Pregnancy Style

Do I Need a Maternity Coat?

I’m rapidly outgrowing my clothes and I’m going to need a new winter coat.

The only coat that fits me now

Should I buy a maternity coat, or can I get by with a roomy swingy coat in a larger size? I’m due in April, which means I may be wearing it right up to the end. Chicago winters tend to stick around well into spring.

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  • Tory
    October 20, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    I know what those midwest winters are like! Go for it! You’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

  • Melissa
    October 20, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I would say buy it, because like you said, you will be wearing it nearly till the end. And I live in Illinois too, the winter always sticks around past March. Last year was a killer. Plus, that coat is super cute!

  • meredith
    October 20, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    i grew up in chicago and winters are long & cold there! i would get the maternity coat – its not too expensive as coats go and you will get your money’s worth.

    on a side note, one of the sweetest things i ever saw was a classmate of mine and his very pregnant wife leaving our studio… she couldn’t see her zipper under her belly so he had to zipper up her coat for her. something to look forward to ;)

  • Jules
    October 20, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Okay, that’s the one I bought 2 years ago from the Gap, except with a traditional collar. I don’t think mine is wool, but I could be wrong. Very comfy (all two times I wore it)!

  • lili
    October 20, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    get it! It’s too cold for you and the little one without a warm coat!

    I also have a coupon for 20% off $100 or 15% off $75 if you need.

  • marzi
    October 20, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    if you only needed it a couple months i’d say skip it, but since winters last for 9 months of the year here, i say it’s worth your money. maybe you can find one that’s not too-maternity so you can try and get away with wearing it later?

  • Lindsay
    October 20, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    i’ve been following your blog and i’m over the moon excited for you and your sweet family. not to mention how much i cannot wait to see this wee babes nursery!
    buy the coat. if for anything else other than just to spoil your mama self. comfort and warmth will be nessecity for your growing belly this winter. plus – a good maternity coat can also be used for later pregnancies. totally worth it.
    congrats and good luck!
    love, lindsay

  • Making it Lovely
    October 20, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Oh, I have a 20% off coupon too! I forgot about it. I think I’ll go ahead with the coat (and a couple of dresses too). :)

  • AshleyM
    October 20, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Buy it! It’s not every day a you get to wear a cute maternity coat! Congrats!

  • daisy mae
    October 20, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    I say buy the one you like the best. You are going to feel very waddly and unattractive so pamper yourself and get something that makes you feel good every time you put it on.

  • nkc
    October 20, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for a while too and am so happy for you! I say definitely get the coat — as you start to get bigger, you’ll appreciate something that frames your body and fits the way it should. It’ll help prevent any feeling of frumpiness.

    I also just found out recently that we’re expecting our first — in May! Can’t wait to see the nursery you put together.

  • Kathleen
    October 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Um yeah, get the coat!!

  • Jana
    October 20, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Congrats on the baby!

    I’m due April 15th. I love reading your blog, so when I found out that you were also due in April, I was overjoyed. Finally, someone to lead me toward cute things! I’m looking for a nice coat because I have to attend a wedding in December, but I don’t want to spend what I would on a regular coat. Keep us posted on your quest for the perfect coat.

  • Michelle
    October 20, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    I was due in April too and very much needed a maternity coat. Especially for January & February when it was freezing. I got a relativly cheap-ish maternity pea coat from Old Navy. You will thank yourself later!

  • Nancy Kay
    October 20, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    First of, congratulations on your pregnancy. Definitely get the coat, it’s cute, especially if you have a coupon.

  • kyla
    October 20, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    where did you get that cute swing coat? I love it!

  • All Thimgs Lovely
    October 20, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Definitely!! Coming from someone who would die to wear coats lots and lots because they are so gorgeous, get it! Even in winter, I’d be struggling to justify buying a coat, so I will live my coat loving vicariously through you.

  • Tara
    October 20, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    I’m due a few weeks before you, and have been struggling with the same issue. Maternity coats seem so expensive for something you can only wear a few months! I’ve been keeping an eye on Ebay listings, but even used Ebay coats go for surprisingly much. I looked at vintage swing coats for a while, thinking it would be something stylish I could continue to wear post-baby, but the lack of closures just seemed too cold.

