Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Maternity clothes on a budget

There are something like 4 million babies born in the US each year.  I’d guess that would mean there are something like 3.25 to 3.5 million pregnant women, after accommodating for multiples (does that sound reasonable?).  WHERE ARE THEY ALL FINDING THEIR MATERNITY CLOTHES?  I ask this in super-serious all caps because I have scoured most of the state I live in, and I can barely find anything.  What I do find feels like it’s ridiculously expensive for something I’ll wear four or five months at most per pregnancy.

Target does have a maternity section (our local Wal-Mart and K-Marts do not, so I’ll skip mentioning them).  We have a pretty decent-sized Target, and yet there are maybe only three small racks of maternity clothes, and even fewer styles.  Despite the fact that this is a discount store, even the most basic V-neck tees generally run $20 or so.  Their online offering is more robust, and using their Cartwheel app can sometimes score you some discounts that makes it worth asking fellow mamas where the Target is with the biggest maternity section.

Old Navy and Gap both have online selections that are really pretty good.  Their in-store selection definitely varies based off of the location.  Our Gap’s maternity section is at the back of the babyGAP, and it’s about seven or eight racks’ worth.  I’ve found that they generally carry the more expensive items in store, which can be a little annoying, but their pants are probably the most comfortable on the market.  The key is to try and hit at the end of a season and score on the sales (both in-store and online).  Old Navy’s in-store selection is a little more haphazard, in my experience.  It seems less organized, and all of the items are sort of just thrown in a little corner.  I have been able to find a few sale items that I liked, but prefer to shop their selection online, and then return in-store if something doesn’t fit.

Motherhood is our local store that clearly has the biggest selection, as it’s entirely dedicated to maternity and nursing garb.  I will admit – I will usually go to their store to try something on, and then order it online.  The reason for this is that they seem to run more sales online than in the store (a common sale is to buy two clearance items and get the third free).  I also find a bigger selection of petite pants online than I generally do in-store.  

JC Penney and Kohls have a very, very limited section for us locally – two or three racks in each store.  Their selections online are definitely more complete, but a little pricier than most of the above options (other than the Gap).

These next two places don’t have any stores local to me, so I don’t have any experience with them in-store, but they’re both great choices for cheap, cute items.

Asos is a site that I believe originates out of the UK, but they have a US site.  They have lots of options that are inexpensive and trendy.  They have a lot of casual stuff, maybe less in the way of work gear if you work in a formal or business casual office.

H&M has probably the best maternity selection I’ve seen as far as looking remotely modern, and the prices are incredibly reasonable.  What’s great is that you can also pick up some kids’ items at the same time for a low shipping price.

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