I thought I would share some of my experiences of maternity clothing shopping. I have found the experience fairly frustrating overall, but not really any more frustrating than regular clothes shopping. I'll start with some of the stores I visited and my first hand experience with their clothes (if I bought them).
My first maternity shopping experience was at Target because it's so close to my work. Target really does have some cute things and they carry sizes for a large variety of women (XS to 2X at least). I tried on a ton of things at Target, but haven't purchased anything there. Part of the reason is that the styles didn't fit right or look good on me (I'm busty but otherwise not large so everything that fit my bust looked like a tent, even with my expanding belly). Some of the styles are things I just never would wear because they're too young or trendy. And finally, the quality is as cheap as the prices--even though I'm not going to be wearing these clothes for a very long duration, I prefer fewer nice clothes to more cheaper clothes.
The next place I shopped was the Mimi Maternity section of my local Macy's. One great thing I will say about Mimi at Macy's is that they have a 30 day return policy on maternity rather than the 10 day of other Mimi stores. I mean really, what pregnant woman can get back to the store within 10 days if she needs to return something? My biggest bone to pick with Mimi is that they have very few items in size XL. I was able to find some XL polo shirts, but that's about it. The polo shirts are very cute and were on sale for $19.99 each. Unfortunately they shrunk quite a bit--about 2" in length and some in the width. Also on the size thing, the largest bra size Mimi carries is 40E--and that's what I'm wearing now. I won't be buying any nursing bras from them!!!
In addition to the polo shirts, I found a black terry capri pants and hoodie set that I love wearing on weekends. I don't think it will fit in my 8th and 9th months, but it will definitely fit again right after the baby is born, and it doesn't look maternity. I also bought a denim skirt and black knit skirt both with the "secret fit belly" which I love. It's a fully lycra/nylon panel that extends up over the belly or can be folded down. And, I bought this shirt which I am wearing today. It's very flattering on me and I think it's the only maternity shirt I have that allows you to see a distinct difference between my boobs and my belly.
Next stop was Destination Maternity which has Mimi, Motherhood, and a Pea in the Pod. They have very cute stuff here, especially in the Pea in the Pod section, but the prices are steep. If I had as many weddings to attend this summer as I did last summer I would probably get a dress at Pea in the Pod, but since i don't, I avoid the temptation of that section of the store. In the Mimi section I found some whisper weight long sleeve t-shirts on sale in XL, and a black cardigan sweater that's a L, but fits now and will for another couple of months. I love the super soft cardigan, but I hate the fact that it pills. Oh well...it was on sale and it's sooo soft that I'll live with using the sweater shaver on it.
I also visited the Motherhood section of the store which is much less expensive, but doesn't have the same quality of fabrics, and I found many of the styles were too young looking for my taste. However, I found a fabulous pair of boot cut stretch jeans with my favorite secret fit belly...and they were only $19.99!! I love these jeans and where them a few times a week. My only complaint is that the inside seam on one of the legs is crooked and so at the cuff it's more to the front of the leg than the inside. For the price I really can't complain too much and I doubt anyone other than me really notices it. I guess I do have one other complaint about these jeans--I have to pull them up every time I stand from a chair or the car--especially if I've worn them more than once after washing (which I always do). The hips and butt are a little big on me, but the medium was a little too snug. If they only has numbered sizes I would have been all set.
Which brings me to my best maternity shopping stop yet--Ann Taylor LOFT Maternity! Maternity is a new line for AT LOFT and is only sold though a select number of their stores (including one about 40 minutes from me), but also sold online. One big plus is that they have numbered sizes, not just XXS-XXL. They advise buying your pre-pregnancy size, and that actually worked for me (I'm always skeptical when they say that). I bought a size 12 dress, size 10 pants, size 10 skirt, L top, and L sweater (actually, my mom bought them for me). The clothes suit my style (I typically wear quite a bit of LOFT and Ann Taylor clothing), and they aren't too young looking. I was extra pleased because I mentioned to the saleswoman that there was a skirt I had seen online that I loved, and she went to the back and pulled one out for me from the shipment she had received that day!
Oh, and here's a fun subject--maternity underwear! My mom bought me this underwear from Motherhood and I have a few issues with them, mostly for sleeping. They either fall down, bunch up, or give me a wedgie. Another strange thing about them is that the double layer on the crotch isn't stitched down on the front and back, only on the sides. In general, I'm not a bikini underwear person anyway. I tend to go with more of the granny panty look because I hate things that cut into my stomach or feel like they're going to fall down. I'm a Victoria's Secret cotton hi-cut brief kinda girl, and I can still wear them, but probably not for long. I did find some maternity underwear I really really love. They are bigger than the biggest granny panties, but they are so comfortable, they stay up, and there's no waist band cutting across my belly (yet). The winning underwear in my book: Bravado Maternity Briefs! They only have elastic in the back of the waistband so there will be no elastic digging into my belly! I only bought 2 pairs, but I'm going to have to get some more. They're not cheap , but I believe that if my underwear isn't comfy, then the rest of me isn't comfy!
That's it for my maternity shopping experiences (for now). Will blog again when I buy or try on any more stuff (like a maternity bathing suit). And I'm sure I'll have lots to say when it comes time for the nursing bras!
An update: Before our trip to Maine I bought this maternity bathing suit at Target. I have one that my sister gave me, but I wanted something fun (hers is perfect for being at the beach or pool with kids--it has more coverage). The bathing suit I bought was a halter, but I altered it so that the straps crossed in the back and were sewn down--took the weight from my breasts off of my neck and made it much more comfortable!
Also, I forgot to mention that the knit yoga pants from Old Navy are fabulous! My friend Wendy gave me her 2 pairs and I wear them all the time--they are absolutely the most comfortable thing I have right now.