I am totally going out of my comfort zone when it comes to this, but I feel like it is something I want to talk about and share a bit about. I definitely do not call myself a fashionista, thankfully I have friends who are more than willing to help me out when I have no idea what to do for an outfit or how to accessorize. There is no hiding the fact that I am tall, plus size, and pregnant. I’m a triple threat! This makes shopping for clothing very interesting, and some what complicated pregnant, or not to be honest. It’s a challenge for me because when I am pregnant it takes longer for my baby belly to show compared to others. While those who are considered average size have bumps already that they can show off in their fashion choices, I am worried about simply not looking bigger, and finding ways to make my b-belly work. While shopping during my pregnancies I feel like plus size, curvaceous, bigger women do not get pregnant because our body type is never featured in the fashions and clothing available. I have only ever seen what is considered the ideal pregnant body showcased in pregnancy style.
I have had some ups and downs when it comes to finding clothing I like for this expectant body. Unfortunately I have had two upsetting experiences in the same store, where I went just to look in hopes of finding something that would make me feel beautiful. I was flabbergasted to be told by staff as soon as I walked into the store that “You’re too fat, you will never find anything in here.”, and this happened twice! Once when I was pregnant with my first born, and again during this pregnancy. I had decided to give the store a second chance, but regretted that decision almost instantly. While I will never know why the staff thought it was their place to talk to me that way, I was more so upset because I knew the store carried plus size maternity. Take this, and add in pregnancy hormones, I was an absolutely mess.
Finding pieces that work for me has not been easy. I’m discouraged when the fashions that are created for my body type are often very boxy. I have curves, and I would like to be able to showcase them in a flattering way. I do not want to be hiding in a baggy, shapeless frock that does nothing for my body. I feel even more defeated when I hear or read from other pregnant women who are much smaller that they are having a troublesome time finding things they like to wear. How is there any hope for me? All women, no matter their body type and shape, can have a very trying time adjusting to what their body is now doing while pregnant. We all have moments of not feeling pretty, and instead we feel frumpy. It’s an adjustment.
My “holy grail” item, if you will, is finding a pair of regular jeans that fit my baby bump, and that are also long enough. Two pregnancies and I have yet to find jeans. What I did my first pregnancy was continue to wear the jeans I loved, and go up a size when I needed to. Once my tummy could no long be zipped and buttoned in I actually used a hair elastic to hold my jeans closed and then wore tank tops that were long enough to cover this. It worked great, but I would have loved to found a pair of jeans, boot cut preferably, with a comfortable tummy band. This pregnancy I did get a step closer, and I found a pair of boyfriend style jeans, while they are short, thankfully this is part of the fashion for this type of jean cut. Now I jut have to figure out how to make them work in the fall when the weather gets cooler.
Thankfully there are stores who have not ignored the need for plus size, maternity fashion and I have learned a few things a long the way that are working for me during this time.
1) Try different stores. I have discovered two stores that have become my go to for maternity fashion. I will visit Old Navy and Destination Maternity if I am looking for something. Both of these companies carry plus size, and you can also shop online if you would like. Destination Maternity has always been a very positive experience, the staff are very helpful, and willing to pull other sizes for me if needed. Old Navy is my go to for budget friendly pieces. This summer, especially with our heat wave, I needed to get a few t-shirts and tank tops to wear and I was able to do so without breaking the piggy bank. It doesn’t hurt to ask those you know who have been pregnant, or are also expecting where they like to go shopping for maternity items, you just never know you may find your new favourite store.
2) Showcase your tummy. It is easy to just hide in bigger, baggy pieces. This is not always flattering being plus size and pregnant. Maternity wear really can make a difference in how others, and how we see ourselves while pregnant. Don’t hesitate to show off your baby bump! It’s amazing what a t-shirt with rouched sides can do for ones figure. I am also loving wearing belts and ribbons just above my baby bump, and under my chest as this helps my tummy be more visible. Doing this can add more shape to something that is too billowy otherwise. Pregnancy is a time where I am incredibly proud of what my body is doing, I am growing a human inside of me, why would I ever hide that?
3) Try everything on. I have tried on some really random things that I never thought I would wear, simply because I believed for whatever silly reason it would not work for my body type. A good example of this are the boyfriend jeans I bought, and also a pair of skinny jeans I wore earlier in my pregnancy. Never, would I have worn these before pregnant, but I decided to give them a try and I loved them on! I have now applied the mind set of at least trying things once to when I go shopping for maternity pieces. You just never know what you may fall in love with. I have become much more willing to try different works while pregnant, than I ever was before. I am much more confident in myself. It’s amazing what a difference that makes.
4) Accessorize. This is something friends of mine have been trying to get me to do for a long time. I am normally just a jeans and t-shirt girl, but I am learning. I am loving long necklaces, and bracelets. Having a great bag to go with outfits has also made a huge difference. I am looking forward to my last month and a half of being pregnant during the fall so that I can wear different scarves with my outfits too. Don’t be afraid to add some fun details to outfits.
5) Shoes. While pregnant our feet can go through a lot. Be sure to have shoes that fit, and fit comfortably! I have found that some of my go to shoes no longer fit, so I needed to invest in shoes a size bigger. When I wear flats I make sure they have enough support for my arches. I have even taken out the insoles that come with my shoes and replaced them with other ones to ensure my being able to wear them for longer periods of time. I do not wear heels as often, but when I do it tends to be wedges as they are much more comfortable and I feel more stable in them thanks to my baby belly that sometimes makes me feel off balance.
6) Watch for length. Maxi dresses has become my go to for dressing up, but I have to be very careful as most I try on are not long enough for me and end up stopping mid-calf and that just does not look right. Find lengths in pants, skirts, and dresses that work best for you. This again goes back to trying everything on.
7) Prints, colour, and monochromatic. Don’t be afraid of wearing a bold colour, or a fun print. It’s easy to add a pop of colour to an outfit with a layering tank under a cardigan, or bringing in colour with a bag or scarf. I have learned to avoid the big, bold, all over prints and even prints that are just too small and detailed on things like dresses or shirts because it is just too much for me. If I do wear a print it tends to be in an accessory like a scarf, or a tank top that is worn under something else. I am also a huge fan of going monochromatic and having my shoes, and pants/leggings or even skirts and dresses be the same colour. This helps add a bit of length to how things look. It’s a trick I will definitely be using this fall when it is boot season.
These are just a few of the things that have really made a difference for me, especially during this pregnancy. Keep trying different things on, and having fun with your fashion. Don’t let being plus size, and pregnant on the search of maternity items get you down. You will find items you love, it just may take a couple shopping trips. So grab a bottle of water, or a cup of tea and head out on a mission to just look and try new things. You never know what you will find. Show off that beautiful, growing bump!