Wardrobe Oxygen: Maternity Clothing Must-Haves
When I was pregnant, I swore I wouldn't sacrifice my style, or my budget for maternity clothing. I knew it would be possible to have some simple, flattering pieces that would be versatile and get me through nine months looking great.
Below are the top ten items I found necessary in my pregnancy wardrobe.
- Black matte jersey wrap dress
A wrap dress is flattering for the figure, and matte jersey fabric is easy to wash, stretches, and is highly versatile. Add a cami and tall boots for work, wear with pumps for special occasions,or pair with flats and leggings for the weekend. This fabric can be found at most any price point--I found it at Old Navy online and Target.
- Black leggings
A pair of black leggings will get a ton of wear, even if you are a leggings-hater. Pair with dresses and black flats or tall boots. Wear with a longer top and a drapey cardigan and boots for a casual weekend. You'll find leggings will make your dresses more appropriate in the last trimester when everything seems a bit too short due to your expanding belly.
- Jeans for the first half of the pregnancy
Buy yourself a pair of well-fitting jeans now, and have a fund ready for the ones you will need in a couple of months. Your body will change and the jeans you find comfortable and flattering at first will become too short and binding as you approach the third trimester.
For these jeans, a dark color and even rinse and a straight or boot cut will be the most versatile and slimming. Jeans with a hint of Lycra will be less likely to stretch out, and will fit longer.
By keeping the style simple, the wash dark, you can find a great pair of jeans at any price point. Ann Taylor LOFT has an online maternity line that always has fantastic sales, and I found fabulous designer brands for incredible prices on eBay and Craigslist.
- Jeans for the second half of your pregnancy
- A scoop-neck top in a gorgeous color
Having a top out of a refined jersey, a soft synthetic that drapes, even a silk jersey will feel good and look good. Look for one that feels as comfy as a tee shirt, but can be paired with your black knit trousers and look smashing for work or play. A scoop neck will elongate your neck, flatter your bust line, and distract people from your belly.
Choose rich, delicious colors that make you feel fantastic. Keep in mind that you will get warmer than usual as the pregnancy continues--long and tight sleeves may not be the most comfortable come third trimester.
- Black Ponte de Roma knit pants
Ponte de Roma fabric (also known as ponte) is a pregnant woman's best friend. It "gives" and breathes similar to a cotton knit, but with its heavyweight and refined finish, it's still totally work-appropriate and can even work for dinner or a party. You can find great ponte maternity pants at Target, the clearance rack at Motherhood Maternity, and Gap and Old Navy maternity lines.
- A classic cardigan
If you're pregnant during cooler months, choose a sweater coat or swingy chunky cardigan. If pregnancy occurs during warmer weather, you may want a lighter weight piece. A solid you adore is a great choice. avoid excess decorations and embellishments--a simple yet classic piece will be more versatile and be more likely to still be in style if you keep it for a future pregnancy (or if you donate it to a pregnant relative or friend).
- Another dress in a flattering print or color
Dresses are the most comfortable garment when pregnant. Just like the scoop top in a great color, having a dress in a cheerful color or print will raise your spirits and make you look great even when you're exhausted. A happy color makes you--and those around you--happy.
- A pashmina
A pashmina is an extremely versatile piece. It is a wonderful shawl for chilly evenings, a replacement for your scarf on a wintry day, even a cozy travel blanket for a long plane flight. Once pregnant the pashmina becomes even more important. You fill find that you are sweating when others are cold--a pashmina does a great job of warding off chill without adding too many layers. Tuck one in your back to have at the ready. If your outerwear doesn't meet in the middle, replacing a scarf with a pashmina will make it look less obvious. Finally, baby weight doesn't always stick to your middle--a pashmina does a great job of camouflaging arms. Pashminas can be expensive--it's not necessary to have 100% cashmere for great style. Check out Pashmina International for a great selection of reasonably-priced pashminas.
- Black low-heeled pumps
A low, wide heel is actually more supportive and comfortable than a true flat. Leather is dressier than suede or other fabrics (and easier to polish up and look new). A pair of black pumps will be so useful. You can pair with dresses or trousers for work, have an easy way to dress up your not-so "little black dress" for special occasions, and if they are of quality construction, they can be your go-to footwear even after you deliver.
What are your pregnancy wardrobe staples? Share them in the comments.
Alison Gary has over ten years experience as a personal shopper, stylist, and visual merchandiser. Her blog Wardrobe Oxygen provides fashion advice to all women, regardless of age, size, budget, or lifestyle. She is a full-time working mother, blogger, wife, and frugal fashionista located in the Washington D.C. area.