While I know the pregnant mamas out there want me to create a maternity wardrobe, I don’t have one for you. Sorry! 😬 The reason is because my maternity wardrobe list would be the same as my regular capsule wardrobe lists with bump friendly versions…and some slight differences, which is what I want to talk about today.
Today I want to share my strategy for how I plan for and create a maternity wardrobe. I hope it helps you create a plan for yours!
Mini Wardrobes: What & Why
My strategy for creating a maternity wardrobe is to create several mini wardrobes during the pregnancy.
With my first pregnancy, I thought I was super on top of it, creating ONE maternity wardrobe for the entire pregnancy. Turns out it didn’t work so well!
The first place it broke down was that I didn’t accommodate for the wardrobe needing to work for at least the next 6 months, which includes several changes in seasons. I bought clothes early on, not recognizing that 6 months later the weather would be totally different. I didn’t accommodate for that. So, even though I thought I was being super prepared, I actually didn’t have what I needed whenever the weather changed anyway. Whomp whomp. (Looking back, it doesn’t make sense that I’d create a full wardrobe for 9 months of the year since I work in seasons for my regular wardrobe!)
Additionally, your bump size changes through out those 9 months, and what you need in each trimester is different. Since it was my first pregnancy, I had no clue about how I would carry or how much a belly would or wouldn’t grow. I bought pieces in advance thinking my belly would eventually grow into them and never did. Or, I bought pieces that worked early on, thinking I’d be able to wear them through out the whole pregnancy, only for them not to fit once my bump got bigger.
Basically, I ended up with a lot of clothes I didn’t use, either because I never fit into them, they stopped fitting, or because once I did fit into them, they weren’t right for the weather.
Between seasonal changes AND bump size changes, there are lots of changes within the 9 months of pregnancy, and it’s hard to anticipate exactly what you’ll need in 3-6 months time.
After my first pregnancy, I changed my strategy.
Instead of creating one huge maternity wardrobe at once that’s supposed to work for 6-9 months, I create several mini wardrobes over the course of the pregnancy. Mini wardrobes are just what they sound like–smaller collections of pieces that work for a shorter period of time.
Switching to this strategy has helped me better navigate the many changes in bump size as well as transitions in the weather that happen during pregnancy. And along the way, I don’t waste as much money on maternity pieces I THINK I’ll need that I never end up using.
What I Use to Plan My Mini Maternity Wardrobes
To put together mini wardrobes, I simply use the lists in my Starter Kit Wardrobe Guides and find bump friendly versions of the pieces, whether non-maternity or maternity clothes. (My preference is to use as many non-maternity pieces as I can, but of course this is dependent on how you carry and how your pregnancy goes.)
The lists in the Starter Kit Wardrobe Guides start with 9 pieces that turn into about 15 outfits. And then they show you how to expand your wardrobe to 15 pieces that turn into 30+ outfits in case you want more options.
I created them to provide a simpler, less overwhelming plan to help someone build a wardrobe from scratch, but I used this approach while pregnant with my 2nd child (while I was actually creating the Starter Kit guides!) and now again with this 3rd baby. I also use them through any other type of transition, such as sheltering-in-place for COVID-19, the postpartum period, or the time I’m breastfeeding, because the lists are so efficient and create wardrobes that give you bang for your buck. Most people don’t want to spend a ton of money on maternity clothes, or any other type of transitional period, so I’ve found Starter Kit Guides to be fantastic for those times. Minimal pieces and maximum amount of outfits!
So, if I’m in the 2nd trimester and it’s spring, I’ll use my SPRING Starter Kit Wardrobe list and put together a mini spring maternity wardrobe with clothes that fit over my 2nd tri baby bump. Usually for me, through out the second trimester I need maternity jeans but can wear all regular tops. So I just section out whatever’s in my closet that fulfills the Spring Starter Kit list and also fits over my current bump. If you need to buy maternity clothes to accommodate your bump, working from a compact list like the Starter Kit Wardrobe list is even more helpful for spending money wisely and effectively.
