let them know you think what they're doing stinks.

A Pea in the Pod

A Pea in the Pod is owned by the same company that owns Motherhood, but it's much more expensive and fits many fewer body types. The end.

SweetPea Maternity

One of the shirts I won.
I won a gift certificate to this store back when it was called Kiki's Fashions. I had a little trouble figuring out what to buy, because the store isn't on my normal wavelength style-wise and because it's a closeouts website, so the turnover is very high, making it difficult to find items that were still available in my size (or near to it). I also was kicking myself I'd waited so long into my pregnancy to spend the gift certificate.

My other favorite Kiki/SweetPea shirt. This one also came in handy as postpartum wear until such time as I could no longer bear wearing anything called maternity clothes.
The styles are pretty bold and reminiscent of what perhaps moms who go clubbing would wear. I do not speak from experience on that score, just saying that the store doesn't tend toward conservative styles. However, I was game to take a risk, given the gift certificate bringing the cost down, and I was glad I did. I really enjoyed the two shirts I ended up buying and wore them constantly my third trimester. I was worried that the fabric on one in particular was so much thinner than I was expecting, but both of them held up well. I think younger moms especially would enjoy this store, and the prices are a score.

Shabby Apple

Their Mama Apple section is as delicious as the rest of their dresses. I kept hoping they'd offer me a review opportunity while I was big and round, but then I had two worries: (1) that I wouldn't need a nice dress while pregnant (true, actually; we don't go out much) and (2) that the sizing, from XXS-XL, wouldn't fit little ol' (big ol') me. Oh, wait, some dresses come in Women's Small or Medium and by some, I mean none at the moment, but it's on their chart. Anyway, I present it as an option, particularly if you rock a vintage vibe.

Isabella Oliver

Isabella Oliver has really chic-looking pieces worn by celebrities at celebrity-affordable prices. I never splurged there myself, but a girl can dream. If you were going to a really fancy do during your third trimester, I'd check it out so you could look red-carpet ready despite the swollen ankles.


I looked at Walmart for maternity clothes when I was pregnant with Alrik, because I had this article in mind and just, you know, never wrote it till now. I did not see any, which surprised me. But now I go to their site and see "Maternity – Now in select Walmart stores." So I guess I was just nine months too late. So I have no opinion but am just giving a heads up if you shop there already. My experience with clothing from Walmart has been that it's inexpensive but also doesn't always fit that well or lie right. I'd try everything on to make sure a purchase is worth it.

What are your takes on the stores above? What resources for fabulous maternity wear am I overlooking?

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants!

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Anonymous said...

I just really enjoy seeing your pregnant face/body change from picture to picture - it's like doing the time warp! And can I say, toward the end of pregnancy #1, you were ALL baby! That's how I felt with Ailia, the weight gathered in my stomach. But with Kieran, oh my goodness it went everywhere.
I wish we had an H&M here, but no such luck - that top is super cute! I was blessed by hand-me-downs from friends, though.

Kymberlee said...

With my first pregnancy, I was about 40lbs lighter so none of my maternity clothes fit this time around. However, a friend shared a bucket full with me...and I've just added a few staples from Old Navy and Motherhood. I'm surprised that in a town as big as ours, we don't have many options for maternity clothes!

I love this list! Thanks for sharing!! :D

Megan B.B. said...

I was super frustrated during my pregnancy because I am plus sized (size 18/20)
Old Navy and Motherhood is where I had to shop, sadly. And now that I am nursing, Motherhood is the only place that makes bras in my size.
It's weird you mentioned about WHO with Motherhood. Somehow, randomly in my pregnancy I received (literally) 7 JARS of formula in the mail. Not samples, full sized jars.
I ended up donating it to our local food bank because I am EBF and didn't wish to have it take up cupboard space in my house. I was appalled that I received these so non-challant in the mail, and especially so much of it. I'm wondering if signing up at Motherhood did that?
I never thought to look in H&M because their regular clothing doesn't come close to fitting me. Good tip!
~ Megan

Sarah @ Parenting God's Children said...

GREAT LIST! Finding maternity clothes that don't resemble a tent is seriously the worst part of pregnancy for me. I would LOVE an H&M here (but like you, would probable never go in, I, too, am not that cool) At any rate. Thanks for the ideas and reviews!!

mean green mom said...

