I was going to try not to buy m/any maternity clothing items and just see what I needed as time went by. It didn’t last long. I gave in at about five months due to a combination of clearance sales and discomfort in daily life.
Basic maternity items I recommend:
– Maternity underwear. You could just buy a size up and wear ‘em low for awhile, but as soon as I put on a pair of trial undies my entire body said “AHHHHH.” I bought two colors (black and tan) and several of each after using a trial pair. Would NOT recommend the synthetic-y stuff put out by GAP/Old Navy. Go for cotton if you can.
– Maternity tank tops. I have been squeaking by with just two (one black, one white) which go with everything but I have to do a lot of laundry because I wear them almost every single day as a base layer. As soon as I tried these out I was amazed – I had gotten used to being drafty in the clothing gap between my pants and shirt. NO MORE DRAFTS!
– One good pair of dressy pants. This is where I recommend investing more money because you pay more for better fit. I chose black to match with everything, but I could have alternately gone with navy or brown to match my preferred wardrobe colors. I read the reviews and went with a GAP customer favorite that happened to be on sale at the time. GAP Full panel modern boot pants #761852. Since I was mail-ordering the bulk of these items I was super happy to use information from the user reviews which informed me on fit and pant length. Expect off-the-rack maternity pants in most stores to fit terribly, especially in the under-$30 range. Pony up for the tailored fit of one nicer pair!
– I did end up wanting one more pair of full panel jeans so I could comfortably roll around on the floor of my photo studio. I originally picked up a clearance pair from Target that was supposed to sit below the belly but didn’t have a panel, and that didn’t work out very well. I went with some random pair from Motherhood Maternity. The dark blue goes with everything. It’s fantastic for everyday wear and looks a lot more fashionable than the Lululemon yoga pants my husband cringes about!
– The biggest surprise to me: I ended up keeping 4-5 tops (I actually ordered a lot more but returned the ones that didn’t look right or fit correctly). If I could choose only ONE item for fashion purposes it would probably be a cute, flattering top. Stripes are pretty adorable on the pregnant belly, and I enjoy wearing soft fabrics with a couple of sweaters thrown in. Around the house I tend to default to a couple of cozy knits but when I go out I bust out the trendier stuff. DEFINITELY USE CUSTOMER REVIEWS to guess on sizing for tops.
Believe me, when you pair a cute maternity top with a tank top, the undies, and pants that fit for the first time… you feel like a new woman who can conquer the world.
– MISCELLANEOUS: I also got one pair of black leggings for layering (not used often), one dress specific to maternity for a holiday party (most regular dresses will accommodate a belly anyway), and a pair of maternity tights I have not yet worn (regular nylons are NOT fun to try when you have more than 6 months of belly on you).
Maternity items I say skip:
– Belly bands. They’re $20 at Target. I didn’t think they were worth the trouble. I was able to get away with stretchy pants and skirts until transitioning to full belly-accommodating pieces. The bands just rolled around uncomfortably all day when I tried them out.
– Sweaters. If I worked in a cold office, I might invest in one basic layering cardigan, but for the most part you can either go up a size or just wear regular sweaters unbuttoned.
– I feel torn on maternity-specific tights. I am tempted to just go way upsize on an opaque pair and wear them low if I ever need to wear them again.
– Synthetic materials. Stretchy is good, but I was sad about the tank tops and undies I got that were 90% synthetics. They’re just icky on the skin and cause a bunch of static electricity. Go cotton!