Maternity wear can be expensive. Recently, I saw a question on a listserve that I definetly related to; as a pregnant lawyer on a budget, how do you dress for court? If you show up in court or otherwise are one of those lawyers who wear a suit, you probably have little tolerance for moo-moos and demin jumpers . . . okay, most of us have little tolerance for moo-moos and demin jumpers. With student loan payments and saving up for diapers and daycare, you may not have the disposible income to buy a set of maternity suits that you’ll wear for all of a few months.
As a newly minted lawyer-mom, here’s what I did to look professional in court and not blow the diaper money.
1. Don’t buy maternity wear
Maternity clothes are expensive and don’t have a long shelf life. However, there are ways to make your current work wardrobe bowling-ball-stomach friendly. One of the best ways is to invest in a couple of belly bands. These are elastic bands that go over your pants, basically turning regular suit pants into maternity pants… and they are a god send! I was able to wear my suit pants throughout my pregnancy and leave my suit jacket open. That meant I could save money I would have spent on maternity suits and use it for something more useful… like diapers.
Also, don’t necessarily buy a week’s worth of maternity dress shirts. Some regular dress shirts are bowling-ball-stomach friendly and you can still use them once your munchkin arrives. Invest in a couple of maternity button-down shirts and you are ready to go.
2. Wear (semi)sensible shoes
That bowling-ball-stomach does not do wonders for your sense of balance, especially as you’re navigating courthouse steps and schlepping your briefcase full of files and rule books. If you’re a high heel gal (and I, admittedly, am not one), consider switching to ballet flats for the time being, one in black and one in a color that will work with your non-black suits.
3. Don’t stress yourself out
Finally, don’t stress yourself out if you can’t squeeze into your black suit for that court date in your third trimester. Try to meet the minimum dress code for court. In my neck of the woods, that usually means a suit jacket. If you have to, find an inexpensive suit jacket in a larger size and wear coordinating pants that still fit. And remember, it’s fairly unlikely that your judge will call out a pregnant lawyer for her maternity wear.
Read the next post in this series: "Men: Express Yourself with Cufflinks."