As someone who loves shopping, one of my recurring worries since getting pregnant (after “is my baby okay?”) is “What the heck am I going to wear?” Everyone says it’s come a long way, but maternity fashion isn’t exactly known to be easy to find or super chic.
I may only be halfway through my pregnancy journey, but at least half of my closet is already off limits. As a result, I’ve done a lot of online shopping while pregnant, reading and try-on’s so I thought it was time to share what I’ve learned so far. I’m already anticipating an update once the bump gets bigger, so let me know if you guys enjoy this!
And for my non-pregnant friends, I encourage you to read on because there’s still LOTS of non-maternity fashion inspiration to be had in the widgets below.
My Approach to Pregnancy Style
The biggest focus for me while pregnant is that I still feel like myself when I’m getting dressed. I wear mostly neutral colors and what I call “elevated basics.” Simple styles with a hint of flare or something special. Seems like it should be doable while pregnant, right?
I should also note that I work in a 9am – 5pm business environment, which means I can’t wear jeans except on Fridays. I’m counting down the days to bare legs and dresses, but with frigid temps and a growing bump, I’ve focused on comfortable pants & looser blouses and layers thus far.
Elastic-waist pants are my new best friend. And I don’t mean leggings (which I didn’t wear pre-pregnancy) but a cropped, slightly relaxed dress pant. Luckily this look is very in and I’ve seen options at all price points from J. Crew Factory to Mango to Club Monaco.
On top, I’m reaching for slightly oversized button downs, loose sweaters, and lots of “third pieces” — a blazer, long cardigan or vest that finishes off an outfit and makes the bump less of the focus of an outfit.
Note: A few mom friends recommended belly bands to me but in transparency, I’ve just had a hard time bringing myself to try them out. Maybe I will get there as pants become even more of a challenge. But they’re just a little weird to me.
Where I’ve Been Shopping
As soon as I started to feel my jeans and dress pants getting tighter, I knew I’d want to invest in 1-2 nicer pieces for work. Not everyone wants to make this type of investment, but with a dressier office environment, having at least one pair of black pants I love is critical. Plus, between pregnancy and postpartum, I felt a year of my life is justification for a few splurges.
Best For: Splurge items like a wedding guest dress or designer denim
I’ve browsed at 2-3 Target stores and the maternity sections are pitifully empty and messy. However, there are some great basics available online and they even sell a less expensive version of the very popular Isabel & Ingrid maternity line. Plus, in the new Universal Thread & A New Day lines, I’ve also found some maternity-friendly options like this dress or “third pieces” like a long vest that can easily accent a simple maternity t-shirt.
Best For: Workout clothes and basics like soft tees and leggings.
Old Navy is a great place to shop when you’re pregnant. First, it’s wide selection of maternity items are inexpensive and cute, although it does take a little digging. I’ve also heard good things about their maternity inset-panel jeans but haven’t tried them yet. Maybe more importantly (if you don’t want to buy too many actual maternity pieces), there are so many non-maternity options that transition into pregnancy.
Best For: Browsing all of the things. Wait for a sale & put in a big order so you can see what works.
H&M also has a good selection of maternity pieces ranging from base layers like tanks, bralettes, tights, and nursing camis all the way through to dressier jeans and slacks. I’m not always impressed with the quality but for the price and this phase of life, it’s a solid choice. The dark denim, in particular, stands out because the coloring and stitching look more like designer to me (but not as soft).
Best For: Inexpensive but stylish work wear plus denim and layering pieces
Zara is my go-to when I need a moderately priced way to feel on-trend or chic. Over-sized is luckily in style right now, so I also figured I could find some maternity-friendly pieces. It takes a little extra searching to find something wider cut or longer in the front.
What I Purchased: an embroidered top that sold out and this stripe one that’s still available
Best For: Non-maternity tops & dresses that are loose or over-sized and should accommodate a growing bump
I don’t shop at Gap often, but it came up among my early searches particularly for maternity workout gear. I love the couple of pieces I invested in, too! Plus, Gap has a maternity-friendly section where they showcase non-maternity styles that will work for a bump. That’s right up my alley! I’m considering adding this dress and maybe a trendy bathing suit to my maternity collection in another few weeks.
Best For: Maternity work-out gear and non-maternity transitional pieces
LOFT and Ann Taylor are usually pretty hit-or-miss for me. In general, I like their warm-weather pieces most so may order something soon! Many LOFT tops & dresses are versatile, flowy and have been in my closet for years. While I haven’t purchased anything new from LOFT since getting pregnant, I wanted to share a few pieces I have my eye on. I think they might transition well throughout pregnancy and motherhood.
Best For: Wearable flowy tops and dresses (will report back on the maternity pieces!)
Favorites So Far
Of all the shopping I’ve done since getting pregnant, here are the things I’ve found myself wearing the most.
pregnancy shopping favorites: workout leggings & top | navy pull-on pants | striped embroidered top | embroidered floral top, sold out — similar | black maternity denim with inset panel | non-maternity workout leggings | tie-sleeve sweater, sold out — similar under $30 option! | striped pj set (under $50!) | favorite undies (fit tip: size up) |