Oops, this turned into a rant! Hang in there for the exciting bit at the end!
Remember how I was complaining about the awfulness of your standard maternity bras? The ones I picked up are (a) not pretty and (b) not comfortable, leading me to wish I hadn't wasted my money and fighting the urge to toss these in the nearest trash can. I usually end up unhooking them by mid-afternoon just to get some relief (thank goodness I work at home!).
Perhaps my big mistake was letting the store employees help with sizing (their firm belief was that every woman's pregnancy and nursing size is one band and one cup size up from their pre-pregnancy size. Um. Fail.). Or going for the underwire "pregnancy" option (of the three available bra designs at the store - sleep bras, pregnancy bras and nursing bras), since I've worn underwires all my life and find them comfortable (usually).
More likely, my big mistake was not looking online! Bras can be hard to fit for me, so I usually end up trying on a dozen or so in a store before settling on something. With online shopping it's not so easy (even though most sites have instructions for fitting yourself), so that was a bit of a deterrent. I have a couple bras from online retailers that, despite my best efforts, don't fit that well. I know, most of them will do returns, but then the cost starts to add up, shipping back and forth... The really pretty bras I have seen online for maternity and nursing were all rather pricey for my budget.
When I first started looking at maternity and nursing bras, I was astounded by the lack of selection in the stores. The choices in a regular store (I'm not talking high-end boutiques here) tend to be around $40 for a black, beige or white bra (mad colour selection! wow!), maybe with a bit of lace, and definitely not designed to make a woman in her glorious fertile prime look and feel sexy or attractive. Yes, you can get the boxed bras for $24 at Walmart, but IMO they are even less attractive. Are we supposed to stop feeling good about our bodies during pregnancy? Personally, although it is weird to see my body changing so dramatically, I feel great about it - this is an awesome time for my body, so why should I be resigned to clad myself in the drabbest and least flattering undergarments known to woman?
Pre-pregnancy, I typically would spend about $30 (less on sale or at Winners) on a bra and feel like I'd really treated myself to something nice. You can get a really pretty and comfortable bra for $30. A flattering one that gives you a nice shape! In colour! With lace, or with (gasp) a print! If you're not pregnant, that is. The nice-looking bras for pregnant or nursing women I saw online (there's NOTHING in that category in my local stores) were up in the $60+ range. What?! Is it not just a slightly wider strap and a clip for the drop-down cup?
You can just imagine these companies rubbing their hands together with glee, knowing that women need to buy new bras when they are pregnant and nursing because of the size changes, and where there's a need, there's a great opportunity to rake in the dollars from desperate women.
Anyway, I was so thrilled to come across a brand new line of nursing and maternity lingerie called You! Lingerie. This is the first time I've seen really pretty and sexy bras for nursing and maternity that are not at luxury prices - they're actually affordable. This line launched with seven signature designs in bras and matching panties a few weeks ago (at the big ABC show in Vegas that you may have seen trending on Twitter) and already has retailers lining up to stock their products, and mamas & mamas-to-be drooling over the gorgeousness. These images are a couple of the new designs - love!
I think You! Lingerie is really going to fill the gap between the uglies that are standard fare and the luxury brands that are super expensive with (!shocking new concept!) quality lingerie at affordable prices. Take a quick peek at some of their products, and then check the prices. Warning: you may do a double take.
It looks like I may have the chance to test out one of the new You! Lingerie bras and I am really looking forward to seeing how it stacks up against the bras I have. I mean, the ones I regrettably picked up at Thyme, obviously are on my hate list, but I also have maternity/nursing bras by Cake Lingerie, Bravado and Bella Materna (I'm naming names!). The only one of those that I think is actually pretty is the Cake one, which to me falls into the "expensive" category at $65, so I'm very curious to compare You! Lingerie in terms of comfort, style and quality (unfortunately for me, my size changed since I got it, so I'm not wearing that one daily!).
I'll tell you all about it, and *hint* there may even be a sweet little something for you, too!