Wednesday, April 4, 2012

5 Tips For Building a Versatile & Stylish Maternity Wardrobe

Jessica Alba & Angelina Jolie

Thus far, my friends have fallen into two camps when it comes to maternity clothes shopping. The first camp runs off to the maternity stores in their first trimester and can't wait to buy new things. The second camp dreads spending money on clothes that will last only a few months and puts it off as long as possible. No matter which camp you're in, here are five tips for building a practical, stylish, comfortable wardrobe.

1. Think ahead when you shop. 

Buy clothes that work well now and that you'll still like after the baby's birth. Sure, you’ll be eager to get back into your normal clothes, but that might take a bit of time (as well it should, in my opinion. Hanging out with your kiddo is way more fun than hitting the gym). I wore my favorite pair of maternity jeans until Henry was 5 months old. More examples? Draped button-downs that will be great if you nurse. Longer cardigans to wear over maternity dresses and throw on for last minute strolls with your newborn. An oversized purse that can double as a diaper bag.  Much like in non-pregnant life, a few basic, versatile pieces can really maximize your entire wardrobe.

2. Buy a Maxi Dress, or Three.

I’m convinced this trend has partially taken off because of moms. At every birthday party, barbeque, and playground I go to, there's at least one mom in a maxi dress. They can last your whole pregnancy, are a great alterative to yoga pants, and allow you to sit comfortably on the floor during tummy time. I can also tell you from experience — Henry was transverse lie and couldn’t turn — they’re really comfortable after C-sections.

Nicole Richie & Gwen Stefani

3. Buy Vintage. 

For many women, this is already a way of life. That said, if you haven’t stepped foot in a vintage store since high school (or ever), now's the time. It's an ideal way to find relatively inexpensive, stylish pieces, especially flowing tops and kimonos, elastic-waist skirts, and maxi dresses. If you're not sure where to go around your house, there are dozens of wonderful online stores, including Ramona West, Library, and Adore.

4. Borrow, borrow, borrow. 

Maternity clothes are sized flexibly, so you’ll be surprised at whose clothes you can borrow. My 5’10, leggy college roommate thought I was insane when I offered her my maternity clothes (I’m 5’4 and flat as a board), but they fit her just fine. (I'm guessing that Gwen Stefani did not borrow the dress she's wearing above, but it's the kind of dress that circles through entire groups of friends.)

Rachel Zoe & Victoria Beckham

5. Splurge on one thing that makes you feel gorgeous.

Don’t worry — I'm not trying to sell you on “investment pieces” à la, every women’s fashion magazine ever. This is just one piece that you really love, even if you feel silly buying it for only a few months of wear. My splurge was a beautifully patterned wrap dress.  I felt pretty every time I wore it and I've already lent it to four of my friends. How is this budget friendly? It prevented me from needlessly buying a bunch of clothes I liked less just to extend my wardrobe. I had no problem wearing such a nice dress over and over again.

(Images: 1. FabSugar, 2. BlogShopBuzz, 3. SheKnows, 4. PopSocial, 5. UpscaleHypse via TheOnlyJaiden, 6. Bud&Leo)

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