how to shop for maternity clothes in canada
With this baby bump making its debut nice and early this time around (like 8-9 weeks?!), I had to pull out my stash of maternity clothes again. Let’s keep in mind that Luke was born in August, so I was pretty much living in sundresses and flip flops when I was pregnant with him. Jeans were only for very special occasions and since I am a blazing inferno while pregnant, I really only wore short sleeve and sleeveless tops with my leggings (again, real pants were not worn on the reg). So, despite having a baby just over a year ago, with this baby being due in April, I don’t actually have tons of clothes I can wear throughout the fall, winter and spring. For example, I need more than 2 pairs of jeans, probably some long sleeve tops, and definitely a winter coat.
Let me tell you that all of this is a tall order, especially in Canada. Don’t get me wrong, these things are definitely all available, but you will probably get sticker shock and/or go broke trying to buy it all in one shot. Unfortunately for us mamas-to-be who get to be pregnant in the winter, we don’t have much choice. But! That’s where I come in. Here are some tips and tricks based on my experience and what I’ve done so far to get the best deals on maternity clothes, find the best types of pieces, etc.
- Shop online. I cannot stress this enough. You will often find some incredible deals that you just won’t find in store. These are some of my favourite online spots:
- Gap Canada – They have a pretty good online maternity section, including activewear, but the secret is to sign up for their emails. They often run promos for 30%-40% off, and if you’re lucky you can end up with GapCash to save on your next purchase. Plus, with free shipping over $50 and free returns (in store or by mail), you really can’t go wrong. My favourite maternity jeans are from the Gap!
- ASOS – Overall, the prices are great, especially when you’re looking for basics. It’s also a great spot to check out if you’re looking for something fancier, like dresses, or something more fashion-forward (hello, leather-look leggings). With free shipping to Canada when you spend over $45 (Canadian!), it’s a no brainer.
- Zulily – This is another spot where it’s worth signing up for the emails. I signed up when I got pregnant with Luke for maternity and baby sale notifications and it’s been awesome. They have great sales on some fantastic brands. The only downside is that you have to act fast (something I’m not good at, unfortunately).
- H&M – They’re finally offering online shopping in Canada! Unfortunately for me, my local location doesn’t carry the maternity line, and I’m not particularly interested in driving 45 minutes with Luke to go try on some pants. So online shopping couldn’t have come at a better time for me. The prices are hard to beat, and it’s a great place to get some basics.
- Pink Blush Maternity – I am obsessed with this store. If they had a location in Ottawa, I would be there on a regular basis. I love pretty much everything from their jeans, their dresses (especially for special occasions), and their gorgeous robes. Shipping actually isn’t too bad – $16.99 standard to Canada. Just make sure you pay attention to the conversion rate of CAD to USD.
- Sign up for emails. Seriously. You want to get the sale notifications and promo codes.
- Motherhood Canada – This store is a gem; they carry the Jessica Simpson line which is one of my favourites. I have to admit that my first and favourite (until my new Gap jeans arrived) pair of maternity jeans from my pregnancy with Luke are Jessica Simpson and I bought them at Motherhood. They also have deals like buy 2, get the 3rd free, or 25% off the whole store, which is made even better by the already competitive prices.
- Thyme Maternity – You can shop either in store or online at Thyme, but I actually prefer to shop in store. I can’t stress enough that this is somewhere you definitely want to sign up for emails. They offer free shipping, but only on orders of $99 or more. The reason you want to be on the email list is that you can get coupons for up to 40% off, which is so worth it. Especially on the pricier items like winter coats or special occasion dresses.
- Shopping in-store at Old Navy can lead to some great finds at even better prices. Although it’s disappointing that their maternity section isn’t online in Canada (yet! It’s apparently coming soon), they do carry their maternity line in store. Although not always a sure bet – you’re likely to leave with nothing sometimes – they do have some real hidden gems if you’re willing and able to make repeat trips.
- Tunics are your friend for several reasons:
- They allow you to wear leggings as pants if they are long enough. This is very important to me.
- If you get them big enough, you can buy non-maternity and wear them when not pregnant. This is especially nice to have right after you have the baby and don’t necessarily want to wear fitted tops.
- You can buy them for a steal at places like H&M and Winners.
- If you’re anything like me, buy lots of leggings. If you see a buy one get one type of sale, don’t hesitate and buy them. I’d recommend having a pair of two of black, a pair in grey, navy if that’s your style and maybe even a patterned or leather-look pair.
- Tops that are looser on the bottom or babydoll style will be great for you to wear again in the few weeks and months after your baby is born. Despite having a 10 lb baby, I still had a belly for quite a while after Luke was born and wasn’t into wearing tight fitted tops right away. Tops that are tighter around the chest and fall straight down over your midsection will probably get lots of wear both during and after your pregnancy, which makes them a worthwhile buy.
- If you manage to find a maternity winter jacket that you can still rock when you’re not pregnant, do not hesitate and buy it immediately. I got and amazing deal on one that ties up (no buttons or zippers, no panels) that is gorgeous whether I’m rocking a bump or not. (I actually can’t wait to show it off, which is not something I ever thought I’d say about a maternity coat).
- Buy some basic tops (long and short sleeved tees and even some tanks) and dress them up with open cardigans, button down shirts left open, scarves, jewelry, etc. You’d be amazed at how different you can make the same top look with those simple changes. Plus, again, if you buy any open cardigans, they can be worn after the little bean has been born, so it’s not a purchase made purely for your pregnancy.
- Although not a maternity purchase per se, I’ve been thinking a lot about winter footwear. Namely, winter boots. The ones I have now are awesome, but I’m not positive I’ll be able to squeeze my probably-very-swollen legs/ankles into boots that are nearly knee-high, tight around the foot, and lace up tightly. Will I even be able to bend over to tie them up? Not likely. Add in a busy little boy and I’m thinking that I’m going to need boots that are quick and easy to get on and off.
I hope these tips are helpful and if you have any more tips, please leave them for me in the comments! And stay tuned for a breakdown of my maternity clothes essentials.
Good luck shopping, ladies!