Dressing for Two: Maternity Clothes

Your pregnancy is one crazy fashion opportunity. Your size changes day by day, so it's a real challenge to find clothing that looks good now and will still do the job next week. Your needs in this department depend, of course, on your lifestyle. If you are working, you'll need to build a wardrobe that can cover your expanding body and still look professional. If you spend more time at home than in public, you can get away with large shirts, leggings, and sweat suits for quite a long time.

When it's time to shop to cover the bulge, you might be tempted to run to the nearest maternity clothing shop. The problem with this is that maternity clothes are expensive. You're talking about a whole new wardrobe that you'll wear for a maximum of four months. That's a lot of money. Before you refinance your house to support this fashion spree, consider a few alternatives that can get you through the fifth month without great expense:

  • Visit your partner's closet. Your partner has shirts, shorts, sweatpants, and sweaters that might fit you just fine in the first four or five months.
  • Revisit your own closet. During the first five months you might be able to wear a few of your favorite belted dresses, if you remove the belts. You might be able to create outfits by wearing blouses on the outside and by doing some camouflage work with tunic tops, large button-down blouses, large denim shirts, classic A-line or empire dresses, large vests, and boxy blazers.
  • In the beginning of your pregnancy, you can buy a great nonmaternity outfit on sale in a size or two larger than your prepregnancy size.

When it's time to hit the maternity shops (usually sometime in the fifth or sixth month) you'll find that maternity clothes are made differently than your nonpregnancy clothes—at least they should be. When you shop, look for…

  • A dress hem line that is longer in the front. This hem pulls up as your belly expands. (That's why buying nonmaternity dresses in large sizes won't work.)
  • Extra room in the upper arm and bust. You will need it.
  • No lining. Your body temperature is higher during pregnancy and lining can be very warm and uncomfortable.
  • Clothing that can be layered to adjust to your changing body temperature.
  • Clothing that can be mixed and matched to give you a varied selection without spending a fortune.
  • Easy care, durable material. Maternity clothes are washed and worn about four times as often as nonmaternity clothes.

Looking good during your pregnancy is one way to bolster your self-image. Do yourself a favor and borrow and buy a wardrobe that is stylish and flattering. Today's maternity fashions can make even the largest pregnant woman look fabulous.


excerpted from:

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth © 2004 by Michele Isaac Gliksman, M.D. and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's website or call 1-800-253-6476.

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