Wednesday, August 24, 2022

August 2022 Shopping Reflections

It's a few days early for my end-of-month shopping reflections, but I'm pretty sure this is it for August. Things are starting to ramp up at the office again, alas, for what's hopefully the last big, but fairly extended push - this current busy period should last into at least early or mid-November - at work before my due date, so I probably won't be posting quite as frequently in the next few weeks. 

With my recently published first trimester shopping reflections, it's probably somewhat obvious that pregnancy has not been particularly great for my general goal of being more careful and minimalist-ish about my shopping. I didn't fully anticipate all the changes my body would go through, particularly if I wanted to buy more relaxed-fit non-maternity clothing in hopes it would work for at least some portion of the pregnancy. Navigating sizing for maternity wear, and trying to pick items and sizes that might work throughout the entire pregnancy, has also been difficult. And I'm still nearly four weeks off from the start of the third trimester, so who even knows how much harder things might get later on...

Anyway, I'm trying not to complain too much, but I think most people who've spent any time shopping for maternity wear would agree with me that the choices out there are dire, and are often quite overpriced for what you're getting to boot. Many of you have mentioned having that exact feeling! As I explained in my first trimester shopping post, I'm already very tired of shopping for and wearing maternity clothing. 

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These days, between being busy at work and feeling too tired in the evenings to do much besides watch TV and window shop online, I do find myself spending lots of time looking at jewelry and accessories, in other words, non-maternity items I can still wear. I'm desperate to feel like my old, pre-pregnancy self, and browsing for jewelry and accessories seems like one way to try and get that feeling back. I keep reminding myself not to impulsively buy anything too expensive. (The recent state of the economy, with rent increases, inflation, and the performance of the stock market, all help keep me in check, along with the prospects of impending childcare-related expenses for our little bean and my hopes for my government job search, which would definitely come with a dramatic pay-cut if I were to be successful.) 

Fashion - (TOTAL: $369.18)

  • H&M MAMA Ribbed Nursing Dress, black - $34.99 - After spending tons of time browsing what feels like almost all the maternity wear options in the US, including bigger retailers like ASOS, Target, Old Navy, and H&M; dedicated maternity brands like Seraphine, Hatch, and Kindred Bravely; and smaller brands like Storq and Pact, I've found there doesn't seem to be much getting around relying heavily on "fast fashion" if shopping new in this market. Though it probably is plausible to depend exclusively on shopping secondhand. There are certainly lots of options on ThredUp. (I imagine most customers are in maternity wear for such a relatively short period, a few months at a time, that many end up with plenty of used maternity clothing still in good enough condition to donate or resell. That's even while factoring in that much of it isn't especially good quality or durable relative to the price!) Honestly, out of all those brands, I think H&M's been the best for more consistently offering relatively non-frilly, non-ruffly, less ruched, and less peplum-y maternity wear, with more options in cotton and not just viscose or rayon. A lot of the more basic and simple H&M maternity designs I'm most interested in do tend to sell out in my size, however. This dress is 95% cotton, 5% elastane. 
  • H&M MAMA Cotton Dress, black - $24.99 - And this dress is 100% cotton. For both H&M maternity dresses this month, I find the fabric noticeably thinner than I'd expect from a comparable item in H&M's non-maternity line. These are both simple black dresses for days I need to wear business casual (or something more formal, but business casual is the best I can currently do). I picked size L in both based on H&M's non-maternity clothes sometimes running a little smaller than, say, J.Crew or Ann Taylor, so my typical pre-pregnancy size in H&M can be L instead of M, depending on the item. These maternity size Ls are somewhat bigger than I need right now, but I'm expecting to grow plenty more in the bust and belly in the coming weeks, so I'm pretty sure I picked the right size if the goal is to have maternity items last through the end of the pregnancy
  • AGMES Pearl Stud Earrings - $163.31* - (also here) I mentioned having recently learned about AGMES jewelry from other stylish people a few weeks ago. This is a fairly small and subtle pair of irregularly-shaped freshwater baroque pearl studs on sterling silver posts, which are a bit more interesting than my usual round pearl studs. I don't think these are quite as eye-catching as AGMES's more typical designs, but because I'm still wearing face masks in almost all indoor public settings - can't be too careful while immunocompromised by pregnancy - I still can't wear bigger or dangling earrings without getting them tangled up in my mask straps. On a separate note, am I the only one who usually expects new-to-me jewelry to be a bit bigger than it actually is before I open the package? That's solely my fault and not on any of the designers or retailers, by the way. I'm just really not great at judging what small objects' size measurements will translate to in-person. 
  • Tibi Merino Wool Sweater Combo Pullover, black/multi - $145.89* - This is from Tibi's end-of-season sale on their Spring/Summer items. I sized up from my usual Tibi size to a L, and I think this top should still fit me when I get to the third trimester and the weather's cooled down. Design-wise, this is sort of a merino wool sweater in the front, and a cotton button-down in the back, both are halves of things I currently own and like from Tibi. 

*Indicates that price includes sales tax. 

And that's it for August! Maternity tops are a category I really haven't shopped for enough yet, though I'm most likely going to put that off for as long as possible while the weather is still too hot and humid in NYC for anything but my lightest dresses. Once I do get around to it, however, I think Pact has a better range of more basic maternity tees with some non-ruched options and a decent selection of neutral colors compared to many larger retailers. 

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