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Bumpy shopping: Part one. Proceed with caution

August 25, 2010

Another guest post! This time from Jo, who was one of the super guest bloggers that helped us get through Ally’s maternity leave. Now Jo is prepping for a maternity leave of her own. On facebook, I noticed how she has been working the maternity style to her advantage, so I asked her to stop by and tell us about how she does it.  Maternity fashion is way too much for one day, so I’ve split it up into two posts. Stop by tomorrow for more from Jo.

It’s like a dream.

You have to go shopping. The universe (and le husband) is OK with you buying more clothes. No guilt. No questions asked. No need to reply, “This? New? NOOooooo. I’ve had it forever!”

You really do, in fact, need new clothes.

Yes, it should be a dream. Only it’s actually a nightmare.

You’re gaining weight at an exponential rate beyond your control. Your previously hourglass shape is giving way to a much rounder, less graceful one. You have nothing to wear – for reals this time! And worse, there nothing to buy.

You’re pregnant. OK, maybe you’re not, but I most certainly am.

I also have a closet full of clothes that I love, but most I can no longer wear. I adore shopping, but can’t buy what’s new and hot ‘cause it doesn’t fit my blossoming belly. So what’s a girl to do? Go shopping, naturally. But before I ventured out into the world of maternity wear, I fought the good fight, and tried to make my existing wardrobe work for me as long as I could.

And no, I don’t mean that I sausaged myself into things that just wouldn’t work, like this:

um, FYI, I would NEVER wear that skirt, let alone try to squeeze my preggo self into it…


My despair over losing my existing wardrobe and my frustration over not being able to find ANYTHING when shopping for a new one led me to be a little creative. So I thought I would share with all of you! Hooray!

My first “rule”: find cuts and styles in your closet that already work with your body and will grow with you. Things like:

Stretchy jersey fabrics (I got this comfy American Apparel skirt in the most beautiful eggplant shade)


Ruching (fabulous find at Anthropologie):


Empire waist

Existing closet finds: dress and boots, Joe Fresh

Existing closet finds: dress, Old Navy


The basics I found from Old Navy, Joe Fresh, American Apparel and lululemon are GREAT. Working with the stuff I already had, I added a few new things, with the idea that I will wear them long after baby arrives.

But you reach a point when you can’t prolong the inevitable: you must set foot into an actual maternity store and try on gigantic pants with panels. I tried to give the local stores the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were having a bad season.

Now, I didn’t exactly expect to find this:

hey look! this could have been me & Ally, had we been preggo at the same time!


And I don’t expect to look like this:


But I certainly expected more than what I found, which was … nothing. At least a little lucky here in Halifax to have a few dedicated maternity stores (Thyme, Motherhood), and a few others with small lines (H&M, Old Navy). But I found nothing. NOTHING.

Sooo … let me get this straight: just because I’m pregnant, I’m supposed to wear ugly clothes? Bad fabric? Poorly constructed pieces? Only casual wear? Fashionable person meets many, many, many questionable things. In the books, “they” say that this (pregnancy) is a blip, that it doesn’t last long, it doesn’t matter what you wear, how you look … blah, blah, blah.

BULLSHIT. It does matter. I work in a professional, corporate office. Am I to wear baggy cargo capris and over-sized hideous shirts? No, no, no, noooo… I tried not to feel so superficial, but here you are reading a fashion blog, so I know you understand.

Am I to look like this for nine months??

This is worth a sidebar: “While pregnant with second son Jayden James, Britney Spears wore this outfit for her Matt Lauer interview, in which she complained about the media's constant criticism of her appearance. One of her fake eyelashes came off when she started to cry...”



All I can say is that after a day of maternity shopping, I too wanted to shave my head and beat a car silly with an umbrella. I can’t possibly be the first and only stylish, professional woman who wants to look half decent for the biggest phase of her life. (hah! Pun completely intended). So I had to get a little resourceful.

I asked around, I scoured magazines, the Internets and every celebrity style blog going, and managed to come up with some rules of my own.

Which brings me to Rule #2: when you DO start to buy, find maternity clothes that also follow Rule #1 (cuts and styles that work with your body). In the beginning, I tried to buy as much “non-maternity” as possible, so that I’m not stashing away great clothes after baby arrives.

Rule #3: Don’t go overboard. It’s back to wardrobe building basics for building the belly closet – invest in good basics that will go far, that you can mix and match with lots of things.

Tomorrow, I’ll share a few of my favourite basics that I’ve worn during this “blip”. Things that will keep you from looking too casual or too Crazy Britney.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Rhia permalink
    August 25, 2010 9:02 am

    Rickis briefly had an instore maternity section only at the HSC. I didn’t see it last time I was in though, and I can’t find it on their web site. It’s a shame because it did have some of those good basic pieces. (If you are a sz 10-12-14, you can shop my stored clothes, though. I got a bunch of stuff passed on to me and there are some decent basics.)

  2. August 25, 2010 9:24 am

    I’ve never been pregnant, but I remember walking past some cute stuff in Pea in the Pod in the Halifax Shopping Center. Looking forward to your second post!

    • L-A permalink*
      August 25, 2010 12:09 pm

      That’s how my advice to pregnant ladies sounds – “I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I think I saw cute clothes at x store”. My mom and I hit up Target for their Liz Lange maternity collection when we found out my sister in law was pregnant. It was all pretty casual stuff, but they had a few dresses that would be worth it for summer wear.

      Also, here’s a plug for Love Me Boutique – we’ve sold these belly bands by Haramaki Love ( They are stretchy bands (also good for non-pregnant ladies who need another layer with a really short t-shirt) made in Montreal. They provide light support to the belly and help extend the life of your non-preggo wardrobe, especially tops (by covering your belly when your shirt fails to do so).

      • Rhia permalink
        August 25, 2010 8:45 pm

        There were jeans there with stretchy bands at the top today, too, on the sale rack!

  3. August 25, 2010 1:01 pm

    Thanks for the tips, ladies!

    I can’t believe I forgot about my Target finds! My Mom was in Myrtle Beach this winter and snagged some great finds for me: three v-neck tees with ruching, and a fantastic tank top, all Liz Lange. All beautiful, but all casual. The casual clothes aren’t so hard. It’s the work stuff that’s a real challenge.

    • L-A permalink*
      August 25, 2010 1:58 pm

      From the looks of things, clothing companies seem to think that maternity leave starts the minute your bump gets to big to cover.

  4. August 25, 2010 3:22 pm

    I totally have that AA skirt — in three colours! Haha. Nice to know I can get pregnant and keep wearing it ; ) Hopefully while looking as good as you!

  5. Marilissa permalink
    August 25, 2010 7:21 pm

    If you are looking for suits and work clothes, is a good website. They ship anywhere in Canada. They carry the Boob Maternity line.


  1. Bumpy Shopping: Part two. Favourite things for a fashionable maternity « Fashionable People, Questionable Things

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