Dear retail establishments of Connecticut,
My name is not Nessie and I do not call Loch Ness home. I have neither a horn affixed to the center of my forehead nor wings that propel me through life. I do not reside in or around any pot of gold (near or far from a rainbow). I am not some mythical or imagined creature. I EXIST. I’m just a regular ol’ woman. Who happens to be pregnant. And who happens to need clothes. And who also happens to have some advice for you.
1. OFFER YOUR MATERNITY LINE IN-STORE…NOT JUST ONLINE.
Now, I know me and what I like. I know my body and what looks good on it. I know what colors make my eyes pop and what styles to avoid if I want my thighs to look slimmer. Or, I used to. And then the baby made me start drinking more milkshakes and eating more french fries and pickles. Sometimes all together. And then my body started to change. The baby is growing and, okay, admittedly the milkshakes aren’t helping at all, either. But everything seems to fit differently now. I no longer know what size to grab off a shelf because I’m no longer in my own body. I need to be able to waddle my butt into your store and try things on. I’ve never carried a baby and am not quite sure how to get it to fit into a pair of jeans. So help me out. I don’t want to order items blindly from your website, wait for the clothing to arrive at my home, and hope it fits—even if I do have the option to return unwanted items to your local store.
2. STOCK A DECENT SELECTION OF MATERNITY ITEMS.
A maternity “department” that consists of two racks of clothing is not a department. (I’m talking to you, Target!) I get it. There’s not a large market of maternity shoppers and you don’t want to devote too much floor space to maternity apparel because of that. But if your maternity “department” consists of one color/style pants, two styles of shirts, and one style of a dress, why bother? At that point, you’re not selling a selection—you’re selling a uniform. Pregnant women deserve choices, too!
3. DO NOT ASSUME THAT YOUR EXPECTANT SHOPPERS HAVE AN UNLIMITED BUDGET.
If I walk into your store—even if you are a boutique specializing in maternity apparel—and spot a pair of jeans with a price tag that reads $189 (ON SALE!), I am walking out. And maybe kicking you in the shin on my way. We are saving for hospital copays and ultrasounds and baby furniture and maternity leave from work and daycare and diapers and….pardon me, I have to go practice my deep breathing techniques. My point is, I wouldn’t pay $189 for a pair of regular jeans. That I’d wear for years. I’m sure as hell not going to pay $189 for a pair of maternity jeans. That I’m going to wear for 3, 4 months TOPS. Are you crazy?!
4. KITSCHY IS OKAY SOMETIMES…JUST NOT ALL THE TIME.
Just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean I want to have a floating neon arrow pointing to my belly at all times. It would be nice to have some options for tops that don’t have exclamations printed across them in block lettering. “Spoil me…I’m pregnant” tshirts and Christmas themed nightgowns that shout “Jingle Bellies!” have their place in every pregnant woman’s wardrobe. Don’t get me wrong. But we also have to go to work sometimes. And might need clothing that aren’t so in-your-face. Just sayin’.
5. MATERIALS THAT BECOME SHEER WHEN STRETCHED HAVE NO PLACE IN YOUR MATERNITY LINE.
Maternity pants are sorta like the centaurs of the apparel world; bottom half pants, top half tube top. That little tube top like thing at the top is amazing. It allows you to buy pants that fit your butt and thighs correctly because the top part—where your belly will continue to expand—can stretch. The problem comes in when that top material becomes sheer when stretched. It leaves everything from the crotch up visible to the world if your shirt lifts at all. Granted, most maternity shirts are long enough to cover those sneaky (not-so-) little front panels. But what if I have to reach something on the top shelf at the grocery store? I raise my arms, my shirt goes up, and suddenly everyone in aisle 10 at Stop & Shop catches a glimpse of my skivs. Not okay. The only solution I can come up with is to switch to solid-colored (read: boring) underwear. Which is also not okay. Sure, they wouldn’t be as noticeable through the sheer material but I should not have to give up my polka dotted, striped, and animal printed undies just because I’m going to be a mom! So the only real solution is you consider this when selecting the items you want to carry in your maternity line.
I would greatly appreciate it if you would get these matters cleared up before I venture back into the harsh world of maternity clothes shopping again. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
A Disgruntled Shopper