I was asked by a blog friend, K., if I had any advice for her on choosing perfect pregnant/postpartum/nursing styles from the upcoming Boden clearance sale (set to drop anywhere between this Friday and next week). She is currently 13 weeks pregnant, which is the beginning of the second trimester. She wanted to plan for her pregnancy and future postpartum/nursing needs by seeking out the best prices on the very best options that Boden offers.
Having (obviously) just finished my pregnancy and (most of) my postpartum period wearing a whole buttload of Boden, I definitely know what worked for me and what should work for the vast majority of pregnant ladies. There are some things that Boden does lack, and I will be mentioning them, but if you are savvy, and you do plan well, you should be able to grab the best prices on items that can work for the full ten months of pregnancy and beyond. :)
I specifically chose items that can work year round, with the exception of the most hot and most cold days of the year.
Below the photo of each item, I have included a link to the item, along with an explanation of why it works for either pregnancy, postpartum, or nursing. I will also make note of if it will work for any other period, for instance, if a top works for pregnancy, but can also be useful for nursing.
Onto the picks!
Border Print Tunic. Did any of you suspect I would go here first? LOL. I truly believe this is a magical clothing item as it worked on me during pregnancy, during the postpartum period, and will still fit me well five years from now. The stretchy jersey fabric is amazing and stretches to accommodate a belly but doesn't looked stretched out after pregnancy. It is worth the full price, but you can always get this with at least a 15% off. However, there are likely to be at least a couple of popbacks on this item during clearance time, which means my friend could try and get it for the best price of the season (probably will be 35% off if past years are any indication).
This is not a great top for nursing, however. As much as I love it, the longer length proves to be a hassle to pull up and the v-neck does NOT pull over enough for easy access for the baby.
Kimono Dress. Like the Border Print Tunic, this is a great
fabric for a growing belly, with the added bonus of looser armholes. This is a
nice feature if you happen to gain weight in your upper body,
shoulders, or arms in pregnancy.
This would also be lovely during the postpartum period since it is super soft and a bright and cheery fabric.
Again, not the best choice for nursing, for the reasons I listed under the Border Print Tunic.
I suspect this will go on deep discount, seeing as it is 40% off
now. It may stay at 40% off for a while, but if the stocks stay high,
my friend can get it for much more off when the second cuts happen
(usually three weeks post the start of the clearance).
Leggings. Yes, I do mention the Boden Maternity leggings, but later. For most of my pregnancy, I wore regular leggings. Here's why...I happened to have a belly that sat super high and regular leggings fit fine on my legs and right beneath my belly. Now, if your belly grows and sits lower, you will likely need maternity leggings earlier, but for most folks, especially in the first and second trimesters, you should be able to get away with normal leggings. :)
These will work for nursing as well. I do NOT recommend these for the postpartum period, especially if you had a c-section. Your body needs soft, NON-constricting waistbands, and these elastic bands, while normally comfortable, can feel noose-like right after having the baby. Do your body a favor and wear the loosest fitting items, at least until your body heals.
Leggings are such a staple that these MAY NOT go to sale. If that happens, you can still grab them by calling the company (at clearance, any "normal" priced items disappear). Or you can wait until the fall stuff comes on-line and buy it with whatever promo happens to be around then (it usually starts off at 15% off with free ship and returns).
Plait Trim Top. Again, a non-maternity item for pregnancy. I wore mine well into my third trimester and fell in love with the stretchy, soft material. I also love how the neckline forces the eye up and away from the belly.
This top will work for postpartum AND for nursing. It's a great buy. It is nearly sold out, and I doubt the savings will be significant in clearance time, but still, 35% off is better than full price.
Special Day Tunic. I have this in the yellow color and I adored how pretty it made me feel. It worked great with jeans and leggings, but now that I have had Gus, it works well as a mini-dress. If you are a bit shorter than I am, you could wear it as an actual dress after you have the baby.
