OK pals — buckle up. Back when I first started this post, I had three weeks left on ye olde pregnancy journey, and plenty to say about getting dressed this time around. As someone who is pretty practical when it comes to investing in my wardrobe (and who is almost positive this is my last time doing this?), I really made an effort to keep the number of maternity-specific pieces I purchased to a minimum…while also still maintaining some sense of…togetherness — and personal style.
This post has been updated for all of the new & expecting Mamas of 2023.
A Pregnancy Capsule Wardrobe For The Maternity Minimalist
What’s that mean, specifically? For me, that meant investing only in maternity-specific foundation pieces that I knew I’d wear daily and then adding in a few other timeless, non-maternity-specific wardrobe staples to top off that comfy base layer. Some of them I already owned; some of them I picked up during this pregnancy with the intention of wearing them well beyond.
Sticking to forgiving silhouettes in a neutral color palette worked well for me, too. Not only does my personal style tend to lean rather neutral in the first place, but anything that helps me feel even a smidge chic as I attempt to squeeze into all the elasticized pregnancy clothes is worth a second look.
(Bonus points for also having a solid capsule of accessories to fall back on. For details on the handful I’m wearing the most, check out The 5 Timeless Shoes & Accessories I’ll Be Wearing Into Spring.)
So, below are all my most-worn items from my latest pregnancy. Everything, essentially, follows my loose maternity wardrobe formula: a few maternity foundation pieces + a handful of versatile, non-maternity wardrobe essentials. The result is cohesive, easygoing, and comfy. Plus, (wisely, if you ask me) it invests more in pieces for pregnancy outfits that you’ll wear long past pregnancy.
And I plugged in loads of good ol’ OOTD and inspo photos, too.
My Fave Pregnancy Wardrobe Staples: The Foundation
This list is pretty short — just a few, affordable basics that make up the foundation of my “maternity” wardrobe. It should be noted that I work from home, so while there are some opportunities here to build business casual outfits from these pieces, nothing skews very business formal.
If I was having to dress for a formal office environment, I’d consider adding a pair of trousers (I’d been eyeing these Stiletto Pants, actually — they have great reviews) and a timeless blouse to this capsule-of-sorts. You could also get away with just wearing an oversized version of a non-maternity blouse, too, but the Hatch Collection reviews are great, and I love knowing that the bump would, indeed, be covered without a peek of belly.
1 | Maternity Tanks
2 | Maternity Leggings
This pair of Z by Zella maternity leggings gets the job done. Sold out, similar here. I bought my pre-pregnancy size (XS) and the fit is great. I have these Zella maternity leggings as well, and I wear them interchangeably. So at twice the price, I might rather have two pairs of the former. Also, love these Gap full-panel maternity leggings (I sized up to an S since they’re a little more compressive). Love the pockets and the variety of available colors/patterns, too.
In all cases, the maternity panel is just an extension of the same fabric of the leggings, too, so you can pair these with more cropped tees and tanks and not feel like you’re exposing a portion of the garment that’s not meant to be seen.
3 | Maternity Overalls
These maternity overalls might not necessarily be chic, and I know overalls, in general, can be pretty polarizing, but I’ll always love their campy playfulness — and they’re comfortable to boot. Maybe even more so than leggings since there is zero pressure on your middle — something that was super valuable to me during the first and second trimesters when my all-day nausea was at its peak. They’re fun to style, too. My exact overalls are sold out, but this is a similar style in a different wash (I’m between a 0-2 and went with the 2). Oh, and I just found mine available in a non-maternity version, too! Optimistically adding those to the cart as we speak…
Giving these overalls a special shout-out, too, because even though they’re technically not maternity overalls, I bought them one size up during the first trimester and they’re still one of the comfiest pieces I’m wearing. (Sizing on these is generous; I’m usually between an XS-S and the XS would probably be my preference pre-pregnancy; knowing I wanted these to last the whole term, I sized up to an S.)
