The syrup from the maple trees is flowing, there’s always a good hockey game to talk aboot, and the world seems to be swooning over our Prime Minister (on both his platform and his looks).
Canada is a pretty sweet place to live, eh?
Except when it comes to finding plus size maternity clothes, dammit!
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was between a size 18-20. I normally did all my shopping at either Addition-Elle or Penningtons. In Canada, that’s about all we have to offer in terms of speciality stores that are readily accessible. Of course, there are boutiques in the downtown core, and some stores, like Old Navy, who have some XXL sizes. But plus size fashion in Canada is somewhat limited, or so I thought…
Once the bump started forming, and my regular clothes started tugging in weird places, it was time to take the journey into finding plus-size maternity clothes in Canada. Oh boy? Hooray? I had a gut feeling that things wouldn’t be all that easy and boy was I right.
Finding plus-size maternity clothing was a nightmare!
Looking at Addition-Elle and Penningtons, I didn’t find anything that was specifically maternity. Sure, I could buy something in the next size up. And maybe a maxi dress would work. But there’s a difference between wearing maternity clothes, and simply the next size up. Maternity clothes are meant to be more spacious around the tummy, and still fit you well at the neck and shoulders. If you resort to wearing clothes that are simply the next size up you risk looking kinda frumpy.
I went to the “go-to” maternity stores — Thyme Maternity and Motherhood Maternity. I found out pretty quick that Thyme Maternity didn’t have anything in plus size, while Motherhood Maternity had a very small (and I mean VERY small) amount of product online. I wanted to try on the clothes in person, though, since I had never bought maternity clothing before.
Reviewing message boards online and countless internet searches, I kept finding a lot of great options for plus size maternity clothes, but they were all based in the US. And with the Canadian Dollar worth only about ¾ of a US dollar, I certainly wasn’t prepared to spend that kind of money (plus shipping) on clothes.
Eventually I said “F&^$ it!” and decided to take matters into my own hands and I learned a few things:
Leggings will be your friend
CHEAP leggings, especially. Those that are a wee bit thinner, and very stretchy, will work well in your current size, as there will be a lot of stretch for over your belly. I bought some of my favourite non-maternity leggings. I also bought a pair 1+ size larger for when the bump got bigger. These worked well until about month seven and a half months in, when my bump popped, and there simply was no longer enough maternity to go over my bump (unless I wanted the world’s most epic camel toe).
If you’re due in the summer, get maxi dresses from plus size stores
But make sure you get ones that are made of stretchy material. Get them to fit your shoulders and not your belly size. It’s okay for the material to stretch over your belly! It’s important that your shoulders are fit correctly so that you don’t have arm holes that are too big.
Shark bite shirts, diagonally cut, and any kind of longer shirt is awesome
Any pre-pregnancy shirt that has a little more length to it will turn into a “regular” length shirt once you’re pregnant
If you have to buy tops in sizes that are too big
Throw a bolero or a light cardigan over top to hide the way-too-big arm holes. Consider bringing them to a seamstress, too, to get them fitted around your bust.
Where the struggle is still real: undergarments
I couldn’t find any plus size underwear at any of the stores that fit my body well. And nursing bras in plus sizes are next-to-impossible to find, unless you’re ordering in from somewhere, and want to play the “let’s order four sizes and return the one that doesn’t fit” game.
It’s not easy finding plus size maternity clothing in Canada, and I wish that retailers would keep in mind that plus size mamas exist, and that we deserve access to fashionable clothing too!
Any other Canadian plus size mamas? How did you find, or hack, your maternity clothes?