I believe this could be worn postpartum, but I hesitate to suggest that because of its blatant "pregnant" style. Since you carry a lot of extra weight in your middle postpartum, it could make you look still pregnant. Once you shed that weight, the concern goes away, but bear that in mind if you want to wear it post-baby but pre-loss of baby weight. :)
Boden Maternity does NOT go to clearance sale for the current season (for most of the items, anyhow). This means the spring/summer maternity items will go to clearance next fall. That does mean, though, the fall stuff will go to sale this upcoming week. That works very well if you are going to have your baby anytime between October and January!
That said, the Boden Maternity stuff does sell FAST if it goes to clearance, especially to the very audience looking for it, so be quick if you see your item in the pink "low stock" box.
Alfresco Top. Yet another one of my favorites from the postpartum period. This soft as silk top is able to stretch, but does not look like it is straining in any way if it goes beyond its garment measurements. Its v-neck and empire waist highlights what is, for most postpartum women, their thinnest parts.
This top would also likely work for a pregnant lady (not the late third trimester, though) and definitely will work for a nursing mom (wore mine last week, in fact).
This should go on some deeper discount but is also popular, so will need to be picked up within the first few days of the clearance.
Evie Dress. I felt so good in this dress three weeks after Angus was born, I truly thought I had a whole new body. In reality, I did still have many lumps and bumps, but the silk jersey fabric skimmed over my curves instead of clinging to my curves. You may not want to leave the house after having the baby, but it is really nice to have a dressy option if you do end up going out for dinner (which you should, btw, you 100% deserve a nice night out!).
Great dress for pregnancy, I wore its precursor while in my early third trimester, but definitely not a great option for nursing as the v-neck is not capable of being pulled to the side.
Maternity Leggings. Yes, I put the maternity leggings here, instead of in the "pregnancy" part. I really, truly feel that the soft, non-binding, high waistband of these leggings are so SO nice for the first week after giving birth, that I want and insist all pregnant women buy them. I was SO happy I had them to wear home from the hospital. :)
Now if you do need the higher coverage leggings earlier, obviously these are fantastic for the pregnancy, but like I said above, many of you can get by with regular leggings for 3/4s of your pregnancies.
These will probably not go on sale, but their current price is more than reasonable.
Wrap Jersey Top. I actually have seen this top on a non-pregnant lady, and she looked so comfortable and happy, it immediately struck me that a postpartum woman would feel wonderful in this top.
This could also work for pregnancy (stretchy fabric again) and nursing (pull the top up rather than moving the v-neck to the side).
This is literally the only color left in stock. It will likely be the only one to make it to clearance, and it won't be super-super cheap. I do know you will get a lot of use out of it, though!
Drapey Jersey Cardigan. I added this cardi with the rest of my nursing choices because the extra fabric there in the front is AWESOME for covering up baby when you are nursing. I know some ladies can easily nurse with the goods all out there (and it is protected by my most states, so you all know), but I am not one of them, so I always have a cover-up with me. This cardi, though, could easily take the place of the cover-up, so bravo for that. Definitely not a summer option, especially around here. ;)
Obviously a cardi can work whenever, so enjoy while pregnant and postpartum!
This will make it to sale and should make it to a great price.
Elegant Summer Maxi. I am not crazy suggesting you get a maternity dress for postpartum...I promise. Hear me out. Since Boden is notorious for making shorter length maxi dresses (hello ANKLE length, lol), the extra length the fabric has for the belly will make the dress nice and long up front (and much more like a traditional maxi dress). But here is why it is the perfect nursing dress...it can be pulled down from the straps for access to baby's breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. (I show the back of the dress...if the straps on the back are defined and separated, you can do the pull down maneuver, if the straps are not visible on the back and instead you see a swath of fabric, the front strap portion cannot be pulled down--not good for nursing).
This one can clearly be worn during pregnancy, and postpartum, but keep it around for later. :) It comes in a nice neutral so that in winter you can dress it up with a sparkly jacket or cardi and call it a night out.
This will not likely go to sale, but if you fancy longer gowns, then its current price will probably be decent enough to justify it (especially if you will wear it often).
Favourite Jersey Maxi. Like the one above, these straps can be pulled down for easy access. I own this one in the pink pansy color and loved it for that very reason. I plan on wearing this for many years to come, but this was an added bonus. :)
You can definitely wear it pregnant, but bear in mind that it will be shorter in front the further you get into your pregnancy. It is definitely soft enough for postpartum, but it might be a touch too difficult to get over your head, so if your body is saying no to putting it on, just don't. LOL.
