Building Your Pregnancy Wardrobe Foundation

So. You tried to zip up your jeans today and they just would... not... go... any... further. The time has come, my friend. You need to buy maternity clothes. Do not despair - designers are making fantastic clothes for pregnant women these days - comfortable, high quality and on point. But where to start? Here we’ve laid out our must haves to dress your bump in style and extend your wardrobe without breaking your budget.


  • Bras. Your boobs are usually the first thing to grow and the last thing to shrink back (alas, they do eventually shrink back). Chances are they are tender and heavy, so be kind to them and invest in a few good bras that fit and support you. A great bra will not only make you feel good, but it will make everything you wear look better. Back fat is not a good look on anyone. We recommend at least three bras: one nude, one black and one convertible bra (straps you can remove or change around). The best maternity bras are made with soft fabric that stretches to accommodate growing breasts. While you’re at it, buy yourself a little lingerie bag so that you can wash your bras in the machine, because ain’t nobody got time for hand washing.

  • Jeans. Next up: a great pair of jeans. How many pairs of jeans are in your closet right now? Enough to wear one every day of the week? More? Now imagine you have only one pair, but you reach for your jeans just as often. That’s maternity jeans. You will probably wear them about 100 times during (and a little bit after) your pregnancy, and will launder them 30-50 times, depending on how fastidious you are, so it’s worth it to invest in a pair that will hold up to the wear and tear. It’s also worth it to get a pair that makes you feel great. This is not the place to skimp. You will build tons of looks around your jeans, so if you make one splurge, do it here. Think about how much you pay for your non-pregnant jeans and make the same investment in your pregnancy jeans. Trust me - you will get your money’s worth. Skinnies and boyfriend jeans are equally versatile, so it really just depends on your preference. Flares can be a tricky fit with a belly bump, but if flares are your jam, go for it. It’s all about being you.

  • Tanks. A few great tanks will take you a long way. You can create tons of different looks by layering them under things you already own: jackets, scarves, button downs worn open and cardigans. They’re also useful for wearing under sweaters or sheer tops. Black, white, gray and navy are the most versatile colors and nude is perfect for under sheers. Look for tanks that will stretch with you and that are long enough to fully cover the belly. The fabric should be soft and comfortable, since these will be closest to your skin. During pregnancy, skip the nursing tanks that snap open at the strap. Those little snaps create odd little bulges under your clothes, and I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t really looking for MORE bulges when I was pregnant.

  • A Simple Dress in a Solid Color. A great fitted sheath or tank dress can give you a lot of mileage. The best ones can be dressed up for work with a jacket and heels or dressed down for the weekend with sneakers. Pair with different jackets, cardigans, chunky sweaters, scarves and statement jewelry you already own to create dozens of outfits. Black, gray and navy are obvious choices, but a colorful dress can be just as versatile. Just keep the shape simple.

  • Black Leggings. If you’re a leggings girl, then a well-made pair of black leggings will be essential to you throughout pregnancy. I find leggings to be super tricky to buy, because it’s important to get them just right. Cheap material feels scratchy, can look shiny, is sometimes see-through (yes, we can see your ass), and often pills after washing. Poorly made leggings can also give you that elephant-knee look that nobody is really going for. As far as length, that is really a personal preference, but full length leggings are universally flattering and elongate the legs.

  • Athletic wear (optional). If you’re planning on exercising during pregnancy, you might find that you are more comfortable in leggings and tops made for your growing belly.

  • Pajamas (optional). What you wear to bed is your business. I didn’t really use maternity pajamas during pregnancy, but man did I use the hell out of them after the baby was born.

  • Support wear (optional). If you are drawn to sheer tops and dresses, or if you just feel more comfortable with a little something holding you in, you may want to buy a support slip, tank or tights.

    With this foundation, you have what you need to get dressed for pregnancy and get the most bang for your buck. Add in a few special tops, dresses and pants as you wish to mix it up and feel like your gorgeous, rockstar self!


    What items were essential to you during your pregnancy? Add your tips below to help other mamas dress their changing body.