My Minimalistic Maternity Wardrobe

posted by Andrea | 10/22/2015
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maternity wardrobe

Last fall, I had so much fun preparing for and writing my Mix and Match Wardrobe post — of course, getting a few new items of clothing wasn’t bad either!

I had intentions of doing another Mix and Match Wardrobe post with maternity clothing this spring, but I just never got around to doing it. I suppose the idea of being photographed as I got larger and larger wasn’t really that appealing to me 🙂

However, since I’m now enjoying my “normal” clothing again, I thought it might be fun to share how I got by with a fairly minimalistic maternity wardrobe for 3 pregnancies in 3 different seasons of the year.

3 pregnancies

1. I borrowed several items.

I realize borrowing clothing isn’t for everyone, but when you grow up with only sisters, you get used to borrowing clothing quite quickly 🙂

I’m thankful to have many same-size, same-age friends and cousins who were all having babies around the same time period and were all willing to share clothing. I can’t even tell you how much time, energy, money, and space I saved by borrowing (and lending) maternity clothing over the past 4 years.

Borrowing was especially helpful when it came to those seasonal items like a winter coat (I only needed it with Simon) and bathing suits (only needed with James). For the record, I just borrowed the bathing suit TOP and used my own bottoms 🙂

I also borrowed a fancier maternity dress to wear to a Fall wedding when I was pregnant with Nora, a handful of sweaters for Simon’s pregnancy,  and a couple super cute summer dresses when I was pregnant with James — my summer babe.

2. I wore non-maternity items whenever possible.

Now certainly, this is not to say that you should try to squeeze into your regular clothing for your entire pregnancy — but rather, look to find clothing that would work for a growing belly and also after the baby is born.

Maxi skirts, leggings, shirt dresses, cardigans, ruched t’s and tanks, and stretchy sweaters were lifesavers for me (and my closet). It’s honestly amazing how long regular clothing can fit — especially if you pair cardigans or open sweaters with maternity tanks and a cute scarf (my maternity wardrobe of choice!)

maternity clothing

Of course, wearing non-maternity items is fairly easy for the first 10-15 weeks until you start to show… however, the picture below is me at 35 weeks with baby #3 and neither the skirt or the shirt are “maternity” — as you can see, I was not super small, but the clothes stretched 🙂

Also, keep in mind that although it’s not as comfortable as wearing maternity clothing, you can wear your own pants much longer if you get a Bella Band or use a rubber band to give you a couple more inches 🙂

3. I was OK wearing the same clothes often.

Again, I know this tip won’t work for everyone — but for me, a non-fashionista who works from home, this was really a no-brainer way to save tons of money and space on maternity clothing.

Once I found a handful of cute items that I felt comfortable and confident in, I just resorted to wearing them very regularly. Certainly, not day after day, but I definitely had my 3 or 4 go-to “cute outfits” for when I was going out, and then various tanks and cardigans for bumming around the house.

4. I kept maternity purchases to “the basics”.

There were some items that I knew I would want to purchase and keep — things that I would wear all the time and could work for multiple different seasons of the year.

Things like a cute pair of jeans, some cute tank tops, and at least 1 cute maternity dress for church were on my list. Also, lots and LOTS of blacks, greys, and other neutral colors that could easily go with multiple different things.

And again, as I was making purchases, I always tried to see if I could find any non-maternity options first — just so I could continue wearing them after I was pregnant (if I wanted to).

My Bare Minimum Maternity Wardrobe:

In my opinion, the list below is the “bare minimum” of what you’d need for a basic maternity wardrobe. Of course, it’s different for everyone… but the items listed below worked for me with all 3 pregnancies, for all different weather conditions, and at all different stages of my pregnancies.

  • 1 pair of maternity jeans
  • 1 pair of maternity comfy pants (I prefer black so they look dressy enough to wear out and about)
  • 1 or 2 pairs of maternity leggings or yoga pants
  • 2 or 3 dresses and/or skirts (these are by far the most comfortable choice, especially when you get bigger)
  • 4 – 6 maternity tank tops (I wore these basically every day with some sort of cardigan or wrap shirt over top, and often with a scarf too)
  • 3 – 6 cute maternity shirts or sweaters

Please keep in mind that I work from home, so I don’t need a work wardrobe. And since my family members are the only people who see me every single day, I can easily get away with wearing the same outfits over and over again!

If you’re pregnant in the winter, you might want a maternity coat (I borrowed this). If you’re pregnant in the summer, you might want a maternity bathing suit and shorts — however I always suggest just waiting to see how big you really get and what you find is most comfortable.

I was actually able to wear one of Dave’s grey fleece coats for my entire pregnancy with Nora (even all the way until November) and then I borrowed a cute red coat for the last couple winter months with Simon.

I also found some cute (and VERY LONG) tankini bathing suit tops from Target when I was pregnant with Nora and used them with James as well. They were a little tight at the end with James, but considering I was just sitting in my back yard with my kids, it wasn’t a huge deal. The best part of this deal is that the tops aren’t maternity, so they still look cute!

I never got maternity PJ’s because I just wore baggy pants and a t-shirt (and then one of Dave’s t-shirts as I got bigger). I also never got maternity underwear (although mine was pretty tight towards the end!)

So there you have it — my thoughts on how to keep a relatively minimalistic maternity wardrobe.

I’d love to hear what worked for you too!

