I’ll preface this by saying that this is a public blog – as such, I choose to keep my personal life out of my blog, and in a more secure space. That being said, I’ll let it slip here that I’m presently pregnant, and have a product review to share with a larger audience (ie. TEH INTARWEBS).
One of the fascinating and helpful inventions to come to maternity clothing was the tube-like sleeve, knit, with a bit of spandex, with the intention of allowing a pregnant woman, in her many growing-belly stages, the ability to wear her pre-pregnancy pants a little longer (unbuttoned/unzipped), and hold up the not-quite-fitting-yet maternity pants. Think of it as an elaborate belt or cummerbund.
The first product I heard about was Ingrid and Isabel’s BellaBand. You can pick one up at a variety of maternity stores (specifically local boutiques), or order one conveniently through Amazon. The cost will run you about $26 for one, though Amazon does offer a 3 pack deal. The BellaBand, at first, seems pricey for an accessory that can cost as much as a pair of inexpensive maternity pants, but the upside is that it can work with any pair of pants, and they say will last you through post-pregnancy.
While in Baltimore a few weeks ago, I decided to go on a quest for the BellaBand, and called up MiMi Maternity and Motherhood (part of the same company) to see if they carried it. No, they replied, but excitedly told me about their Tummy Tube, a much less desirably named object, that at $16, they claimed would be the same thing. I purchased two, one black and one white – and found the first difference from the BellaBand to be that they are all One Size Fits Most. Given that I’m a woman who has changed sizes dramatically over the past two years (something like 6 sizes down), I find that laughable. Nevertheless, the Tummy Tube, though a bit binding at times, did the trick of holding my Lucky Jeans button-fly up with a few buttons undone, all without being noticable to anyone else.
After a couple weeks of the Tummy Tubes, I remained unimpressed, and found that they really didn’t add up to everything I hoped the BellaBand (or something like it) would be. I went on a quest, to a local Seattle maternity boutique, for the BellaBand. Happily, they had all the sizes to try on, which was a relief, since my pre-pregnancy size seemed to straddle the line. I found that the larger size was less snug and more comfortable in some ways, and was counseled by the sales assistant that I would appreciate the extra room as my tummy grows. SOLD. At around $24 per BellaBand, it was more expensive than the Tummy Tube, but what I found was a thicker, softer, seemingly more resilient fabric, better sewn seems, an overall wider span from top to bottom (allowing for a larger tummy later). It felt less like a tube of spandex and more like the bottom part to a spandex-fitted knit shirt I might wear.
The bottom line is, the extra cost is worth it. I know that Target sells a lower-cost BellaBand product, which runs around the same price as the Tummy Tube, however, I’d be concerned that it would fail to do the same things that the BellaBand does. I don’t know, though, and have no experience with it.
Hopefully, this will be helpful to other women out there wondering, as I did, what’s the difference? The difference is – you pay for the quality. To me, $8 more for a product I like twice as much is worth the extra change. It’s also worth it to not spend money on maternity pants unless I absolutely have to.
Oh, and I didn’t mention that the BellaBand also comes in different styles and colors, including lace trim. Very awesome.