With all the stress — emotional, physical, and financial — that goes into planning for a baby, acquiring a new wardrobe that doesn’t suck shouldn’t have to be the chief concern. But unfortunately, maternity clothing isn’t exactly the most exciting of shopping departments, particularly because a lot of it is hideous and very expensive.
We asked a handful of women who either are or have been pregnant to tell us what brands are great, which ones you should avoid, and what to expect, clothing-wise, postpartum.
The best-made, most comfortable, and cutest maternity clothes I own are all from Hatch. I love the The Longsleeve Tee ($98) and the Perfect V Tee ($88). My BEST maternity purchase was their Night Out Leggings ($148), which are insanely comfortable and sexy. (Since they’re so crazy expensive, I waited for Shopbop sales and the Hatch sample sale to buy.)
Not everything from there is great, though, because some of their pieces make you look like a tent if you’re not a waify, 5’11” model. If you pick the right pieces for your body, their clothing does look great during each stage of pregnancy, and still looks fantastic even once you’ve lost all the baby weight.
Some of my other favorites: the Ingrid and Isabel leggings from Target ($34.99) — they’re cheap, plus offer great support for your belly. I wore these all the time. I bought the ASOS scallop hem shorts in black, and they went with everything in the summer (here’s a similar pair).
Also, the Monrow Shirred Tee Dress ($120), which I’m pretty sure is the same thing as their non-maternity V-neck dress (it had ruching without looking “maternity”), and the Citizens of Humanity Racer jeans ($176). I thought the inset panels were more comfortable than the over-the-belly panel on AG, and they didn’t sag like Gap jeans. — Jenny, New York
“As far as style goes, I found the best maternity clothing options were from Motherhood Maternity and Pea in a Pod. Their clothing most resembles “regular” women’s clothing — I’d probably wear half of what they have on their website now and I’m not pregnant. Everything either gives more room for an expanding belly, or is a style that’s maternity-body friendly.
I think I wore Motherhood’s maternity leggings the majority of my pregnancy. That being said, I tried to be extremely frugal throughout my pregnancies, since the clothing would only be worn for such a short amount of time. Their deals online are great, but I found the store prices a bit higher than I wanted to pay.
Target and Old Navy also have great maternity selections at a great price, especially for pajamas and nursing bras, which are very important clothing items for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas. — Sarah, New York
When I was pregnant, my mother told me not to spend a lot of money on maternity clothes because she believed the more expensive brands pill and get worn out just the same as the cheaper brands. Because you’re wearing them for such a short period of time, it’s not worth spending big bucks.
The majority of my clothes were from Target. The clothes lasted me all pregnancy, and they were extremely comfortable. I got every dress and shirt they had in multiple colors.
I also had a few pieces from Destination Maternity and Pea in a Pod. Those stores were harder for me to shop in. I’m petite and the proportions always seemed to be off, usually too big or long.
The other clothes I had were hand-me-downs from friends or sisters. That was really useful too. I have other friends who tried their hardest to not buy maternity clothes and they kept on stretching out their regular wardrobe. Honestly, Target had the best leggings, tights, and dresses. Pea in a Pod had really comfy sweaters. — Zahava, Chicago
Since I was in my third trimester during the hottest part of summer, I knew I needed flattering and light maxi dresses that wouldn’t leave me looking like I was wearing a tent. Pink Blush had dozens of variations of the same maxi, so I stocked up on a few.
They also had a ton of feminine robes and gowns, which helped me feel girly and cute during frumpy times. The prices were pretty high, but I waited for various holiday sales, which made the cost much more reasonable. I’m finding that I can even wear my Pink Blush clothes postpartum, and they don’t look like maternity clothes at all. — Marjan, Pennsylvania
I shopped at Destination Maternity mostly, and I liked all of their stuff. They told me to always buy my pre-pregnancy size throughout my whole pregnancy and everything fit nicely in a size small no matter how huge I was.
They also had a Jessica Simpson line. Her nursing and sleep bras were amazing, but with all of her tops, the arms and armpit area was small and I always felt if I stretched or move the wrong way that I’d tear it.
I was pregnant through summer, fall, and winter, so I basically needed a whole new wardrobe, and maternity clothes are so damn expensive. That’s probably my biggest complaint. For example, leggings are like $20 a pop, jeans $60, bras $30. It all adds up. — Aly, New Jersey
I never really bought real maternity clothes. I got a striped maternity shirt from Topshop, jeans that never fit, and some black maternity leggings from Target. The leggings were great postpartum.
For non-maternity clothes, I bought four of T-shirt dresses from The Great and lived in them. They are way too expensive, but I thought I would wear them after, and I will.
I bought a bunch of dresses and shirts from COS that really worked well, and I will wear them again for sure. I also bought a pair of Casey Casey men’s pants with an elastic waist in size medium that I wore almost exclusively for the last month. I loved them because they weren’t maternity clothes.
My advice is, remember you will have to nurse afterwards, so dresses — unless they button down the middle — aren’t supper helpful. Buy nursing bras early (like, the first month) because your boobs will swell anyways, so just go ahead and skip to the nursing bra. I bought four from Targetand they’re great.
And when you’re buying tent dresses from non-maternity stores like COS, be careful with the length, because once a short dress has to cover that big belly, it can get very short. And no matter how big you are or not into body conscious clothes, tight really does look better than tent. — Juliet, New York