4 | Maternity Jeans
I’m a jeans girl through and through, so investing in at least one pair of maternity denim made sense for me. My most-worn pair, hands down, are these Ankle Straight Jeans from Abercrombie, of all places. I bought my usual pre-pregnancy size, and they look and wear like a well-broken-in pair of boyfriend jeans: just a little slouchy, and the distressing feels high-end and genuine. Real pockets, too. I’m convinced these are about as cool as maternity jeans are going to get for under $90 — and I must not be alone, because stock is running low. Here’s hoping this is a perennial style Abercrombie intends keep around for a long while.
As a close runner-up, I also have Abercrombie’s Super Skinny Jean in the black and the Jean Leggings in the Dark Wash (really more of a classic medium wash, if you ask me). Both are super comfy, and arguably easier to dress up a bit because of the slim silhouette (the black ones, in particular, are great with boots and a sweater). Both also have real waistbands and real front and back pockets, which I appreciate. Pretty good on the butt, too. Per reviews, I sized up one in these, and they’re adequately slim without the hips or belly band being too constrictive.
5 | Maternity/Nursing Sweatshirt
This could just as easily be swapped for a good ol’ oversized sweatshirt but I picked this one up for the zippered access that will make breastfeeding a breeze later. Love this hoodie, too, for the easy, discreet access that doesn’t scream I’M A NURSING TOP. Also eyeing this set for postpartum.
My Non-Maternity Pregnancy Wardrobe Faves: The Support
This brings us to the clothes I’ve worn most this pregnancy that are NOT maternity-specific at all. This is where I chose to invest in forgiving knits that are comfy now but will have forever spots in my closet: chic outerwear in a neutral color palette that’ll get year-round wear, and accessories (we’ve already talked about a handful of my faves in this post).
1 | Cropped Tanks & Tees
If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Not normally my MO, but a pregnant belly might be the exception. I get burned out on every top and tank being tunic length during pregnancy, so as long as you’re wearing those full-panel leggings, you might as well let the bump peek out from beneath a cute cropped graphic tee or a sporty tank that you’ll wear long past pregnancy. I have this Zella tank in a few colors now, and it’s just cropped enough for my liking when pregnant — and when not pregnant. Also love wearing my favorite graphic tees (Lucky Brand and Abercrombie are my go-tos), knotted just above the bump.
2 | Knit & Cashmere Sweaters
I’ve developed a small obsession with high-end knits and cashmere. It’s a hazard of the job as many of us here at The Mom Edit can attest. (Many thanks to Shana for making us all see the light.) But for good reason — sweaters are probably my second most-worn item (only after the tanks I wear under them), so it makes sense to spend my dollars there and take time to find knits and silhouettes that will stand up to years of wear.
At this point, the majority of my cashmere is Naadam. When on sale, in particular, I find it to be the best quality cashmere for the price. Yes, their loftiest sweaters approach $300-$400, but their mid- and light-weight sweaters are my bread and butter. They’re all incredibly soft, and the mid-weight level, in particular, offers luxe loft without bulkiness — perfect on their own or for layering. I’m between an XS-S and always wear an S in Naadam, though I’ve been toying lately with the idea of buying something a couple of sizes larger and shrinking it ever so slightly for a denser, loftier knit. (Is this the cashmere hack we’ve all been missing? Or a well-known hack only I am missing?)
My most-worn styles this pregnancy are the Recycled Cashmere Hoodie (lightweight, super soft, easy to layer — a favorite under overalls); and the Cashmere Oversized Turtleneck. It’s by far the most luxe sweater I own, but I’ve worn it dozens of times already this fall and winter. (It’s not on sale at the moment, but if you can manage to wait, it’s usually included when they have seasonal sitewide discounts.)
