Maternity clothes look great when you are newly pregnant and still wearing your regular size. The flowing fabrics, forgiving waistbands and fit mannequins show an ideal view of what pregnancy could be. But pregnancy isn't a perfect thing where every woman gains the perfect amount of weight. Not only is every woman different, but every pregnancy is different. And powerful cravings can lead to unintentional weight gains. Conversely, horrid morning sickness can lead to little weight gain.
Before you start shopping, make sure you are truly ready for maternity clothes. Buying too early can result in wasted, unworn clothes.
"Before I was showing I actually did hit a Mimi maternity outlet and wound up buying four pieces that I never even wore. I would advise waiting until you actually need the clothes to buy them --especially since the maternity shops have such strict return policies. I thought I would embrace the frou frou, big patterns since I was pregnant, but it turned out my tastes didn't change with my body," said Jennifer Bilotta.
Instead, stick it out for as long as possible with your regular clothes -- you can make clothes last longer buy using rubber bands to secure buttons on pants or purchasing elastic waist bands that hold unbuttoned pants up. Some moms also use their old tube tops for this exact purpose.
If you read (and listen) to the maternity clothes makers, you may very likely end up with clothes that are too small later in pregnancy.
"My biggest mistake is that I bought maternity pants for work at the start of my pregnancy when I'm not so big. I'm at the stage now where I need to break down and go get a new pair but I'm thinking of just taking scissors to the waistbands! My dumbest move was doing just that to my favorite pair of skinny jeans from my first pregnancy. I loved them so much and now I can't wear them because I ruined them. But at least I looked fashionable until the end last time. So,. ladies, fight the urge to take the scissors to your maternity pants! Just go get new ones," said Carla Molina Martins.
Take Martins' advice and avoid altering clothes if you ever want to wear them again.
The bigger you get, the more you need clothes that flatter your new pregnancy curves. If you buy everything at the beginning, before you know how you'll grow, you may end up with ill-fitting clothes.
"Don't buy everything up front. You'll end up hating it by the end, plus you're going to get so big that you'll have to go up a size probably. You don't have to spend several hundred dollars - there are lots of things out there that look nice but aren't too expensive," said Kelly Phillips of www.mrscpa.net.
Maternity wear consultant Shannon Choe agrees. "A tip I give to clients, borne from personal experience, is to NOT be lured by sales while in the early or mid months of prenancy into buying clothes for the end of the pregnancy. You can't predict how you'll carry, how big you'll get or what style/cut will feel comfortable. I have a $295 dress from A Pea in the Pod with the tag still on it (even after three pregnancies!) because I bought it when I was about 4 1/2 months pregnant and it didn't fit til I was about 8 months pregnant, and by then the season was so wrong that I couldn't pull it off- I would've been freezing and looked odd," said Choe of Premier Baby Concierge (www.premierbabyconcierge.com).
Instead, budget for maternity clothes and purchase as you need them. If you don't spend the whole budget, save some money for post pregnancy clothes, when your body will likely shrink fairly quickly.
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