Great Post!! Our Old Navy here (canada) actually stopped carrying maternity, WHAT?? so weird. I've been hitting up the thrift stores and finding some great clothes though.
Also I cant make ANY of your carnival links work? I want to read them all, but none of the links go to posts. I've been googing the posts, but thought you would want to know.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

This is an terrific list of resources for moms-to-be. Nice work! Check out Bashful Bump for maternity tops with a new twist.

Becky said...

Wow, you did a lot of shopping! I also liked the jeans (and got lots of compliments about them, too) and t-shirt selection at Old Navy. I was actually very impressed with the selection that Shopko had in the store. I also bought a pair of capris at Kohl's that were quite nice. I'm thinking that I may need to go maternity shopping the next time around because it looks like my children will be born in opposite seasons, which means I need to shop for fall and winter this time around. ;)

Alicia @LactationNarration said...

I did much of my maternity shopping at the kids consignment sales. Not consignment shops, the twice per year sales. The twice per year sales are much cheaper than the shops. Not all of them allow maternity stuff at the kids sales, but some do. I dress pretty plainly and I can wear either a Med or Large usually, so I just look for generic stuff. I actually still wear several of my maternity shirts even when I'm not pregnant at all. I just like that they are a little longer than my other shirts.

Other options for cheap second hand stuff are craigslist and garage sales.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Megan B.B.: Oh, the formula totally is from Motherhood. Bizarre, isn't it? And I say "samples," but I agree they send full jars. I even shopped there during my very first pregnancy, which ended in miscarriage, and I received a jar of formula right after the miscarriage. Lovely. I ended up donating mine to our women's food bank, too.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Becky: I have never heard of Shopko! Thanks for bringing it into the discussion. And my MIL shops at Kohl's constantly, but I somehow never end up there; I should check it out.

I did do a lot of shopping, lol. I had it in mind to write this post forEVER ago, so the shopping was for … um … science. Yeah, that's it.

Both my boys were born in the same season, so I lucked out there! However, I found that a lot of my clothes from Mikko's pregnancy had shrunk in the wash by Alrik's pregnancy, so they no longer covered my belly. Oops!

Lauren Wayne said...

@Alicia @LactationNarration: That's cool that yours have twice-yearly sales! I will say, the length of maternity shirts is such a huge plus. I have a longish torso, and I hate tugging shirts down. I remember feeling so nicely covered the first time I put on my maternity shirts this time around. Oo, craigslist & garage sales, too — good ones!

Lauren Wayne said...

I have to say, I'm relieved none of you commented, "This is the fluffiest fluff piece ever. And, also, you shop too much." Ha ha ha! :) It was pretty fun to finally write this. So glad for this carnival!

Lauren Wayne said...

@dionna-code-name-mama: Can you believe my midwife thought Mikko was going to be 7-ish pounds? ;)

I Thought I Knew Mama said...

Awesome list! I have been one of the recipients of hand me down maternity wear, and that is what makes up my current wardrobe for the most part. The good thing is I have spenThe bad thing is I am constantly wearing clothing that is not my style. Not that I care much about style, but I would probably only pick out a couple of items of my current wardrobe if I had the choice in the store. Still, "free" is an attractive style to a SAHM so I'm not complaining :-)

Alicia said...

@Lauren @ Hobo MamaYah, we have these big kid sales that happen twice per year where the group doing the sale will rent out a space for a week, often a storefront in a mall that is unoccupied. Smaller sales might take place in a church fellowship hall or a school gymnasium, and the bigger ones are at the fairgrounds or rent a whole wing of a mall.

The way they work is that the seller moms bring their stuff with tags that identify their seller number and the price they want for the item. Volunteers inspect the items for quality at drop-off and help put them out on the floor in relevant categories. Then volunteers work the floor and check-out line during the sale, and sort everything for pick-up at the end. The sellers pay a price to participate (usually $7-20), plus a portion of each item that sells (usually 25-35%), and at the end they get a check for the rest. Sellers typically get to shop a day earlier than the public, and volunteers get to shop a day earlier than that. The last day is often half-price day. The seller can choose whether to donate anything that didn't sell, or to pick it back up and take it back home.