EILEEN FISHER Waffle Knits
I also just picked up this Eileen Fisher waffle knit sweater, and it’s SO FREAKING LOVELY. It’s sadly sold out, but this one is really similar. It instantly makes me feel chic, whether I’m wearing it with leggings and hikers or a stretchy dress. The funnel neck is gorgeous — as classic and sophisticated as a turtleneck, but far less constricting — and the sustainable cotton/Tencel fabrication makes it super-soft. Again, an investment piece. And full transparency on this one, I could see the waffle knit being prone to snagging if you have pets that tend to jump on/claw at you. (I hooked it on a rogue beaded earring and was able to quickly reverse the snag, but it’s not something I’d want to do repeatedly.) It also drapes really beautifully, so it’s the perfect candidate for wearing in its full, tunic-length glory OR half-tucking it to show off the bump.
(My hack for the cropped look above, by the way: I put a fitted cropped tank over the Michael Stars dress and tucked the front hem of the sweater into it.)
Elodie Cable Knit Sweater
As a far more affordable option, this Elodie sweater was a super pleasant surprise. (Sold out, similar style option here.) It’s densely knit, plush, and soft, and it hasn’t pilled with washing. And it’s perfectly cropped for just showing off the bump when paired with maternity leggings or a dress. I’ve been wearing it since the holidays, and it came with us on vacation, too. Definitely a piece that exceeds expectations. Wearing an S.
3 | Versatile Joggers
I’ve managed to continue wearing all my pre-pregnancy sweats and joggers (basically anything with a drawstring waist) over the past nine months. Most of my standard leggings fit, too, but folding down the waistband tends to put unnecessary pressure on the bladder — as if I need more of that.
Unlike leggings, the waists on sweats and joggers tend to be more forgiving, and it’s easy enough to just let them ride a little low under the bump, topped off with one of those lovely maternity tanks I stocked up on. To keep the whole sweats-as-daytime-clothes thing feeling a bit more intentional, I stick with either a true athleisure vibe (these classic Adidas striped joggers are easily my most-worn pair, ever) or just keep it easy with black and neutral hues.
4 | Knit Black Dresses
There are loads of black maternity dresses out there, but I’ve found that, pretty often, the right non-maternity knit dress has enough forgiveness to accommodate pregnancy while earning a place in your closet long beyond. I’ve worn the heck out of three styles, in particular.
I can’t say enough good things about this Vince sleeveless wrap dress I snagged during the #NSale (yep, I was pregnant then. Anyone else feel like I’ve been knocked up just short of forever?). (That dress has since sold out, but this one from Lululemon is really similar with a fun back cutout.) It’s been my official date night dress of this pregnancy, though I’ve worn it for casual, daytime-wear plenty, too. The trick is to ditch the little chintzy “belt loops,” and just wrap the dang thing wherever it hits most flatteringly on your bod. Early on, I wore it wrapped a little closer to my hips; in the third trimester, I wrap it right above the bump and “blouse” the top portion a little. Love it with a sweater half-tucked into the belt, as well, as a way to winterize it a bit (also makes it more office appropriate). One of my best buys of this past year, especially now that it’s under $100.
I’ve worn this mini sweater dress (similar here) both alone and as a layering tunic with leggings. It’s comfortable, on-trend with the half-zip thing and thick enough that it worked for wintry outfits. Wearing an XS.
Scotti has actually been raving about this Michael Stars racerback midi dress for a while, and I agree that it’s one of the most versatile dresses I own. The shirring on the front and back is flattering on the middle (and allows plenty of room for a belly), and you can sorta scrunch it higher or lower so the hem hits just where you like. Wearing an S.
5 | Camel Outerwear
I swear that sticking to a mostly neutral color scheme — and making two of those colors black + camel, in particular — really stacked the deck in my favor. For some reason, black and camel almost always look chic and together, even when it’s just a pairing of leggings and fleece. Here are the three butterscotchy coats that helped all my fall and winter separates feel more effortlessly intentional.
I’ve been eyeing camel coats for the past couple of seasons now, so it seems unusual that I’d choose to add one now, at a time when my sizing is so in flux. But when Abercrombie offered to send over a couple of things earlier this year (many thanks, friends), I spied this wrap version, and the stars aligned. (Again, this one is sold out… but this one is seriously similar and comes in more shades.) This has been one of the pieces I’ve reached for most these past several months — it instantly makes whatever you’re wearing feel collected and intentional, and paired with a structured bag or a big fluffy scarf and a crossbody, its sings of fashiony, Pinterest-worthy vibes with verrrrry little effort. Which is my fave, gang. MY FAVE.
