So Sally's suggestion that I try Lane Bryant as an alternative to maternity shops was totally brilliant. It's probably not a strategy that would work for everyone, but given that I'm 5'9" and already a size 12 at my normal, non-pregnant weight, moving up to a size 14/16 while pregnant was not a giant leap for me. The clothes aren't cheap, but they're far more stylish and come in better fabrics than anything I've found in maternity shops so far.

I was able to buy three tops in various flattering shades of pink, ranging from pale to almost magenta (that's the other cool thing about Lane Bryant—better color selection, not limited to pastels!). My only complaint is that they didn't have more dresses, but that's a small one. I tried on a skirt that fit fairly well, but it wasn't quite stretchy enough in the waist. (As soon as I buckled the belt, the baby kicked to let me know that he'd like a little more give, please.) Still, I bet if I'd looked further, I could have found one that suited me—there were several professional-looking skirts (more professional than I needed, actually) with wide, stretchy waistbands rather than buttons and zippers.

Overall, the best part was the lack of frou-frou-ness. The only bows I found were at the shoulders of a sleeveless top, and those were functional rather than decorative (they created the rouching effect). Not my style, but they didn't offend me as the satin bows around empire waist maternity dresses do. Everything in the store was hip, sasssy, professional, and stylish. And to their credit, the saleswomen were very polite and didn't ask what I was doing there. They seemed to assume I knew my size better than they did, and let me go about my business. For this reason and all of the ones above, I'll be going back to Lane Bryant when I need some warmer clothes this fall.

Thanks for the suggestion, Sally!

Posted by Lori in pregnancy at 1:55 PM on July 20, 2004