Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Build a Maternity Wardrobe

how to build a maternity wardrobe

When I started searching for maternity fashion on the web, Pinterest and various style blogs, I didn’t find a lot of advice. There were various fashion bloggers that continued to have style posts while preggo, but many of them didn’t include tips. I thought that I’d share some tips that I learned along the way, in an effort to keep those of you with a current (or future) baby bump swagged in style.

When I was first pregnant for Violet, I was quite sick. “Morning sickness” lasted all day long, and I couldn’t even keep water in my system. Needless to say, I was hospitalized for almost a week until they were able to put me on the proper combination of medication to keep my tummy at bay. Because of the lack of proper nutrition, I lost a lot of weight in a short period of time. I was pleased about that fact – I had always wanted to be smaller before I had a child – but the way I got smaller wasn’t the most fun. Since I had lost weight, much of my clothing was baggy on me, in spite of my growing mid-section. I was able to put off purchasing many maternity items in the beginning, other than bottoms – non-elasticized waistbands made me nauseated right from the beginning, even before a baby bump started to show. Once I started shopping, oh boy! Lots of fun.

maternity style

 Here are some basic style tips to get you started in shopping for a maternity wardrobe:

Don’t forget about your regular wardrobe:
Cardigans and casual dresses from your own closet will get you through the majority of your pregnancy, as well as tunic tops. Although many of your stretchy shirts will still fit – and will be tempting to wear – resist the urge. They’ll fit you throughout the pregnancy, sure, but once that baby bump is gone the shirts tend to stay a bit misshapen.

Shop secondhand:
Considering the short period of time that one uses a maternity wardrobe, keep an eye out at your favourite secondhand shops. Consignment stores, thrift shops, even websites like Kijiji and yard sale sites are excellent sources for inexpensive, mint condition maternity clothing. Some of my favourite maternity pieces that I purchased were secondhand: sometimes they are fantastic brand-name items at a fraction of the price.  Also, borrow what you can from previously preggo friends that take a similar size as you. Most ladies are eager to share.

Check out the big-box stores:
No need to shop at the expensive, boutique style maternity stores: your local big box stores, such as Target, Walmart, Old Navy and Sears have great maternity clothing at much better price points. If you do happen to stop at a specialty store, make sure to head straight for the back: the sale racks can render many awesome, stylish pieces at a fraction of the price.

Stock up on staples:
I’ll get into this a little more when I talk about what I purchased, but remember – basics and layers are your friends always, but especially when outfitting a baby bump. Simple tanks, t-shirts, and long-sleeved tees are lifesavers and can be dressed up or down.

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize:
The use of accessories can really stretch your maternity wardrobe. Necklaces, earrings and scarves draw attention to your glowing mama face and away from your possibly less-than-stylish outfit. A belt placed below your bust and above your bump does wonders to define that one part of your body that seems to remain trim throughout your trimesters.

Fancy footwear:
If you don’t already have them in your wardrobe, invest in a quality, cute pair of sturdy heels (a wedge is always comfy and stylish) and an adorable pair of flats with a bit of flair. Your swelling feet will thank you when you’re carrying the extra weight around on comfortable footwear. Nothing worse than feeling as though the only thing that fits is your pair of Crocs that should only see the light of day when you’re weeding the garden.

Wardrobe Essentials:
While pregnant for Baby V, I found that I was able to mix and match my maternity wardrobe much more easily than my regular clothes. I think that this was due to the fact that I shopped more strategically – I wanted to be able to put together outfits quickly. Most of the pieces that I purchased were solid colours, with a few stripes and polka dots mixed in. Most of my pattern tended to come from non-maternity dresses or scarves.

maternity fashion and style

When it comes time to shop for a maternity wardrobe for your expanding tummy, I would recommend purchasing the following items:

Jeans (2 pairs): one dressy, and one more casual or trendy.
Pants (2 other types): I chose a pair of coloured jeans and black dress pants.
Leggings: if you’re able to find them, maternity leggings are the best, since they’re made for your expanding mid-section.
Casual skirts (1-2): I found a maternity jean skirt at a consignment shop that I wore until it fell apart.
Dressy skirts (1-2): try and find skirts that you can dress up or down.
Tank tops (2-3): pick at least one neutral – the much-longer tanks are perfect for under your non-maternity cardigans, and are lifesavers for covering your expanding chest and belly.
T-shirts or long-sleeved tees (2-3): the extra length makes a huge difference between feeling self conscious and covered. Try to find at least one in a fun colour or print.
Blouse: I had a white maternity blouse with black polka dots, purchased through an Instagram sale, that went well with jeans as well as dressier bottoms.
Maternity dresses (1-2): I loved my maternity dresses; in fact, my favourite one was what I wore for our maternity photo session.
Maternity coat: whatever the season, try to borrow or purchase an appropriate coat. You won’t regret it when it’s -15 degrees out and your coat is actually able to button over your bump.

I hope that these tips and suggestions can help even one of you to feel less daunted by your dwindling closet. I had lots of fun dressing myself and my bump, but just wait: dressing your new little one will be even more exciting!

All images in this post were taken by the lovely Michelle Leudy of Hind Heart Studios. If you're located in Cape Breton and looking for a great photographer, I highly recommend them! Let them know I sent you :)

First image/graphic was edited by myself.

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