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Maternity Fashion | & how not to shop the maternity department

Sometimes…I feel like retailers have it out for preggos. I mean…all the clothes are (a) tents or (b) so expensive it makes me cringe. Why, oh why, would I ever want to spend over $50 on a piece of clothing that I will only wear for what–six months?! Tack on how expensive nursing bras are and well…we haven’t even started about the baby. Pregnancy is no small expense!

Last time around I was still enjoying the novelty of maternity clothes. I wanted to wear them because I WAS PREGNANT. Wahoo! This time around…I refuse to buy anything maternity. Even though I am a completely different size & shape as I was last time, with different challenges and exactly 6 months off season. It’s make-it-work time. Yes, Tim Gunn, it is. ;)

So…I thought maybe it’d be a good idea to show you how I am managing to make a non-maternity wardrobe work for a very pregnant (albeit pretty much all belly) gal. It hasn’t been that hard. My biggest challenge has been that I am having some vein issues and I absolutely HAVE to wear tights from morning to night. You think maternity pants were tough to keep up on your hips without tights? Add spandex to the equation & pants are pretty much out of the question right now. Good thing I like leggings & boots. ;)

When I got pregnant, I was about 15 lbs less than I was when I started my last pregnancy. & Right now, at 34 weeks–I am sitting a good 20 lbs under what I was the last time I delivered–but somehow WAY more uncomfortable–go figure! For those of you who may have missed it, here’s my baby weight story: 33 days | Losing the weight, BABY!

The Start: 6 weeks

  • non maternity dress by BCBG Max Azria (Marshalls)

Stripe Obsessed:

  • non-maternity top, juniors department, complete with ruching…ha! (Marshalls)
  • scarf (Steinmart)
  • maternity pants– skinny cropped jeans, dark wash, demi panel (Gap Maternity, $20 on sale!)
  • flats: Franco Sarto (Nordstrom Rack)

Staying Cozy:

  • non-maternity sweater: Kenar (Marshalls)
  • long maternity top (Gap Maternity)
  • non-maternity leggings (Marshalls)
  • boot socks (Target)
  • boots (Steve Madden Intyce) I’ve been living in them!

All Dressed Up:

  • non-maternity dress by Maggy London (TJ Maxx)
  • double skinny belt (Target)
  • non-maternity tights by Assets –same designer as Spanx, half the price. I can still wear the regular tights while pregnant (Target)
  • boots (Via Spiga)


  • maternity sweater from last pregnancy (Motherhood)
  • dress by Calvin Klein (Costco)
  • belt by Steve Madden (TJ Maxx)
  • non maternity leggings (TJ Maxx)

Weekend Casual:

  • stripy maternity top (Gap Maternity)
  • hoodie by Lucky Jeans (Costco)
  • last pregnancy’s splurge: Paige Premium Denim Maternity Jeans (most uncomfortable jeans on the planet)
  • flats by Me Too (Nordstrom)

Cozy & Warm:

Warm & Put Together:

So there’s a peek at my make-it-work maternity wardrobe! There are a couple of things not pictured that I could not live without right now:

  • Assets Lucky Leggings: NOT leggings–definitely tights, but footless & no seam down the belly. The smallest size is a little big on me–I wish they were tighter–but that’s because of my vein issues.
  • Tanks by Miss Juli, found at ROSS–I never shop there, except for these fabulous $5 tanks. I wear them well beyond pregnancy. I haven’t found ANY better! I wear them daily.
  • Long, tight dresses by Rue 21–I’ve only found them at Marshalls but they are my FAVORITE dresses to wear under a sweater right now! I pair them with leggings/tights & boots + a sweater & they are super cute. & nice & tight. I think tight is cuter than baggy when you have a big bump. :) Why hide it?

& If I could give you TWO pieces of maternity clothing advice they would be: (1) NIP/BELT/TIE THE WAIST & (2) KEEP IT TIGHT UNDER THE BELLY. These two things help you avoid the “I’m wearing a tent” problem! :)

I think that’s it! What was your wear-every-day item during pregnancy? Did you throw it away after you delivered because you were so sick of it?! Haha…I am soooo donating everything maternity in February! ;)

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • Jessica - Super cute & affordable Shawna! You could ship then to me when you are done. :) I’ll pay!ReplyCancel

  • Denae @ New Mom Adventure - You go girl! I found I didnt need maternity clothing till I hit 7 months pregnant (other than a couple of pants/shorts). Otherwise I just used what I had. Even it fitted stuff frequently had enough lycra to stretch without stretching out.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - You are looking so cute!! Coming from MT and being a size 10 I’m a little afraid of leggings so I’ve been dealing with annoying maternity pants, blah. My first pregnancy was all about tents. The looser the better. I had back fat, it needed to be hid. This second time I’m loving showing off the bump. The tighter the better and thanks to crossfit, no back fat! hooray! In my winter weather I’ve been living in tight maternity shirts and tanks with non-maternity open cardigans. I’ve been able to find some great deals at Shade ( on tees.ReplyCancel

