A bump is the cutest accessory. You should enjoy dressing it. You can create an affordable maternity wardrobe you will love throughout your pregnancy—it just takes a couple smart steps.
Many pregnant women are overwhelmed by the idea of finding all the clothes they’ll need to look put together throughout a pregnancy. It both seems like an undefined AND expensive task. The last thing a tired, nauseous, 1st-trimester mama wants to think about.
I’ve been there. Twice. And I learned a thing or two about creating a stylish maternity wardrobe without breaking the bank… or the back.
Here is the 3-step approach you can take to actually ENJOY the process of shaping your wardrobe for pregnancy.
Step 1 Plan: Seasons, colors, and pieces
Below are some questions you want to answer in this step. Use your responses to write a list of the pieces you want in your wardrobe.
- During what seasons of the year will I be in my 2nd and 3rd trimesters?
- What 4 neutral tones will my wardrobe use?
- What 3-4 accent colors will my wardrobe use? (make sure two or three of the colors go well with each other.)
- Which pieces in my normal wardrobe can I use as maternity? Think about your cardigans, jackets, stretchy skirts/dresses, camis, leggings, shoes, and long tops.
- How much variety do I want in my wardrobe?
- How many pieces within each category do I want to end up with?
- Tops ___
- Dresses ___
- Pants ___
- Shorts ___
- Skirts ___
- Completer Pieces (Sweaters, jackets, vests) ___
- Shoes ___
- Accessories ___
- Camis, Leggings, Tights, Other ___
Below is an example of my Spring/Summer maternity capsule plan from my last pregnancy. Asterisks indicate that I planned to use non-maternity options.
- 3 Neutral Tees
- 2 Accent Color Tees
- 2 Patterned Tees
- 4 Dressy Tops
- 2 Solid Colored Maxis *
- 1 Patterned Maxi *
- 3 Patterned or Solid Colored Day Dresses *
- 1 Skinny Jeans
- 1 Bootcut Jeans
- Accent Color Pant or Capri
- 1 White Pant
- 1 Denim Short
- 1 White Short
- 1 Accent Color or Patterned Short
- 1 Patterned Maxi
- 1 Solid Maxi *
- 1 Solid Knee-length
- 1 Patterned Knee-length
- 1 Dark Wash Denim Jacket *
- 1 White Denim Jacket *
- 1 Vest *
- 1 Leather Jacket *
- 2 Light Camis *
- 2 Dark Camis *
- 1-2 Accent Color Camis *
- 1 Pair Leggings *
- 1-2 Belts (for above the bump)
- 2 Pairs sandals
- 1-2 Pair flats
- 1 Pair sneakers/loafers
Use this list or look others up on Pinterest to begin writing down the items you want in your maternity capsule.
The key to planning a wardrobe that creates lots of outfits is staying within your color palette. To achieve outfit re-mixability, half or more of the items should be in the neutral tones you chose. The others can be in your accent colors and patterns that incorporate those colors.
Step 2 Assemble: Shop, swap, receive
You have a list of the items you want in your maternity capsule. Now it’s time to put them all together!
- To keep this step affordable and stress-free, create a budget. First, set an initial amount to use in fulfilling your list. Then also decide on a recurring monthly allotment to use when more needs arise.
- Shop your own closet first. If your closet is currently full of clothes you never wear, you may want to start by cleaning it out. Donate, store, or toss any items that you haven’t worn in over 6 months. Now pick from the cardigans, jackets, stretchy skirts/dresses, camis, leggings, shoes, and long tops that may fit you through part or all your pregnancy. Check those items off your list.
- Swap or borrow clothes from a friend. Think about friends or family members who are similar in size and have been pregnant before. Ask them if you could shop from or borrow their maternity clothes. You could also offer to swap pieces from your own wardrobe. This is a helpful option for your post-partum friends who want to freshen up their own regular wardrobe!
- Shop for affordable maternity clothes. We are just now getting to the step where you spend money. If you followed all the above steps, you’ll be surprised how few items are left to purchase! Because you planned a budget and know exactly what you need to create a highly flexible wardrobe, you can shop guilt-free!
- Consignment and thrift stores. Before heading to the mall, stop by your local used clothing shops and ask if they have a maternity section. You can also shop consignment online on sites like ThredUp and Poshmark. You’ll save oodles of money and can often find pieces in like-new condition!
- New clothes at affordable prices. My favorite places to find bargains on new clothes are Target, Burlington Coat Factory, Old Navy, Amazon. I have also landed deals online at Macy’s and JCPenney. I don’t think I spent over $25 on any single item I purchased for my recent pregnancy! Notice I didn’t list Motherhood Maternity, Pea in the Pod, or Jessica Simpson, all popular brands of the company Destination Maternity. Excellent deals aren’t as common at these stores. However it is sometimes possible to stack free shipping, a coupon, and cashback for a good deal! Do this to save money on new clothes:
- Ask for gift cards to your favorite maternity stores at baby showers. If you planned the pieces you needed, shopped your closet first, and then swapped clothes with a friend, it’s likely you only have a few items to purchase. However, it does add up quickly. If your budget isn’t big enough to cover everything, simply reserve the latter-trimester items to purchase later and wait to receive gift cards at your baby showers. You may want to actually mention the desire for gift cards in your invitations.
Sizing tip: Buy with months 5-9 in mind. That’s when your non-maternity clothes are less likely to offer variety and you’ll need actual maternity pieces.
Step 3 Enjoy: Mix and remix your outfits to create fun variety
Carve out a space in your closet and reserve a drawer in your dresser to house your maternity clothing items. This will make it easy to find and select from your pieces each morning.
Spending just a few extra minutes planning what you actually need in your maternity wardrobe will pay off in stress-free shopping. You’ll enjoy a collection of clothes that make you feel beautiful throughout your pregnancy.
Feeling cute will at least help combat all the discomforts you may be feeling as you grow your precious baby. You can feel excited instead of frustrated by what you will wear each day of your pregnancy!