January 22, 2013

Stylish Winter Coat Options For Pregnant Mamas (Hint: They’re Not Maternity)

Each and every year we get a bunch of reader questions that center around maternity winter coats.  Are they worth the money?  Are there any non-maternity options that work?  Anything affordable?  It's a toughie.  So I went right to the experts:  our readers.

Here's what our very experienced readers recommended over & over & over again (and in some cases, with pics to prove it!).  

1. Try A Cape, Poncho or a Swingy Coat

This was, hands-down, our reader's most-recommended option (and also what I did with both pregnancies).  At first blush, it doesn't sound all that great – how much swing is needed?  And a cape?  Really?  Is it warm enough?

But here's the thing:  Pregnant Mamas get hot.  As reader Erin pointed out:  I just wore a poncho, I was too hot to wear a real coat – the best part of being preggers!

agree.  Typically, I'll need a sweater in anything less than 82 degrees.  Yet while pregnant?  This is what I wore – even in WINTER:

 IMG_0344

 

I also had a 3/4 sleeve wool swing coat (that you can see here) for colder days, and I'd layer with a sweater underneath.  Long gloves were paired with the 3/4 sleeve coat.

But really, any coat with a bit of swing might get you through.  Go ahead and let your belly peek out!  For example, reader Paula was still using her pre-pregnancy coat in her last trimester:  My nonmaternity coat still buttons right above my baby belly – and I'm due in 3 weeks. With pregnancy I'm naturally so warm… and I always cover my neck to keep from getting cold.

Even a pea coat might be swingy enough.  Reader Sheena "just buttoned as many buttons as I could on my wool peacoat. Eventually I was down to just the top button, but so goes it!"

This option makes sense for Mamas who hate to burn their hard-earned dollars on something that won't go the distance.  Reader Samantha "refused to buy a maternity coat (seemed like a waste as this is our last baby), so I found a swing coat at Macy's. It's a perfect cut, and plenty of room around my growing belly. Plus, it will work for me even after the baby arrives (due in April)."

 So.  If you happen to be in the market for a winter coat, it might make sense to buy one that will work for pregnancy, post-partum, baby-wearing, and beyond!  Try a non-maternity swing coat like Samantha…or find a cape.  Nicole chose "a cape from Isabella Oliver with gloves, scarf and hat or a larger peacoat. I was always so hot- this worked!"  Good choice, Nicole.  Even maternity capes can have a life post-pregnancy.  (Isabella Oliver no longer makes a cape, but I'm loving Hatch's.)

As examples, I've found three capes/ponchos that would look gorgeous whether you are pregnant, baby-wearing, or headed to the office post-partum:

Cape

Victoria's Secret Belted Cape Coat, on sale for $70 | Jones NY Faux-Fur Trim Cape, on sale for $99 |SpiritHoods Phoenix Hooded Reversable Cape in Peruvian, on sale for $195

 

2.  Try A Wool Wrap Coat (or Belted Trench)

While you can find maternity wrap coats (Isabella Oliver's comes to mind)….many of our readers simply bought regular wool wrap coats, and wrapped them around their belly, belting them shut.  

Reader Amanda said:   I had a heavy wool trench coat style coat. I would leave the coat unbuttoned but then tie the belt. On top I wore a scarf to cover the gap.

Nice!  Reader Kristin (pictured below) did the same.


Wrapcoat

This technique works really well with actual wrap coats, belted trenches, or even a slightly swingy-er/larger sized coat – just add a belt.  And, as reader Barbara pointed out, this method is "also handy for babywearing". 

Here are a few wrap coats that would be worth the splurge for a pregnant mama (just take the belt out of the included loops, and tie it above the bump, like Kristin above).  Wrap coats also work great post-pregnancy. 

Woolwrapcoat
Elie Tahari Wool Wrap Coat, on sale for $147 | Victoria's Secret Belted Wrap Coat, on sale for $158

Calvin Klein Belted Wrap Coat, on sale for $159 | Vince Camuto Plaid Wrap Coat, on sale for $132

 

3.  Need Serious Warmth?  Try A Plus-Size Puffer (or a slightly larger size)

Aaaand then we have Mamas that are in need of serious warmth.  Mamas who live in such cold climates that they can't just pull the "I'm hot and preggers" card. 

My friend Jess (pictured below) lives in one of those climates.  Jess "shopped in the 'plus' section.  That way the sleeves fit me, but it was bigger in the mid section. I went with a warm puffy all the way!"

