Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Summer Maternity Style: Third Trimester Shopping & Styling Tips

Every pregnant woman is different--if you learn anything here, may it be that one tidbit of information--so what works for this pregnant woman might not work for you. However, this little lady of mine has turned into a lowrider, and I have become a hotbox breathing fire onto my shivering husband in the dead of night. What do these things signify? They signify that I neither want to wear anything that touches/constricts my lower abdomen nor do I want to wear thicker fabric. Thus, I do not wish to wear pants nor do I wish to wear shorts, not even the maternity variety. If you find yourself in this boat by the end of your pregnancy, I have some suggestions for you. By the way, not one of the dresses/skirts I am donning in this collage is from the maternity section. Only the navy shirt in the last picture is.

Third Trimester Shopping Tips:
Tip 1 --> Shop secondhand or sales:
  • Even though we plan to have more than one kid, it seemed unreasonable to spend more on maternity clothes than I would on non-maternity clothes. If you have the piggy bank for it, then have at it. 
  • I found most of my maternity stuff from either the sale sections (or promotional deals) of Motherhood Maternity, promotional deals at GAP/Old Navy, or browsing through thredUP's maternity section. I did keep one maternity shirt from one of my Stitch Fix boxes, and that was because I knew it would fit me postpartum and be nursing friendly.
Tip 2 --> Shop non-maternity (reasonably)
  • I read all of these blogs in the beginning of pregnancy that said never buy maternity jeans and provided all of these tips for doing so. Well, that was not in the cards for me. The first things I grew out of were pants, and I had to buy maternity jeans. I tried the rubberband trick; I failed at it. I tried the belly bands and those just felt like rubberbands that never stayed in place; I hated fighting with them to go pee. I tried demi-panel jeans, and they ended up feeling too restricting. I tried inset panel jeans (sold at Gap and Old Navy), and those were great in the beginning. I also bought full-panel jeans, and I liked them best. Those fit, but now in the third trimester I want nothing touching my abdomen. I fold down the panel of my full panel shorts/leggings, and it works just fine for the moment.
  • Dresses, unlike pants, are easier to find in the non-maternity section. Make sure you buy stretchy cotton fabrics that have a lot of give! Old Navy is the best place to find these kinds of dresses. 
  • You might have to size up for some dresses/skirts and not others. I had to size up for shorter dresses (like the orange one in the collage) so that it fit in the third trimester when my belly shortened the dress' length. 
  • As for maxi dresses, I stayed my pre-pregnancy size because I didn't worry about length, and I chose stretchy fabrics that would still fit over my growing chest and belly. 
Tip 3 --> Do periodic pare downs of your wardrobe
  • It might fit you one week and not the next. When that happens, do a little inventory: do you even want this item post-pregnancy (don't be fooled by pregnancy hormones here)? If you never even really wore this item to start with, put it in a "maybe" pile that you reevaluate after pregnancy.  
  • If you definitely want to keep it postpartum, then just hang it in a different section/the back of your closet. Keep everything that fits you right now located together to make getting dressed easier. Goodness knows just trying to put your foot into underwear at this point is a struggle. Let's not complicate matters by struggling to find something to struggle into. 
  • Currently, I have a thredUP bag sitting on the floor of my closet that is collecting items I don't think I will want postpartum. I decided I would reevaluate after she's here to decide if I think these items still fit my lifestyle/body.
Tip 4 --> Realize that you might have to change your style...a bit
  • I was staunch anti-leggings before pregnancy. Before I felt like Regina George in Mean Girls who can wear only sweatpants. I still maintain that one's butt must remain covered while wearing leggings, but I will actually wear them in public now. This belly gave me little choice in the matter.
Tip 5 --> Consider postpartum wear now:
  • I have already started searching for nursing bras (if that's what you choose to do!), so I took advantage of a promotion at Motherhood Maternity and bought four nursing nightgowns that I can even wear now. They actually fooled my mom into thinking they were real dresses, so I can wear them if unannounced (or announced) company comes to visit without feeling like a slob. Not that anyone would really judge me...harshly. 
  • I am starting to section things off in my closet that I think will work for nursing/early motherhood because goodness knows I need to make my life as easy as possible in those beginning months. 
  • I started a new Pinterest board called "Easy Mom Style" for things I think I would wear postpartum that still suit my style without letting me get into a yoga pants rut. (Some women rock the yoga pants trend beautifully; I do not belong to that talented group of women. Plus, I'd rather find a reeeeally comfortable pair of jeans instead.)
  • I won't buy anything for postpartum that is not easy to clean. Babies poop, puke, and ooze all sorts of bodily fluids. Donning dry-clean-only clothes sounds like a terrible combination to me. 
  • I am looking for looser, forgiving tops because I know nothing goes back to exactly the way it was.  
Third Trimester Styling Tips:
Tip 1 --> Belt, necklace, or sleeveless completer piece
  • Belt it -- it was not until my belly turned into a shelf in the third trimester that I could actually wear a belt below my bust and have it stay there all day. Oh, it has no problem staying there now. 
  • Necklace -- Sometimes a belt looks weird (tried one with the blue/white maxi skirt in the collage...EW), so I opt for a fun necklace. 
  • Sleeveless completer piece -- It is far too hot for a utility vest, but that gauzy, black, sleeveless number I have on in the middle picture? Perfection. I have some short sleeved cardigans that also work well. Also, the floral button up in the far left picture of the collage worked that way for awhile. However, I will have to tie it above my belly now if I want it to work, or I can just wear it open and unbuttoned. I have turned several button ups into "cardigans" for now.
Tip 2 --> Practice not washing your hair every day
  • After Vincenza arrives, I doubt I will want to nor have much time to do a lot with my hair. Since third-trimester fatigue has struck, I figured I would try out low-maintenance hairstyles. Here are a few that work for my finer, curly hair:
  • Curly--I just use a curling iron for a few pieces that act unruly. This style takes less than 5 minutes. 
  • Bangs up and curly--If my bangs are not cooperating that morning, then I clip them back.
  • Updo--I cannot frenchbraid (need to learn), but I can twist like a pro. My go-to style is similar to this one.
  • Straight hair...for days on end--If I straighten my hair, I can go like four or five days without washing it. Of course, I have to put in the initial 20 minutes to dry it on day one, but I guess it works out in the end. 
  • Rock a headband--Most headbands fall off of my head because it's shaped weirdly. This headband does not. My sewing machine is in a corner of the storage room I cannot reach with my belly in the way, so I have not had a chance to try making some of my own headbands. I'll let you know how that goes...or doesn't.
  • Shower at night--I hear this works well after the baby comes, and it worked really well when I was teaching because it meant less maintenance in the morning. 
  • I pinned these hairstyles to try. (I should try them now....)

