Let’s be honest, pregnancy is weird. Your body starts doing things you didn’t know it could, it starts changing in ways you had no idea it would, and some (most) days you don’t even feel like yourself. I always dreamed of wearing cute maternity clothes and showing off my baby belly, so when I found out I was pregnant I immediately starting searching Pinterest for bump friendly outfit options. Surprisingly, I found getting dressed to be one of the hardest dilemmas since getting pregnant. Many of the clothes I had hanging in my closet that I deemed baggy now fit me, some of them even tight and in all the wrong places. And all the while everyone has comments on your changing body and how you're "filling out". You expect your belly to grow but not every other part of you.
As my body started growing I found myself down the rabbit hole of cheap online maternity stores. I wanted new options to make me feel like myself in this new body and so I justified spending the money on clothes that I didn't need or even really like all that much. All for a little retail therapy to try to make myself feel more like myself again.
Twenty-four weeks has now passed, my uterus is now the size of a soccer ball, and my body is constantly doused in body oil. But I am finally starting to tackle the conundrum of getting dressed while pregnant. While I am trying to wear my regular clothes as long as possible, I’ve found that with the changing seasons my tops are getting shorter and my pants are having to sit lower, so I have incorporated a few key maternity pieces into my wardrobe.
Here’s what’s working for me:
Maternity Dresses | Maternity dresses (and skirts) have been my ride or die since the beginning. They’re more comfortable than pants and more forgiving since you’re not just trying to squeeze your belly into things nowadays but also your growing bum and thighs. Not the most ethical of purchases, but this maternity pencil skirt from ASOS has become a staple in my current rotation. The very best thing about it is it extends all the way over your belly meaning you can wear all of your now too short tops easily tucked in. I wore it throughout the colder months with cashmere crewnecks and booties and now into the spring with flats and t-shirts. It even looks cute with a pair of sneakers and a basic sweatshirt for the weekend.
more options: STORQ pencil skirt, VETTA button up midi dress, LACAUSA shirt dress
Maternity Overalls | Overalls were one of the first maternity purchases I made and it was a good one. Although they’re not really office friendly, they’re my go-to for the weekend. They may not be everyones favorite look but you can’t deny the comfort factor. I’ve been living in these Tencel overalls and recently purchased this denim short option that I can’t wait to wear as the weather warms up. Like my ASOS purchase, these aren’t the most ethical option, but they’re staples that are going to carry me through until August. You don’t need to purchase specific maternity options though, most overalls or jumpsuits will work through most of your pregnancy and there are plenty of non-maternity options that will last you for years.
more options: LACAUSA overalls, HATCH Georgie jumper
Maternity Leggings & Jeans | My number one item I miss in my wardrobe are my high waisted jeans. Let’s be real, jeans, especially skinny high waisted pairs, become uncomfortable by 11-12 weeks. You’re bloated, you’re tired, you’re nausea, and you just want to start embracing the stretch pants already. I tried a few different maternity jean options and nothing worked for me. From the typical maternity store chains to Madewell maternity options, I couldn’t find anything that felt like me. And let’s not even discuss the awful skin-toned belly band. I’ve heard that Citizens for Humanity do a great maternity jean but they're a pretty penny. If you’re embracing pregnancy in the colder months I would definitely suggest investing in a quality pair of maternity friendly jeans but I decided that since a majority of my pregnancy is going to extend through spring and summer I would forgo the jean dilemma. I have embraced the maternity legging though. Purchased in the early weeks of my pregnancy for $5 during a major sale, I figured they would come in handy and they have. I’m not one to wear leggings outside of the house, but these have easily become my nightly go-to.
more options: STORQ maternity legging, Madewell tencel maternity jean, Citizens of Humanity maternity jean
Maternity Basic Tops | I haven’t purchased too many maternity specific tops but I did recently pick up a few secondhand options. I chose to go for basics that would transition over a number of seasons and pair with a majority of items in my wardrobe. Maternity basics may seem unnecessary but you’re shirts get short real fast, trust me.
more options: STORQ ribbed tee, HATCH waffle henley, HATCH striped boatneck top
Bralettes | My bra options dwindled considerably after a few weeks of pregnancy because let’s face it, your boobs grow almost as fast as your belly. I purchased a couple of bras one size up but now I am keeping an eye on some options from Lively. They offer maternity options but also have some bralettes I think would be beneficial.
more options: LIVELY maternity bralette, LIVELY mesh trim bralette
What’s in my closet: Beyond maternity specific options there are a whole range of items in your closet that will work for pregnancy. For a while at least.
Cropped Tops & Blouses | Crop shirts pair effortlessly with over the belly skirts or dresses. You can also “crop” your slimmer cut tops by tucking them up and over your belly or easily tuck your mid-drift baring tops into your over the belly bottoms to get the most wear out of your closet.
more options: Everlane linen shirt, Elizabeth Suzann crop linen top
Cardigans | Cardigans or anything open really is a godsend with a growing belly. Perfect for winter pregnancies where you constantly want to change out your layers throughout the day. I recently purchased this cotton option from Everlane for those cool summer nights and it’ll be a great post-pregnancy piece as well.
more options: Babaton Lance cardigan,
Going forward I have been shifting my focus to shop smarter and more ethical. Ask for hand-me-downs from your friends or family and try to shop second-hand. You’re not going to find everything you’re looking for but you’ll likely find a few gems that will get you through.
favorite online secondhand shops: thredUP, slowre (has a few ethical maternity friendly pieces I’ve been eyeing), The RealReal (lots of options from HATCH)
I realize what works for me isn’t going to work for everyone and I think it’s important to focus on using what you already have. Remember, pregnancy is temporary. So, what has worked for you guys? Any tried and true pieces you swear by for pregnancy wear?