Jess

Or just try sizing up. Reader Vicki had her son in January a few years ago:  "Leading up to his birth, I layered on shirts and sweaters and then wore a long puffy coat a size too big. The arms still fit, but it also would snap around the belly (not zip, but yes snap). I bought it second hand and passed it along after his birth."   Vicki, zippers are overrated.  Snaps totally count.

But for the HUGE bellied among us (Yup.  That was me.), when faced with serious cold, a simple size-up may not cut it.  In this situation, you gotta do whatcha gotta do. And in that vein, reader Amanda rocked her "husband's XL down filled parka when it was -30 to -50!"  Yikes.  That is serious cold.

But I do love Jess' plus-size idea (rather than the men's department).  Why?  Girl coats are cuter than boy coats, duh!  Like these:

Plussizepuffer

London Fog Plus-Size Parka, on sale for $99 | Tahari Plus-Size Pillow Collar, on sale for $169 | Calvin Klein Plus Size Jacket, on sale for $120

Macy's has, by far, the best selection right now. 

 

4. Go For The M-Coat

Our Canadian readers all raved about The M Coat.  It has a middle zipper panel for pregnancy, it folds down for babywearing, and then zips right out after.  Pretty ingenious, actually.

Mcoat

And it's hard to deny the cuteness here.  OMG.

Mominmcoat
The M Coat is Made in Canada (yay!), retails for $385 here, and also comes in a raincoat version.

 

5. Buttoning is Over-Rated (Aka Wear Whatever You Already Have)

I mean really.  Considering the vast amount of hot pregnancy hormones running through your body…do you really need to button anything?  And Hedvig from London makes a pretty convincing argument for the stylishness of this option:

Unbuttoned

 

Dang, girl.  Gorgeous.  Of course, we can't all look this put together while pregnant…so here was my stay-at-home-mom version (complete with a dirty-faced toddler):

PA105062

BWA HA HA!  Yeah, baby.  Not *quite* the same, I know.

But sometimes…I think we're over-thinking the whole maternity wear thing. Unless you live in a frigid tundra…you can probably can get by without buying something new. (Of course, this depends on your outdoor activity level.  Jess was snowshoeing.  I?  I'm so uncomfortable while pregnant that I, uh…mosey from my door to my car.)

Reader Shannon said it best:  "I had 3 late winter/early spring babies, and never bought a maternity coat. I just buttoned my non-maternity coat as much as I could, and always wore a scarf. I wasn't really out in the cold that much, just walking from car to shops, restaurants, the house, etc, so it worked."

Even reader Jenny from freezing Minnesota(!!) just "wore my warmest regular coat without zipping it on top of layers."  But then she admits, "I was sick the whole time though so I didn't get out much.

That's kinda the deal, though.  The thing with pregnancy is that, like childbirth, you just don't know how it's going to go.  You don't know if you are going to be sick, or feel amazing, or be put on bedrest or be snowshoeing.  You also don't know if you are going to have amazing hair, huge zits, or if your pregnancy hormones can be relied on to keep you warm.  So I guess what I'm saying is this:  When it comes to winter coats, proceed with caution.  Make due with what you have, if you can.  Or buy something that can go the distance – beyond pregnancy.  But if you decide to invest in a wear-only-when-pregnant winter coat, find something on crazy sale.  You're much better off spending money on things like cute hats, cozy scarves, and awesome winter boots.

Readers – Did I miss anything?  Let me know!

xo,

S

 

20 Comments
  • Patricia S.
    January 22, 2013

    Great suggestions!
    I loved the Svasana Jacket by Lululemon – it’s basically a super soft square blanket with sleeves and buttons that make the neck drape like a poncho. It fit even at my hugest, and it got me through cool nights in SoCal or with layers underneath for colder places. Still wear it all the time for yoga (doubles as a blanket) and travel and just around. Sadly they don’t seem to have it right now, but you can see it on Google Image Search.

  • Erin
    January 22, 2013

    I’m in the PNW and *needed* a rain-proof option. A belted trench worked perfectly.

  • M
    January 22, 2013

    I got a cute grey wool coat from Lord & Taylor (ok, I saw it there in loden but eventually bought it light grey in Macys) that was “double-breasted” but only had 2 (4 really cuz it’s double-breasted) buttons. Basically the buttoned part quit at the bottom of the bust. It was and is great. It’s still my go-to coat for most of the winter pregnant or not. I hate not buttoning coats. But then again, I’ll pretty much use any excuse to buy a coat – but note, I still steered clear of buying a maternity one.

  • Sarah AJ
    January 22, 2013

    I totally lucked out and found a black wool maternity peacoat for a *dollar* at a garage sale when I was newly pregnant with child #2.

