When my other half was pregnant last year, she relied on Zofran and pants with stretchy waistlines to survive. Her policy on maternity clothes was: “To buy things that I would still be able to wear after, and to buy secondhand.” Why invest in an expensive niche wardrobe for a body that won’t even be around next season?

At Racked, Stephie Grob Plante writes the ultimate cultural history of maternity clothes, what she calls the “temporary wardrobe” that cause endless stress, self-loathing and irritation for pregnant women. Seamlessly weaving the personal with the reportorial, Plante wrote this piece while eight months pregnant between doctor’s visits, staring into various mirrors, examining her concerns. She isn’t what she calls “the glamorous pregnant person you’ve seen on Instagram,” though she speaks with the people behind new fashionable maternity brands to understand how this $2 billion industry is and is not evolving…

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