Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Great Maternity Dress Hunt

Many of you have been following my tips for maternity clothes shopping and affording a new baby. However sometimes life throws us a curve ball that we cannot plan our way out of. In my case, it's the wedding of a sibling while I am 7.5 months pregnant. Since I am walking down the aisle at this wedding, I have to be very dressed up and ideally I would fit into the color scheme - silver or purple. Not such a small feat! Especially since I do not want to invest anything more than $100 on a dress that I will likely never wear again, ideally I would spend much less. The hunt was on!

My first step was to look around at traditional maternity dress locations to get a feel for the market. Bridal stoers like David's Bridal do have maternity lines but frankly the selection was not great, nothing really worked with my needs for modest dress and the prices were outrageous. I have found that things designated "maternity" tend to be made of cheap fabrics (they figure you are only wearing it for a month and throwing it out) yet cost way more than garments made with better fabrics and superior construction. Stores like Destination Maternity did have some decent items but many were not in the color scheme or over priced.

My usual haunt for regular clothes that can work for maternity, H and M, turned up a beautiful dress for $40. It was long, draped wonderfully and fit really well. Since the style was draped, one size up from my usual size fit over my belly with room to grow if needed. The only hitch? It was the wrong color. Now, normally I think I'd be forgiven for showing up in a different color but this dress was not just the wrong color - it was off white. I have been to "snowball" weddings where everyone in the bridal party wears white but that was not the case for this wedding. To show up and walk down the aisle in a white dress would have been inappropriate and rude. So alas, that dress would not suit my needs for this wedding. Although it is getting use at several friends weddings and other family events surrounding the wedding.

Being pregnant also means I do not have as much strength to stand around all day and shop like I used to. Nor do I have the time for that. I do work full time in the lab! However with the wedding fast approaching and nothing popping up online or in stores that I have been passing as part of my regular commute I decided this needed to be taken care of pronto. I tried to pick a location with the maximum amount of stores in close proximity to each other to minimize walking distance, minimize time spent and increase my chances for success. I settled on union square.

The first store I visited was the Nordstrom Rack. This is a great store, often with good prices. Plus you can return items from a regular Nordstrom here and the men's department is nice too. I found one likely looking gown which was in the purple family. It fit! However there were a few reasons why my hunt did not end here. The dress was in the "wine" color family and the wedding colors are much closer to plum. The dress was also not the most flattering style as it had a rhinestone studded keyhole that extended into a neck strap. Since I was going to need to wear a shirt underneath to cover my arms and cleavage this was going to look awkward. It was about $90. Good but not great. I put it on hold.

Next I visited Filene's Basement. This is where I got really lucky. There was a great Adriana Pappel dress in lavender. I tried it on in a 10petitie and lo! It fit. The style was much more flattering to my needs - it wrapped around the arms and it was only $70. I decided to purchase it. The store was right in front of the train station so if I found something better I could return it before heading home.

My adventures next took me to TJ Maxx and Marshalls because I had a gift card there. Alas, the selection was very paltry and nothing would even vaguely work. I quickly exited and headed to Loehman's. The selection there was very good and there was one dress in the plum family that I really loved. It was $110 but it was so gorgeous and perfect I was willing to go over the budget. However the dress had other plans. After valianty trying to squish myself into it in the dressing room I had to admit defeat. While the bottom was flowy and fit my belly just fine, the top was so constricting I am not sure who could wear that dress - even with my new maternity bulk I am a small chested woman. Yet that zone just would not zip. I placed the dress back on the rack happy to be spared to temptation to overspend.

The Filene's Basement dress is the winner! And I am relieved to have an outfit settled on for a decent price. Plus by not buying maternity I ensured that somebody might actually be able to wear the dress again - the flowy style goes over a belly but it is really meant to flow around a regular sized person. Overall, it was worth the effort. But I was exhausted at the end of the day!


gp2.0 said...

B'shaa Tova!

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