Forever 21's Maternity Line: Why it's a Fashion DO

BlogHer Original Post

Ah, pregnancy. That joyous time when you're growing a tiny human, blissfully preparing for his or her arrival, and ... potentially taking out a second mortgage to cover the cost of maternity clothes.

I've seen a few posts lately reacting to Forever 21's new maternity line, and alleging that it targets pregnant teens, and I certainly do get that it's upsetting some people to see a brand that targets teens and tweens also marketing maternity wear. But I'm here to present another, perhaps unpopular, view, which is that I am ALL FOR Forever 21 maternity clothes. 

With both of my pregnancies, I had a difficult time finding cute stuff that fit both me (literally) and my wallet (figuratively). Sure, if I'd had limitless funds, I could've been kitted out in head-to-toe Diane von Furstenberg pregnancy gear 24/7, but c'mon. When it comes down to it, you really only need true maternity clothes for about four or five months, and it's hard to rationali--er, amortize the high cost over that brief time period.

Out of desperation, I hit up/waddled over to that bastion of cheap-but-stylish fashion, Forever 21, hoping I could find some cute empire-waist tops that didn't swim on my petite frame. JACKPOT. I scored tons of cute, trendy stuff (and this was BEFORE they carried "official" maternity stuff, like they do now). Here I am at 20 weeks, in what turned out to be one of my pregnancy staples from Forever 21:

I ended up going back again and again, always scooping up belly-friendly tops and skirts at a fraction of the cost of "real" maternity clothes. Some of them were worn out by the end of my pregnancy, but considering that they cost, on average, $15, I didn't really care all that much.

But what about the objection that Forever 21 is courting the teen shopper, even with this new maternity line? I (obviously) shopped at Forever 21 while I was pregnant, but I shopped there before, and I shopped there afterward, and I have never been the oldest person in the store; not by a long shot. Whatever its initial intention for its brand, Forever 21 clearly knows its demographic has dramatically expanded over recent years, and this line -- along with its plus-size line, its men's line, and its children's line -- appears to reflect and embrace that. 

As for the claims that Forever 21 is attempting to glamorize teen pregnancy with this new endeavor, I'm not entirely sure that's true. I've heard a LOT of excuses for pregnancy over the years, but never one directly attributing such condition to a particular store's maternity line. It seems to me that Forever 21's reputation is built upon staying at the vanguard of knock-off runway fashion (sometimes even doing a little too good of a job). It makes sense, therefore -- what with maternity wear becoming as much of a fashion trend these days as anything else --  that they'd attempt to capitalize on this. I have no immediate plans to get pregnant again, but if and when I do, you can bet that my first maternity clothing stop will be Forever 21, where I know I'll always be able to find budget AND trend-friendly styles. And I say that as a married, almost-30-year-old.

What do you think? Do you think Forever 21 is glamorizing teen pregnancy with its maternity line? Or are they offering a stylish and affordable alternative for pregnant women? Do you shop there? Will you shop there now -- particularly for maternity clothes?

Metalia also blogs here.

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