My pregnancy was a complete surprise, so I learned most of the lessons along the way, from finding ways to deal with morning sickness to discovering healthy fixes for pregnancy cravings. One thing I never anticipated, though, was how challenging it would be to dress my baby bump.
Here’s the thing: when you’re pregnant, your body experiences drastic changes, especially in terms of size. Due to this, a set of clothes that fits you today might feel too snug tomorrow. Does that mean you have to shop constantly for maternity wear? Not quite.
If you’re wondering how to create a maternity wardrobe, we’re here to help. We have an in-depth guide that highlights maternity wardrobe essentials, the time to start wearing maternity clothes, money-saving hacks, and more. Read on to find out.
How to build a maternity wardrobe
Want to learn how to dress your bump? Here are a few factors to consider.
Think about your current lifestyle
Before you dive head first into the world of maternity shopping, spend a bit of time thinking about your present lifestyle. Focus on how your workplace requirements affect your dress code.
Are you in a job that requires formal dress all the time? If that’s the case, the Liu & Qu Women’s Maternity Bodycon Dress would be great.
If you work at a start-up where anything flies, this Sweater Knit Maternity Dress will do.
Apart from your occupation, factor in your style as well. Let’s say you love bohemian dresses. All you need to do then is to find bohemian maternity clothes, like this Maxi Dress by COSYOU.
Assessing your lifestyle and present wardrobe is the best place to start. It paints a picture of the type of maternity clothes you should focus on when shopping.
Start with the basics
Once you find out you’re expecting, you might feel tempted to undertake a complete wardrobe makeover. That entails getting new sets of work clothes, gym wear, weekend clothes, and more. However, that’s the wrong approach. You’re still in the early stages of your pregnancy, and you don’t know just how much your body will change.
Instead of going all out, invest in maternity wardrobe essentials. More on this later, just let me say at this point that having a good selection of t-shirts, tops, and leggings is all you need.
Set your budget
The next thing you’ll want to do is to draw up a budget for maternity clothes. Here are a couple of things you should factor into this decision:
- Do you intend to have more babies in the future? This makes it easier to choose between trendy, affordable items that will only last you ten months and high-end, stylish maternity clothes that will carry you through a couple of pregnancies.
- What’s the typical climate in your area of residence? If you live in a cold region, you’ll want to set aside a portion of your budget for warm attire, like maternity coats, cardigans, and clothes to layer up.
- Do you attend a lot of glamorous events or plan to hold a lavish baby shower? If so, splurging on a fancy maternity jumpsuit, romper, or dress is acceptable.
Tips on building a maternity wardrobe without breaking the bank
Here’s how you can save money when shopping for maternity clothes.
As we mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t buy all your maternity clothes at once. Add one or two items and wear them for a short while, then go up a size.
If there are clothes you expect to wear for less than a year, look for affordable or discounted offers.
In case you really have to purchase a big-ticket fashion item, then ensure it’s something you’ll be able to wear for a long time.
Make a maternity capsule wardrobe
When you’re close to the homestretch—at the 7- or 8-month mark—consider building a maternity capsule wardrobe.
This means buying a small selection of fitting garments that can be paired effortlessly. It’s almost like living out of a suitcase but still retaining your style and comfort.
Don’t shy away from renting for formal events
Don’t want to spend on high-end fashion pieces? Then consider renting those fancy outfits you crave when you have to attend a wedding or another formal event.
When to start wearing maternity clothes
Wondering when to buy maternity clothes? Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer to this question. Different women experience pregnancies differently. It means that the right time to start wearing maternity clothes will vary from one person to another.
Here are a few hints to help you figure out the appropriate time:
- You have to unzip your jeans more often, not just after a full meal.
- Spandex is quickly becoming your favorite fabric.
- You have a bloated stomach for the better part of the day.
- You can no longer button your blouses all the way down.
- Your baby bump is beginning to peek out of your tees.
You will most likely experience these signs when you get to the 20-week mark. By this time, your uterus has reached the level of your belly button.