Will go to clearance in this shade, but will sell fast. I am willing to bet on that one.
Gathered Front Vest. This has the pull down straps that I prefer to use (I don't mind tugging the shirt up, but it leaves my belly exposed, which I don't care for) and has the added bonus of being infinitely layerable. Great on its own with some jewelry in summer, wonderful in the fall and spring with cardi on top, and perfection in winter with a jacket and scarf.
Usable in pregnancy, but may be too short for use in the last bits of pregnancy, especially if you have a long torso and/or bigger belly. Definitely nice and cozy for postpartum.
This one should make it to sale, and be a decent price.
Oil Cloth Slouchy Bag. I decided to add a bag to my "must have" lists
because this one is so utterly right for the nursing momma. It has a
fabric that can withstand spills and gross bathroom floors (use a
cleansing wipe on it afterwards), plus its large size and long strap
mean that it can hold a lot (pumps! wipes! 5 size 2 diapers!!!) and can
be worn across the chest (hands free, woo hoo!).
Yes it can be used by all sorts of women, even worn the silly way that Vanessa is holding it. :)
It is fully stocked in the floral shade above, but sold out in the ditsy pattern in the lower photo.
Shirt Dress. Made from linen, it isn't my favorite fabric (bonjour wrinkles!), but it is definitely exactly what a nursing mom needs, easy access and a cool fabric. This one has a placket that extends deeply, so you can unbutton the dress as far down as you need to (for me, I typically need to undo four or five buttons).
I don't recommend this for either pregnancy or the immediate postpartum period as those awesome easy access buttons will be gaping like mad with growing or shrinking bellies.
This will make it to sale, but not at a super great price. I have noticed Boden's linen items sell fast, too.
Strappy Beach Dress. I love love mine, but only once I found the right fit. I am a big fan of the straps which make Angus's life easier
because he doesn't have to wait for food as long (these are the pull
down type of straps). Unfortunately all colors are sold out except for
the top shade (still lovely, though). I do not expect there to be a
great reduction on this one even if a color pops back during clearance.
For all the sizing issues people had with it, the dress sold like hot
Not recommended for pregnancy (early pregnancy, maybe) or postpartum (possibly after a few weeks gone, though).
Notes on Sizing
I say in jersey fabrics you should buy your normal size if you are postpartum or nursing. If you are pregnant and want to wear it pregnant, buy normal size if you are fine with not wearing it the last few weeks OR buy one size up if you want to wear it all the way to the due date.
Boden Maternity is sized generously. I always take a size 4 in their dresses, tunics, and tops, and was taking a 6 in their maternity leggings. I did NOT give their pants a try because they got pretty dismal reviews and I already had a stockpile of AWESOME duo Maternity (JCP) pants from my prior pregnancies. I could have sized down to a 2 (!!!) for some of the dresses and tops because Boden gives a lot of room for growing bustlines, which mine did not (grow, that is).
In regular fabrics, the decision is harder. I would say size up one if you want to wear something immediately after birth, but plan on getting a tailor to help you bring the item in once you have lost all your weight. If you have never had a child before, I highly recommend waiting until you know what your body does. My body does return to its normal waistline fairly quickly and I don't have porn star sized ladies (sadly, lol) ever, even at Angus's most hungry. But I knew that from my past experiences.
So if in doubt on sizing, especially with non-jersey items, don't get it. Boden will likely make something just as lovely and be on sale when you need it in the future.
Boden is Lacking?
No shorts! I lived in my maternity shorts when I was pregnant with both CW and Angus (thank you, freaky warm winter). This is a big oversight for all of us warm-blooded American women. (They really don't have much in the way of shorts for non-pregnant ladies, so I am not all that surprised.)
Great Prices Elsewhere
Remember ebay. Many great past season jersey items are available there, so definitely look into that avenue if you so desire.
Good luck to all my pregnant, postpartum, and nursing mommas out there. Hope this upcoming sale does you well! :)
Any thoughts from any of you all on some possible good buys for this blog friend?