The Everything Maternity Wear List
I have been a loyal reader for I don’t know how long now, and seriously, you have helped me out of many a fashion and styling dilemma (who knew, for example, that I could save myself from looking like I’d just left the gym simply by backcombing the top bit of my ponytail? That was a revelation and a half, I can tell you). However, now I find myself in the midst of quite nice dilemma that I don’t think you’ve answered yet!
I’m 4 months pregnant and due in April. I am currently in that “who ate all the pies?” phase, in which nobody is asking if I’m expecting, and everybody is thinking “Step away from the biscuit tin!” — but the waistband of my fat jeans is telling me that maternity clothes are not far away. The question is this: what do I really need? I’ve found about seventy billion lists of what I need for the baby, but absolutely none for me. Basically, I will only be wearing these clothes for the next 6 months (if I can’t fit into my old stuff after the birth, I’ll need new summer stuff anyway), so I don’t want to buy too much — but on the other hand, I’ll be wearing these clothes for the next 6 months, and I really don’t want to be wearing the same 2 t-shirts non-stop.
So here’s the deal: I work 3 days a week at a university, which does not require me to dress up too much, my standard outfit is a pair of dark coloured jeans and a blouse or a nice t-shirt or jumper (what you would call a sweater, I assume). The rest of the time, I wear pretty much the same stuff, just more casual (a washed out pair of jeans, more casual t-shirt, whatever). I do own a couple of smarter skirts, and trousers for more formal occasions, which take place about once a month. Other details: I live in Munich, Germany, which means a fair amount of snow and ice in the winter, so I’m thinking I’ll need a new coat as well.
I’ve tried sitting down and making a list, but the pregnancy OTT worrying keeps kicking in, so I’d love to hear the experiences of you and your readers on this one… Thanks a lot.
What to Wear When You’re Pregnant
Ha! I just gave away about 90% of my maternity clothing (and hand-me-downs from my sister) to a due-in-February friend, so this topic is at least somewhat refreshed in my mind.
(I will not lie…I gave the clothes away in hopes of tempting fate and a second pregnancy. Although I gave away about 150% of Noah’s baby clothes and toys about six months ago and NOTHING. ARGH.)
So. First up, if you can scrounge up some hand-me-downs, start there. A twice-pregnant coworker lent me her stash, and dude. Huge help. Some of the stuff wasn’t exactly my style and there was an AWFUL LOT OF PINK, but by the ninth month I did not care. Anything that covered mah belly and saved me from spending another dollar on maternity clothing that late in the game was welcome.
If hand-me-downs aren’t forthcoming, however, here’s a list of stuff I wore a lot. Like, a LOT. I really did wear the same few pieces over and over — I had a problem with buying stuff because it was on sale instead of really shopping around and buying things I genuinely loved. Whenever I DID treat myself to something cute and full price, it was usually worth it because I wore it to death.
Eight Maternity Wear Must-Haves
1. Jeans. Cute jeans. Think about how many pairs you have in regular rotation now and get about that many. I’m not sure what shopping options you have in Germany, but my favorite jeans were good old Gap Maternity. Nowadays more and more high-end denim brands (Citizens of Humanity, for example) are coming out with maternity lines. Since you wear jeans most of the time already AND have quite a few months to go, I would definitely say you’re justified in splurging on a great pair of jeans. (Especially if you’re thinking you might get pregnant again.) (Oh! And part of the reason for my cheapness during my own pregnancy was because I was sure we were only having one, and yeah. That went out the window by the time Noah was a month old.)
2. Black pants. A stretchy casual pair and a dressier pair. Slimming for the spreading-out ass! And since you’ll be pregnant in the winter you probably won’t want to wear a lot of dresses (maternity tights and hose = gah, and to be avoided if possible, says the girl who worked in a hose-required-at-all-times office), so black pants are fantastic way to dress up a little, especially when paired with…
3. Twinsets. I know! But seriously, sooooo versatile. A lot of maternity tops tend to be a little…sack-like, so I love the look of two pieces to break up the hugeness. Plus your body temperature tends to go kind of kaplooey during pregnancy, meaning you are forever too cold or too hot. A tank/tee paired with a cute cardigan or shrug works really well.
4. Enough tops to get you through a laundry cycle. Tees, sweaters (jumpers!), whatever. Try to find stuff that looks the MOST like what you wear now — trust me, you’ll wear that stuff way more than some polka-dot-and-bow monstrosity. With the current trend of big, long and voluminous-type tops, you could probably even wear some non-maternity tops for a few months. To give you an idea on a number: Don’t count on wearing anything twice before washing it. You will spill EVERYTHING on yourself. You will be klutzy and completely forget how to eat without dribbling food down your front. They don’t make napkins big enough for pregnant women. Unless you’re talking about tarps.
(Now would be a good time to interject that you don’t have to buy EVERYTHING right now. You are allowed to shop during your entire pregnancy! You get multiple trips! I know it’s natural to want to buy stuff now for maximum wearing time, but as you expand it’s inevitable that stuff you buy early on won’t work anymore.)
5. A dress or two. I had a ton of dresses since mine was a summer pregnancy, but it’s a good thing to have no matter what. Black and stretchy works the best, although if there’s a specific special occasion it does feel nice to go with something more tailored to your shape. Oh, and a plunge-y neckline to show off the pregnancy cleavage. Heh.
6. A coat. Again, I didn’t need one, but my sister did. She bought a nice wool peacoat from the Gap, and then layered thin ski-type thermal fleeces underneath when it got really cold. I think this is a great idea, since really, the LAST thing a pregnant woman needs is a bulky puffy coat that makes her look like a lumbering abominable snowman.
7. Underwear. It never occurred to me that I’d need special maternity underwear, but I did. Low-cut in the front and a little more generous in the back. (I actually still wore thongs most of the time, but y’all know my documented panty-line insanity.) They were also great to have postpartum, when things aren’t yet back to normal and also way too…messy. (Sorry, it is true.) I let the maternity panties get all ruined and gross, then tossed them.
7b. Bras. Don’t worry about nursing bras — buy regular bras as your boobage grows and wait until your milk comes in to get measured for nursing bras. I bought a few ahead of time and completely misjudged what size I’d need. Waste of a lot of money, honestly. Get a sports bra in a bigger size to wear in the first week or so postpartum (if you even get to put your boobs away that long).
8. Soft cozy jammies and stretch pants. Embrace your inner slob, at least occasionally.
Other thoughts: You might also find in a few months that you need to go up a half-size or so in your shoes. Buy some nice flats and don’t panic…my feet went back to my old size immediately, so there’s no need to cry every time you look at all your pretty, pretty shoes that will never fit AGAIN, MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE, GO AWAY YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND MY FEET ARE FAT AND HIDEOUS SOB.
(That may have just been my particular brand of pregnancy brain. But yeah. Get ready to be a little…emotional sometimes.)
Published October 12, 2007. Last updated November 10, 2017.