I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with maternity clothes. I’m so grateful to have things that actually fit over my growing bump, but at the same time I feel very limited in what I can wear, and getting dressed every morning is a huge challenge. Well, most mornings I opt for yoga pants and a loose top, so let me restate that: Getting dressed every time I have to leave the house is a challenge.
Luckily, I’ve navigated the maternity clothes scene for the last few months, and figured out what you actually need, what you can skip, and what you can just size up on when it comes to regular clothes. Maternity pieces can be expensive, so I suggest only investing in certain things that you really need.
Note that I have yet to find good shorts or swimwear, so send your recs please!
There are certain things that are very helpful to have, and some that you don’t need to spend your hard-earned money on. Based on my personal experience, here are my top maternity clothing essentials.
Jeans: I pretty much live in my maternity jeans for date nights, hang outs with friends, and everything in between. I have probably tried on over 20 different brands and have only found one that works for my body. My mom gave me a dark pair for Christmas and I bought myself a white pair. They’re expensive but I wear them daily so to me, they’re worth it.
With maternity jeans you can either buy low rise or a “hidden belly” which basically has a lot of fabric on the top that covers your belly. I prefer this option because they’re insanely comfortable and hold everything in.
Tank Tops: I wear long maternity/nursing tank tops under cardigans and also under thinner shirts and sweaters. My favorite so far is this one from Boob Designs because of how comfortable it is and how great it looks on my belly. I have a few from H&M that I like as well, but aren’t as great quality. I suggest investing in a white one, black one, and neutral one so you’re covered.
These will come in handy when the baby comes because they all have removable nursing straps.
Leggings: I’ve also tried multiple brands of leggings, and have sadly found that I don’t like any of the maternity ones. They’re either too thick or completely see through. I recently purchased a pair of lululemon Align Pants and they’re money for pregnant bellies. I ended up buying my usual size and they fit perfectly, look super flattering, and never feel too tight in the stomach. The amount of stretch is insane! I bought the cropped and long ones because I wear them so often.
Tees: Get a bunch of plain (and striped, of course!) short and long sleeved tees. I bought like seven of these from Old Navy that I use often and they’re all under $20 (my favorite is the scoop neck in black and navy stripe), but my favorite ones are looser like this striped one that I wear constantly. As far as tighter shirts go, this one in stripe has been my go-to lately. It fits really well and the scoop neck is feminine and pretty. I also have the tank version for under cardigans and working out.
Bras: At this point, underwires are just not even close to comfortable. Luckily buying in a nursing bra early is a smart investment because you’ll use it during pregnancy for comfort and then post-baby for nursing. I pretty much live in this sports bra that is also a nursing bra. It’s insanely comfortable. I also love this non-sports bra version.
Non-Maternity Clothes you Can Wear
Long sweaters: I have a few thin, long sweaters that still fit, and they’re my favorite casual thing to wear when it’s cool. This one is $39 and I bought it in black and grey at the very beginning of my pregnancy when I was just looking a little bloated. They’ve probably been the biggest staple in my maternity wardrobe so far! They’re really soft and look quite flattering.
Maxi Dresses: No need to size up in looser maxi dresses. I’m still wearing a bunch from last summer! If you like that fitted-to-your-belly look, invest in a maternity maxi. This one from Old Navy is affordable and flattering (see me wearing it here). I also just love this dress in all four colors. I have it in blue and white.
A few fun pieces
You’re pregnant for a long time, and it’s easy to get sick of the few pieces of maternity clothes you probably have already. You don’t need a full on new wardrobe, but pick 3-4 of the pieces below to round out your looks.
Dresses: If you’re pregnant now through summer months, I suggest getting a few cute dresses.
Blouses: I love loose, silky blouses, and although some of my old ones still fit, the loose ones made for maternity wear just look better. I just bought this one from ASOS that I wear over a white tank. It looks super cute!
Sweaters: This sweater (also for nursing) has been one of my favorite maternity purchases because it really hides everything well. On days where I don’t feel like flaunting my belly, it’s a go-to for sure. I wore it to lunch with a friend who is nursing yesterday, and she bought it on the spot!
Maternity Brands I love
AG Jeans: I can’t stress enough how much their maternity jeans have saved me. They’re super comfortable and very flattering. I wear them every day. I have this dark pair and this white pair. I really want this distressed pair too but can’t justify spending that much money on them right now.
Hatch Collection: Their pieces are looser and flowy which I’m definitely more into. I wear this striped tee at least twice a week and am now kicking myself for not buying it in black too! It’s definitely on the pricier side, but I promise it’s worth the investment. Side note, Lands’ End recently sent me this tunic which is only $39 and looks almost identical. It’s non maternity but I sized up and it looks great (see it on me here).
Seraphine: Everything from Seraphine is pretty and feminine, and most of it also moonlights as nursing pieces too. You’ve seen me in this dress (here), but this one on sale is at the top of my wish list!
Boob Designs: Everything they make is maternity slash nursing so you get double use out of it. I mentioned this tank top above and highly recommend buying a few. I also have and adore this dress which is a fun piece for summer. You can see it on me here.
Pink Blush: An amazing reader introduced me to this brand and I’m obsessed. The floral dress in this post is from there. The prices are great and they look way nicer in person than I expected considering how cheap they are. Plus they have about 8 million dresses and tops!
Old Navy: Great for basics like tees and cotton dresses. The price is definitely right.
ASOS: For trendier pieces that fit a lot better than you’d think, ASOS Maternity is the place to go. Their sizing isn’t always right, so I order two of each item and return the size that doesn’t fit.
Did I miss anything? Have more questions? Ask below and I’ll answer if I can!