Maternity clothes shopping can actually be a lot of fun. There’s no need to try to cinch or hide anything anymore – it is socially acceptable to let it all hang out. (You can’t really dress up a muffin top with an empire-waist bow.) Retailers have gotten hip to the fact that expectant moms prefer not to wear circus tents, and there are a lot of chain stores for maternity clothes (Gap, Old Navy, Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod among them.)
But here are some local, non-chain options with excellent maternity selections.
Be By Baby (1654 W. Roscoe St., Chicago, 773-404-2229) – Since 2005, this Roscoe Village outpost has shepherded mothers from pregnancy through the baby’s toddler years. The shop is dedicated to advocating breastfeeding, attachment parenting and supporting parents who are navigating both. Maternity clothing is stylish, with a good selection of denim, and the nursing apparel often works during as well as after pregnancy.
Belle Up (3440 W. 111th St., Chicago, 773-233-2442) – Owner Jamenda McCoy curates a mix of casual and dressy options, with a particularly great selection of work-appropriate and dressy maternity options. Casual options come from well-known brands Japanese Weekend, Olian and Ripe, in sizes from petite to plus, as well as hard-to-find maternity Spanx.
Belly Dance Maternity (1647 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, 773-862-1133) – This homegrown maternity boutique is a must-shop among celebrities and other fashionistas who don’t want to sacrifice their pre-pregnancy style. Chic maternity wear runs the gamut from everyday staples like comfy Michael Stars tops to special occasion dresses from Olian. In addition to its own NoM line, Belly Dance carries brands Jules & Jim, Maternal America, Ripe Maternity and designer jeans from JBrand and Citizens of Humanity. The can’t-miss online outlet offers up to 80 percent off designer brands.
Kickin’ (2118 W. Roscoe St., Chicago, 773-281-6577) – This local maternity shop hosts frequent events and carries stylish maternity clothes from Isabella Oliver and Ripe, with designer maternity jeans from 7 for All Mankind and Joe’s Jeans, as well as a large selection of workout gear for active pregnant women.
Luxaby Baby & Child (59 E. Oak St., Chicago, 312-280-7905) – Though the real hallmark of this Oak Street outpost is the timeless, heirloom-quality baby and children’s clothing, about a quarter of the store is devoted to designer maternity clothing, including some black-tie worthy dresses.
Majamas (909 S. Lombard Ave., Oak Park, 708-524-9668) – Owner and designer Germaine Caprio has created a line of maternity wear that is so comfortable that moms keep coming back long after the baby is born. Nursing tanks and yoga pants are beloved for their softness, and pants, hoodies, tops, and dresses are cozy and easy to wear. Everything is made in the USA to boot.
Preggers (900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-943-6262) – This family-owned boutique in the 900 Shops outfits both mom and baby. Maternity clothes skew trendy and high-end, from Olian, Prego, Michael Stars, Japanese Weekend, and Citizens of Humanity. A shower-gift worthy selection of baby gifts, diaper bags and jewelry rounds out the mix.