When I first started to need maternity clothes I had NO IDEA what to do, and I thought some of you might be in the same boat. Maternity clothes are weird-looking and confusing, and I absolutely hated the idea of spending the money on a whole new wardrobe. So I thought it might be kind of fun and helpful to look at everything I actually needed to get through my entire pregnancy.
Obviously everyone’s wardrobe needs will be different, depending on your lifestyle, body type, job requirements, what time of year you’re due, etc. I have friends who managed to make it through almost their entire pregnancy without needing to switch to maternity clothes — and I’m totally jealous! I showed really early, like, I literally stopped being able to button my jeans at four weeks pregnant, which is just craaaazy. Since I’m really short waisted and also only 5’2″, the baby had nowhere to go but OUT.
Here’s pretty much all the maternity (and non-maternity) clothes that I needed for my full pregnancy:
What I really needed…
6-8 dresses — Dresses were my favorite thing to wear, both just every day and to work. I work two days a week at a bridal shop, and I like to dress up for work. I bought a combination of fitted t-shirt style dresses that were awesome in the summer for both work and everyday running around, and then some empire-waist dresses that I could wear in the summer or through fall with tights. These should also be nice for hiding that post-maternity belly, too. One thing to note about maternity clothes is that you buy the size you were before getting pregnant, which seems weird but it actually works.
1 pair of jeans — I was really nervous about getting jeans. They look weird and I didn’t know what style to get — under belly, over belly, there’s a lot of options. I ended up buying a pair of skinny over-belly jeans in a dark wash from Gap and I wore those pretty much constantly until they stopped fitting around 9 months when my belly got too big!
1 pair of skinny black pants — Sometimes I just don’t feel like wearing a dress to work, so I got a pair of skinny, black, over-belly pants also from Gap and loved them too.
3 long-sleeved t-shirts — I held off for a while but eventually I got cold and needed to invest in some long-sleeved shirts for fall. My non-maternity t-shirts just weren’t long enough. I got one at Target and two at H&M. I like the H&M ones because they’re slightly dressier with a scoop neck and 3/4 sleeves and are long enough to cover my butt, which is nice when I wear leggings.
1 tank top — I bought one black maternity tank top that I wore from start to finish. Tanks are great to wear under non-maternity shirts that aren’t quite long enough. A couple of my non-maternity tanks continued to fit through most of my pregnancy, too, but it was nice to have a specifically maternity one that I knew I could count on.
1 t-shirt — I also bought one black maternity t-shirt that I wore for most of my pregnancy until it stopped covering my tummy all the way. Again, it was nice to have a shirt that actually fit and made me feel stylish. Some of my longer non-maternity tees fit ok enough to wear throughout pregnancy, too, especially with a tank underneath.
2 new bras — I tried to hold out as long as possible before buying new bras, a) because I despise bra shopping and b) I didn’t want to spend the money if I was just going to change size again. But eventually I couldn’t squeeze myself into my pre-maternity bras anymore and I had to break down around the end of my second trimester. I went to Kohl’s because I knew I could try them on in peace and everything is always on sale. I ended up going up TWO entire cup sizes from my pre-maternity size, jeeeeez, so it was really nice to have something that actually fit! Luckily, these lasted me throughout the rest of my pregnancy. The bras I bought were just regular, not maternity. I did have to eventually get some nursing bras too, but that’s a whole other issue.
2 pairs of tights — I like to wear tights with dresses, so I bought some maternity tights in black and navy. This is a personal preference thing since I know some girls just don’t like tights, but I think they’re pretty necessary after like October. I bought a pair on Amazon and a pair at H&M and both fit really well and were comfortable. My only problem is that both pairs of maternity tights have a lot of seaming on the butt and tummy areas, so I couldn’t wear any of my tighter dresses with them.
A few other things…
Leggings — Most pregnant girls live in leggings and I get it. They’re relatively easy to get on and easy to wear. I just don’t like them, personally. They make me itchy and I don’t think they’re very comfortable. But I did start wearing some around 9 months when my jeans stopped fitting. I actually wear non-maternity leggings, though, with a fold-down waistband. They don’t fit perfectly, but at this point, nothing does so they’re good enough.
“Comfies” aka yoga pants — When I’m at home, I’m in comfies, exclusively, which, let’s be honest, was totally what I did not-pregnant, too. At about 9 months I finally gave up and started wearing my comfies outside the house … and I totally hear Clinton and Stacy from What Not To Wear yelling at me in my head every time I step out the door in yoga pants! It’s just too hard to get into anything else and too hard to care anymore. I have several pairs of non-maternity yoga pants that fit me fine either under the belly or with a fold-down waistband.
Sweaters — I was due in January but didn’t ever buy any maternity sweaters. I mostly wore cardigans and a couple of larger/longer sweaters that I already had, and I bought one oversized, non-maternity open cardigan that I kind of live in.
Coat — I should have put this in my little drawing, but I did invest in a maternity winter coat. I’m really happy I did because it’s gotten a lot of wear and a lot of compliments. I’ll be able to wear it post-maternity, and I may have it altered to fit me when I’m back to a normal-ish size eventually.
What I didn’t need…
Belly bands — These are stretchy, tube top-looking things that you put over your waistband to hide the fact that you can’t button your jeans. I bought one and literally never used it or needed it. I just relied on a rubber band to hold my button together for as long as I could, along with wearing all of my longest shirts, and then got maternity jeans when a rubber band didn’t work anymore.
Maternity underwear — 100% ridiculously unnecessary.
Where to shop…
90% of everything I bought is from ASOS, Gap or Target. I got a couple things at H&M, but their sizes are always weird, and I found a few cute things from Momo Maternity on Amazon, which surprised me. ASOS was my absolute favorite for cute, stylish dresses that didn’t make me feel shlumpy. Gap was great for jeans. Target was great for casual shirts and non-maternity things that I could fit into, like yoga pants. Etsy is also a really fun option for finding one-of-a-kind vintage maternity dresses.
In case you missed them, a couple other maternity style posts along the way: