If you’ve been around here awhile, you know that I love a good purge and the concept of a capsule wardrobe. But there is one huge problem with a true capsule implementation, and that is that we have no place to store the out of season capsules. The idea of packing away off season clothes so your closet is breezy and empty sounds great, but it ironically requires you to live a life with a big enough house to have storage. We have 2 closets, 2 dressers, an armoire, and under our bed for the storage of everything in our lives. Baby clothes, our clothes, games, DVDs, winter jackets, sheets and towels, suitcases, shoes, scarves, tools, odds and ends — they all have to squeeze in.
But the one true capsule I can boast is a maternity one, and it is now carefully washed and packed away in a plastic bin under my bed — other than the maternity clothes that I am still rocking and plan to never stop wearing because I have decided that all shorts should have an elastic inset on the side. I borrowed or received secondhand more than half my maternity wardrobe, and now it is waiting to be passed around to the next pregnant friend who needs some clothes and wants to avoid one time investments.
I was by no means an exceptionally fashionable pregnant woman. Or at least, I wasn’t compared to Kate Middleton, who showed up on the baby bump scene and single handedly redefined maternity style in a way that obliterates all attempts by us mere mortals to keep pace. I also had the luxury of only needing to look truly presentable a couple times a week, as I worked from home the majority of the spring. And though I didn’t do a weekly bump-date on social media, I did bombard my near and dear with grainy cell phone snaps of my growing belly, which I have kindly assembled into that fancy grid. You’re welcome. Obviously I need to up my selfie game by the next baby, and potentially invest in a better mirror. As you can see, nothing revolutionary in my maternity style. But I did have some staples that really made me feel equipped to take on the world, and some things I learned about dressing a changing body. First, the lessons.
You don’t need maternity cloths and then you DO. At least for this first pregnancy, I just kept demurely smiling and proudly announcing that my clothes were not maternity clothes until close to 24 weeks, feeling smug and like I would maybe go full term without having more than a tiny bulge. HA. And then one day you wake up and can’t see your feet and have the unfortunate realization that yes, it sucks to buy clothes you will only wear a couple months, but it is that or never leave the house looking decent. Almost everyone will get mildly huge. Deal with it and find some jeans with an elastic panel.
Borrow. Lots of women have maternity clothes they aren’t wearing. I was given tons of hand-me-downs and I also borrowed heftily. I think people genuinely like loaning out maternity clothes because it makes us feel better about buying them.
You don’t need much variety. Yes, you need to get some stuff, but sticking in similar color families or styles allowed me to stretch my wardrobe really far.
It is worth it to invest a little more on one or two pieces that really make you feel good. A dear friend wisely saw through my early insistence that I didn’t need maternity clothes and gave me a generous giftcard to spend on some nice maternity clothes, so instead of buying only things on sale to stretch it as far as possible, I bought fewer but nicer things, including a shirt that was almost twice what I would spend on any non-maternity shirt. But I loved it, wore it on constant repeat, and always felt confident and beautiful in it. I actually bought this dress postpartum to have something cute while I am still round and squishy and nursing and I really wish I had had it for those last bump weeks too.
Here are some of the staples that filled my maternity capsule:
These workout tops. Really most workout tops would work, but as I am crazy tall, I found that maternity ones had enough length to help me out.
T-shirts. Again, Target for the win! I had a couple of the Liz Lange Tees and they were blissfully long, whereas some lines like H&M maternity barely cover my whole torso not pregnant. Plus, I am still rocking these without shame, as they can easily be pulled down to nurse.
Old Navy BodyCon Dresses. Old Navy was my go-to for inexpensive and simple dresses, and the Bodycon style tended to work best with my bump. They are always having sales, and I picked up a couple jersey dresses that I wore on repeat the last trimester.
Loft Pants and Blouses. Loft had a small, but wonderful, selection of maternity clothes. I got a beautiful silk blouse, jeans, black slacks, and and a couple nice short-sleeved tops from there to constitute my entire professional maternity wardobe.
A good pair of maternity jeans. There are lots of brands, but the two that I had were one from Loft and a pair by Indigo Blue that my mom found and they were soooo comfy. I am considering not returning to regular jeans now that I have seen the light and discovered that zippers and buttons are totally unnecessary.
Belly Band. Around 30 weeks, I got really tired of my wardrobe and finally tried the Belly Band that someone had loaned me. MAGIC. I was able to add some of my non-maternity pants back into the rotation. It has also been great for easing my postpartum hips into jeans that don’t quite button with ease yet.
Maternity Spankx. Ever wonder how some people have those perfectly round bumps with shapely legs and no lines? MATERNITY SPANKX, THAT’S HOW.
Long Camisoles. Any brand, so long as they are stretchy and long. I found that towards the end I just needed a tad extra coverage in everything and a camisole helped. They are also great for the nursing wardrobe.
Most of these clothes are packed away now, awaiting the next bump to fill them out. Any maternity staples that you found helpful for not feeling like a total frump for 40 weeks?