The fit on this one is intentionally oversized, but not obscenely so. And the price point is great for the quality. It’s a wool blend, which reads pretty high-end. I have noticed a little pilling here and there where my bag tends to rub repeatedly (nothing a lint shaver can’t clean right up), but it’s worth noting that I wear this coat a lot. Three to five times a week, I’d say. If you’re in the market for a coat that can chicly grow with you — and then stay in rotation well beyond pregnancy — I can’t recommend it enough. Looking to invest in something a little more luxe? THIS ONE. *drool*
This quilted bomber is newer to me but is such an easy piece to wear. And it’s got some unexpected features I really appreciate: a zippered pocket on the sleeve (perfect for securing an ID or credit card); double hand warmer pockets; and side zips that allow you to easily get in and out of the car without unzipping the coat. (These are also kinda unintentionally perfect for accommodating an expanding middle.) The bomber collar keeps it feeling a little sporty while the quilting makes it just a tad preppier. It’s just a cool, versatile jacket — and in a few other pretty colors, too, including black. Sizing runs a little generously; I’m usually between an XS-S and I’m wearing an XS here.
I spoke at length about this Patagonia Classic Retro-X Fleece Jacket in this post, but the punchline is: it’s so much more than just another cozy fleece. Aside from the classic styling (I love the retro, contrasting chest pocket), it’s lined with a performance, windproof barrier and a moisture-wicking mesh lining, so even on our super brisk, windy days, it’s single-layer warmth without a lot of weight. And yet, it doesn’t overheat. Which is what I would hope for from a “fleece” that’s almost $200, but I can absolutely confirm this is one of those instances where you get what you pay for. Lots of fun colors to choose from. Fit is TTS if you want it to be closer cut; I wanted it to not only fit the bump but also be slightly oversized post-pregnancy, so I’m wearing the S here.
6 | Stretchdown Puffer
I’ve got to give a nod to my Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Puffer because it’s seen me through this entire pregnancy. This has been a favorite puffer for well over a year now (gifted last year from Mountain Hardwear, a brand I’ve long loved — thank you, team!) and it’s so well-designed. (Full disclosure, mine is past-season and has a slightly different back panel.) A mid-weight puffer is pretty much essential around here, and I was so glad not to have to invest in a new one (or a dorky jacket extension panel) to wear mine well into my third trimester. I swear the Stretchdown construction is to credit here. It doesn’t look stretchy, but it moves with your body without any constriction while still offering the coziness and loft you’d want from a classic puffer. Pregnant or not, I can’t recommend this line enough, but it was a pleasant surprise how friendly it was for maternity wear. (If you’re looking for more length, a friend of mine has the parka and also loves it.) True to size; wearing an XS.
7 | A Pair of Supersoft Overalls
In case you skipped straight to this section and missed the shoutout these received above, this particular pair of overalls — while not maternity — has suited me through the duration of this pregnancy. (At 37 weeks, they’re just now starting to push it.) Super-soft with a hint of stretch, these were ideal for summer and fall, and I can’t wait to wear them postpartum in the spring, too. (Sizing on these is generous; I’m usually between an XS-S and the XS would probably be my preference pre-pregnancy; knowing I wanted these to last the whole term, I sized up to a S.)
And that, friends, is IT. Quite literally almost everything I’ve worn during this particular phase of life — and I’m so pleased that the majority of it will live in my closet (and not the Sterilite bin marked “preggo stuff” in the garage) for a good, loooong while.
If you have fave maternity pieces (or non-maternity maternity pieces) you loved, too, feel free to share ’em, below. I’d love to know what made the cut!
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All professional imagery by Carolyn Stockman.
This one’s for the Pinners!