I just went shopping today for new maternity pants (round 2, yep I grew out of some already) and tops (mostly round 1), so I thought this would be a good time to answer Elaine's question about maternity clothes. I will tell you what has worked for me, but since I am a bit of an unusal fit (aren't we all?!) I won't make any claims that what has worked for me will work for anyone else. I had to buy all new pants right around 10weeks, very early according to the books I have but I wasted no time packin on the pounds. After squeezing into ill fitting pants for a few weeks, I found the elastic wasteband to be VERY confortable. The whole lack of a button pressing on your belly was a God-send.
The problem is that quickly growing out of your clothes is very expensive, many of the books suggest borrowing your husband clothes or getting one neutral pair of pants and wearing them all the time. I would not consider myself a clothes horse, or high maintenance when it comes to clothes but those are two things I just won't do.. another is shop at second hand stores (I have issues, I don't even like library books because strangers have handled them). Living in NYC makes going anywhere in sweatpants or moo moo's a no-no, this is practically the fashion capital of world, and while I do not buy into designer fashion I do have a little bit of pride. Walking to work and seeing all the beautifully clothed people you can't help but want to put in a little extra effort.
So that really left me with no other option than to attempt to re-outfit myself as cheaply as possible. I actually got really lucky in that maternity style tops were in last season so I actually have been able to transition with tops really well. I'm just now growing out of my pre-pregnancy tops. Okay... Here is where the confession comes in. For starters, I shop the maternity sections at Old Navy and Gap, I know these company's are not known for their fair-treatment of workers, but I can afford Old Navy, and the Gap Maternity clearance rack can have some great buys. Buying clothes at these stores means I can afford NYC priced organic produce, so I am being a little selfish here and ignoring the social/global impact of my decision, although I do feel guilty about it.
H&M also started carrying maternity wear in a line called H&M Mama. I really like their clothes but the pants are definitely more expensive than Old Navy ($30-$60 instead of $15-$30). The tops are quite reasonable, I made out pretty well their today.
Motherhood Maternity is also a great place to hit the clearance rack. Their retail prices aren't that bad but things go on clearance with wild abandon ($9.99 for nice pants!) so there are always deals to be found. This store does require a little more selectivity since much of their stock belongs on pregnant women of a different generation,but there are some trendy finds if you look hard enough. Plus they have some really cute dresses (you'll find them next to the moo-moos) for around $30, for the off chance you have to get dressed up while pregnant.
Finally, the one place I've been the most disappointed with is Target. I used to get stuff there all the time, but the maternity section has not been my friend. I purchased a couple of tops their and they shrunk so now I have to pretend the arms are 3/4 sleeve, and the one pair of jeans I got from them are pretty frumpy, hanging off the belly instead of coming back in to meet my legs again.
All things considered I've done pretty well with clothes. Shoes are about to become problematic, but luckily it is getting warmer so I might be able to get away with crocks and cheap slip ons during the swollen/water retention phase of the pregnancy.