When I found out that I was pregnant back in December, one of the first things I began to think about (even before how we would announce the pregnancy!) was, “Where will I shop for maternity clothes!?” Which, I suppose, is fairly fitting since I love to shop, and it is a legitimate concern! There are some really cute generic maternity clothes out there, but the problem is in what I just said: they are generic! I don’t know about you, but I like finding clothes that are more unique, and not necessarily spotted on five other people just walking down the street. So as I got further along in my pregnancy and actually started to need maternity clothes, I was very anxious to find someplace that not only had cute clothes, but was an actual store that I could go to try them on (as opposed to crossing my fingers and ordering online, hoping they fit!). When I stumbled across Carry Maternity in Yorkville, I was extremely intrigued and excited.
So I popped in one day, and actually got the chance to meet the owner of the boutique. I also learned that she is the designer of the Carry line – which is a line exclusive to their store! Talk about unique – you won’t find these pieces anywhere else! In the 30 minutes I spent in the store chatting with Pat about the store and love for maternity fashion, and browsing through the racks of gorgeous clothes, I just knew that I was going to be sporting pieces from her line and the other maternity lines that she procured for her store. I want to share with you just a little bit more about Carry Maternity so that you can catch her vision, and see why I am so excited to be working with them throughout my pregnancy! And stay tuned, because I will be posting another blog soon showing you how Pat helped me build my maternity wardrobe!
Tell me a bit about Carry Maternity and its history.
- The location has been a maternity store since 1971 and has a long history in the Yorkville community.
- Lady Madonna was the original name of the store (it was changed to Rhonda Maternity in 1986). It was my first employer and the first company to buy my original maternity designs – Duet Designs.
- When Rhonda was ready to retire and sell the store, I decided to buy the store for myself.
- Re-branded as Carry Maternity and opened in June 2013, designing and selling my own maternity collection Carry.
- I like doing my own line because the challenge of designing clothes that will look great at 3 months when your waist is at 27”, all the way through 9 months when your waist is 40” intrigues me.
Why are you passionate about maternity fashion? Does your personal style play into this at all?
- First of all, when you dress someone for their pregnancy, it is a very happy time in their life and they actually need the clothes, as opposed to just buying pieces to overstuff their closet. We carefully curate their wardrobe to fit their needs but it’s also very important to us that a pregnant girl feels amazing about how she looks. This mental well-being aspect of choosing clothes is very important to us. When we do this, we are actually creating a well-thought-out and planned wardrobe.
- These clothes are important pieces that will be worn extensively and should last throughout the pregnancy. And of course, hearing our customers talk about how good they feel in our designs motivates me to keep doing what I’m doing.
- My personal style does not necessarily play into the pieces I design, but feeds into my approach to design. I design clothing that is multifunctional so that each piece serves the person well and is applicable to their lifestyle. Interpreting runway fashion into my designs is another way that I bring my own style into the mix.
What would you say are the most important things to remember when shopping for a maternity wardrobe?
The mistake that many women make when shopping for maternity is thinking that a maternity-wardrobe-in-a-box, with the same five pieces for everyone, actually works. This is just not realistic to the many ways that the modern woman lives. I believe your maternity clothing should be designed for your body, your lifestyle and your personal style. I can’t tell you what five pieces every woman would need, but I can tell you that every piece should make you feel comfortable, confident and beautiful. (**sidenote – I love that!!!**)
If you could choose one experience that you feel has defined you as a designer, what would it be?
I used to design and sell to retailers worldwide. I was a good designer and our products sold very well, but I never had the pleasure of seeing people wearing my clothes. When I started working on the retail floor of Rhonda Maternity, I was able to see women in my clothes. It was then that I started to realize, instead of designing solely by trends, I needed to consider body type and lifestyle to make the designs truly functional and stylish. This is how I design the Carry line – to give every woman the custom fit that is needed in maternity fashion.
Is there an overall “vision” that you hold for Carry Maternity and your customers? If so, what is it?
At Carry Maternity, we understand that pregnancy is both a celebration and a challenge, and our mission is to make the transition to a maternity wardrobe as easy as possible. We engage with each client to understand their individual style and needs so that we can educate them on how to choose the best clothes to carry them in style.
Tell us about some opportunities that Carry Maternity has had to work with/dress celebrities, etc.
We are currently dressing CTV news anchor Michelle Dubé during her pregnancy, and I also designed a custom gown for her for a gala event. We have also dressed and done custom designs for Christine Horn, a Canadian film/stage actress, most well-known for Hyena Road. As a designer, I have also dressed and co-designed custom outfits for Vanna White during her first pregnancy to wear on The Wheel of Fortune. As Carry Maternity, we have been featured on Cityline, The Globe and Mail and Blog TO.
What is your favourite spring fashion trend?
The newness you will see in my designs comes from the bold statements made by the grand scale and intense colour saturation of the prints. Classic, florals, polka dots and stripes are also at the height of fashion right now. These are all trends that work really well with the celebratory nature of pregnancy. Because they make a statement, they are styles that make women feel confident and beautiful while wearing them.
I hope that you can catch even half of the passion Pat has for her store and maternity fashion through this interview, because just in talking to her I felt that I became more passionate about it! If you are expecting, or know someone who is, I can’t recommend highly enough checking out Carry Maternity. Though you can shop online, the in-store experience is absolutely wonderful and should be experienced by every mama-to-be out there! I will be sharing my in-store wardrobe-building experience next on the blog, so stay tuned! And follow me on Instagram for some sneak peeks of me #carryinginstyle 🙂