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Staying stylish while transitioning to maternity wear: Maternity Wardrobe List

Note: I wrote this post while I was pregnant, so everything will sound like it is in the present tense.

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It is no secret that I really like clothes.

I like dressing up, picking accessories, choosing different combinations and trying to avoid any look that requires high heels over 2.5″ unless I am working where I need to look a little more authoritative.

So how does someone transition from a reasonably style-conscious wardrobe to accommodate a baby bump that will only get bigger and bigger as my due date arrives?

Simple — you try and change as little as possible in your regular outfits!

WHAT I WORE BEFORE I WAS PREGNANT

This is a typical outfit I’d put together to wear before I was pregnant:

Maternity-Style-Wear-Fashion-Stylish-What-I-Wore-Before-Basic-Starter-Outfit

 

WHAT I WEAR WHEN I AM PREGNANT


The only major change I make is that I found bump-friendly tops and bottoms.

Maternity-Style-Wear-Fashion-Stylish-What-I-Wore-After-Basic-Starter-Outfit

 

The tops are now tank tops that stretch and have a long bottom so that as my bump grows, the shirt stretches along with the bump.

Everything else stays the same (at least, until my feet swell and I have to resort to wearing UGGs or something similar).

STRETCHY DRESSES = EXTRA COMFORTABLE MATERNITY OUTFITS

At this point, I can still fit into many of my dresses, especially the wrap dresses, but as the bump gets bigger, the dress doesn’t quite close appropriately enough without flashing too much skin.

…however I’ve also found that stretchy, midi-to-maxi dresses are far more comfortable, especially these Wilfred Free Bruni dresses I bought:

Wilfred-Free-Bruni-Dress-Front-Heather-Black

When it gets cold, I just layer them on top of each other and it becomes warm enough for the Autumn months.

Otherwise, I wear them alone.

If I have to recommend what to buy for a maternity wardrobe, this is the following list:

WHAT TO BUY FOR A STYLISH MATERNITY WARDROBE

1. DARK RINSE, SKINNY MATERNITY JEANS

For me, these are a staple. A must-have.

I can’t fit into any of my jeans or pants, and they were immediately cut from my wardrobe as early as a month and a half into my pregnancy when I started to feel like my pants weren’t fitting.

It’s not that I couldn’t even pull them over my legs or fit into them and wear them as-is, with the fly open and a hairband or elastic to hold them shut, but they just grew more uncomfortable as my bump expanded even an inch.

When I sat down, I’d get this dark red marks across my belly, and it would just feel tight and not at all comfortable.

So I caved and bought these J Brand Mama J maternity jeans pretty early on (about 1 month and a half in) mostly on the recommendation of other mommy blogs because they have an extended stretchy panel on the side to accommodate a growing bump.

J-Brand-Maternity-Jeans-Starless-Skinny

 

Luckily, I am carrying mid-to-high, meaning my bump is not super low, and these particular jeans work.


Otherwise, you might want to go for a pair of jeans (from Paige perhaps) that have a full belly cover.

You can’t really know this until you start getting bigger, so wait!

Paige-full-belly-cover-maternity-jeans

Do I love these J Brand Mama J jeans? I do and I don’t.

As I said, I have slim hips, and I tend to only wear mid-rise and prefer high-rise pants as a result (so that they STAY ON MY BODY). I don’t find these J Brand Mama J jeans (even though they’re considered to have a high-rise back) to be high rise enough.

I can feel the difference when I wear my Lucky Brand mid-rise jeans, and feel how high, tight and body hugging they are at the back even with the button and zipper fly open in the front.

Have I tried on the Paige jeans above?

No.

…..mostly because I do not want to be tempted to buy another pair of maternity jeans seeing as I already dropped over $200 on them. (I am told by Adina that you can buy these used, almost brand new on eBay, but I was too impulsive to do this bit of frugal searching.)

In hindsight, I may have purchased the full belly cover ones instead, because I feel as though the belly cover might give me a chance to be able to keep those jeans from sliding down my hips on the sides, but to be honest, if the jeans are as low as they look in the photo, no belly cover will keep them on my hips.

2. STRETCHY, LONGER TOPS – SHORT, TANK, LONG-SLEEVED, WHATEVER!

Either tank tops, long-sleeved tops.. whatever it is, if your tops aren’t long enough in front, you WILL be feeling very self-conscious, trying to pull down your shirt each time you go out to hide that 1″ of belly bump; then you have to adjust the shirt with trying to not pull it down too much, because you will start showing your bra and perhaps a little too much cleavage.

I bought the following:

1 maternity-specific ruched top

It was on sale for $25. I like that it was a t-shirt with a ruched area for the bump, and it’s the only maternity-specific top I bought.

I got it because it really covers me. I find tank tops to be a bit revealing for work if you don’t have a jacket or a sweater over it, and I wanted an option of just being able to wear a t-shirt (single layer) if need be.

ruched-maternity-t-shirt

2 tank tops

I was recommended to purchase these Aritzia Bowie Tank Tops because they would stretch, not pill or fade as my bump grew.

I bought tank tops because I knew that I could wear them underneath other tops to at least cover the bump without adding a strange thick band of fabric to cover the bump.

Your other option is to buy a Belly / Bella Bump Band which costs about the same as this tank top ($30) and is just a band of stretchy fabric that you wear underneath your tops to cover your elastic-held pants and your bump.

belly-bella-band-stretchy

I actually bought one WAY before I was even pregnant (to use when I ate too much), and I had to eventually toss it after 2 years because it stretched out horribly and I found it a bit strange, the way it would ride up on my sides and basically not stay where it was meant to stay.

I also found out that I didn’t like having an extra bit of fabric constricting my middle, and would rather just wear a longer top.

It also tends to cut into your belly if you wear your old jeans and leave the fly open. The buttons and zippers get imprinted onto your stomach…. which is NOT comfortable, as you might imagine.

You’d basically need 2 belly bands in this case — one to wear underneath the open jeans, and one to wear OVER the open jeans to keep them on your body.

3. THIGH HIGH HOSIERY

I tried looking for maternity-specific tights because I knew I wanted to keep wearing dresses but it would be too cold to wear them without tights underneath.

wolford-seamless-stay-up-80-denier

I searched all over the place and couldn’t find a pair that satisfied me, so I picked up one pair of Wolford thigh-high stockings, which eliminates the 2 problems:

Problem #1 with Tights:

When your tights slide down your legs and you end up with this kind of MC Hammer diaper-pant feeling until you get into a bathroom and can yank them back up again where they belong.

Problem #2 with Tights:

When the band across the top, NO MATTER HOW COMFORTABLE, will cut into your stomach when you sit down, and leave dark red marks. This is definitely not a good thing when you’re pregnant.

These thigh-high Wolford stockings I picked up were in black (they didn’t have brown and I didn’t want grey), and I can wear them well after the pregnancy. They’re also comfortable, warm, and made in Austria. They also don’t cut into my legs at all or my thighs, which is fantastic.

4. A PAIR OF MATERNITY LEGGINGS

These are not tights, they’re leggings, and they never leave the house because leggings are not pants.

be-maternity-seamless-black-leggings

I just needed something to wear at home, because no one ever remembers that leggings have a tight band across the front and you need a pair of leggings that you can be comfortable lounging around in, that doesn’t cut into your bump.

I guess you could also just use these leggings in lieu of buying any thigh high stockings (see above), but I don’t like mixing outside clothes with inside clothes. I want indoor-specific clothing that is comfortable, and that I would NEVER wear outside the house.

I picked up a regular pair at Target. They can be found pretty much anywhere. I didn’t care what colour they were (didn’t leave the house), and just chose black with a full panel covering.

They’re super comfortable and perfect for at home.

5. STRETCHY MIDI OR MAXI LENGTH DRESSES

This is really an optional thing, not something that I suggest you MUST BUY, but if you love dresses like I do, and want easy one-outfit options where you just pull it on over your head and run out the door, dresses do it for me.

Maternity-Style-Wear-Fashion-Stylish-What-I-Wore-After-Maxi-Midi-Dresses

You want dresses that have an empire waist (that stops above the bump), and then has a loose, flowing skirt.

