An obstacle I came across when I was pregnant with my first child was with maternity clothes. Since I am a pretty busty lady, I had a hard time finding maternity clothes that felt loose and comfortable without feeling like I would pop out. The snag I came across was that most maternity stores catered to the expanding belly, but not necessarily the bust area. Granted, this problem was one more prevalent five years ago, so in that time more maternity wear has been created for plus-size women. However, despite the sizes increasing and accommodating some plus size women on the lower side, there is still a growing need for mothers-to-be that are curvy ranging in the sizes 20-30, and have different needs regarding shape.
Until that need is met, what are some ways you can cope and get around it if you can’t find clothes in maternity stores?
Well, I have some experience in that area. As I stated above, that was a challenge for me, but with all challenges come valuable knowledge gained. The answer for me was seeking out styles that I could grow with and using older clothes that I had which were bigger. Many of the styles I will feature in the pictures below are older styles that I still use and repurpose to this day.
I lucked out a bit, because around the time I was pregnant with my first, Maxi dresses were coming back into fashion. Not just that, but they were being made in comfortable fabrics that had a mix of polyster, rayon, and spandex which provide a little more stretch. This was perfect, because even if the maternity stores did not provide my size for my chest, I could still go to other stores that specialized in plus-size and find the size that was good for me. This dress was one I found at Torrid. Seriously, whoever thought of bringing Maxi dresses back was a genius.
This is a shirt I got during my second pregnancy. I had some trouble with casual shirts, because some of the maternity ones at the time were usually made of cotton which would make me hot and would fit my tummy, but the neckline would make my bust look weird. Again, if they didn’t fit the bust loosely I tended to drift towards other options. Tunic shirts were the answer for me in this regard. This shirt is a rayon/spandex mix, so it does have give without stretching the shirt out. Since the tunic style is long and loose too, it works for an expanding tummy if you are seeking a comfortable shirt that is light. I tend to favor v-neck ones, but there are many different necklines and lengths to choose from, so keep an eye out. This shirt I bought at DownEast Outfitters.
The Empire Waist
It is not new knowledge that the forever style for pregnant ladies will be styles with an empire waist. For those who may not read regency novels like me, empire waist dresses are ones where the waistline cut of the dress falls just below the bust. Many maternity shirts and dresses are fashioned like this, because as the baby grows, you lose your waist, and this provides some shape to your figure. Sad, I know.
When looking in stores outside of maternity ones, looking for dresses or shirts that have an empire waist can help. The cut will grow with you and as your baby grows you will still be comfortable. I would make sure the bottom part of the shirt looks like it has enough space or make sure the length is a bit longer, because your bump will raise the hemline. This particular dress was one I found at Torrid. I loved it, because it had a cute hi-low cut at the bottom and a crossed over v-neckline, which is preferable for nursing later on.
Loose Shirts with Belts
Loose shirts are a given, but that doesn’t mean you have to only wear your husband’s old t-shirts. This shirt was part of my normal clothes that I repurposed, because I had lost some weight. It fit too loose to wear as a functional shirt, but as a light shirt during pregnancy it is perfect. If you are a new mommy-to-be or planning to have kids and you have some big shirts that you don’t fit but can’t part with yet, then hold onto them. It is easy to find loose casual shirts, but sometimes it is hard to find nice shirts that are loose, so hold onto yours! This shirt is a hi-low style with generous space to grow. For fun, if you have loose shirts that you want to make cuter, buy some thin waist belts and cinch in under your bust to show off your baby bump. This adorable shirt was another I purchased at Torrid a couple years back.
I understand the difficulty in finding cute maternity clothes with the current fashion industry we have. Maternity-wear is a market that not many clothing companies think about or size correctly for in the plus-size category. However, don’t lose hope, there are still many options out there! With more awareness and as the demand increases, companies will start seeing the need to start sizing plus-size women correctly and with more sizing options, especially for maternity clothes. Until then, I hope this gave some ideas if you are a plus-size mommy-to-be, and maternity stores just aren’t cutting it.