Wardrobe Oxygen and Maternity Fashion

Maternity clothing is surprisingly expensive. Items that would cost only $30 at your local Big Box retailer will be $45 or more at a maternity store. If they are a reasonable price, you are usually losing out on style and quality. A recent trip to a popular maternity chain store was a major disappointment – clothing I wouldn’t be caught dead in were being snatched up by desperate fellow pregnant sisters.

When you’re pregnant you still need to function in the Real World – you need appropriate career wear, clothing to keep you cool during the hot summer days, dresses that will let you look elegant and the next wedding or company function, swimwear and gym wear so you can stay healthy and active. Retailers know this and know they have you by the teat; they up the price, lower the quality and force you to purchase that which you would normally never touch with a ten-foot pole. It’s the same scheme they have for those who purchase plus-sized garments – want style? Well you will have to pay twice as much. Want basics at a decent price? Well you’re going to have to buy sub-par fabrics, gaudy prints and slipshod fabrication. Let’s not even start with the options if you are petite or tall!

Well if you don’t read my other blog, you may be wondering why I am even writing about maternity clothing. I am pregnant and due at the end of December.

I believe all women have the ability to look and feel beautiful within their budget – and I think that should hold true for pregnant women.
The days are gone where pregnant women are forced to wear polyester muumuus or pastel frilly confections covered with bows. Major retailers are starting maternity lines (hello Gap and Ann Taylor Loft), high-end department stores have extensive maternity lines, and hot designers are starting to see that there is a major market for stylish maternity clothing and are getting on the nine-month bandwagon.

However with all these updates, maternity wear, like plus-size fashion is still severely lacking. Women are judged to all be one height, with the same size of breasts and rear. Fashion is horribly basic and casual, or high-end and not budget-friendly for most parents-to-be who have to save their pennies for diapers, not Diane von Furstenburg.

Throughout this journey of pregnancy, I will be offering you reviews of items I have found are stylish, flattering and that fulfill the needs of a pregnant woman. As with traditional fashion, I hope my reviews will work for more than one shape, size, income or lifestyle of woman. I encourage fellow pregnant sisters to offer their suggestions in the comments (as long as they follow along these same lines). We can all learn from another during any fashion journey – maternity shouldn’t be any different!

To those who are not pregnant – have no fear this is not becoming a maternity or mommy blog. I am only adding this facet to Wardrobe Oxygen because of an obvious need on the Internet. The primary focus of this blog will still be providing style tips that can be used by almost any woman, regardless of age, size, income or lifestyle. I have reviewed a few products lately and plan to write about them, and will have some articles coming about hot topics facing women right now. I apologize in the lack of posts in the past several weeks but I hope this explains it a bit. My hope is to return to posting on at least a weekly, if not more regular basis. I thank those who have stuck through and hope to hear from all of you very soon!


  1. July 26, 2008 / 7:20 pm

    Congratulations! I was wondering why maternity kept popping up in the posts. 🙂

  2. July 17, 2008 / 1:33 am

    Looking forward to reading about your growing adventures in style 🙂

  3. Anonymous
    July 16, 2008 / 12:50 pm

    After 5 pregnancies (yes), one thing to keep in mind as you purchase maternity stuff is that post-baby you will probably be wearing clothes that fit you earlier in your pregnancy (like months 3-5)…might want to keep that in mind as you go shopping (yippee for wrap styles and empire waists!). If you plan to nurse, that’s a whole ‘nother set of issues, clothes-wise. I just had a few things that were easy to accessorise and wear. No matter what, you’ll probably be tired of your maternity clothes, and current style trends/going shopping for anything other than a new bag or jewelry may not be very fun or interesting (but looking for a Bumbo baby seat on ebay might!) Congratulations and may your pregnancy be safe and uneventful!

  4. July 16, 2008 / 1:24 am

    I am soooo very happy for you. Have a blessed pregnancy. Looking forward to your entertaining and descriptive accounts!

  5. July 15, 2008 / 10:46 pm

    four black liz lange for target pieces (two tops, two pants) got me through 2.5 pregnancies. i could throw them in the washer at night, hang them up, and by morning they would be dry. i paired them with blazers, cardigans, tees (i like old navy online maternity tees), scarves and every kind of shoe for every occasion imaginable. i still miss them – if i could find those pieces in non-maternity cuts, i would buy oodles of them.

  6. July 15, 2008 / 10:40 pm

    liz lange at target was a lifesaver for me – i bought two black tops and two black pants (all slightly different styles) that i could throw in the washer at night and hang up to have dry by morning. they were of some stretchy-polyestery blend and were exceedingly comfortable. i paired them with cardigans, scarves, blazers, tee shirts, sneakers, flip flops, loafers, mary janes – you name it, i could wear it with those four pieces, covering just about any setting, including a funeral. i’m also a committed traveler, and these pieces were excellent for the road, too. it makes me sad that these pieces aren’t in non-maternity cuts – i find when i’m shopping that ultimately i’m looking for those same pieces, because they were so fantastic.

    for tee shirts, i liked old navy’s online maternity selection. they’re inexpensive enough to order one in every color you like, and they were far more durable than any other brands i tried or was given. i could even get away with wearing a white or black one with the liz lange pants and a structured blazer at my conservative office.

    i did give up jeans for the duration – if there’s a truly workable maternity jean out there, it would shock me. in my experience, they sucked universally.

    i found your blog a couple of months ago researching a simplified travel wardrobe and have enjoyed your updates.

  7. July 15, 2008 / 3:23 pm

    Hi Alli. Congrats on the pregnancy – you are just glowing! I have just had my second baby, and I highly recommend Gap maternity for basics and casual wear. The items were reasonably priced, fit well and have lasted through two pregnancies and have now been passed on to my cousin. For dressier items I really liked Isabella Oliver. Their items are pricey, but are great quality, and i am still wearing many of the pieces now.

  8. July 14, 2008 / 11:32 pm

    I’m due December 25, you must be due very near me!

    Anyways, I LOVE maternity fashion. There is so much cute stuff out there, and no need to worry if it makes me look fat like I usually do. If it is cute and fits, it works! Prices are a bit higher, but I have had a lot of luck with the clearance racks at Motherhood and Thyme (in Canada) as well as on Ebay to get stuff from American Companies like Gap (we have it, but not maternity) and Liz Lange from Target. Also, the Wal-Mart stuff (part of the George line her ein Canada) is not bad at all.

    Since this is my last baby, I want my maternity clothes to be cute and stylish, but don’t want to spend a lot of care if is good enough quality to last past a season, since I wont be wearing any of it more than 1 season!

    With empire tops and dresses so stylish and available right now, even though I am already showing for summer clothes I am not even needing matenrtiy stuff! Also stretchy t-shirts a size larger then my usual fit well and show off my bump!

  9. Karen in Paris
    July 14, 2008 / 5:30 pm

    I totally subscribe to your philosophy. I was pregnant 15 years ago, when there was much less choice where maternity wear was concerned. Fortunately I was in law school then, so I could throw on oversized Gap basics for school, supplemented by JC Penney maternity jeans. But I did have to splurge on a few dress up outfits for interviews — nothing like being pregnant as a calling card!! UGLY and expensive. Even though I am well past that phase of my life, I’ll be reading with interest your finds in this regard as well as fashion in general. Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and birth.

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