    In my own case, I think I’ve decided to tough it out with a long coat I already have, just button the top, and tie the waist tie a little high. BUT, we live in DC, where winters really don’t get too rough. I grew up in Wisconsin and know a bit about Chicago winters — don’t see how you could survive without something warm!!! If you need a justification/rationalization, you can always take advantage of that high Ebay resale value after the baby comes….

  • Jenny
    October 20, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    That coat you linked to is fabulous! I’d wear it myself! You’d be surprised at how well some of that maternity stuff will still fit nicely, even well after your baby is born. I had my 3rd babe 2 1/2 years ago, and I still browse certain maternity pieces, because the cut can be really comfortable (empire waists, anyone?). Good luck!

  • Amber
    October 21, 2008 at 12:50 am

    Congrats on the pregnancy!

    I would definitely say buy the maternity jacket. Now, if you lived in Cali, like me…….no. But since you live in Chicago, I’d say buy it! You’ll get your money’s worth and it’ll probably feel more comfortable.


  • Nicole
    October 21, 2008 at 2:16 am

    I am due in February and am currently ransacking the shops looking for a “regular” coat that I can wear while pregnant this winter and then re-use after. I didn’t buy a coat for my first pregnancy (also with a Feb due date) and by the time January rolled around, I was desperate for a maternity coat but figured it was too much of a waste for just one month. So I froze! Its a false economy putting off the purchase of stuff like that since your shape in the last month is too bizarre for any pre-preg clothes and you have to choose between naked and a quick shop in the maternity section. My attitude this time around, for all my maternity clothes, is to buy the stuff early to get maximum wear out of my investment. This means that at 3 months, I had already stocked up on t-shirts and jeans because now I know that i will be needing them til about 3/4 months after the birth.

  • Caroline
    October 21, 2008 at 3:31 am

    Around 18 months ago I was in the same position as you. My advice? Buy the maternity coat.

  • alivicwil
    October 21, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Buy the coat.

    It’s gorgeous.

    You’re a first-time mum-to-be and deserve to be pampered!

    You’ll likely wear it again, no? (or will have a close friend who may.)

    $99 isn’t too bad for a good winter coat. (Think how much your egg chair cost! [not that you bought it]) AN you can always sell it on ebay if you don’t need it again.

  • Lindsay D
    October 21, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I’m in my eighth week with our first too, facing this very same question. We live in VT, so a warm jacket is a must! I don’t know if I’ll be too big for my usual parka till February or March though.

    I say go for it, it’s a very classically styled coat and looks like it would get a good deal of wear. You can always loan it out to friends or after you’re done having children donate it to a local cause! Warm coats are always appreciated, especially where you live.

  • Erica
    October 21, 2008 at 8:12 am

    You ARE in Chicago so I would say buy the maternity coat! You will be able to wear it for many months. It may even be the one thing you wear the most in terms of maternity items. I’d say don’t break the bank, but DO get a maternity coat.

  • angie
    October 21, 2008 at 9:17 am

    I am due in early March and have been hunting away this morning for a coat too. This is my third kiddo and I would say order the coat!! Not only will you wear it the whole way through, but even for a few weeks after. I still look and feel a little preggers for awhile afterwards unfortunately and a warm coat that still fits is comforting and hiding!

  • Sarah S
    October 21, 2008 at 9:17 am

    It sounds like you’ve already decided, but I vote for the coat as well. Perhaps get it a size bigger than you would now, since towards the end you might be a bit larger around the chest, which looks like the snuggest part of this coat.

    Speaking of which – it will be a while off yet, but when you’re thinking about maternity bras, I loved this brand:
    – supportive while still being attractive.

  • your mother
    October 21, 2008 at 9:57 am

    okay, so your readers swayed me. I was thinking initially that you should buy a bigger size regular coat in a mom- thinking, frugal sort of way. In reading all of the opinions posted here – I have changed my mind and opinion.
    I didn’t take into effect how stylish you are and how a stylish maternity anything does wonders for you, especially as your belly grows! The Old Navy coat is not too expensive, it’s cute and can be used for future pregnancies :). Go for the coat.

