Fashionable, trendy clothes during pregnancy and motherhood can be affordable and easy to find if you know where to look. Marcy interviews three stylish mamas from across the U.S. to discover their fashion secrets…
It is a my pleasure to introduce you to Bryson, Catherine, and Lynnsey – three great friends from throughout my life. They are women who I admire, who love their families, and who know a thing or two about looking great without breaking the bank. Bryson lives in Birmingham, Alabama and is the owner of The Swanky Stork and Fireflies & Fairytales. Catherine is a teacher who lives in Franklin, Tennessee. And Lynnsey lives in St. Louis, Missouri and works in the nonprofit sector.
What year did you become a mama?
Bryson: I became a mom in 2005 and again in 2008.
Catherine: Our due date is September 24th.
Lynnsey: In 2010.
Tell me the ages and names of your kiddos.
Bryson: Kate is six and Cole is three.
Catherine: We’re expecting a sweet baby girl. We have a name selected, but we are keeping it a secret!
Lynnsey: Colston is one year-old.
How difficult was it to find fashion trends during either of your pregnancies and now as a mama?
Bryson: It is fairly difficult to find trendy maternity clothes because there are limited chic maternity stores in most areas. I lived in two different cities during my pregnancies and only found one or two really cute and affordable maternity stores in each city.
Catherine: Fashion is important because you want to feel pretty and good about yourself despite the sudden weight gain. However, feeling comfortable is even more important! If your clothes and accessories don’t fit or feel just right, you wouldn’t feel pretty anyway. It is difficult to find both fashionable and comfortable clothing. Women don’t have to resort to wearing a frumpy mu-mu anymore. The options for pregnant women are much better than they use to be!
Lynnsey: I usually buy non-maternity clothes in a larger size rather than purchasing maternity clothes. It feels like a waste of money and I never liked maternity clothes anyway.
What “hidden treasures” (stores/sales/etc.) have you uncovered for trendy motherhood clothing?
Bryson: The most important part of shopping, especially maternity shopping is to be a “smart shopper”. First, it is important to know the best times to shop (i.e. sale season – June/July and December/January). These seasons are clearance times and there are great bargains to be found during those times. Second, think through purchases to ensure they work for different occasions and will last throughout your pregnancy. For example, purchase a dress that can be dressed up with heels and jewelry for special events or dressed down with flip flops for casual wear. Dresses that are too short later in pregnancy make great tunics with a simple pair of inexpensive leggings. And definitely don’t be afraid of the sale sections in stores! Every store has a sale section, usually in the back. Take your time and look carefully through it – there are many hidden treasures there!
Catherine: Target, Gap, and Old Navy Maternity have some great options at affordable prices. However, it is sometimes necessary to splurge on price in order to find good staple items for work and special occasions. Some of my favorite places to shop are Pickles and Ice Cream, Due Maternity, and Zulily. I am not opposed to borrowing maternity clothes from friends either!
Lynnsey: I’ve been lucky with hand-me-down maternity clothes. My friends have similar taste, so they’ve passed down flowy tops and cute leggings to wear during pregnancy. My motto while pregnant – keep it simple, natural, and splurge on things that can be reused such as jewelry, flats, and hair accessories.
Many mamas and mamas-to-be feel the need to set their personal shopping desires aside for the sake of their little ones’ needs. How have you found balance in treating yourself to clothes and accessories without breaking the bank?
Bryson: This is definitely a struggle for most moms out there. Money is not growing on trees for any of us and balancing providing for kids with trying to maintain a sense of style in your personal wardrobe is definitely difficult. Again, being a smart shopper is the most effective way to do this. Look for clearance items – great deals are found there if you are patient and willing to look. You can also spend less money on jewelry, scarves, cardigans and other accessories to add color and style to a simple outfit like jeans and a tank top. As moms, we tend to have our staple, comfy outfits that we wear time and time again – use accessories to change it up. You keep up with the trends and colors without breaking the bank.
Catherine: Preparing for a new baby can be very overwhelming when you consider the cost. New parents want to buy the top-of-the-line, best products for their little ones. All the baby stuff adds up and can put a hole in your pocket. Baby IS a priority, but you have to make yourself a priority too! The key to buying maternity clothing is finding good quality, items that will last, at a reasonable price. I have been fortunate enough to stay small enough that I only had to start buying maternity clothes when I was about six months pregnant. I plan on hanging onto my maternity clothes if God blesses us with baby number two.
Lynnsey: I definitely spend more money on Colston’s wardrobe than my own. I wear a lot of my old clothes and I try to update with cute Kohl’s jewelry or GAP ballet flats. I think with anything to do with your children, you put them first from the day they’re born.
What encouragement do you have for mamas who desire to feel stylish but don’t know where to start?
Bryson: Knowing your particular body shape and learning to work with that shape is the most important key to shopping. Finding clothes that are stylish and flattering is completely about knowing your body shape and working with it. Some people have a curvy shape (smaller waist and wider hips). Look for tops that are more fitted accentuating a small waist and look for pants that are more of a flare leg or bootcut, which draw the eye down and away from the hips. Some women are straight and have to create the illusion of shape. Use belts with dresses or long tunics to create the look of a waist. Some women are larger in the chest with smaller hips. Accentuate small legs and hips with skinny jeans and find a stylish banded top or blousy top that will detract from a larger chest. Be willing to not force a trend or particular style if it does not work for your body type. The most important part of being a hip, trendy, stylish mom is to realize that you are beautiful exactly as you are. There is nothing more beautiful than a mother and confidence is the most fashionable thing you can wear!
Catherine: I am a strong believer in starting with the inside! Being stylish starts with your lifestyle. My best advice for mamas is to focus on being healthy and exercising during pregnancy. You aren’t only helping your baby’s health and development, you feel better about yourself, and clothes look even better on your cute bump! Prenatal vitamins are a must, along with eating healthy, staying hydrated, and being active! Your baby is worth it, and the mother-to-be reaps the outward benefits!
Lynnsey: My advice would be to simplify your life, even down to your wardrobe. Less is more and you should focus on your health and happiness. I’ve definitely toned down the make up, hair, bling, etc. It just gets in the way and there’s something refreshing about a mom on the go. What you really want is for people to say, “Now that’s a good mama!”
– Marcy, Taking Clipping Out of Couponing