Myth: Once you need maternity clothes, just go get them.

Truth: You need a plan. You’re in the first trimester and already a lot of your regular clothes don’t fit you. On one hand, you’re tempted to just go out and get maternity clothes and start wearing them. On the other hand, there are the designers who tell you to not even shop until the second trimester.

From me, you get the truth.

Yes, there are those who say you shouldn’t shop for maternity clothes until you’re showing. But I think that might be a problem. After all, what are you going to wear when you are showing and nothing fits? My take is that you may start shopping for maternity clothes once you’re in the third month. However, it’s still not a good idea to wear them until you absolutely have to. Remember that maternity clothes are cut to accommodate a baby belly, and until there is one the clothes will be too big. Even if you try tucking the tops into the skirts they’ll just bunch up and look huge.

Start by considering your lifestyle. Do you work outside your home? Then you need professional work clothes. Are you a stay-at-home mommy? Then you need more casual clothes. You definitely need a couple of outfits for Shabbat, Yom Tov, and special events.

For your regular wardrobe, different clothes can overlap into different contexts and you need to take advantage of that to get the most use out of your clothes. For maternity, this is even more important. You do not need to waste money buying a ton of clothes for different contexts. You may need straight skirts with jackets for your work, but you can wear those skirts, with those jackets or with different tops, for Shabbat and Yom Tov. You may need shells under those jackets, but you can use those shells for layering no matter what the context. That denim skirt that you wear at home can also be worn for dressy casual situations.

Before you shop any stores, it’s a good idea to do your research just as you would before shopping for regular clothes. Take a look at different stores. Many large department stores have maternity wear sections and those are worth a look. There are also stores that focus entirely on maternity wear and those are worth a look too. Take note of the store hours so you know how to fit this into your schedule. Take note of the prices. You need to know your budget for this because while there are bargains to be had, you’ll still have to spend some money. Take note of return policies. The more generous they are with returns, the better. If you can, take a look at the layout; some stores are more crowded than others.

Aside from the practical issues I mentioned, make sure you take note of the different styles offered by each store. Your personal style doesn’t have to change just because you’re pregnant, and you’ll want to wear clothes and accessories that reflect that. Even if you have one main style that you prefer, you may like some variations from other styles, so note what the stores have.

There are also online options. I know women who bought maternity clothes online, and those stores are worth a look. But since you can’t try on the clothes before buying, be extra careful to note the return policy. Try to avoid any store that doesn’t allow returns.

If you do your research and you have some idea of what you need, you’ll be better able to shop successfully.     

To be continued…

Meira E. Schneider-Atik is a wardrobe organizer, personal shopper, jewelry designer, and fashion writer/blogger and speaker. She helps women look great while saving time, effort, and money, all within tznius guidelines, and she’ll add to that with custom-designed jewelry. Read more about her ideas on her blog- She also has a YouTube channel, “Look Your Best in Mitpachot,” where she does head-wrapping tutorials, and she is also available for private demonstrations. She can be reached at (718) 644-6135 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.