  • Kara - Shawna, first of all just wanted to say HI, and I love your blog!You look great by the way……

    You can donate your maternity clothes to me!! (If not let me know where and when you do take your clothes somewhere! ;)
    And if you have a little boy, I will gladly take Caroline’s hand me downs off your hands too!ReplyCancel

  • Stef, UK - I pretty much lived in a pair of Hennes grey maternity cords. I still wear them now. I have to say I loved dressing while I was pregnant as it was the first time ever I didn’t feel self conscious about not having a flat belly. I even felt good in a swim suit! Find it much harder to dress post partum. What do I do with these enormous boobs?! You look great btw. XReplyCancel

  • Valerie - Love all the looks! Super stylish and cute. What would you suggest for the hot and humid summers here in San Antonio. I’m thinking the last thing I want on my legs is leggings in that kind of heat.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - LOVE! I did the exact same thing with my first pregnancy, bought a TON of stretchy dresses from tjmaxx, I am preggo again and plan to do the same thing! I am LOVING the belts and cardigans with ties I have to say! What a cute way to accentuate the belly! You are cuter than ever. :)ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Man, when I was pregnant with Ryann I could have most definitely used some tips. I did make sure to buy lots of stuff from non-maternity sections. Just stuff that was empire waist or ruched. But I worked at a day care, and there was nothing cute about my wardrobe. I’m excited that the next time around I’ll get to dress myself daily, so hopefully I’ll feel a little more confident with my pregnant self! Now I just have to get pregnant…ReplyCancel

  • Tori - Ok, seriously. What is up with our bodies just “changing” after pregnancy? It’s so bizarre! I am 6 months pregnant with my 2nd, and I had to buy new maternity jeans for this pregnancy, because NONE of my jeans from my previous pregnancy (only 2 years ago) fit! I am the same size (within 5 lbs), and can’t pinpoint anything very different, but none of the pants fit. It’s so strange! :) Your outfits are adorable – great tips!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - The only maternity wear I ever bother with is bottoms. It does help to be a small/skinny person though, cause I think some women who gain a lot of weight when pregnant probably can’t get away with their regular clothes that they’ve adapted.

    I have maybe 2 pairs of secret fit skinny jeans from Motherhood, but I’m only 14 weeks so I still wear my regular jeans and probably will for awhile. As long as my shirts are on the longer side I’ve had no problem wearing them my whole pregnancy, at least with my first two. This is my third and I’ve barely considered the concept of outgrowing anything because it has never happened before.

    I’m super jealous that you get a winter pregnancy with lots of cute boots though, cause I’m due in July, with 2 previous summer babies, and its way too hot for that by then.ReplyCancel

  • Abbi Z. Meadows - I did the same thing and avoided most maternity clothes. But I love jeans, so I had to cave a little there. I found lots of cheap pieces that worked well and were non-tent-like at Kohl’s. Lots of tops in the juniors section were tight and plenty long…which is good when you are tall AND pregnant.

    NOT that I’m pregnant, but if you’re getting rid of all your maternity stuff, I’ll take it! :) How many times have I told you how cute you are?! LOL.

    I LOVED ruched tees from Motherhood Maternity (didn’t love the price tag so much) and also the long tanks from Target…can’t remember the name, but they are basically like wife-lover tank tops. I even wore my black one on D-day since it was so long it covered my butt during labor. :)ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - you are so adorable. and YOUR HAIR IS SOO LONG!!! hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Megan - I sure wish I could look as cute as you! You’re adorable in each of those outfits! I’m small, but can’t sport leggings and never wear anything shorter than my knees – have awful hips and thighs (where all my weight is). You’re pretty much all belly :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather - You are so adorable! I hated maternity clothes in my first pregnancy– I would cry every time I had to get dressed. But I was amazed at how many great non-maternity tops I found at stores like Abercrombie and American Eagle, stores I had not shopped at in over 5 years! The “junior” style tops are spot on for the look I want to have when pregnant. Cheap too! I am 12 weeks along in my second pregnancy and have been able to wear my own clothes up til now. I will definitely look into your suggestions as I start to grow (I can see that I’m starting to “pop”).

