The Best-Kept Maternity Wear Secret

Jenny Benjamin
17

me in white dress
I'll admit, I'm obsessed with what other women are wearing -- I check out their handbags, marvel over their ability to accessorize, and envy their Louboutins. Unfortunately though, as much as I'd love to be a fashionista, I hate to shop and I hate to try on clothes. Plus, I work from home so sometimes the only other person I see over the course of the day, aside from my husband, is the guy who bags my groceries. So, it's fair to say that my usual attire is some combination of pajamas, yoga pants, and T-shirts. Okay, so I'm a fashion don't!

Anyway, when it came time to buy maternity clothes, I was reluctant. I thought to myself, "Why should I shell out money for belly-banded designer jeans that I'm only going to wear for five months? Who needs a special maternity top when I've got all of these perfectly reasonable V-necks from the Gap?" Of course, when it came to finding an outfit for my baby shower, I realized I might just have to splurge on something I'd only wear once.

Don't get me wrong, I've bought some maternity clothes -- I mean, I am pregnant with twins, for God's sake. Back in March, I realized that unless I wanted to look like one of those cartoon characters with her buttons popping and her bloomers showing, I'd need a new wardrobe. So I sucked it up and bought two or three pairs of jeans, two pairs of cargo pants, and a couple of maternity tops. And I still cycle in the baggy T-shirts and cardigans I've always had. Plus, my BFF gave birth about a month ago, and I inherited her three-pregnancies worth of maternity clothes -- cha-ching!

For the shower though, I really had nothing -- cargo pants and a military-style top were not going to fly at this luncheon! So, I decided to treat myself and check out Pea in the Pod. Well, after two hours of trying on everything in the entire store, I found myself with a less-than-perfect outfit. There I was, wearing white pants, a white top with gold threading that hugged my belly like Lycra, and a little white shrug. It was stylish and festive and all of those good things, but at almost eight months pregnant with twins, I looked like a Christmas ornament, really. But, at least I'd found something, right? Wrong! When I looked down at the price tags and added it all up, I realized I would be spending close to $400 for an outfit that I was really, really only going to wear once. When else in the next 6-8 weeks would I find an occasion to dress up like a gold-leaved snowball? And those white pants on my wide ass were questionable to begin with!

So, I walked out with just the white shrug, figuring I'd at least get some use out of that. Deflated and defeated, I called my friend to complain. Her suggestion: check out Old Navy. Now, I'd been to Old Navy already for some maternity tees, but there wasn't a very wide selection at my local store. And, with just days until my shower, I didn't have time to buy online. I figured it was worth a shot!

Well, praise be to Old Navy and one surprisingly savvy saleswoman! After trying on an olive green maternity dress that was cute, but nothing special, she took my hand and brought me over to see all of the flowy, billowy dresses in the regular women's department. Genius! I expressed some concern over whether or not my double-big belly would fit into these adorable summer frocks, but she assured me that I should try the XL and see.

She was right -- they fit! I tried on about five or six regular dresses, all of which were adorable, all of which were comfortable, all of which were under $40. Hooray! Ultimately, I decided on a white, smocked maxi dress, all hippie and Earth Mother, which I loved. The best part: I could wear it after the shower, after the babies. Hell, I can wear it every summer until my boys go off to college!

So now, I'm obsessed with regular-sized maxi dresses as maternity wear -- what's not to love? They're girlie, they're sexy, they're comfortable, they're cool in the summer, and you can wear them forever! Plus, get them from a place like Old Navy and they're super cheap as well. I say, total score!

What has been your favorite maternity wear find?


Image via Jenny Benjamin

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