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Maternity Clothing Guide Part 2: The Necessities

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Now that you’ve edited your closet (see here for tips), you hopefully have a better idea of what you’ve got to work with—and what you might still need. It can be tempting to hit up Pea in the Pod at eight weeks, buying a bunch of ugly/expensive maternity wear and designer jeans that won’t fit over your ankles at week twenty (not speaking from experience or anything). But since you’re smarter than that (and me), you’ll hopefully exercise restraint and instead focus on acquiring a good wardrobe foundation that can be built on later.

Maternity Style Tip #2: Start with the Basics

1. Belly band. I already covered this in my last post so I won’t belabor the point here, but it’s truly a staple for any maternity wardrobe. I used (and still use, and love) Bellaband.

2. Camisoles. Like the belly band, long stretchy camisoles are a great way to make non-maternity clothing work well into your pregnancy. In my last post on this subject, I talked about how I follow the LFS (long/fitted/stretchy) rule for tops—but as you get bigger even long shirts can ride up on your tummy, so this is where the camisole has you covered. Maternity camisoles grow with your pregnancy, so you can buy them as early as you’d like. I’d recommend getting a few in neutral colors—you’re going to need back-ups!

3. Pants. The belly band should make your regular pants last for awhile, but the day you finally slip on a pair of maternity pants you’ll wonder what took you so long (and how you’ll ever go back). I plan on using mine for eating at my favorite Indian restaurant when this whole thing is over.

If I could do it all over again, this is what I would buy, pants-wise:

Black skinny pants: I got jeans for versatility, Asos offers some good options:

Jeans in your favorite cut(s): I’d recommend one skinny and one boot cut. And these don’t need to be designer—it took me too long to figure out that Old Navy’s maternity jeans are awesome. They’re super comfy, come in every style, and the pocket is so nondescript, they could be J Brand.

Black work pants (for us working stiffs): Mine are Gap.

Non-denim casual pants: I bought the Paige cargo pants (on sale here!) and have gotten so much use out of them, I’d say they were worth the splurge. But I did discover later that Gap had a much cheaper option.

4. Tops. If you subscribe to the long/fitted/stretchy philosophy, you can pretty much shop like you normally would for tops. I got a few neutral tees and sweaters at J.Crew early on—they’re still going strong at seven months, and I’ll be able to wear them after pregnancy. If you do decide to buy actual maternity shirts, I would suggest looking for them on sale. I signed up for email alerts from the Gap, and I swear I get a notification every day that everything is 70 percent off.

5. Dresses. I’m a dress person, so I put a lot of thought and effort into this part of my wardrobe. The most comfortable, versatile, stylish dresses I could find were from Isabella Oliver. They are definitely an investment, so if I could do it all over I’d buy two of them early on and get use out of them my whole pregnancy. They’re actually on sale right now! Here are the ones I heart most:

6. Undergarments. I’m not sure why one would need maternity underwear (my old selection seems to work fine), but I would recommend picking up a couple pairs of black maternity tights—especially if you’re pregnant during a cold season, or you live in a place like San Francisco that can get chilly year-round. Regular tights don’t cut it for very long . . .

Are there any basic maternity clothing items you couldn’t live without? I’d love to hear more suggestions! 

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