    Thanks for this post!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - You really are the cutest pregnant person ever! I’ll take any preggo clothes off your hands to maybe give me luck when we start trying ;) So excited to find out if you are having a boy or girl, such a fun surprise!ReplyCancel

  • Life with Kaishon - You are so stinking skinny!
    And perfect : )ReplyCancel

  • Heather F. - I don’t know why some women hide their bellies when they’re preggers!!! I think a pregnant belly is one of THE most adorable things ever, even when misshapen- ha. BUT you, however, have theee most adorable belly and you look great!!! Awesome advice of how to look great even when you might feel like you’re blowing up, and how to show off that adorable bump :)ReplyCancel

  • Nessa - I love your style… I was pregnant with my first in the winter… this time it is going to be large in the summer. I am hoping to find some good pieces for the July weather.ReplyCancel

  • lauri - Ummmm, there’s plenty of maternity clothes listed in your pics. Might want to change your title.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Renea - You are so so so so so so SO SO SO SO SO SO flippin CUTE!!! Jealous! :)ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - I guess as long as you think you look good it doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear.ReplyCancel

  • THE BABY LIST | everything you need to have a baby » styleberry BLOG - […] 5/2012: I had a whole new take on fashion with baby #2! Here’s my article about maternity fashion. […]ReplyCancel

  • Tenaj - This is an awesome post. And your commenters are right… you are an adorable pregnant woman.

    I’m 6 weeks preggers with my 3rd child. My budget is so tight I was really hoping to avoid the maternity section and save my wallet. LOL!

    What is most surprising to me was as soon as I realized I was pregnant around 3.5 weeks, a couple days later, my husband said I was showing! He was right! LOL! Really showing. I guess that comes along with subsequent pregnancies. I think I remember showing earlier with my 2nd as well. Just not this much, this early.

    Thanks again for the post!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Ramey - How did you find such great sweaters? I need warm clothes, and I am having a bear of a time finding anything – maternity or non- – that is cut right to accommodate a pregnant belly. You have tons of them in your post, though!ReplyCancel

  • Bre Dale - Maternity has come a long way and is much more flattering now but it is very expensive! I’d say about 1/4 of my wardrobe is maternity right now and I’m 29 weeks. I can wear most of my clothes if I just mix and match things together. Great tips and loved your story. Pinned it.ReplyCancel

  • Varinda - I would LOVE if you did a post like this for nursing clothing! I hate how expensive all nursing tops are and how most of them look… I’ve only been nursing for a couple weeks though and don’t know where to start! :)ReplyCancel

  • Bran - COMPLETELY IMPRESSED!!!! What awesome outfits and soo inexpensive!!!ReplyCancel

  • kristy - Do you go up a size from your normal on non-maternity clothes? I’m 14 weeks into my first pregnancy and trying to figure this whole thing out!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - Compression Stockings help to avoid vein issues in the first place. I was glad to have that tip from my sister my first pregnancy, so I don’t have vein issues. However, they would still help you deal the vein issues now. They’re not cheap, but they definitely help.ReplyCancel

  • Magz - I wish something’s were more summer friendly, it’s easy to throw a sweater and leggings on n go out the door. But you can’t do that when it’s flaming hot out. Maybe more summer suggestions.ReplyCancel

  • womens designer fashions - Bright colors bring attention to an area – make sure you wear them wisely and only on your most flattering body parts. dark hosiery is in this fall. While brightly colored turquoise and scarlet hose may look great in the store window, muted hues like teal and wine are much more flattering. Match the shoe and the hose color to tighten the look even more.ReplyCancel

  • Maria - I also found the clothes in the maternity section to be way to expensive! They also only had flowery patterns or weird colors. Thanks for the ideas, love the green dress! :)ReplyCancel

  • City Style Clothing - Thanks for the great tips. Will share this post with my sister in-law whos pregnant.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer S - About the vein issue, have you tried compression socks or compression sleeves? I practically wore them throughout all my pregnancies and they helped a lot with circulation, swelling, and varicose veins. You can find them in the orthopedic section of a drugstore or on amazon.ReplyCancel

  • vito andolini - Nice outfits during maternity.. Looks nice on you, all of them :)ReplyCancel

  • Kari - I think her point was that you can do a lot with minimal maternity pieces. Saves money and you can rewear. Exaclty what I am doing and only 4 weeks left to go!ReplyCancel

  • -shawna- - I just looked for long & tie at the waist options!ReplyCancel

  • -shawna- - Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Pants–definitely! But I found I fit into most small shirts, as they accounted for the expanded belly. :)ReplyCancel

  • GiGi - That would be awesome! I had to wear built in bra cami’s and just slide my arm out of the sleeve while covering us both with a blanket! lol. It was a lot of work. Or I wore button ups…which made me look manly :-(ReplyCancel

  • -shawna- - Unfortunately compression stockings are typically only for the lower extremities. I needed pressure from the knees up and found non-maternity control top hosiery was the only thing that helped me find relief. Miserable! I don’t wish it on anyone!ReplyCancel

  • -shawna- - I lived in maxi dresses (non-maternity) & sundresses! Tanks + skirts. My first baby was due in August…& was born on day 57 of triple digit heat–so I’m no stranger to that!ReplyCancel

  • cute for fall /winter -to bad I’ll be pregnant during the summer 120 degrees in Az · Life the joy! - […] cute for fall /winter -to bad I’ll be pregnant during the summer 120 degrees in Az[More at the Source] […]ReplyCancel

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