Raise your hand if you remember when plus size fashion was a wasteland 🙋🏾♀️
Seriously, go back to the early 2000s, when plus size fashion consisted of Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart if you were in an “urban” market, and maybe an ugly floral thing from a department store like Macy’s. It was BAD. There simply wasn’t anything cute, and you were mad to feel bad that you were so big and thus couldn’t fit any of the cute clothes as straight size stores.
Then came fashion blogs and social media accounts, and plus size bloggers who scoured Al Gore’s Internet to highlight the brands that were getting it right. Fat girls started saying no to ugly floral tents and yes to crop tops and bodycon dresses. Indie designers and retailers popped up online, allowing anyone to access cute clothing. And within the last few years, straight sized retailers have finally gotten the message and started adding extended sizing to their assortments. In short, it’s kind of a great time to be a plus size woman right now.
Unless of course, you’re pregnant. Cause then you’re stuck back in the wasteland that plus size fashion used to be. I know because I’m experiencing for the second time.
Why are plus size maternity clothes either non-existent or absolutely terrible???
Yall, I’m not exaggerating. Right now off the top of my head I can think of 10+ places, both in-store and online, where I can go to find cute plus size fashion, at a variety of price points. I know that if I absolutely need something, I can at least run into Target and pick up jeans, or a sweater, or even a coat! Why the hell can’t I do that with plus size maternity wear??? What’s even more disappointing, is how even the brands that do plus size fashion “right” have also abandoned pregnant plus size women, by not offering any maternity options! Like you already get my money, why would you purposely avoid getting my money for the 9 months I’m pregnant???
And even worse, everyday I get FB ads for cute little maternity brands that maybe go up to a L or an XL, but I that I know will never fit my size 20/22 body. I really wish FB had a “they don’t make my size!” option when I try to hide all these ads. Seriously, Blanqi, A Pea in the Pod, H&M, Gap, Seraphine, Le Tote - they can all kick rocks for not including extended sizes!
It feels like we’re being punished. Like “how dare you fat ladies have sex and have babies!” Plus size pregnancies are more common than ever, and overall more American women are plus size, yet we continue to be left out in the cold when it comes to finding options that fit, accentuate the bump, and are comfortable. Even my beloved Target, who has done so well to reinvent their plus size offerings, claimed to add extended sizing when they revamped their maternity line, but when I went looking for items, I was left with bottoms that stopped at size 18 and tops that maxed out at XXL; even worse, their online assortment seems to be eliminated.
Obviously I haven’t been walking around naked this pregnancy, so were have I been shopping?
Motherhood Maternity/Destination Maternity does carry plus size options at least online - at one time they also carried it in-store but when I tried to shop in-store a few months ago, I walked out the store empty handed. They only go up to a 3X though, and my size 20/22 big thight & booty self wears a 3X, so women bigger than that will be out of options. I do appreciate that they have lots of options and a sale almost everyday, but I don’t appreciate how corny (or not cute) some of their stuff is. But they’ve been my go-to for the bottoms I’ve needed once my belly got too big for my pre-pregnancy pants.
I did get some tops from Target - the XXL tees and tanks fit over my bump, though they could be a tad bit wider for those of us with wide hips. But I appreciate that I can run into a store and find something.
I took a chance and ordered some items from Old Navy maternity, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that everything fit! Their sizing does max out at XXL for both tops and bottoms, but I found that the XXL leggings fit my thighs, booty and bump! The XXL tops are also long and stretchy, which is exactly what I was looking for. If you’re a size 20 or smaller, you should definitely give Old Navy a look!
But my favorite items that I’ve purchased have come from Universal Standard! They are a brand who truly take universal sizing to heart - everything they make comes in sizes 00 - 40. Recently they launched their Fit Liberty Mom collection, in collaboration with Danielle Brooks. The genius of the Fit Liberty program is that you can buy for the size you are now (like for example, 24wks pregnant) and if/when your size changes in the next year, you can exchange your items for your new size! I already loved Universal Standard - I have a few of their items in my closet and they are some of my favorite things to wear. When I got the email announcing their maternity line, I immediately placed an order for their Better Basics Kit, which includes 5 items. I got my order over the weekend and I am totally in love with everything! The fabric is super soft and comfy to wear on your skin, it stretches and adapts to your body, and the silhouttes really highlight your growing belly. Seriously, this is the plus size maternity wear that I’ve been dying for, and wishing that someone would make! I know I’m going to get a ton of use out of these items through the rest of my pregnancy and after #BabyTau is born.
Brands and retailers, take note! There are ways to do plus size maternity fashion right - there are brands that are doing it! Here’s hoping that plus size maternity wear will grow to be more common instead of the rarity it is now.