  • Krysta
    October 21, 2008 at 11:19 am

    I say buy it! Your first pregnancy (congrats by the way) is so fun and special you should have that great coat. Also, I’m not sure if they have Zara in Chicago, but they make a beautiful maternity swing coat. I almost bought one myself and I’m not pregnant!

  • Birdie
    October 21, 2008 at 11:39 am

    I live in Chicago. You’re going to need the coat. Buy it!!

  • Amy
    October 21, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    It sounds like you’ve decided to get it, but just in case – you should get it! Our baby was born in April, and my mom bought me a cute maternity coat for Christmas that I wore a ton in January and February – and I live in Texas! I was all belly, so I would have had to buy a gargatuan coat in a regular size that I wouldn’t have been able to wear afterwards anyway, and it was nice to still feel stylish while pregnant.

  • Andrea
    October 21, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    I’ve had two babies and my advice on the maternity coat is: get one, but beware that you’re likely to feel warmer than usual due to elevated body temperature while you’re pregnant so you might not need as one as heavy as you think. Also, I don’t know what your family plans are, but there’s always a possibility you will want it for a subsequent pregnancy too.

  • Katie C
    October 21, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Not that you need another commenter telling you to do it…but I’ll say it anyway! I got a warm maternity winter coat from Old Navy a few years ago and I’ve been able to use it for two pregnancies. It wasn’t exactly what I would have picked if I could have chosen any coat I wanted, but it was warm and it worked just fine. Good luck picking one out! Make sure you post pictures.

  • Me? A Mom?
    October 21, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    If you want one, buy one, but consider this:

    1. You get so hot when you are pregnant. Even in the coldest weather, I was just in sweaters most of the time, or a regular winter coat unbuttoned.

    2. Maternity coats wrap around your belly. Duh, but my point is that they tend to make you feel HUGE. If you’re prone to body issues, like I was, a maternity coat will not help matters. :)

    3. If you buy one, Murphy’s law will be that your next pregnancy (if you decide to have more kids) will be in the summer.

  • Leigh
    October 21, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I will agree that you should buy the maternity coat and here’s why:

    your original question…”maternity coat or swingy coat in a larger size”…

    You are pregnant, not a larger size. A maternity coat is cut to fit your size accommodating a pregnancy. You don’t need larger sleeves, a bigger neck, wider shoulders…Buy the size you wear.

  • JBS
    October 21, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    I had the exact same one in my cart at ON, and then saw this one at the Destination Maternity store near me this weekend. $60!!! Can’t beat that…

    And yes, you should get one! I’m due at the end of January in NYC, but know I’ll get lots of use out of this.

  • Christina
    October 21, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    I shall say what I did:

    Wore an awesome retro leather jacket I couldn’t do up and DIDn’t even try to do up, with sweaters underneath and scarves. I saved money and looked cool. I felt ‘cool’, but I was never outside that much. At least if you layer, you can take them off again if you get the preggers sweats.

    Hope this helps. :O)

  • Jasi
    October 21, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Old Navy has some inexpensive swingy coats you can get by on for a few months.

  • K T G
    October 21, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    I think you should get a maternity coat. I don’t have personal experience, but you may need it again as well. You can always put it in a consignment shop for the next pregnant lady. I don’t know what is frugal or practical about buying a larger coat unless you plan to gain a lot of weight and keep it on. 6 of one, half a dozen, etc. etc. I think a big coat will just look baggier on you.

  • jaime
    October 21, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    I’m 18 weeks pregnant and live in Northern Vermont… and a teacher, so I have 1/2 hour recess duty twice a week and it’s only inside recess when the windchill dips below zero. Right now my light weight winter coat is unzippable (all within a day or two) and I’m afraid my awesome warm northface will be as well… but I’m going to wait it out with the hopes that the old navy coats will go on sale in a month or so. In the meantime, if it gets reallly cold, I’m just going to borrow my husband’s sweatshirt and wear that under one of my coats.
    BUT, function aside, it’d be nice to have a fashionable coat that fits instead of looking like your in a bunch of coats that just don’t fit properly.

