What to Not Expect When You’re Not Expecting

Attention mothers and non-mothers alike: have you shopped the maternity section lately?

TEXT_ Cara Schacter

I started wearing maternity wear by accident. I found a vintage jumpsuit that looked just like one my mom wore in the nineties: cotton floral with thick tank straps and a scoop neck. I liked the lax fit — baggy with deep cut armholes and a casual drop crotch. 

The first time I wore the jumpsuit, I noticed something was off. When I bent over, the stomach ballooned in a way I had never experienced. This was different from the billow of a standard oversized fit, much more deliberate in its protraction…almost as if explicitly designed to engulf like a parachute. This was when I remembered the tag said “Motherhood” – a detail I had briefly clocked in the store but disregarded since vintage tags love to say random words (side note: @lable.stable on Instagram has a great collection of vintage tags with classic hits like “Anxiety for Kids” and “Get a Life!”). Even in a one-piece, I can put two and two together. The pictures of my mom wearing the jumpsuit were, after all, from when she was pregnant with me. 

The key to thrifting is seeking out uncharted territory: shop the kids’ section for crop tops, check the linens aisle for fabric to upcycle, convert cufflinks to earrings. Maternity wear is untilled and (forgive me) fertile land for vintage gems – a cache of baby doll dresses, tunics, and muumuus. Bonus: they’re usually in great condition since they’ve only been worn for nine months tops.

1_ Contrast cutesy pastels and kitschy novelty prints with either something more rugged (e.g. hiking boots, a chain link anklet, men’s workwear overshirt) or ultra-refined (e.g. posh sunglasses, dangly earrings, big blazer)

2_ When it comes to muumuus, compensate for shapelessness by cropping the length to a very flirty mini… if you can safely bend over to pick something up, it might not be short enough. 

3_ If you sew, there are great vintage sewing patterns online.

4_ For experimental maternitycore heads, maybe try a vintage maternity girdle as a layering piece? (Don’t quote me on this.)