Building a Maternity Wardrobe

Having to spend a large sum on, essentially, an entire new wardrobe is a great cause for panic. Especially when you know new baby costs are just around the corner. As I enter month eight of my pregnancy, I am satisfied to say I own a number of appropriate items without going too maternity clothes crazy.

The best advice I received, though I doubted it at the time, was to buy what you need as you need it. I thought this approach was not nearly proactive enough and I would wake up one day with nothing to wear. I did get a jump start on things around Christmas time as my mom bought a number of winter appropriate tops for me, but outside of that I’ve picked items up as I’ve gone along. So what do you really need to buy? It may be different for you than it is for me. I’ve gained a healthy amount of weight, but I can still fit in a number of my shirts, as they are a stretchier fabric. Though I am measuring fine, I don’t look as far along as I am. So, fitted shirts are far more preferable and comfortable than their loose, overwhelming counterparts. Those disclaimers being said, here is what I recommend.

Building a Maternity Wardrobe

Topstees and tanks layered under your current sweaters and cardigans for colder days, then they transition easily into spring/summer months.
Belly Band – this will help hold your pre-pregnancy pants up when you need to unbutton, and they hold up your maternity jeans when your belly doesn’t quite fill them out yet. The first couple of months fold the band in half to make it tighter, then you can wear it across the belly as shown.
Leggings – any kind you have will likely work for a few months, come second trimester you will want an over the belly pair
Jeans – skinny and boot cut are ideal
Comfortable shoes – the basic Keds tennis shoe will always be my go to, recently I also picked up a pair of these slip ons for when shoe tying gets too hard. A nice bonus? The padding in the slip ons is excellent.
Underwear – if your fanny grows in the slightest, get yourself some new underwear. I am in love with these Calvin Klein super comfortable no show panties. Some reviews say they can run small. I ordered a size up from my usual because, duh, pregnancy.
Compression socks and stockings – if you are like me and pregnancy has given you the gift of cankels and varicose veins, get yourself some compression gear stat. And then find a good vein surgeon post pregnancy to fix those guys, I know I will. The higher the “mmHG” the more compression they provide.
Yoga Pants – I am still wearing the same size and style of yoga pants as before, though I have had to buy additional pairs as I wear them so often. This is one area I don’t plan to have to buy an “over the belly” variety.
Dresses – I can’t speak much to this category. It’s still a little chilly for dresses in the Chicago area, but I will be going to get a baby shower dress this weekend. I am picturing a flowy, effortless maxi dress style.

– You can get these items anywhere, but be aware of the price. Target had the best price on the belly band (called beband) and every day tanks and shirts. Motherhood Maternity had the best full length legging price – they can run nearly $100 a pair elsewhere, and I got my jeans there during a sale.
– If you gain a “normal” amount of weight, you will likely buy everything in your pre-pregnancy size, but don’t be afraid to try on before you buy. For example, most everything I buy is a small. However, the Liz Lange tees from Target fit my chest better in a medium, even though the tank tops fit me better in a small.
– Keep wearing your normal clothes as long as they are comfortable and any additional stretching isn’t causing damage to the fabric.
– Remember, you aren’t pregnant for that long, so unless you work in a very fashionably demanding field or just love maternity wear, don’t feel pressured to overbuy. Buy what makes you feel good – maybe you don’t like fitted clothing –  and enough of it for you to be comfortable – have at least a weeks worth of tops, underwear, and pants you can wear without being required to do laundry. Also, store your maternity clothes properly whenever you are able to wear your everyday clothes again. This ensures they won’t get lost or damaged should you need them, or a pregnant friend want to borrow them, in the future.

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