As mentioned in my previous post, I didn't always find it easy to get dressed while I was pregnant. (& I sure as heck definitely didn't find it easy to look cute everyday; not that I do now anyway!) The first few months as your belly grows you just kind of feel pudgy. It's like having a perma-bloat "fat day". Whether or not you're actually gaining or outgrowing your normal clothes, knowing that you are growing a baby in that belly makes you feel different - and bigger - and therefore makes you feel less comfortable in your favorite sweater/jeans/shirt/suit. No need to mince words here, it kind of stinks. You're too small for maternity-clothes, which float all over you, yet getting uncomfortable in your current clothes.
So what do you do? I ended up caving in & buying up a size for a few key items; jeans, cardigans (which actually worked well through most of my pregnancy - a normal (non maternity) cardigan sweater & cami became a preggo-outfit staple for me) and was able to wear them again after I gave birth on the way back down to my normal clothes. So I don't regret that. What I do regret, as I mentioned before, was not buying my maternity clothes a little bit bigger - the last thing you want to do when you're large & in charge & already in maternity clothes is to have to go buy a size BIGGER maternity clothes. Trust me.
All of that being said, there were some maternity staples that I just couldn't have made it those 40 weeks without.
hmmmm notice that all of them look pretty comfy? Yeah, that was pretty much my pregnancy "style". I'll start with the top left...
Maternity Clothes - Must Have Staples
1) Maternity camisoles. I had 5 of them. As mentioned above, I was big into layering them under regular (not maternity) cardigans in 1 or 2 sizes larger than my usual size. The one here is actually a nursing tank - which I 10000% recommend you get a few of them (particularly if you're due in the summer, like me). Regular cami's just won't cut it here because you need the extra length to cover your bump. Don't be that pregnant person with the bottom of your tummy hanging out - it doesn't look good on anyone. This cami, one of my favorites, is from Bravado.
2) Super soft maternity T-shirts. Again, I had about 5-6 of these (all of one of which are now in the trash because I wore them so much they were not in a "saveable" state to go into my maternity-clothes-stored-for-future-baby bin. I loved the ones from Gap & Old Navy.
3) Open front sweaters/sweatshirts/cardigans. I typically don't love the open front look as I don't find it all that flattering & feel that it often looks a bit messy, but while pregnant, both of those concerns went far, far, by the wayside. I found these all over the place - TJ Maxx, Target, Gap, etc..
4) Uggs. Because your feet need to stay toasty & they are already roomy & accomodate any puffiness of the feet. (aka were never foot flattering to begin with) In the summer, this should be replaced with flip flops... quite possibly in 1 size larger than your normal size.
5) A cute cropped jean jacket. To throw on over your t-shirt, cami/tank, or maxi dress. Because now is a time when cropped tops are perfectly acceptable as "in style" - & then it does give you an opportunity to show off your bump. I bought mine from Old Navy.
6) Maternity Leggings. This is NOT an area where you can just buy one size larger. You have to buy the maternity kind - learn from my mistake. Otherwise you end up with a tight elastic underneath your bump (later in the pregnancy) or a tight elastic digging into your growing bump (early in the pregnancy) resulting in that uncomfortable clothes-not-fitting-right feeling all over again. I got some from Old Navy (which tore at the seem in the first wear) & then gap (which worked much better) & also a pair of cropped ones from Motherhood Maternity (which also held up well)
7) GOOD BRA's. This should by far be number 1 on the list... but silly me, I didn't set up this board that way. I cannot even begin to stress the importance of not cramming your girls into you same old bras through - starting way back in the beginning of your pregnancy. It's so important to have a well fitting & comfortable bra - for your well being & developing milk supply. Yes, this means giving up your favorite lacy piece, but trust me, your baby will thank you. My absolutely, positively most favorite nursing bra is the body silk by Bravado. I tried some of the motherhood bras, but they just didn't fit me right. While maybe not as stylish (aka accommodating to wearing lower cut shirts) as you're used to & perhaps even less supportive feeling (no push up pads or under wire - but trust me none will be needed) there simply is no better maternity / nursing bra that I've found. I also love that they don't come in specific back/cup sizes - which makes it even easier for ordering to wear while pregnant & able to stretch out after you have the baby. Because trust me - you'll need that stretch. Oh & get over the price tag - it's worth every penny.
