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Well I’m a day past my official due date and baby shows no signs of coming out on her own yet! My husband and I are already on our parental leave and waiting for labor to start (or waiting for our Monday evening appointment for medicated inducement, as the case may be). So what better time to write a new Hourglassy post??
During pregnancy, I avoided buying maternity clothes until I had no choice, instead wearing the items I already own, plus adding a couple dresses from brands I already shop with in a size up. Eventually, I had to get some proper maternity clothes, and I quickly discovered that the maternity clothing landscape absolutely sucks if you are busty. A lot of brands just tell you to buy your usual size, claiming that their items are cut for maternity. And then when I came across an actual size chart, I found that many of them listed less bust room than straight-size clothing charts. It’s like maternity clothing designers have completely overlooked the fact that most women’s boobs increase during pregnancy even if they weren’t “full-bust” in the first place!
So what to do? After buying and returning several orders from Seraphine Maternity and Pinkblush, limited success with Mother Bee Maternity, and moderate success with a few second-hand dresses that I got on Poshmark and later was able to find on Amazon, I basically gave up on dedicated maternity brands and started looking to the busty brands I already know and love. And that, my friends, is the key to success! When it comes to actual maternity brands, I also came up with a few rules. So let’s start with the good…
Urkye and Mirror Mirror Moda were my absolute saving grace! For Urkye, I ordered a bunch of “Kopertówka” tops that feature a cross-over neckline and ruching in the belly, which gave both my boobs and belly room to grow. My previous Urkye size was 38 o/oo, so I went up both in waist and bust size to 40 oo/ooo when possible, but if the color I wanted was sold out in that size, I took 42 o/oo and you can barely tell the difference. The 42 may be a bit big on me when my body shrinks back down, but I’m sure I’ll be able to keep wearing the 40’s since I used to sometimes sister size into 40 if 38 was sold out. Plus, I’ll be able to breastfeed in this style since you can just pull each side of the bust off to the side. I didn’t save a regular photo, but I did post one shot of this top in Hourglassy’s Instagram stories, so here’s a screen shot of that:
I also ordered a “Koperta” long-sleeve dress, which has a cross-over neckline and high waist seam, in 40 oo/ooo. I really wanted more Koperta dresses in other colors, but didn’t feel like I could justify buying tons of new dresses. Plus, all my preferred colors were sold out in my size and I didn’t want to size up even further with a dress since it’s a bigger ticket item. (I’m hoping to keep wearing this dress post-pregnancy.) Still, the one Koperta that I bought has garnered me lots of compliments, and the slightly more neutral color allowed me to build lots of different outfits around it.
As for Mirror Mirror Moda, all but one of my old dresses continued to fit me throughout the whole pregnancy, including size small! Here are two size small dresses:
And two size mediums:
Up until about two-thirds of the way through my pregnancy, I had some successes with pinup brand dresses I already own that happened to have a more blousy fit or were made of stretchy fabric, so here are examples of those:
I also bought three dresses from Pinup Girl Clothing that I never photographed, which I wore all the way through pregnancy—the “Joanie,” “Viva,” and “Rian.” Joanie and Rian are wiggle dresses, but with no waist seam and made of soft, stretchy fabric in which I took size large (instead of my pre-pregnancy medium). Viva is also very stretchy, with only an underbust seam, in which I got size medium.
As far as actual maternity brands, my main issues were:
- Not enough boob space
- Too many florals and barely any modern prints
- SO. MANY. SHAPELESS SACK DRESSES.
Finally, a few maternity brand wins:
I also made my own maternity dress in the same style as the Seraphine knot dress from Simplicity pattern 9600:
This was the only way I could get a dress in a fun pattern! I picked up a multicolored sprinkles (as in, the ice cream topping) print on navy blue from Joann Fabrics. I also got a lemons print on white, but never got around to making a second dress. One word of advice—size down from what the pattern suggests. I went with size 18, which is supposed to fit bust 40” and waist 32”. Even though my waist was still 30” at the time (bust was, in fact, 40”), I stuck with 18 thinking I’d need room to grow…but then the shoulders were too wide and the dress was bigger than I needed overall. So I’d say look at the listed measurements, then go down one, if not two, sizes, since the pattern incorporates way more wearing ease than necessary, especially for stretch fabric.
Lastly, this is the best of the second-hand Amazon dresses I got from Poshmark (I have it in long and short sleeves), the Coolmee brand ruched bodycon minidress:
Okay, so when shopping for maternity-wear, what should you look for? Whether buying from maternity brands, straight size brands, or dedicated full-bust brands, these are the features I found to be the most flattering and the most comfortable:
- Cross-over neckline to accommodate fluctuations in breast size
- Ruching in the ribs down to the upper hip to accommodate a growing belly
- Gathering somewhere around the bust (shoulders, underbust, or side of ribs)
- Stretchy fabric
- Empire waist
- Wide waist tie
Things to avoid:
- Anything that has no bust or waist contouring (unless you’re going for the oversized look)
- Surplice neckline without any gathering
- A defined waist or waist seam (unless you can pull it up under your boobs to make it more of an empire waist)
- Skinny waist tie (avoid anything string-like)
- Brands that don’t list a real size chart or simply tell you to buy your same pre-pregnancy size