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I was the pregnant lady who cried in the change room of a big maternity chain. I was horrified at the ugly selection. Only 2 weeks prior was I wearing suits and rocking heals, but I was desperate, my suits were tight, and my OBGYN had banned me from wearing heals (for medical reasons). There I was, standing in front of the mirror, very square, my ankles were swollen and I was changing into the most unattractive clothes. My husband, knowing how fragile I was at the time, tried to console me. He said I looked beautiful and told me to buy whatever I liked. The problem – I hated it all, but had to buy a couple of things. At this stage I knew that I had to find other clothes, something stylish. So it was at that moment that the game was on, and I was on a mission. No woman should ever feel unattractive in a dressing room while pregnant! My one piece of advice, go to a big Maternity store, and analyze what they have. The sales women are nice, can help, but I would analyze first. DO NOT put on that baby bump the first time you go in. That strap on thing is a huge downer. Don’t get me wrong, being pregnant is incredible, but psychologically, if you aren’t showing, putting on that pillow thing and trying on clothes is really hard.

Have you tried to look on-line? Most websites are cutesie, and are geared toward the baby, not sure why because the baby isn’t buying my clothes. I even found the designs were meant to show case my expanding body as cute, but not functional for business. I like shopping on-line, I can buy things at night after work, sitting down, and when it arrives, you can even try them on at your own pace – if you don’t like any of it, you can always send it back.

Trying to find a store that is a one stop shop is impossible, but here is a great selection online to start with. Try to scope out things before your body even changes, so you know what there is out there. Please keep in mind that I have not tried all of these brands, and each person has a different budget, body shape and daily need or requirement. I am an advocate of looking good, and feeling good, but always within reason. I am not advocating for one brand or another, this is just meant as a girlfriend to girlfriend guide.

Keep in mind that there are really 3 stages of pregnancy. Your first 2 months, nothing is really noticeable. From 3-5 you are square and your breasts may get bigger and some will find their feet swell. Then there is the 6-9 month, everyday can bring on something new and challenging.

Isabelle Olivier: Genius, and a complete life saver. The website is not only stylish, but it didn’t feel like you were shopping for maternity clothes. Isabelle Olivier has a regular line, and they mimic what they have for the regular line and adjust it for Maternity wear. The material is the best, and most of all, all of their shirts fit throughout your pregnancy. Their tank tops are the longest on the market, fit women of all sizes, and still look good at your 9th month. Trust me, I was huge, and that tank top still worked. The clothes are probably the best in selection, and the dresses are the most comfortable, and in all honesty, buy one nice dress or item that you feel good in.

TopShop: My favourite for those great pieces that are cheap, stylish, but still fits. You have to be careful with some of the pieces, the shirts can run a bit short, but can be layered for a great statement. If you have already stepped into a pair of TopShop jeans, well then, you will not be disappointed in the maternity jeans! Plus, the great accessory finds will be great additions to any wardrobe when baby arrives.

H&M- Tiny selection, but you can find a few pieces here and there. Like anything from H&M it is really about personal taste.

Target – well, anyone who knows me, knows that my obsession with Target runs pretty deep! A friend told me while I was pregnant and had changed cup sizes, to go to the drug store and buy a nursing bra (won’t say the brand), I dutifully went. I felt like I had been struck down by fashion demons! The thing was a white bandage like contraption. It was so horrible that I couldn’t pick it up or look at it any longer. I had another tearful moment, that went into uncontrollable sobs. A week later, my husband and I took a trip down to the U.S, we needed to start thinking about buying some baby essentials. Since we seemed to live in a city that was chalk full of pregnant ladies and babies, but was virtually without any good baby stores, Target was our only hope. There I was looking at the maternity section. I was 7 months pregnant and down to only tank tops from Isabelle Olivier, and one pair of hideous jeans. I found 3 beautiful shirts, same cut, different patterns. I was elated, I knew they would fit well under a blazer, and would look great with a few pieces of jewelry. Best of all, I felt a hundred percent in them. Then I took a turn into the lingerie section, and there it was, a lace nursing bra. So soft, so pretty, and came in 3 colours and was cheap. Listen up ladies, nursing bras are hard to find, but hooks are hard to undo with one hand. These were fabulous, easy to wear and undo with a hungry little one in one hand. Target has fabulous, affordable pieces. You do not feel guilty for buying a few extra things, they will get stained and will most probably never be used again.

Old Navy/The Gap

Only available in the U.S (which I might add, was a pain in the rear end for me!)Most of the clothes I out grew in my 6th month. But the lounge wear at Old Navy, is fashionable and comfortable and comes at a very affordable price. Most of these clothes were great for casual, since I worked in an environment of suit wearing conservativeness, there are great basics, and great layering clothes. Plus, check out Piperlime for high-end jeans, all of which can be put in the same basket and bought all at once.

ShopBop : Great for nice high-end jeans. Very small selection but delivery is fast and effective.

Boden: A UK brand ordering is easy from U.S or Canada. The patterns and fabric are great. Made for taller women. There aren’t that many pieces, but seeing colour was a welcoming change.

Figure8maternity: Not a big fan of the website in general, but the few women I know who have bought from this online store loved the dresses (great for nursing). They sell 3 piece suites, and for those of us who live in a suit there is something kind of uplifting to being able to wear a matching suit that fits your belly properly.

FashionJunkee – This is not a maternity line, but their long dresses are fabulous for maternity up until 6 months give or take. The draping and material was great. I loved that it was fashionable but also draped well. Most of the stuff I bought was great for layering, and I found that I took some pieces out and wore them when I was in between sizes after giving birth.

Lines I have not managed to try, but gathered from friends:

bumpsmaternity.com – Hip casual wear. The colours and their designs look great. The friend who recommended it works in a completely different field, and was a lot shorter than myself.

Seraphine.com – I wish I had know about this store when I was pregnant. It has some sophisticated, yet easy pieces.

Picchumaternity.com – IF you are in need of an actual evening gown, or need something to wear to a wedding, it looks like this is a great website for that.

Queenbee.com.au – I found this site way after having my baby. I just loved the variety, style and fun pieces. It gave me hope that there was fun being created in Maternity clothes.

Sierra lane Maternity clothing – So this is something I learned from a lady who was wearing just about the nicest silk wrap top I have ever seen for pregnant women. She was out on a date, and she and her husband were walking along, and of course, I had to interrupt and ask, where did you get it. I totally forgot about it, and then when researching for this book, well, I found this website. It has a great selection for women for budgets and without.

Funmum – Again, great selection, never tried it.

Undergarments – Yes, we are actually going to talk about this! Your underwear will at some point, either cut off your circulation, fall down, or burst at the seams. Before you start to expand too much, buy a couple of pair of maternity underwear, it will make a massive difference in your walk – and don’t look away when you read this, you know that funny little waddle that women get when their underwear is slowly creeping down their legs, or is riding up their rear end.

Happy Shopping

Travel Lady

stylish maternity wear, fashionable maternity wear, maternity wear for business women, travelling with maternity wear