8) A good pair of maternity jeans. For those casual days at work or times on the weekend when you change out of your hubby's sweats or your leggings, you'll need a pair of jeans that you feel at least somewhat comfortable in. Gap has the best ones, but I actually found some Liz Lange for Target ones that I liked a lot too. Didn't love my Motherhood ones, but they did the job. Oh - & always, Always, ALWAYS go for the full panel. I don't even know why they make maternity pants without a full panel.
9) Crossover Nursing Tops. Gap Maternity is the ONLY place I've been able to find any nursing tops that are actually user friendly & work. While you probably won't be able to wear them after the 6/7 month mark (they're more of that tight stretchy fabric), I'd highly suggest keeping an eye on them & buying them to wear in the beginning stages of your pregnancy & again afterwards. At almost 6 months postparnum (yikes!) I am still living in some of mine because they are so awesome. AND I've already bought some new ones to put in my aforementioned bin for next time.
10) Cheap Flats. Why cheap? Because your feet will probably swell & need a bigger size than usual but may (or may not) stay that new larger size after you have the baby. So basically, what I'm saying is don't go spend $150 on a new pair Tory Burch's just for 2-3 months worth of wear. You can do that afterwards if you're feet don't go back to their old size. (to be discussed in a future post!). I kept an eye on Old Navy & Kohls for any flats on sale.
11) Maxi Dresses (& skirts) These can be your best fiend while you're expecting. I kid you not I had 3 black ones, 1 grey, 1 grey & white striped (NOT as cute on me as on the mini-bump model online!) & then long & short skirts as well. Love, love, LOVED them. Especially in that last month or two (summertime) I lived in them, so much so, that only 1 of them made it into the "save" bin. My favorite was the simple one from Old Navy & another Liz Lange for Target.
Additional Shout Outs
I did treat myself to a dress & a few basic pieces from Rosie Pope Maternity as well - all of which got some amazing wear & made it into the save bin, so I would 100% recommend checking her site out if you have any special occasions to attend while expecting. To me, it's worth spending a little bit more to feel as pretty as possible for dress up occasions... & not be in some kind of clingy rayon shift-type dress from Motherhood. I bought this dress (which wasn't terribly priced at all) & a few shirts & LOVED them all.
(Rosie Pope Floral Maxi Dress - my favorite maternity item I owned!)
& on the lower end of the spectrum, of course I always love Target, but Walmart actually had some workable maternity tank tops too, in case anyone is in the market.
Notice I haven't even delved into the "wear to work" maternity side of things. Partically, because I know everyone's dress codes are different but mostly because I honestly can't think of one maternity outfit I wore to work that I even remotely liked. Sweater dresses (1 size up) & "dress pants" from Motherhood/Destination Maternity are probably your best bet here.
I definitely could have kept this shorter, but wanted to give you my reviews/reasons for why these staples made my list. In depth, apparently. :) If you're still reading (thank you!) I'd love to hear what you're loving to wear while expecting! Any/all suggestions are welcome for other readers & for me next time around!
*note, when I say Motherhood in the above, I mean it as both Motherhood & Destination maternity since they're basically the same things. & I only had 2 things from A Pea in the Pod (also the same company) so I didn't feel the need to really discuss them. But the good thing on these brands is, despite being woefully overpriced for the (crappy) quality that most items are, you do get coupons in the mail/email from them a lot, so it's worth signing up when you shop there.
p.s. I used shopstyle to make my board up above but don't think I love it - any other ideas anyone? You can see the board & links to all of the images in the board here.
p.p.s. I think this is my last "maternity" related post - next we're going to move to childbirth "things nobody tells you", hospital bag packing, then first few weeks at home & so on. So if any of those topics get your wheels turning please leave me your ideas/input to add to the posts too! commenting or email is great! xo