  • Erin
    October 21, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Maternity clothes aren’t something that you usually throw out after you are done, they go to another family member or friend who is expecting or trying or they get reused. I would invest in it, especially in Chicago. I grew up in Michigan and it gets COLD.

  • Gina
    October 21, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    I would recommend this (or a similar coat):

    You can wear the panel while you’re pg and then again after baby, but you can zip the front down to cover both you and babe in a front-carrier or sling. Then, when you’re not pg or carrying a baby around, you can take the panel out and it’s still useful. I bought this w/#2 and used it for 2 kiddos. There are similar styles that are mama-made as well…


  • Susan
    October 21, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    I visited Chicago once in February and while there was no snow on the ground, it was pretty chilly! I can’t imagine going through all of winter with an ill-fitting coat. You should definitely spring for a maternity coat!

  • caroline
    October 22, 2008 at 1:44 am

    aw, i have that coat and it’s my favorite. but it’s been way too warm to wear it.

    yes, definitely get a maternity coat. how cute!

  • Vanessa
    October 22, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Buy it! In fact, if you can, buy a regular swingy coat too. I delivered last March and bought an adorable maternity coat from the Gap and a swingy coat in a larger regular people size. It helped me feel better not to wear the same coat every single day, and I was able to wear both after I delivered. In fact, I still wear the swingy coat because I’m still breastfeeding and my chest is enormous — too big for all of my old coats!

  • Jen
    October 22, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Girl…I say go for the maternity coat! I think you will definitely get your money’s worth here in Chicago if you’re not due until April! I also like Vanessa’s suggestion about getting both…one can never have enough coats (in my opinion!).

  • Shashi
    October 22, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Ooo…get what’s the most comfortable and stylish for you. And to Jen and Vanessa’s point – two wouldn’t hurt – it gets so boring wearing the same thing all the time.

  • James Curry
    October 22, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Nicole, my wife was pregnant last winter with our little one, and actually found a like-able coat AND you can have it if you like. It’s black and pretty stylish in cut. Asian satin flower pattern inside. Email me and I will give you her email account privately so you can see it (if you are interested). One of the best features is how it goes beyond the waste line and covers up the prego-bum while maintaining a little bit of an empire waste look. People always talk about how to handle the baby bump and forget about the rest – and go for short coats. This one addresses all the baby bumps, not just the one in front – and it’s free.

  • Whitney
    October 22, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    I was pregnant last year and went looking for a maternity coat and found a VERY cute (red pea coat) Gap one on ebay for about 20 bucks. Then I got it and I realized IT WAS HUGE. It was built for a woman who was 9 months pregnant and I wasn’t quite there yet (though I wasn’t fitting into most of my other things). It seriously was like I had put a skirt over my head. I ended up reselling it and buying a regular coat that was a bit roomier than what I would have bought normally (like a S instead of a XS). But it all depends on when you’re due and how big you’ll be when. Oh, and where you live of course. If I was due in the winter, I’d ask friends if I could borrow one for a couple of months. If they didn’t have one, I’d buy one and then be the lending friend. :-)

  • Amanda
    October 23, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Hey, I OWN that coat! The one that still fits you despite being pregnant. It’s so cute and fun but you’re right, it’s not “everyday wear.” I say get a coat to cover your belly through the winter. There’s a baby in there.

  • Making it Lovely
    October 23, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Brandon bought the coat for me. :) It should be here in a few days!

  • maile
    October 23, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    first of all, congratulations!!!
    i would say get the coat, but remember the last month or so you’re going to get BIGGER!! sometimes almost a whole size… keep that in mind if you’re expecting this coat to last the whole time. (you may need it even after you give birth– if it’s still cold. most people don’t automatically shrink back to their normal size the next day after the baby is delivered– something i didn’t realize with my first child.)