I also like that I have an option on hotter days to just wear a dress rather than jeans and a top (separates), and I bought 2 of the exact same dress so that I could wear one during the summer when it’s hotter, and wear the other one on top as a double layer for when the weather turned colder.

Other options are stretchy dresses that are at least midi-length (to the calf) will give you space for your bump to grow, and you can just pull up the edges of the dress to create your own ruching effect for the sides so that it doesn’t stretch too much around your bump.

I also prefer midi-length dresses to maxi-length dresses because I hate it when my clothing drags on the ground, and I find that women who wear maxi dresses tend to look very uncomfortable in the sense that they’re always fussing with the hem, tying a knot at the bottom so that it doesn’t drag on the ground, or hiking up the skirt to not trip on the hem when going up stairs and so on.

That’s it. That’s my entire list.

WAIT WHAT ABOUT WORK WEAR OR CLOTHING?

I am not on contract so I don’t need to buy anything for work. If I had to buy clothes for work, I wouldn’t wear jeans to work (not professional enough for business casual).

If I got a contract tomorrow, I’d look for a pair of maternity-wear trousers (ONE PAIR) with my maternity ruched top, or tank tops with blazers, and wear those dresses mentioned above with boots.

Otherwise, I don’t want to buy anything else. This is all I need for now.

SUMMARY OF MY MATERNITY WARDROBE LIST

  1. Maternity Jeans (either full panel / belly cover, or stretchy paneled sides)
  2. Stretchy, Longer Tops (2 tank tops, 1 ruched maternity t-shirt)
  3. Thigh High Hosiery
  4. Maternity Leggings
  5. Midi-length or Maxi-length Dresses (stretchy and/or empire waisted with a fuller skirt to accommodate the bump)

The only other thing is that your feet WILL swell as you get bigger, so you might need to find a pair of comfortable shoes for the interim.

You might be expecting to deliver during Spring or Summer, so maybe a pair of flip flops or ballet flats will do it for you.

If you are expecting to deliver during Autumn or Winter, perhaps a pair of bigger boots or shoes of any kind will do the trick.

Feel free to add or modify my list in the comments below!



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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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12 Comments

  1. Reena Tandon

    Great share!

    Reply
  2. Andrea

    Hi! Love this. Wondering where you found the ruched gray shirt? I desperately need it.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      It was at a maternity store in Toronto, but to be honest, you can go to any store these days and find something similar. In the end, maternity items are overpriced for what they are 🙁

      Reply
  3. Mrs. Bookworm

    Great list of essentials!
    I’m due in a few weeks and tried not to spend so much on maternity wear. Many of my pre-pregnancy empire cut dresses fit me until the second trimester. I bought less than a dozen items of work clothing to tide me over for the rest of my pregnancy, many of which I should be able to continue to wear after the baby arrives. Good thing too because a lot of these maternity clothes are shockingly expensive!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Yeah for some ruching and elastic waistbands they are pretty pricey

      Reply
  4. Tracy

    The bruni dresses are so easy and comfortable! I have one for work that I wear all the time … I actually wanted to purchase a few more but then they became all sold out at Aritzia. 🙁

    Are you still doing no made-in-China for wardrobe?

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Those dresses can’t be worn to work for me (way too body-con!!) 🙂

      I am still doing no made-in-China. This is permanent, I am not changing it.

      Reply
  5. CheapMom

    I had the full belly jeans. By the end I loved them, but they were weird before I really popped (which took a long time for me). I had a few maternity shirts that I loved, but I tried to wear my normal clothes as long as possible. By the time the baby came, most of my clothes were stretched out kinda weird so I had to buy all new stuff anyways.

    I love that rushed top you bought!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I tried to wear normal stuff as long as possible as well… it became really hard near the end so I had to buy a few dresses which I still wear today.

      Reply
  6. Kate @ Money Propeller

    When I got pregnant, I only had only a few pair of leggings and maternity dress. But my favorite was the maternity dress that my mom gave me.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Dresses are the key!

      Reply

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