Wednesday, February 19, 2014

14 Years of Maternity Fashion: 5 Not-So-Favorite's From My Past + 5 Favorite's From the Present

I've been wanting to write this post since the very moment I tore the top off off of the enormous Rubbermaid treasure box containing my 14 year old collection of maternity clothes (that would be 24 weeks ago or approximately five minutes after two lines popped up on the stick). Let me tell you, I've got some real dandies in that box! 

Oh, how far maternity clothes have come in just 14 years!  When I discovered I was preggo with our first little angel, I couldn't care less about what I wore (embarrassing visual aids to come).  I was just so excited to know that I would be bringing a new life into the world, therefore, shopping for anything high-style was completely off my radar, and off our budget.

I know you guys really do want to walk down maternity memory lane with me, don't ya??!! If this is your first or even second time expecting, you can thank your lucky stars that you will never, ever have any snapshots of your pregnant self in any of these. Let me just show you some of the beauties that came forth from my maternity closet back in the day:

The 5 (Un)Favorites:
1.  The (I'm Over It) Overall
Oh, yes, did I ever embrace the overall.  Whose idea was it to elevate pregnancy to Beverly Hillbilly status?? My pair was retired to the Goodwill bin after bebe #3.  If you just can't live for 9 months without some mega-denim, this pair can be yours for only $11.99 on eBay.

2. Ja-Ja-Ja-Jumpers!
The jumper. Kind of like a moo-moo with a peek-a-boo tee for a little extra sumpin' sumpin.' Guilty here.  You can't see much of my frock in this photo, but blue gingham really says it all. It looks like it came from that retro pattern above.  I think I let one of my friends borrow my jumper a long time ago....whoever most humbly took it off my hands, I'm sorry.  I hope you were able to Pinterest a project out of the yardage.

3.  Tent Tops
{Thanksgiving at my parents.  I'm clearly under pie hypnosis.}
Bow-chickie-wow! No top charged to the Visa from 2000-2008 had any style what. so. ever.  The triangular shape of every single one made me look like I was wearing a tent, and my baby was camping out beneath the cotton panels. Sneaking some serious travel "necessities" past airport security under that thing pre-911, would have been a cinch. Somewhere around 6 months the tents tend to feel a bit breezy. But, never fear, the 20" tummy panel attached to an attractive 42" crotch inseam on most of my poly pants kept things well covered underneath.

4.  Man Sweaters
Raise your hand if your winter maternity wardrobe looks exactly like your husband's.....because it is your husband's.  Well, even though I actually bought this big ball of yarn from who-knows-where, I did in fact donne a decent amount of Steve's Eddie Bauer and American Eagle sweater apparel back in the day.  That's just one of the lovely benefits of marriage - what's yours is mine, right?

5.  Your Husband's Gym Jewels
I'm really thankful that the days of working out at the YMCA in my man's sweat-stained selection of Nike and K-State t's came before the age of Facebook and Instagram.  I'm pretty sure I would have earned a nomination for "What Not to Wear" back then. 

Now, 14 years later, I can honestly say that I am so thankful that maternity clothes have evolved into quite an attractive and admirable category of clothing.  I hate to give them credit, but Hollywood celebs might have had something to do with that.  Young female stars who refused to embrace the gingham jumper demanded something more.  I, for one, am thankful for their insistence, because it has brought a remarkable beauty to an element of the feminine world that was long overdue.

One thing that makes the long months of on-going shape change a little more bearable is wearing clothing that speaks to the dignity of femininity and the joy of motherhood.  Yes, we moms want to be comfy, but really, is there anything more noble than bringing another beautiful human being into the world?  If we embrace such an honor with true conviction, then we dress accordingly. I'm not suggesting getting decked out every day, or breaking the bank for the latest fashions, but I am suggesting perhaps a fresh perspective, on that sees pregnancy as a privilege, an event to be celebrated.  Why not dress for the occasion? 

For me, personally, when I go out in public as a pregnant woman with five boys at my side, I get a lot of mixed reactions from others.  While I don't really care what onlookers have to say about me, or my life choices, I do care about the hearts of those who have a general lack of zeal for children or a disdain for large families in general.  If I look frumpy and downtrodden, I am doing little to promote the extraordinary beauty of family life.  However, if I am able to enter a restaurant or store with my husband and kids looking positive and pulled together, I'm speaking a message of gratitude and joy, and I hope that others are drawn to that, and hopefully conversations about family may bloom.

5 Favorite Maternity Fashions:
1.  Shapely, Feminine Tops 
Plain t's or those tent shaped blouses are, thankfully, no longer the only tops of choice.  I love how today's tops have more shape and soft details, are slightly fitted and can be layered with cardigans and worn post-pregnancy.  This sweet flutter-sleeve tee is from Destination Maternity.

2.  Cardigans
Cardigans are my #1 maternity apparel item.  They are so versatile, worn belted or open, with tights and boots or your favorite jeans, dressed up or down, they are modest and oh, so comfy! Pink Blush Maternity has the best selection, but you don't have to just look for cardis in the maternity section. The one I'm wearing here is from a local boutique, one size up.

3. Tailored Dresses and Maxi's
Fuchsia Tie Front Dress (Yes, this is the one Kate Middleton wore!)
Even though I don't have many occasions to wear a dress during the 9 month pregnancy journey, nothing makes me feel more like a lady, or more attractive for my husband, than a really lovely dress (and shoes, don't forget the shoes!).  Maxi skirts and dresses are amazingly comfy, and that lace shift up there? Oh, how I would love to welcome spring with that one!

4. Athletic Apparel
I am so happy that women are being encouraged more and more to exercise throughout their pregnancies.  Being able to workout with every single baby has been such a blessing for me.  I'm even more grateful that I don't have to borrow Steve's duds anymore, now that athletic apparel for expectant moms is available. These tops and bottoms are from For Two Fitness.

5.  Adorable Denim
Stylish boot-cut jeans or a pair of comfy skinnies have kicked overalls and polyester slacks in the pants!  Great denim is every girl's wardrobe staple, and I have found some really fun, affordable styles Old Navy's Online Maternity Store .

Along with Old Navy and Target, I'm loving so many of the looks from these fun maternity shops:

What's your favorite maternity look or shop??


  1. The jumpers!! Ahh! But Susan you look so pretty in everything!

    I completely agree about all the modern maternity though. I find cardigans the greatest for pregnancy. And good maternity jeans are a must. Thank goodness even Old Navy and Target are making nice stuff.

  2. Ha..this was so funny. I had my oldest 12 years ago, so I totally hear you on the awful clothes that were available back then.

  3. HaHa - my maternity clothes were some of your old ones, too. Overall, jumpers, and tent shirts!! Who ever thought that overalls were a good idea for a pregnant lady? Several near accidents while wearing those!!!
    The maternity clothes are so much cuter now!!!

  4. Oh the difference between my maternity clothes with the big kids and the ones with the little kids! So much better!
    I am with you on the dressing in a non-frumpy way. We are saying something to the world with the way we present ourselves. I want to present our family well.

  5. Oh my gosh, yes! When I dug out the maternity bin when I was expecting our youngest, it had only been 3 years but everything I pulled out seemed so... awful. I'm not sure if maternity fashions really advanced or I was just more stylish three years later. LOL

  6. Hold on a sec, had to pick myself up off the floor from laughing because my bin of clothes looked THE EXACT SAME. Oh tent shirt, I do not miss you. Please tell me we will look back on this pregnancy and say "we rocked it!" And, loving Pink Blush. How did I not know about them?!


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