  • Fiona
    October 23, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    You are in Chicago, so feel no guilt about the coat. That said, I found a cute light one in a thrift shop, when I was just thinking about getting pregnant. I bought it, hoping I wasn’t jinxing myself.

    I know everyone says you will get so hot, and I think I am a freak of nature because I had the easiest pregnancy ever, but I never felt hotter than I did as a non-pregnant woman.

  • patricia
    October 24, 2008 at 5:31 am

    Perhaps a tent would be a better investment as the coat you may want to set fire too. I wanted to light a match to all those horrid maternity things.
    I do love a good warm cape that can be worn later…. or a lovely shawl…
    Cape patterns are easy to find and you could make a solid or a plaid with detachable collars…I think it would fit your style nicely, then accessorize with gloves, a hat and boot and you will look like a real smart Moma to be!

  • JAnders
    October 24, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Congrats on your pregnancy. I’m a fellow Oak Parker, and also knocked up. One of my greatest finds is a store downtown called The Second Child. It’s They have tons of consignment maternity – and nice stuff. I got a fall coat for $25 that’s great.

    I’m due Dec. 2. I’ll look for you at the parks!

  • robin
    October 29, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    where’ve i been??? you’re pregnant? oh congratulations… i am so excited for you. see? i must stop by the blog more often. i love it!

  • Kris
    October 30, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Yes, definitely, get one. I had my little girl last March and for an Upstate NY winter, it was needed! I got a brand new Old Navy maternity puffer jacket on eBay and now I plan to sell it on eBay! But I wouldn’t spend a ton of money on it unless you have to dress professionally all the time. Something in between is your best bet! Good luck!

  • PregnantToo
    October 31, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    I’m pregnant too – coats at H&M Maternity and Zara Maternity are great.

  • trish
    November 1, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    i’m due in february, and i haven’t really found any maternity coats that i love, but i have bought two regular coats that are fitted up top and loose at the bottom. but i’m not sure if my coats will last me through the winter – my belly is enormous (esp. compared to the rest of me). a woman last night told me that i looked like i was about to pop any minute…and i told her i still had 4 months left. =)

  • Suzanne
    November 1, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I used a simple wool Gap maternity pea coat in black for my three pregnancies. Not super cute or trendy, definitely classic and timeless, though, and it looked equally good for the trek to the office as well as with jeans and other casual clothes.

  • Kat
    November 2, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Congrats to you and Brandon on the baby! I’m pregnant with my first as well in late Feb. early March. I’m at the beginning of 6 months and can still wear my winter coat (I buy winter coats a size bigger cause I wear so many layers). Hope you got a swingy coat or a high waisted one to accommodate your growing belly. Also some other useful tips I picked up:

    1.) Skip temptation to get lots at once. Buy as you go.

    2.) Get a Bella Band. It let me keep using my old jeans when I can’t button them.

    3.) Target has some great maternity tops. Got lots on sale! Also scored on H&M with their dresses. Or just borrow your husband’s shirts and sweaters for casual wear.

  • j. vorwaller
    October 14, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Okay, I didn’t read through all the comments – so maybe someone already suggested this – just saw your dilemma and thought I’d quickly chime in! This might sound a little silly… but you can actually score amazing deals in the plus size section of any store – TJMaxx, Marshalls have the best I’ve found sometimes, for the preggo wardrobe – and you can get really creative, beautiful clothes!

    I found the best coat ever steal at Anthro that carried me through my last pregnancy, it was so clearanced down because of it’s super big size… guess everyone was afraid to try it on? But when I tried it on – it fit like a dream and because of it’s style (cape!) it STILL fits awesome, and I’m more than half the size of that thing now. You just have to go try things on and not judge items by how they hang on the rack and and make sure the sleeves aren’t too wide and things like that… but that’s my advice to save money – plus, you won’t be wearing what everyone else is! Have fun! :)

  • Caitlin
    October 14, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Just buy one. You’ll be happier that you’re warm and comfy.

    We regret things we don’t do…not things we do…

  • Laurie
    October 14, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    You are growing a human–treat yourself to a new coat!!!