Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Petite Guide To Maternity Shopping: 1st Trimester

I am a big fan of the petite blogging community.  If you are petite, you really must check out some of my favorite sites:


They really helped me find new places to shop, inspire me to put together new outfits and use things I already have in my closet more creatively.  When I found out I was expecting, I naturally did a google search on petite maternity clothes and found that there were surprisingly little blog posts or information on this area.  A lot of the petite bloggers are young professionals without children, so I guess that makes sense. I thought it might be helpful for me to assemble some of the things that helped me during my first trimester.

First, my stats:
Height: 5'2"
Pre-Baby Weight: 112
Figure: Curvy Petite
Weight Gain During First Trimester: 3 lbs

Fitting Into Current Clothes
From my experience, there are 2 kinds of petites.  Those that wear their clothes slightly baggy because it is so hard to find things that fit properly anyway, and those that have a more tailored wardrobe (thanks to diligent shopping and a good tailor).

I fall into the last category, and my work wardrobe consists of pencil skirts and tailored dresses.  My waist is one of my favorite parts of my body to accentuate, so many of my items have a fitted waist.  Even so, I thought I would have a lot more room for growth in my current wardrobe than I really did.  Even a 3 pound weight gain made 1/2 of my skirts and 1/3 of my dresses completely unwearable.  And those XSP tops?  If you are anything like me, those will be tight across the chest after about a month.  My solution was to dig out some more lose fitting items from the back of the closet, start repeating outfits more often and use the 2 a-line skirts I had to come up with some more creative outfits.  I also dressed up some of my more casual weekend dresses with a cardigan and heels to give myself more options for work.

Tip: I am constantly selling items on ebay and at resale stores.  I wish I had kept a few things that I sold because they were too big.  They really would have come in  handy right now!  So if you are considering parting with some too big items - think about storing them in a plastic bin for when you might need them!

The BellaBand
There are several versions of this handy waistline expander.  I borrowed one from my SIL, and bought this one from Target.  They work to help you expand your current pants and skirts by allowing you to keep the zipper open.  I found them to work fine for pants, but not as well for skirts.  The skirts don't hang right when they are not all the way zipped up.  There are several ways to wear it but I found this to be the best:
  • With the band all the way open, step into it and raise it to where the bottom of the band is at your low hip area and the top extends to your waist
  • Pull your pants up over the bottom of the band, allowing them to zip as much as possible
  • Fold the top of the band over the pants, folding it in half with your pants sandwiched in the middle
  • Top with a longer shirt to cover the band.  White one looks OK with just a little peeking out, kind of looks like a tank under your shirt
  • For added support with jeans, loop a hair rubber band through your button hole and around the button to extend the waist and help the band hold them up more securely.

Start Stocking Up Now
Being petite, you probably know that finding a good fitting item can take some shopping and maternity clothing is no exception.  Start stocking up on items now, so that when your baby bump "pops" in the middle of the night you are not left with nothing to wear the next day.

If you have friends that are done having kids, or wouldn't mind lending you their maternity clothes, start asking.  My husband was kind of shocked when I told him I had emailed a few girl friends to see if they had anything I could use.  This is pretty standard practice among mommies, as they all know how silly it is to have this entire wardrobe you can wear for only 7 months and not share.

Petite Friendly Maternity Shopping Spots
Regular Stores - I got a large bag of maternity items from a friend about my size, and most of them were just larger sizes of regular items with roomy fits and empire waists.  For many petites, this might be the way to go throughout your entire pregnancy.  Maternity items are usually big in the bust, and dresses are very very long so they would need to be altered.  Look for items that are flowy or have side ruching at stores like New York and Company and Forever 21.


Resale Stores - I have always liked shopping at resale stores like Buffalo Exchange and other local shops.  I was able to find a resale maternity store in my area that I had good success with.  Resale stores tend to sort their clothing by size, so shopping just the XS and S clothing is easier.  Plus, you save at least 1/2 off retail.  I bought 6 items for work the other day for just $60 and all were in great condition.  One was even a line from Anthropologie.  I would much rather spend my baby money on a nice stroller or diaper bag than expensive clothing so I am fine with shopping resale.

Craigslist/EBAY - If you are going to go this route, I suggest you first visit a store and try on the brand to see what size you would wear.  Maternity sizing is terrible inconsistant so it is important to know your size in different brands before you go bidding.  For example, I wanted some black work pants, I tried them on in the store where they were $35, and I scored the same pair on EBAY for $10.

Old Navy - I have had mixed success with Old Navy so far.  The good part is that it is inexpensive and they often run specials and have coupon codes.  But most of their clothing is casual, and I need some more work-friendly items.  I tend to order everything I am interested in, get the free shipping, and about 1/3 of it works.  AFTER you check out, they tell you most items are only available for mail returns BUT my local store informed me that they take back maternity returns in store.  Be sure to check with yours before you order, because return mail shipping can get expensive if you do it a lot.

Borrow, Borrow, Borrow
Lastly, I borrowed some things from friends that were a little bigger than myself.  These friends can not be the sensitive type, as asking your size 4 friend to borrow her "bigger" pants may cause her to slap you.  No really, most people have a range of sizes in their closet and clothes friends should be totally willing to let you borrow a few pieces.  I had to attend a couple of weddings during the first few months and my tight little cocktail dresses were not working.  A was able to borrow from a friend and it was a lifesaver - I didn't want to buy 2 new dresses that may not every fit again.

Hopefully this help you get started.  I am also going to start doing reviews of specific maternity items I find that work well for petites - and posting funny pictures of the ones that are not working out so well!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ooh, and don't forget how useful these first/early second trimester clothes are for the postpartum period! It took me at least six weeks to get rid of the bloat and a few months to get back to my post partum weight. I'm really glad you posted this; I'm only two months along this time but also petite and not looking forward to the dreaded Motherhood Maternity failures.