You know me, friends. My approach to maternity dressing this last round was…minimalistic, you could say.
Tempted as I was to overhaul my entire wardrobe in favor of maternity-specific pieces that would ensure comfy bump’in for the better part of a year, the more realistic approach was to utilize as much of my current wardrobe as possible, mixing in just a few really solid maternity items that would truly make a difference where comfort was concerned — especially in the last trimester. Unsurprisingly, many of those pieces came from one of my tried-and-true sources for all timeless better-than-basics: Gap.
Quick interruption: Gap’s Friends & Family Sale is going on now through 3/29 — the perfect opportunity to save 40% off on all the maternity, postpartum and nursing-friendly elevated basics shared here. Plus, everything else we love for everyday dressing (jeans!) and family essentials (we practically collect their organic kids’ jammies). OK, onward…
My Criteria For Maternity Essentials? Comfy, Versatile, High-Quality & Affordable
I’ve been a Gap shopper since my early mallrat days, and so many Gap finds served me well during my first pregnancy that it’s one of the first places I turned to when I wanted a few maternity essentials to round out my otherwise fairly flexible wardrobe this time, too. (Truthfully, most of my Gap maternity clothes from my pregnancy with Lana were in such good condition, I could have just plugged them right back in…had a little pandemic purging not prompted me to share them with a neighbor a few months before I found out we were expecting. Oops.)
Strategically, I narrowed my scope to maternity clothes that were 1) comfortable (duh); 2) versatile and 3) high-quality. Since I was only planning to add a handful of new articles to my closet, they’d be worn and washed (and worn…and washed) in heavy rotation, so it was important that they’d hold up well. Oh, and then there’s the 4th attribute I failed to mention, above: they also had to be the right price point. Sure, I’ve still been wearing most of these items in the postpartum stage, but ultimately this isn’t a category where I’m looking to spend Lifetime Investment Piece Dollars.
Maternity clothes that are comfortable, versatile, high-quality and well-priced? Gap’s got it in the bag.
Gap Maternity Essentials: Elevated Leggings, An Unexpected Nursing Sweatshirt + The Best Crew Socks (No, Really…)
Below, more on exactly what makes each of the pieces in this outfit-worthy, for the few spots I reserved in my closet for elevated maternity essentials.
A big time bonus? They’re all on sale during Gap’s Friends & Family sale running 3/24-3/29. Think big savings here, gang: 40% off sitewide. Talk about a friendly price point.
Maternity Side-Zip Nursing Sweatshirt // Such a no-brainer, and the definition of the elevated basics that Gap does best. Classic, slightly oversized sweatshirt vibes with exposed side zips that make for easy nursing access. Admittedly, I’m not always a fan of “nursing” tops, but the silver metallic zippers on this style feel much more like an intentional style element that just happens to facilitate breastfeeding. As in, I’ll be wearing this one for a good, long while. Typically between an XS-S and wearing a S here.
Maternity GapFit Ribbed Crop Top // Another top I plan to wear long past the maternity dressing stage. I’m not sure exactly what makes this top maternity aside from the fact that perhaps the sizing is cut a bit more generously to accommodate a fuller bust, but it’s a solid crop top no matter how you slice it. It’s been great for my low-key pilates workouts and stretching routines. And it’s also the exact right length for doing the faux-tuck thing where you tuck the hem of an oversized sweater or sweatshirt into a longline bra or crop top — the perfect way to expose a little of the bump if you’re wearing a fitted maternity dress or similar. Wearing a S here, but probably could have done an XS, too.
Maternity Recycled Power Full Panel 7/8 Leggings // Made with 78% recycled polyester, and super comfy. Love that the wide, full panel waistband features the same pattern as the rest of the leggings, so you can wear cropped tanks or tees without it looking like part of the garment is exposed that’s not meant to be seen. (Also available in a few solids, too, and a cool black-on-black leopard that would be easy to dress up almost like faux leather.) I’ve worn these a bunch to support a postpartum pooch, too — and you could also fold the waistband down to get even more mileage of out them well past pregnancy. Also — and I feel like this is key — pockets! I’m usually between an XS-S and sized up to S per reviews to ensure these would fit well into my third trimester.
Organic Cotton Crew Socks // Gap’s crew socks have always been good, but I feel like these are some of their best yet. These are plush and thick without feeling too pudgy in my sneaks. Just generally speaking, they wash and wear really well without stretching out or sagging. Available in tons of colors. I wear a size 8 shoe and ordered the S/M.
Maternity Lace Nursing Bra (not pictured, but a fave) // One of the prettiest nursing bras I’ve worn — it almost looks and feels just like a comfy lace bralette. I’ve yet to have one of the cups come unhooked on me, too (usually a pet peeve with this style of nursing bra). Also relatively supportive considering the wireless structure. Just a super-easy basic that I now own in every color. Sizewise, I’m usually around a 34C (but my good boob is probably pushing a D these days), and I’m wearing a M.
Shop More Gap Maternity Clothing
I almost wish I had more time during this pregnancy to try what I know would also be solid hits from Gap’s maternity selection: my beloved girlfriend jeans with a maternity panel (!!); this easy, flirty swimsuit; and I’ve got this (non-maternity) V-neck button-front shirt on its way to me as we speak — looks like the perfect, breastfeeding-friendly top for spring. More of my picks for maternity and fourth trimester dressing, below.
Oh, and remember when I mentioned accidentally parting ways with all my Gap maternity pieces from my first pregnancy? Well…I may have neglected to mention that one of the most-worn items in my non-maternity wardrobe continues to be one of the Gap maternity tanks I bought back in 2014. (This seems to be the current version.) Yes, I’ve been wearing a Gap maternity tank for the past eight years, because it’s just the right length, it’s perfect for layering, it retains its shape so, so well — and it’s held up through literally hundreds of washings without a single loose thread or hole.
So like I said. In the bag.
Big thanks to Gap and ShopStyle for sponsoring this post. I’ve long believed Gap to have some of the most reliable fashion options out there — their jeans have always been excellent, and for the past two pregnancies, I’ve relied pretty heavily on their thoughtfully designed maternity essentials to keep me timelessly styled — and comfortable. And thank you so much to our The Mom Edit readers for visiting this space time and again and supporting the brand partners that keep us doing our thing. We truly appreciate it so much.
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Photos by Carolyn Stockman.