I have a hysterical friend. She is pregnant with her second child. This is an email she sent me to vent:
Maternity clothes dressing for work is seriously challenging. Stores have little selection and ordering online is hit or miss, resulting in multiple returns. (I do have some clothes from last time, but some items were worn and I need more.) The worst was a cashmere and silk black sweater (sounds good so far) with a ruffle at the bottom that I tried on this weekend shopping with Mom.
This is what it looked like on.
Runner up was a cute dress with a poorly placed print. It looked like this.
Well my friend, and any other friends out there struggling with looking professional for work with a growing belly, this is for you. Today’s Shopping With A Purpose (S.W.A.P.) is having an affordable sophisticated work wardrobe during those pregnancy months (and maybe even after maternity leave…).
First of all, what are your options: Seraphine (mainly on line, as most areas don’t have stores and that can be hard), Pea in the Pod (smaller size ranges but great selection), Destination Maternity (career and quality aren’t high on their list), Ann Taylor Loft (limited selection), Motherhood (not sure their “work wear” would work for some careers), and department stores (size issues can occur here).
Second of all, what do you need at a minimum for work: two awesome pair of maternity pants, ideally black and camel; a great work maternity dress; one maternity suit; at least five maternity blouses (and if you dare, a skirt to give you more options).
Accessories are key when you are pregnant, so purchase some fun and diverse scarves and necklaces; since you’re never going to have an expansive maternity work wardrobe, accessories can make the outfit look different.
Here are a few basics, but try for quality as you’ll be wearing these pieces a lot. Also accept you may have to order on-line several times from several places. Almost all of these pieces are under $100:
1. This navy and white dress from Seraphine is a perfect work staple. You can change it with a blazer or sweater, or in the summer you can just throw on a bold colored scarf to keep it light. And Pea and the Pod has the widest variety of work dresses – this aqua and green shirtdress is lovely.
2. These are excellent trouser leg work pants from Ann Taylor Loft and will grow as your belly does.
3. Blouses are the EASIEST pieces to find to add interest and diversity to your work wardrobe. Here’s a few of my favorites: a bright and classic tie blouse from Ann Taylor Loft, a gorgeous ivory pintuck blouse from Seraphine (if you don’t mind wearing white while you’re pregnant), this classic navy and white striped tunic from Destination Maternity can be paired with slacks for work or jeans for weekend, and the bright blue short sleeved blouse from Macy’s will add the dose of color you need.
4. As far as I can tell, A Pea in the Pod is nearly the only place you can get a work suit if you need to don business formal for meetings during your pregnancy. This blazer is tailored twill and actually looks like a jacket you’d wear if you weren’t pregnant which is a plus (but it is my rare item over $100). They also have the largest selection of blazers which are pretty and feel more modern than most maternity clothes on the market.
So what about you? What did you do when you were pregnant? How did you manage to stay professional for work?
You forgot about consignment shops and sales! Most childrens consignment stores and adult consignment stores have maternity clothes. Even thrift stores have them now. When I was pregnant with both girls I worked full time as a special ed teacher and I only needed dressier items for parent meetings or special occasions. I found some very high end items at a local Goodwill that happens to be located in a very nice area which equals better donations! But I also just sized up in a few items instead of going the maternity route. I was lucky to stay very small my whole pregnancy so I sizing up worked very well. But buying used for maternity I think makes a lot of sense and can get you a bigger wardrobe.
Great tip, I never think about that b/c I get everything on line!