Look 1: Button up + maxi + headband
  • Button up: The Limited (size XS, would wear open when the belly grew too large for buttoning)
  • Maxi dress: Old Navy (size XS, not maternity, bought in a stretchy cotton fabric)
  • Headband: Target
Look 2: Patterned maxi + curly hair
  • Patterned maxi dress: Apt 9 via Kohl's (size XS, not maternity, very stretchy fabric)
Look 3: Sleeveless cardigan + striped maxi + updo
  • Sleeveless cardigan: Apt 9 via Kohl's (size S, not maternity)
  • Striped maxi dress: Merona via Target (size XS, not maternity, stretchy fabric)
Look 4: Sized-up dress + belt + shorter necklace + pinned back hair
  • Orange dress: Old Navy swing dress (size M, not maternity, bought even larger for length) 
  • Belt: Francesca's (old)
  • Necklace: J.Crew Factory (old)
  • Gold sandals: Aerosoles
Look 5: Maternity shirt + long necklace + maxi skirt + straight hair
  • Shirt: Old Navy maternity (size XS)
  • Necklace: Sonoma (I think) via Kohl's
  • Maxi skirt: Paper Moon for Stitch Fix (size S, not maternity, very stretchy and so soft)

There you have it. Some tips and some inspiration (I hope). Let me know if you want any other tips/suggestions/inspiration. 


  1. I am all about the showering at night. I have my husband watch the girls and that is my down time. I take a long time, sometimes an hour (not actually IN the shower, just messing around and breathing and stuff) if I don't hear screaming (kidding, he's a great dad!). It also became the one time and place I can think without interruption of some kind. I don't mind the interruptions, because they're fun and I love my girls, but when I'm alone in the shower and suddenly I complete an entire thought, I realize how much I've missed my own brain! I am looking forward to the arrival of your little cutie pretty soon. I have really enjoyed remembering the fun of my own pregnancies while reading about yours. Hopefully my comments have reflected that--that I'm remembering mine, and not lecturing you!

  2. These some well-thought out tips Danielle! With every pregnancy being different, I'm sure it varies when you're expecting too. What if you were in your third trimester in the dead of winter?? I guess leggings all season would be the key haha. You look adorable in all of the outfits you highlighted. Was that formal maxi dress for a wedding? It's gorgeous!

  3. These are the best tips I've read yet! Totally going to pin this post. It deserves to be re-pinned a ton too! I've already separated the things in my closet that will fit right now/cover the band on my maternity pants. I'm with you, I quickly grew out of my pants and the rubberband trick and the belly band crap wasn't cutting it. I'm all for the full panel maternity pants. Only problem is most of my shirts don't cover the band! I love how you said to go through your clothes AFTER baby is here. Smart woman I tell ya. I seriously want to get rid of my entire closet at this point. So you're right. It's gotta be the hormones! As far as nursing bras, I actually went to Target to buy a comfy bra in my 1st trimester and didn't realize until I got home that it was a nursing bra! So it was a win-win situation that day!

  4. Amazing tips! I actually have a separate spot for all my maternity clothes so that I don't get depressed when I open up a closet full of clothes that don't fit me.
    Great idea to go ahead and buy some nursing-friendly items. That's a whole style obstacle that I hadn't even considered yet!


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