By Dawn Wilson
Buying maternity clothes and building a wardrobe for your growing belly can be an overwhelming and daunting task. Combine that with our Houston weather, and it can be downright stressful! Our hot and humid weather provides a challenge when you already feel like an oven. As a maternity retailer, we have to be extra careful about picking the right product mix at the right time for our customers. We also want to provide everything that you will need and to be your one-stop shop for maternity essentials. As you begin your wardrobe shopping, we have put together a list of Maternity Must-Haves. We have narrowed down the top products you will need to scoop up to survive from the very beginning right up until your bundle of joy arrives.
- The Bella Band – This nifty invention is designed to prolong the life of your non-maternity bottoms. As your waist begins to grow and you can no longer button your pants/skirts/shorts, this band comfortably fits over your waist so that no one can tell that your pants are unbuttoned (or even unzipped a little!) It can be used at all stages of your pregnancy and even worn after you deliver as your body returns to its old self.
- Bras – Having a well-fitted and comfortable bra can make a difference in how clothes fit, but most importantly in how you feel. I cannot tell you how many women leave our dressing rooms with smiles just from being properly fitted for a bra. We recommend the Body Silk Seamless bra by Bravado Designs.
- Black Pants – Finding a great pair of black pants for your work wardrobe is mandatory. I would even suggest more than one pair to get you through the week. Pants come in many styles, and trying on all varieties will help you find the perfect fit. Not only do you need to decide if over- the-belly bands or under-the-belly bands are comfortable, but you also need to make sure that they will grow with you and that the quality will withstand the number of times you will wear them!
- The “LBD” (aka The Little Black Dress) – Essential in every wardrobe, maternity or not, is a little black dress that you are comfortable dressing up for social occasions or dressing down to meet with a teacher at your child’s school. A wrap dress is always a welcome wardrobe piece, but Isabella Oliver also makes a ruched t-shirt style dress that is perfect for work and play. Add scarves or long necklaces to make the style your own.
- Jeans – Even though Houston is hot, and the thought of wearing jeans in our climate sounds dreadful, they are an important maternity fashion staple. Of course, Houston fashionistas love designer denim such as Citizens, J Brand, and Paige. If the designer brands don’t work for you, Lilac Maternity is a great option. Lilac makes a very comfortable boyfriend-style jean with a band that allows you to wear them from early in your pregnancy to the end.
- Leggings – Who knew that the legging fashion statement would still be in style!? Pregnant women love to pair leggings with long tunics and accessorize with scarves, necklaces, belts, cardigans and boots. The options are endless! Leggings are highly recommended for your fashion wardrobe, and we love Seraphine Holi crop leggings. Their under-the-belly waistband is perfect for hot Houston nights.
- Back Support Belts – Like it or not, the majority of pregnant women will experience back pain at some point during their pregnancy. They may not be fashionable, but back-support belts are incredibly useful in reducing lower back pain, easing the pressure of your belly and relieving swollen legs. Women who find themselves standing for long periods during the day will find instant relief with these belts. We highly recommend the Mom-Ez belt for strong support.
- Spanx – Since your belly is not always the only thing that grows while you are pregnant… Mama Spanx was designed to deliver body-shaping control to pregnant women. A best-seller and customer favorite to rid panty lines and smooth out your wardrobe pieces.
- Accessories – Don’t forget to add your own fashion flare to your wardrobe. You can still use your fun and funky jewelry, flirty scarves and wild shoes with your maternity wardrobe. Just because you are pregnant you do not have to lose your unique style. Maternity clothes can be just as fun!
- Postpartum Needs – Once women deliver they want to return to their “old body.” That does not always happen as quickly as we would like! Most likely you will need to wear your maternity clothes after you deliver. There are maternity styles that have nursing options as well. This allows you to extend your maternity wardrobe into your nursing wardrobe. Japanese Weekend is a customer favorite with their “During and After” trends—wear while you are pregnant, with nursing capability built in. Also, the Belly Bandit is a very popular trend. The Belly Bandit is an adjustable tummy wrap that binds your waist and hips to help get your belly flatter. Not only does it help with losing inches around your waist, it helps control your stretch marks as you lose weight. It really does work!
No one has the perfect maternity wardrobe, but hopefully with these Maternity Must-Haves you can create a wardrobe that will flatter your growing belly and keep you feeling comfortable and looking confident. Embrace your new body! Find a boutique with a knowledgeable staff that will guide you to find the most flattering styles for you during this special time of your life!
Dawn Wilson has been the owner of Pickles & Ice Cream Maternity Apparel for 12 years. She credits the success of her store not only to a supportive franchise but also to her husband Gary and three adorable children!