The Hip Mom Needs New Maternity Clothes

The Hip Mom shares her luck in finding cute maternity clothes in Tulsa.

Dear readers, I have gone and done you a great service. Because I am so very concerned for every mama’s hipness during every stage of motherhood, I have gone and gotten knocked up just so I could scour Tulsa for the hippest maternity clothes! Yes, I am that devoted to you.

OK, OK, I couldn’t suffer raging varicose veins, cottage cheese thighs, and zombie-like fatigue just for you. I actually wanted an umpteenth baby, believe it or not. You would also think that for my umpteenth pregnancy, I would have a vast array of maternity clothing for every occasion, misshapen shape and season. But, alas, the seasons are a little off this time; many of my clothes were worn and stained. And you know what?  When you can’t guzzle a lousy glass of wine, when you’re so tired your contacts are sticking to your eyeballs, and acquaintances are wondering whether you’re pregnant or just having a love affair with a Krispy Kreme clerk, a new maternity dress can do wonders for your mood and brighten your outlook for your long, long haul.

Now, the greater question: IS there a spot in Tulsa where one can find not-hideous maternity clothes? Is this my Mission Impossible?

Well, you all, it is not easy. A lot of the big maternity chains seem to think that throwing a big ruffle or bow on a maternity tunic is a good idea. What are these retailers thinking?  That a big bow is going to distract from the shapeless blob that has become our physique?  NO! Then we will just look like blobs with bows.

I think most of us fervently want two things out of pregnancy: (1) a healthy baby; and (2) not to look like a gift-wrapped hippo while said baby is gestating for the better party of a year.

And that’s exactly what a lot of maternity wear does: It makes you look like a porky clown, and when you’re already dealing with the loss of your lissome limbs and whittled waistline, such poor sartorial treatment is just not right. We’re dealing with enough when we’re pregnant. Is it too much to ask that we don’t look like the circus train just pulled into town and we’re Act II?

Now, a lot of my hipper friends swear by the online offerings from Ann Taylor Loft and Old Navy. While I can usually purchase clothing successfully online when I’m not pregnant, it’s much harder to assess that what looks good on a 5’10” non-pregnant model with a faux bump will likely not look quite so adorable on someone who is considerably shorter and gains the recommended 30 pounds in the eight minutes after she takes a pregnancy test.

So, in what actual stores can a lost, confused pregnant chick try on real live clothes – preferably of the non-circus variety?

My good friend Melissa S., who is expecting Baby #4 in about six minutes, recommends  A Pea in the Pod at Utica Square.  Yes, it’s a chain, but it does try to offer cute, stylish things that aren’t going to make you want to cry and hide in your pantry with a jar of hot fudge for the duration of your pregnancy. Melissa bought this colorful, streamlined top – no bows! – and pairs it with leggings – she looks great!

Encouraged, but still prepared for dangerous missteps and potentially horrifying wardrobe malfunctions, I arm myself with a big decaf mocha and soldier down to Utica.  I try several dresses on that are stylish, camouflage flaws, and make me feel somewhat attractive, despite my quickly-growing bump and my even quicker-growing behind.  I find a crazy paisley patterned dress that is so busy that whoever is looking at it will suffer vertigo and won’t even notice I’m pregnant. It’s not cheap, though – $140.  But the super helpful, friendly girl at A Pea in the Pod – Margot, who also cajoles my other children into making a castle with blocks – helps me find a couple more jersey-type dresses that are on sale. I love this clingy striped gray jersey dress that elongates but also stretches forgivingly where it needs to stretch. On sale for a mere $59! Woo hoo! And nary a ruffle or bow in sight.

I also try on Heidi Klum’s “Lavish” line for A Pea in the Pod.  I love the sleek, minimalist look of her dresses and tops. But I try on a gray maxi-dress that is way too long and maxi for shrimpy me – I think Heidi forgot that a lot of us are not six-foot glamazons!  But do try out her pants, tops and dresses – especially if you are tall.  A Pea in the Pod also stocks a wide assortment of compression support hose, which is unfortunately necessary if you, like me, need these ugly granny stockings to be able to WALK during the latter half of your pregnancy.

Fortunately there are less expensive options, too: All Things Maternity is a great little resale and consignment store in Broken Arrow at 1525 South Main. Here you will find brands from all the maternity stores for a fraction of the full retail price. The owner, Jeane, has a Facebook page that keeps her friends updated on when she gets designer jeans (which fly off the racks, so if you have some you’d like to sell, go see Jeane!), and plus sizes.

I find a darling striped skirt that will grow as I do – it is so comfortable! Jeane also recommends coming in to find pieces that will work during your first trimester, and then as you get bigger, bringing them back to get store credit. Then you can buy roomier things you’ll need for the second and third trimester. She offers both cash for maternity clothes and store credit. Alternatively, you can leave your items with her on consignment, where you’ll get 45 percent of the sale price. If something doesn’t sell within a couple of seasons, she will sell it for $1 or give it away to charities specifically needing maternity clothing. What a win-win for everyone!

Now forget what I said about hitting the brick-and-mortar stores when you’re shopping for maternity clothes and make one exception for Lady Lait. Lady Lait (Lait is French for milk) is a line of maternity and nursing clothes designed by Sarah Shibley, a Tulsa native.  You must take my word for it, her clothing is so versatile, so comfortable and yet so stylish, you never feel schlumpy venturing out in Sarah’s pieces. And unlike most maternity wear, you won’t want to hold a ritual bonfire in your living room after you give birth for all the repulsive stuff you’ve been wearing – you will want to KEEP wearing Lady Lait in those lumpy postpartum months when you’re nursing because you will still look great in them. Her supple fabrics cling where it’s flattering and forgive where it’s not.

The Vivian wrap is a great multi-tasker; you can use it to hold your baby close or use it as a nursing cover. The Claire tunic comes with a moisture-wicking soft shapewear panel sewn into the empire seam all the way around the bottom half of the garment to flatten and gently smooth the tummy, sides, and back, while keeping you dry – because we all know how SWEATY the whole pregnancy and postpartum process can be!  All of her pieces are reasonably priced, around $60-$70.

Fortunately, though, you have two chances to see Sarah’s lovely Lady Lait pieces live:  She is hosting a trunk show at Stork Vision, 8130 S. Lewis Ave. Suite B, on March 31st, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. She will also have a booth at the 2012 Tulsa Baby Fest at the Fairgrounds, Central Park Hall, on March 10 from 9 a.m. to 5p.m.  Do go check her wares out – both your pregnant and postpartum selves will thank you!

Categories: Hip Mom