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14 comments

  1. Pat

    01/22/2016

    Granted I was pregnant a long time ago but my tricks can still work today. I used bikini panties rather than maternity, I couldn’t see them after the 4th month but who cares? I wore nursing bras during the pregnancy since I would need them later anyway. My husbands shirts fit pretty good in a pinch. I learned to always wear an apron in the kitchen so my clothes didn’t get stained and I could wear them for several pregnancies. It’s not rocket science but every little bit helps.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    these tips are all great! Thanks Pat! I did some of them with my pregnancies (including wearing Dave’s shirts!)

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  2. pat harris

    10/31/2015

    I used bikini panties for my last three pregnancies because I had regular panties for the first one and the elastic stretched out completely in them. they fell to the floor when I put them on!

    [Reply]

  3. Alicia

    10/23/2015

    Hi Andrea! I’ve been a longtime reader since before Nora was born, but rarely comment. I loved this post about your minimal maternity wardrobe, and I took a similar approach through all 3 of my pregnancies. I could never stomach spending an arm and a leg on clothes I’d be wearing less than 9 months!

    So I apologize if this is too personal, but I’d love to know if you guys think you’ll have a 4th? I know it’s probably a little early to be thinking about that, and I know it used to drive me crazy when other people asked me that, haha, but I’d love to know! That’s our debate right now. I have 3 boys. My oldest is 7, my 2nd was born a month before Nora, and I just had my 3rd in February. With 3 boys, it’s inevitable that we’re constantly asked some variation of the question, “Are you going to try for a girl?”, or my personal favorite, “You’re done, right?”. 🙂 But we’ve always wanted a big family, and we’re contemplating rounding our family out with a nice even number. So I guess now I’M being that nosy person, but since we’re currently going through the “big debate” , I’d love to know! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Alicia,
    well… you’re right, it’s probably a little too early to be thinking about more kids for us 🙂 However, we’re not opposed to the idea. We are currently content with 3, but we’ll see how we feel in another year. I guess having 2 babies in 16 months kind of did me in for a bit. I need to wear normal clothing for a while before I think about maternity clothes again!

    [Reply]

  4. Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

    10/23/2015

    I’m thankful that our second baby is due in March, just like our first baby, so my maternity wardrobe is already fit for the season! Of course, now I’m staying at home verse when I was teaching for the first one, but aside from picking up a couple more casual shirts at a resale shop, I haven’t bought much. I borrowed clothes from friends the first time around, and was given some that started me off well. Yay for being frugal and comfy during pregnancy, too!

    [Reply]

  5. Sandra

    10/22/2015

    I had really good luck finding inexpensive maternity items at Goodwill and other thrift stores. I also got a lot of shirts that weren’t maternity, but stretched as my belly grew. Elastic waistband pants are wonderful when maternity pants are too big but pre-pregnancy pants are too small after the baby is born!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Amen! So thankful for elastic waistbands 🙂

    [Reply]

  6. Pixie508

    10/22/2015

    I don’t really have friends that are my size for pregnancy clothes, or those that were were actually pregnant around the same time, or had already gotten rid of stuff. So, I ended up buying a decent amount of stuff…. but I tried to keep it as minimal as possible.

    The one thing I got was from a friend who was done having kids – she had a super warm maternity pea coat. DS1 was born in January. She gave it to me on the condition that when I was done with it, I give it to another mom at no cost. Done!!

    I have several more petite friends who’ve gotten pretty large towards the end of their pregnancy, so they’ve borrowed my clothes, and I’ve loaned the coat to several ladies, even though they were smaller. We recently decided our family is complete, so now I’m working on “re-homing” the coat and my clothes. My SIL is currently pregnant, so I’ll be loaning her the coat in the immediate future anyway 🙂

    [Reply]

  7. Leigh

    10/22/2015

    I am 20 weeks with my fourth, and I get big fast.
    What works for me
    1-2 pairs maternity jeans. So much more comfortable than the belly trick
    few pairs of leggings for under dresses
    pair or two of maternity yoga pants, mostly for home. Always comfortable. I had yoga skirts for my August baby.
    maternity tanks, which fit well long after (my bestie wears then every day with her two year old) and I always wear on under everything
    t-shirts, long and short sleeve, just what is comfortable for me, enough for a week
    a few dresses. Dresses you never get to big for and are the coolest thing in summer
    Mix in my regular cardigans etc.

    Almost everything I get used, mostly at the bag sale at the end of a consignment sale so for pennies each.

    [Reply]

  8. Sherry

    10/22/2015

    Perfect timing! I was just reading up on this topic. Not currently pregnant with number 2 but hoping to be soon and planning on keeping my wardrobe as basic as possible.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay — congrats on baby #2!!

    [Reply]

  9. beth

    10/22/2015

    I was relatively minimal in my maternity wardrobe too. I never had anyone to borrow anything from though. That would have been handy. (People always recommend that too and I am like where do I find these previously pregnant moms who want to loan me stuff). 🙂

    I had 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of black pants and 1 pair of yoga pants, 1 pair of shorts, 9 maternity shirts (6 short sleeve, 3 long) that I wore over and over. Even to work. I bought 1 maternity dress to attend my sister’s bridal shower. And 1 maternity jacket. Although technically not maternity I did have to buy 2 bras in a bigger size as well.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I guess I just had a bunch of friends, relatives, and neighbors who were all pregnant at similar times so we would just pass stuff around!!

    [Reply]