Whither the lost art of a sweet hand-painted jacket?
If you’re planning to grow human in your belly, here are some of the things I bought that were high-quality and reasonably priced. If you’re not, here is a comic strip that made me feel better about my brain.
Maternity Clothes I Recommend
Undies that don’t suck: 3-pack boy shorts from H&M, $15
Knit Faux Wrap Dress from Banana Republic Sexy and happens to work for nursing, so we’ll see if it lasts: $87
Grey Mama Treggings, on sale for $17
Red Batwing Sleeve Sweater that’s not technically maternity but big enough to push it, $27
Maternity Stretch Tanks, on sale $5-7
Two-pack maternity tights in grey and black, $17
This 2-Pack of Maternity Leggings are pretty thick. Some pilling after being worn near constantly for 7 months, but come on, $40
Maternity Wardrobe Tips
• Buy maternity clothes from the get go, do not wait until you can’t get your regular jeans up around your thighs. They’re crazy comfortable, and clothes that stretch make you feel healthy and pregnant as your body grows instead of just feeling fat and bummed. Also, my first pregnancy I thought I could just buy bigger clothes, and my sister said, “Your body is going to get weird. You’ll have to get maternity stuff in the third trimester, so just be comfortable all along.” She was right.
• Go for the full-belly panel on your pants. Those low elastic waistbands look good, but the last trimester when they start feeling really tight just as you don’t want anything touching your body. Also, your shirt rides up to reveal your naked belly, which is very vulnerable and yucky. Finally, when the baby gets big enough to have an opinion, they will vote by kicking you hard until you buy new pants that don’t smush them. Sorry, baby.
• Neutrals are the most economical. I buy dark grey when I can and black when I can’t. Everything works together and doesn’t clash with pieces that still work from my normal-body wardrobe. I bought a couple accent pieces in red, but mostly rely on colorful accessories.
• Don’t worry so much about whether you’ll be able to wear it after. With my first pregnancy, I obsessed over finding nursing/maternity clothes that looked passable as regular clothes. After I gave birth I was so sick of those clothes. They were mostly worn out — all stretched out and pilly — and people kept asking when I was due, probably because I was wearing maternity clothes? Yeah. So this time I bought very little, I’m wearing it into the ground, and tossing it or passing it on when I give birth. The exception is bras and nightgowns. Buy nursing versions so you can nurse right away.
• Coats are an exception. Maternity coats are expensive, so I buy vintage and try to find something I’ll wear until I have time to reassemble my body. Search “cape coat” and “swing coat” on eBay for maternity coats that will transition into your regular wardrobe, like so: Grey Wool Cape Coat.
Maternity Wardrobe Starters for Warmer Climates
A quick list of maternity basics. This will vary by lifestyle and season, but it’s a great base that lets you purchase a few necessary pieces as you realize you need them.
• Knit dresses in neutral colors (2) – High-quality thick jersey that doesn’t thin out too much as it stretches, preferably with hemlines that fall below the knee. That hemline will pull up as your belly grows and lots of ladies get temporary cellulite down to the knee before they give birth.
• Maternity tights in neutrals that work with your dresses (2)
• Maternity leggings or sweats (2)
• Camis with shelf bras (2) – These will transition you to a new bra size, and the support will help you sleep.
• A sundress that works for nursing to be worn as a nightgown – Maternity sleepwear is stupid expensive and it’s usually not as good quality as just buying an Old Navy sundress or equivalent.
• T-Shirts (2 short sleeved, 2 long)
• Undies a size or two up (6 pairs)
• A Hoodie – H&M has lots of long ones right now that aren’t a million dollars. Maternity hoodies can be laughably pricey.
• A Sweater – Bonus if it’s a cardigan because you can wear it multiple ways.
• A coat or cloak
• A pair of flats
If you’ve been through this or are pregnant now, please add your tips and links to good deals in comments. Thanks, mamas.
Catie and I have known each other for a few years, and some of you will remember her from Camp Mighty. She runs Dronning Vintage, and is so tall and striking that I always notice her around town.
Mai shot these a while ago, and now Catie’s style incorporates a lot of modern pieces as well, but here’s what she has to say about her affection for vintage clothes:
Being an online vintage shop owner means I am utterly surrounded by my work at all times. I operate the business out of my home, and it’s not unusual to see hand-washed dresses hanging from the shower curtain rod to drip dry, or receipts and checklists stacked on a tower of hat boxes.
The apartment building I live in was built in 1923, and I love that so many of the original details, like glass doorknobs, the enamel bathtub, and the picture frame moulding that wraps around every wall, are still intact. I don’t wear vintage every day – it’s too delicate for what my real life entails – but when I do, I feel that much happier in my home. Sometimes I go all out and do my hair and makeup in a vintage style, too. Soft waves or victory rolls are my favorite.
This simple late 1950s/early 1960s cotton day dress is super comfortable.
I especially love when mid-century dresses have a belt because I like accentuating my waist.
This late-1940s rayon blouse has palm trees and surfers on it. The blouse is a little on the short side so I always wear it with higher-waisted trousers. Although these pants have a ’40s-style influence to them, they are in fact from the 1980s.
The platform sandals are also 1940s though.
I got the fresh gardenia from a flower stand in downtown San Francisco, you can find them at most stalls in the city.
This red 1950s Suzy Perette dress is a great example of how Christian Dior’s New Look influence trickled down into mid-price American design houses, with its huge skirt and smaller waist.
Bag is from Tory Burch.
These black and cream heels are from Miu Miu. It’s very rare that I have vintage shoes that are big enough to fit my feet, and Miu Miu usually has strong vintage styling in their designs. If you don’t want to shell out for a brand new pair, you can get some very gently worn ones on eBay quite often so watch for deals.
Celluloid was a popular and affordable material used for making jewelry in the 1930s and 1940s and these days the pieces are quite collectable. I have a nice collection of animal novelty pins and brooches and this celluloid parrot is a great one.
These butter-yellow 1950s shorts are made of soft, very fine-wale corduroy.
The blouse is Miu Miu, as are the loafers.
I’ve had them resoled several times because I wear them so often. Cobblers are more and more rare these days so if you find a good one, give them your business!
The story behind this suit is amazing. Someone took a 1940s wool suit and expertly dismantled it, eventually flipping it upside-down, making the jacket into a skirt and the skirt into the jacket.
I call it the Surrealism Suit.
I wore it with a 1940s hat and simple, classic Christian Louboutin heels.
Like a lady. Catie, thanks so much for showing us your amazing closet. If you’re a vintage devotee, have a look at Catie’s shop, Dronning Vintage.
Photos by Mai Le of Fashioni.st.
Did you watch the Grammys? Why did no one wear anything insane or do anything ill-advised? Rock stars are not what they used to be.
I posted some of the more intriguing outfits over on my Facebooks. Please join us if you’d like to discuss:
Taylor Swift and whether she’s running for office.
Katy Perry in her musical-themed pageant dress.
Colbie Caillat and whether she is the absolute best or attempting to hide a neck brace.
Ryan Lewis and Macklemore whose grandpa style continues to dominate.
Madonna and child.
Cyndi Lauper and how you kind of want that poncho dress.
Kacey Musgraves in her dress that looks like a Photoshop filter. And her illuminated boots that will be mine. Bring them to me.
Photo by Getty Images.