Essentially, if you notice that your baby bump is starting to show quite a bit, this makes it a good time to shop for maternity clothes.
Maternity wardrobe staples
Are you in the process of creating your pregnancy wardrobe? Here are a few maternity wardrobe staples.
You’ll want to invest in several white tees. There are so many things you can do with the classic white t-shirt. You can wear it as is or layer it with bold patterns and colors. Whether you want it ruched, snug, loose, or billowy, look for one that’s not too sheer and fits your style and body shape.
This t-shirt by Yenida is an excellent choice. It’s made of soft, breathable fabric and has the length to cover your baby bump.
For many pregnant women, leggings are the go-to outfit, and it’s easy to see why. They’re stretchy, which means they’ll grow with your body. They’re also comfortable and ultra-flexible. You can wear them over or under your belly, in summer or winter, and dress them up or down.
Motherhood Maternity Women’s Leggings are a good case in point. They’re crafted from a cotton-spandex combo and feature a full-length panel to cover your belly. The best part is that they come in neutral shades of black, navy, and charcoal.
A pair of dress up/down flats
To say that every woman needs a comfy pair of flat shoes may spark a debate, but when you’re pregnant, it’s an absolute necessity.
Quick tip: choose flats in a color that can work with nearly every outfit. Neutral hues like grey, black, some shade of camel, tan, or off-white are perfect. It should also be versatile enough to take you from everyday wear to an evening date in a heartbeat.
Another staple that shouldn’t be missing from your maternity wardrobe essential kits is a pair of maternity jeans, all the more so for women who have to stick to formal wear during weekdays. In fact, if you pick a stylish pair of jeans, you can even wear them to casual get-togethers.
For versatility, you can look for one with full panel coverage. It simply means it has a stretchy fabric, allowing you to cover your whole stomach.
A good example is this pair of maternity jeans by Signature. Not only are they stylish, but they’re also incredibly comfortable thanks to the super stretchy fabric. Plus, they come in multiple colors and sizes.
The second pair can be an under-the-belly fit like these Underbelly Jeans by V VOCNI. They have a low-rise design, which stretches nicely under your belly.
If you aren’t sure what works for you, visit a brick-and-mortar boutique, try on a few pairs, and then determine what you feel more comfortable in.
Little black dress
Consider getting a little black dress (LBD) as well. This way, you have something fancy to wear when attending glam events, an after-work do, or even your baby shower.
As a bonus, a black dress can be paired with a dozen things. Depending on the event, you can add a matching or contrasting scarf, blazer, or jacket.
Mother Bee Maternity Women’s Wrap Dress with knee-length height is the perfect example. It has a flattering V-neck and waistline. Its wrap design and belt make it easy to adjust, and you still have the option of choosing from four sizes.
What to do with maternity clothes
Now that you’ve had your little one, what do you do with all those maternity clothes you’ve accumulated over the months?
- Save: Planning to have another baby in the near future? Then save yourself the trouble of shopping from scratch by keeping a few of those maternity clothes in good condition.
- Sell or share: If your maternity clothes look as good as new, you can also share them with a friend or sell them to thrift stores.
- Donate: Do you have a couple of maternity outfits that are still in pristine condition but a little outdated? You can donate them to a charitable organization so they can benefit the less fortunate.
Let’s wrap up
Finding out that you’ll have a baby will inevitably lead to creating a long list of items you’ll need to buy for your little one. As such, you might not want to spend a huge chunk of money on maternity clothes that you’ll likely wear for a short time. On the other hand, wearing comfortable clothes without compromising your style is equally important.
So, how do you strike the perfect balance? Well, the trick to creating a fashionable wardrobe for pregnancy is to shop sparingly and smartly. Buy only a few items at a time, and stick to wardrobe staples that are easy to pair up.
If you want to buy a big-ticket item, get one that can last you several months. Remember, you also have the option to rent trendy maternity clothes for formal events.