I've been asked by handfuls of women for tips to create a maternity wardrobe that will be useful during and after pregnancy. I'm in the middle of writing a post on my 2nd trimester wardrobe game plan, but before I could finish it I decided to stop and write this one first. The 2nd-tri game plan post will be my step-by-step process in building the maternity wardrobe while today's post is all about the building block pieces. These are pieces that were already in my closet that I've been able to wear for the last 20 weeks, that I think I will continue to wear for at least a few more weeks, and that I'll be able to wear post-pregnancy.
I'm over 20 weeks right now, and so far I've only purchased this pair of Old Navy maternity jeans (see ways I've worn them here) and belly bands. (Side note on that: I bought BeBands from Target and wish I had tried Bella Bands. They're a little more expensive, but the Target ones ride up on me, whereas that seems to be less so the case according to Bella Band reviews.)
Aside from those, here are the types of non-maternity pieces I've been rotating through:
Links to Shop:
Make Them Work
Tunics - Since my bump has been relatively small (or so I'm told) I've been able to wear these until now, at 20 weeks, and I anticipate I'll be able to wear some of them for a few more weeks. Early on I wore them to hide my belly, and now if I belt them under my bust and above the bump they create a flattering definition while accentuating the bump.
I only had solid colored tunics, so I picked up the floral one featured above yesterday at Old Navy. It's much cuter in person than in the pic!
I also had this Target popover before pregnancy and it's still been working well.
Longer Tees - Even my normal tees worked well up until the bump popped out more prominently last week. Now, longer tees still work for me, and even those can be belted for more definition.
Tops that Fit Over Bump and Can Be Belted - You'd be surprised by how a little belt will make a top work for your bump! I went through most of my tops and tried to belt them, and many tops that were originally unflattering without a belt magically transformed into workable items with a little belt.
Foldover Maxi Skirts & Other Jersey or Ponte Skirts - Foldovers...I actually was not such a fan of them pre-pregnancy, even though I owned a few. But during pregnancy, you can unfold them over the bump or fold them to sit under your bump, which is great as your belly expands later on. During this stage I'm finding that I can incorporate some of my current jersey and ponte skirts, whether pencil or maxi or whatever.
Elastic Belts - If it's not clear by now, I plan to become really good friends with belts again during pregnancy. They provide fantastic definition. Pre-bump I didn't mind belts on my torso. But now that I have a bump squishing things my tolerance for a belt that's going to put even more pressure on my torso has gotten low. Enter elastic belts! Get definition that flatters your new shape without feeling constricted. Plus, Grace over at Camp Patton confirmed this...and she's on her 4th kiddo so she's a pro and knows what she's talking about.
I picked up the belt shown above yesterday at Old Navy...in two colors. There are two additional colors online, BUT I got them for almost 50% of the online price in store.
Empire Waist Dresses - I don't know why, but I had quite a few of these already, and they work fantastically for the small to medium stages. Empire waistlines will sit above your bump, so as long as it doesn't get too short you can wear this for a while--before, during, and after pregnancy! Everyone's torso length is different and people carry their babies at various heights, so some dresses might be empire for you while they are not for others. But the point is to find dresses where the waistline is below your bust but above your bump, NOT across your bump! Beware of the dresses with the cinched waists that go across your bump!
The second dress shown is one that doesn't have an empire waist naturally, but you can remove the belt and place it higher as needed. I did this with a few dresses that are shaped similar to the one above and that's worked very well.
I have dresses that are more casual, like the ones shown above, or that are more office appropriate, but the common ground is that they all have an empire waist OR can be belted to create an empire waist.
See Them In Action
And, just so you're not limited to the style of the pieces in the collage above, here are examples of how pieces like those were put into action.
As you can see, there's a variety of types of tunics, different ways to style a longer tee, and dresses that are not jersey cotton that you can wear to an office. I've already tried these outfits with my now-larger bump, and they're still working!
Stay tuned! A follow-up post is coming that includes my process for expanding my wardrobe as this bump expands.
Like I said earlier, everyone's bodies are different during pregnancy, so these things might not apply. Plus, I wasn't able to squeeze in ALL THE MATERNITY DRESSING TIPS for ALL PEOPLE in this little post.
But if you have some key tips that I missed that could be helpful to others, please, please, please leave them in a comment below.
One note: This post is specifically for going from a small to medium bump, so if you have tips that are for later in pregnancy or for larger bumps please wait until a post for that comes out. It'll help organize the comments and info for any people passing through looking for help. Thank you!