It is quite an involved operation! We have several groups running sales like this in my area, ranging from church groups to mothers of multiples groups to homeschool groups to entrepreneur moms, and almost all of them do it both in the fall and the spring. You might check to see if there are any near you (the list is not totally comprehensive though).

I do pretty much all of my shopping for my kids at these sales for clothes, toys, and gear. I also sell the stuff back when we are done with it.

Lindsay said...

I had amazing luck with the clearance rack at GAP. I.E. $3 for a pair of jeans and $2 for a wrap dress. I got some stuff from Kohl's that I like, except that the stretchy panel was so freakin itchy I couldn't wear them except with something smooth under the stretchy panel which made it super hot.As a petite mom (I'm only 5'2"), I haven't really had trouble finding things that fit in general, but it is always tough to find things that are actually flattering. I always find that the necklines are too deep and the shoulders are too wide, so I have to wear tanks under everything which is annoying in summer, but fine the rest of the year.

Emily said...

Great list!

I want to jump on and say that I'm entering my 20th week with my second pregnancy and wearing a tank from Isabella Oliver that I bought 8 or 9 weeks into my first pregnancy. It's one of the few things that fit start to finish and, even though it won't work for nursing, I plan on hanging on to it (and the black one, and the blue t that's a similar style) to wear after I wean.

So if you're looking at having more pregnancies after the one you're currently having/planning, I fully endorse the splurge. Especially considering I have "similar" items from Old Navy that lost their shape (in weird places - my forearms?) before the end of my frist pregnancy.


Inder-ific said...

Wow! This is a really thorough list! Most of my maternity clothes are hand-me-downs, although I do appreciate this one business appropriate skirt I got at Motherhood that I can pair with a non-maternity jacket as a "suit" and wear to meetings and court.

My favorite maternity staple is soft knit dresses, mostly from Old Navy and Target. They are work-appropriate (can't wear jeans to work) and yet super soft and comfy. I have a half dozen that I rotate and, judging by my last pregnancy, they will probably be in shreds by the end of this pregnancy.

What I want to know is why so many maternity clothes use synthetic fabric? Just looking at polyester makes my stomach start itching. I'm extra sensitive to fabrics right now, and need soft knit cotton!

I'm about to try making my own maternity top/tunic. Wish me luck!

Unknown said...

This is the most awesome post ever. Wow! You really should be some sort of fashion writer. ;)

I am bookmarking this to share with the masses. I wish I had known all this when I was pregnant and miserable with my wardrobe. I had to purchase all kinds of maternity suits because that was what I wore 5-6 days per week. Unfortunately, Motherhood Maternity was the only place with decent prices on suits. It killed me to shop there but I did. And I got pushed to sign up for all thre formula crap.

Lauren said...

Great post! I haven't actually bought maternity clothes from either of these places, but both Boden and Ann Taylor Loft sell maternity clothes. The options from Boden are particularly cute, though definitely on the more expensive side. Great options, though, for pregnant moms who have office jobs; the clothes are more polished and grown-up than some other options I've seen. Sadly, I think both are only available online. Also, I know that when I order non-maternity clothes from Boden, they tend to have ANTI-vanity sizing-- as in, I have to order a size larger than usual. It's a British company, so I think their sizes just run a little differently. Just a heads up.

Anna said...

@Lauren @ Hobo Mama

Ahhh, I just had this exact thing happen to me. I m/c in Sept last year, and am coming up to my due date, and what should arrive in my mail but some Enfamil formula. Not so impressed... Glad to hear its not just me...

And thank you for this blog, this is AMAZING. I was starting to look for maternity clothes before I m/c last year and couldn't find ANYTHING I liked, I'm bookmarking this for next time! Thank you!

Gretchen said...

I love my basics tees from Liz Lange/Target - but their selection is so spotty it's frustrating!

I'm excited to check out H&M and keep feeling tempted to splurge on a pair of Paige Maternity denim (or at least find out what size I am at the ritzy store and then search eBay)!

Great ideas on everything - maternity fashion is hard :( But it can be fun when you know the right places to look!

I'm a full-time mummy said...

Great list and wonderful selections! Most of my pregnancy clothes are hand me downs from my SILs.

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