  • Beka
    January 22, 2013

    OHMYWORD, so in love with that M Coat! Too cute with the baby-wearing option. We recently moved from the Pacific Northwest to the upper Midwest and I have a feeling that the “one size too big” raincoat option I made work with my first pregnancy won’t cut it with the flirting-with-zero temps out here.We’re not ready for baby #2 yet though, so I have time to figure it out.:D
    Really great suggestions, thanks!

  • Jenn
    January 22, 2013

    Don’t forget the mom/baby consignment stores. I got an adorable maternity pea coat last winter for $10. It’s at the dry cleaners right now on its way back to the store to make my money back and keep some other mama warm!

  • Sam Z.
    January 22, 2013

    I can’t tell you how tickled I am to have my Facebook comments make this post (reader “Samantha” of swing coat fame). I adore your blog and soak up all your style advice. You rock!

  • lindsay
    January 23, 2013

    We live in Michigan, and after my daughter was born 2 years ago, my husband bought me this coat (so I would look and feel like a “cool mom”) http://www.spiewak.com/fashion/product/S4248W/
    We bought it in black, and a little big bc they didn’t have my size. So, with this pregnancy, I’m halfway through and still have plenty of room! :) I’m so pleased. :)

  • marjorie
    January 23, 2013

    You looked great in your pregnant wear! (but you always look cute.) But that Hedvig outfits are gorgeous. Geez. Makes me feel like a frump. I didn’t dress nearly as cute while I was pregnant. Who has the energy? I actually regret the dress that I wore to my shower. Do you think it would make sense to have a a 3rd child so I can have a do-over on the shower outfit? I’ve contemplated it. LOL!!

  • Erin
    January 23, 2013

    I bought this coat a few months ago for my second pregnancy http://www.landsend.com/pp/womens-cire-down-coat~244015_59.html. I wanted a belt so I could do the just-tie-above-the-belly thing. I did this with a wool coat my last pregnancy, but this coat is much more full-time mom friendly. It’s nice and warm and will keep me cozy for years to come.

  • J
    January 24, 2013

    I love love love your blog but I am a little disappointed in the timing of this article. I was searching your blog for this topic in October/November right before it got cold (I do live in Canada but very southern part and it isn’t like it’s the arctic but it does get cold in November!) and now winter is practically over and so is my pregnancy! Maternity winter wear is really expensive considering you only wear for a few months but even more so if you don’t buy anything til end of January! I will forgive you because I love your blog and find it very helpful but just wanted to say I was looking for this months ago!

  • Shana
    January 25, 2013

    Iknowiknowiknow.  I wish I had time for even 1/4 of the articles I want to write.  But consider yourself lucky – in some parts of the country, feb & march are by far the worst.  Gah!!  :)
    Sent from my iPhone

  • Shana
    January 26, 2013

    I like it! Nice!

  • Shana
    January 26, 2013

    OMG…this comment made me laugh out loud. Marjorie….I would be lying if I didn’t list “DRESS CUTE WHILE PREGGO” in the pro column of “should we have a third baby?”

  • Shana
    January 26, 2013

    I’ve never heard of that company – love it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Shana
    January 26, 2013

    Thanks, Sam!!

  • Staceyjw
    January 27, 2013

    I have a beautiful black, wool, trench that I rarely get to wear here (bought for a work trip to Germany), but it got me through my one winter pregnancy perfectly. Left the bottom buttons open and tied it above my bump. I rarely wear coats anyway, so I wasn’t buying another.
    What I *need* is some PNW-rain friendly gear for wearing baby on my back, with both hands available for my toddler/etc. It’s trickier than it sounds to keep your head and neck from being too wet, without smothering baby, or being too hot when it’s 40-50deg.

  • erica kendall
    February 10, 2013

    I got my Winter Coats from Burlington Coat Factory. They had great options and, with the sales I found, I didn’t have to worry about the fact that the coat would be too big for me the following winter. With my first pregnancy I bought a maternity winter coat, which I passed on to my sister, and then, with baby number two I ended up just getting a larger sized regular winter coat.

  • Ekaterina Parinova
    March 25, 2013

    Coat for mamas&baby (Y@mmyMammy) http://ymammy.ru/index.php?categoryID=107
    What do you think about?

  • Ben McHugh
    November 1, 2013

    We’ve come up with another option that would allow you to continue using your own jacket:
    http://www.makemybellyfit.com
    It’s a zip-in panel that expands your own jacket. Made of two layers of softshell and has an extra warmth layer for those colder climates.
    It’s not going to please everyone however our customers have been pretty happy so far.
    Thanks!
    Ben

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