If I’m in the 3rd tri and the weather all of a sudden got hot, I’ll whip out my SUMMER Starter Kit list and put together a mini summer maternity wardrobe that fits my 3rd tri bump. Once I’m in the third trimester, I can still wear some regular tops, but I usually need to add a few more maternity pieces at this point. With the Starter Kit List as my guide, I can keep those necessary purchases to a minimum and spend less money, but still have lots of outfit options.
Working in sections/seasons/bump stages like this with mini wardrobes has helped me adapt my wardrobe as necessary but efficiently, limit the number of pieces I need to buy, and still feel pretty good about what I’m wearing.
Free Starter Kit Checklists
If you want to use this same strategy for your maternity wardrobe, I’ve got Starter Kit Wardrobe Checklists for each of the 4 seasons that you can download for free in the PMT shop HERE. They’re all for casual style, but you can adapt the list for workwear too.
If you want to see how to work those pieces into outfits as well as how to continue adding to your wardrobe efficiently but effectively, check out the full Starter Kit Wardrobe Guides. Those are available for casual and business casual styles.
Maternity Outfit Ideas
Lastly, here are some resources for maternity style.
- My Maternity Outfits – You can always find this link through the menubar at the top of my blog. Hover over “Outfits by Lifestyle” and a dropdown menu will come down that includes “Maternity Style Outfits.” You can see what I’ve worn through out 3 pregnancies. In most of the posts I say how far along I am in the pregnancy. But heads up, I carry very small regardless of whether the baby is in the 50th percentile or the 77th (like this 3rd baby) so I wear a lot of non-maternity clothes for a long time.
- My Breastfeeding Friendly Outfits – This isn’t exactly maternity style, but I thought it’d be helpful to throw it in. You can also find this under “Outfits by Lifestyle” anytime you need some inspiration. I usually don’t buy clothes that are specifically nursing-friendly because I there are SO many regular clothing options out there that you can breastfeed in. Check out the post Nursing Friendly Clothes and Outfits to Breastfeed In for more on that.
Where to Shop for Maternity Clothes
During my first pregnancy I had very little clue where to shop for maternity clothes. If you need some ideas, here are a few places to look. There are many more places that carry maternity clothes, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many options!
Since my maternity purchases are pretty limited thanks to the Starter Kit Lists, not needing to have a casual AND business casual maternity wardrobes, and being able to wear a good amount of my regular clothes through a lot of my pregnancies, I haven’t actually shopped much at these stores.
If you need more options than that, here’s a list below. I noted what I personally appreciate about each store’s maternity clothes. But know that each store also carries plenty of other things I didn’t list, like activewear, leggings, dresses, sleepwear, etc.
- Old Navy – Affordable jeans, work pants, and comfy basic dresses. My go-to for comfy, affordable maternity jeans. Not all of their jeans are comfy, but SOME are really good. So, try a bunch.
- Amazon – A bit of everything, which is true of Amazon’s inventory for anything. Affordable basics and trendier items, casual wear, workwear, special occasion–seriously everything. I didn’t think to shop here for maternity items until Baby #3.
- Target – Basic jeans, shorts, and dresses, plus some trendier items, sometimes special occasion dresses
- H&M – Jeans, work clothes, basic tees, printed blouses, dresses. I don’t have to dress in maternity business casual clothes, but if I did, I’d search here for printed blouses and dresses for work.
- LOFT – Jeans, work pants, printed blouses, nicer dresses, printed tees shorts. I’d also search here for printed blouses and dresses for work if I needed them, except these are more expensive than H&M. Also, I have an old pair of their jeans and shorts, and they are both very comfy.
- ASOS – Special occasion dresses; basics; trendier statement items. If you want stuff beyond basics, ASOS is great.
- Gap – Basics
- JCPenney – Affordable basics tops and leggings
Hope that helps you create a wardrobe that makes you feel good through out the rest of your pregnancy! Remember you can download the Starter Kit Wardrobe Checklists for free HERE.
Enter your info to instantly download the FREE Summer Starter Kit Checklist!