One of the most requested topics I've gotten for the blog is stylish maternity options and I'm finally getting my act together and writing about it today!
First I think you should know my philosophy on buying maternity clothes: buy wisely and buy sparingly. Your body will change constantly over nine months and then will change again after the baby comes. No woman can predict how she will carry, even from one baby to the next. That being the case, you do not need to drop lots of money on maternity wear -- save that moolah for when the baby comes (trust me, you'll need it!). There's no reason to drop major bucks on clothing you won't be wearing in the near future, and certainly no reason to buy something you don't love just because you feel you have to. You don't.
Also, I don't think pregnant women have to exclusively shop maternity brands, either. Yes, there are certain items you'll want to buy maternity (jeans #1) but otherwise you can find great options in standard sizing and often for a deal.
While the following list isn't all-inclusive for everything you'll want to wear for nine months, it features all the items I based my maternity wardrobe around, and I still wear many of them to this day! Once you have these core pieces you can build around them with pieces you probably already have.
Let's start with my top recommendation...
This is the ONE true maternity piece I recommend buying beyond a shadow of a doubt! We all wear jeans all the time when we're not pregnant so we need the same go-to option in our maternity wardrobes. Get two or three pairs in different washes. Think about what your favorite non-maternity jeans look like and buy the same color/wash in a bump-friendly pair.
A Pea in the Pod runs good sales on their maternity denim pretty frequently. This is a great way to buy several pairs at once and believe me, you'll be so glad you have them! If you have a local store, go in there and try them on to be certain of your size. (Don't feel pressured to buy, though, if the online site has a better deal!) Typically, you will wear the same size you wore before you were expecting. My favorite maternity denim brands are 7 for All Mankind, J Brand, and AG.
7FAM MATERNITY JEANS
J BRAND MATERNITY JEANS
7FAM WHITE MATERNITY JEANS
AG MATERNITY JEANS
I saved money by not buying black jeans and wearing my lululemon Wunder Under leggings instead....for the entire duration of my pregnancy and even afterwards! I still wear the SAME pair I wore when I was pregnant. They did get a little tight through the belly towards the end but so did everything else...
Get a pair with a wide panel across the top that will easily pull over your bump and, whenever you get towards the popping stage, you can fold down if necessary. The Wunder Unders have this and it's part of what makes them so good and worth the money. They also make your legs look really long and lean.
LULULEMON WUNDER UNDER LEGGINGS
BELLY BANDIT LEGGINGS
FLOWY TOPS (FREE PEOPLE)
This might be a good time to channel your inner boho goddess. Flowy tops can be worn year round with both shorts and jeans. My go-to brand for these is Free People. Their prints, colors, and designs are always so fun and are meant to be worn loosey goosey. I bought their tops in the same size I would normally wear (size small) and continue to wear them today. They usually run large so take that into consideration and don't size up at least more than one size if you're worried about the fit.
Here are few examples of tops like I had and love(d)!
BUTTON DOWN TUNIC
FITTED, STRETCHY DRESSES
The fabric is the key to this one! You want a dress in something that will hug your body (not like spray-on tight but fitted) and grow with your body. It is meant to show your curves and honey believe me, you will relish getting to show off your adorable bump and one day you'll miss doing it!
One thing to watch out for is not to buy a dress that's short on you to begin with. As your bump grows, you'll need more fabric to cover it and it will raise the hemline. A good fitted dress is maybe one of the easiest, comfiest things you can wear when you're pregnant and you won't want to be worried about tugging on your hem or showing your booty.
RUCHED MIDI DRESS
LOOSE KNITS, TOPS + TEES
Sweaters and woven tops are kind of hit or miss when it comes to fitting your bump. Most of the sweaters I had still worked when I was pregnant but some just weren't long enough or stretchy enough. Before you buy, try on what you have and base your purchasing decisions and on what you can't wear anymore but really wish you could!
I found bump-friendly sweaters and loose, knit tops in the sale section at Banana Republic and Gap. I would also check LOFT, too. They put their sale on sale, so you can walk out with a sweater and a top or two for a great deal and not feel too bad about it if you can't still wear them after baby arrives.
If your tees won't fit anymore, try and find some on sale at Gap or Old Navy, or go to Target! Don't think you need to beeline for the maternity section either. See what they've got in regular sizing -- depending on the size, fabric, and design (hello, peplum waist!) you can find cute pieces anywhere.
Sorry y'all, I'm not going to pull examples for this section because really you just need to go scour the sale section and find tops that will accommodate your bump!
Also, I think it's fairly intuitive to everyone to wear cardigans and open jackets so I'm not going to pull those either :)
Don't think it won't happen -- you will absolutely lose sight of your feet! Not only that, but trying to bend over to get your shoe on will be super hard at some point. You definitely need some flat (or low-heeled) shoes that are easy to get on and off.
I suggest a cute pair of street sneakers, ballet flats, mules or loafers, and boots. Booties with elastic goring that you can just pull on instead of buckle or zip are AMAZING! Of course if it's summer you can live in sandals and flip flops! Your feet will swell so you'll love having the openness of the your shoes to prevent blisters.
BEIGE CHUCK TAYLOR
WHITE CHUCK TAYLOR
PULL-ON BOOTIE (COMES IN 4 COLORS)
BLACK PULL-ON ANKLE BOOTIE
Depending on what time of year you're pregnant you may not need a heavy winter coat BUT if you do, choose a wrap coat. What you're going for here is A) the tie-wrap closure (no buttons!) to tie over/around your bump, and B) below-the-knee length to accommodate your bump and still keep you mostly covered. Did y'all know longer coats that cover your bootie will keep you way warmer than shorter ones? I bought a wrap coat to wear my third trimester and it was awesome! I bought my normal size and still wear it to this day. Towards the end it wouldn't really close all the way but it did the trick better than any other coat I owned.
DRAPE FRONT WRAP COAT
WRAP MAXI COAT
BEST LABELS + STORES
If there's one thing I think this post gets across is that you do NOT have to shop maternity lines exclusively just because you're pregnant. If you buy wisely you'll get great use out of pieces you can more than likely still wear after your deliver. However, some maternity shops and brands are really great and worth sharing! My favorites are:
I hope this helps those of you who have asked what I wore, or some of you who haven't but are looking for any sort of guidance on the subject of bump style. I loved getting dressed when I was pregnant...but that was largely because I had the right pieces to feel pretty and comfortable in!
And for those wondering, no I'm not pregnant :)