With a job that is "business casual" I focused mainly on pieces I could wear for work and play. Living in Tahoe I was forced to purchase a majority of my maternity clothes online. With that being said I stuck to stores with free shipping and returns. Free returns is key and my husband can confirm that I took full advantage of it. I didn't intentionally set out to, but after nine months I realized all my "maternity" items were either from the Gap or Old Navy.
Here's how I tackled shopping for maternity clothes.
- I didn't shy away from over ordering so I could try on everything. You never know what you're going to like and dislike. I think I ordered seven pairs of jeans before finding a pair I liked.
- Not looking to spend a lot I shopped the sale items. Remember you're only going to wear these items for a few months
- I bought a few items early, but kept shopping. Since I was growing I didn't want to buy everything too ealry. I had a lot of success by purchasing my pre pregnancy size, but it might not be the case for you.
- By re-imagining my closet I was able to create various combinations with items I already owned because I didn't just focus on "maternity" wear. See oversized sweaters below.
- I choose to stick to neutrals and play it up with a scarf, necklace, etc.
I only purchased two pairs of maternity pants (jeans // black twill pants) and two pairs of leggings (full length // cropped). In the beginning of my pregnancy I used a belly be band to help continue wearing non-maternity pants. I tried on a number of jeans before finally deciding on these demi panel skinny jeans from the Gap. I wasn't completely sold until I was further along in my pregnancy. I'm talking about 32/33ish weeks. I purchased my "pre pregnancy" size and felt as though they were a bit on the big size at first, but as my bump grew they fit better.
After trying on a number of pants I preferred the demi panel and didn't purchase any full panel pants. However, I've heard they are very comfortable and probably would purchase if I were bigger. The key is to try on all styles and find what fits your bump and body.
Regarding leggings these are a must for every pregnant woman. They are great for wearing with dresses, tunics and sweaters.
Simple Basics: I can't live without these. Basics can be in the form of tanks or t-shirts and are great for layering. I personally purchased four maternity short sleeve shirts, one long sleeve shirt and one tank. If you're pregnant in the middle of summer you might want to invest in more tanks. As I mentioned last week my favorite tee was Gap's pure body v-neck. Overall I loved the tees and tanks from Gap and Old Navy -- plus you can't beat the price.
Cute Tops: I was able to rock a number of non- maternity tops and tunics I already owned. However I did purchase a few "boyfriend" style tops (like this one) that are perfect for the bump and postpartum.
I already had a number of oversized cardigans before becoming pregnant and they we prefect in the fall and winter months. I loved layering these for work and play. I did pick up a non-maternity boyfriend sweater from the Gap and it will be perfect relaxing postpartum as well.
I've loved wearing cotton dresses throughout my pregnancy. I only purchased three maternity dresses (including this one), but again I was able to wear a number of non-maternity options like the dress I wore to my So Cal baby shower. I love that maxi dress and purchased it after becoming pregnant at TJ Maxx. The Old Navy cotton dresses are amazing -- not only are they budget friendly, but very flattering whether you're 20 or 40 weeks. I was able to wear them with a blazer to work meetings or running errands with flip flops. I suggest buying a few. Oh, I wore a lot of maxi skirts early on too.
All in all I loved everything I purchased and feel I could wear them a second time around. Although I mainly shopped at Gap and Old Navy other maternity websites to consider include Target, Destination Maternity, Loft, H&M and ASOS. I know I'm just scratching the surface, but I feel the additional stores are more my style.