Curated Wardrobes: Maternity Clothes

Moons have passed since I’ve spoken about curating wardrobes, but I figure maternity clothes deserved a spotlight. The thing I miss most during this entire pregnancy isn’t the weekly tuna sandwiches or the cups of foregone coffee, but the ability to wear jeans on any given day. When it comes to getting dressed, I have (pre-pregnancy) mastered a formula that has simplified my routine, limited my wardrobe, and made me feel good. In general, it followed the guidelines of black tee, comfy jeans, one of two jackets, and a pair of Birkenstocks. Since getting pregnant, I’ve broken my reliable Birks, outgrew tiny black tees, and no longer fit in my jeans. Thank the heavens for maternity clothes.

Futile Resistance

When I first began my pregnancy journey, I was dubious as to whether I would actually need maternity clothes (HAH!). I didn’t announce my pregnancy until my fifth month. Even then, people were shocked to learn the news. At least, they acted like it (Thank you). Perhaps the yoga teacher training that I was taking during months 2 to 5 kept me in shape. Or the Turkey Trot I ran in month 4 shed some pounds. It was eventually replaced by a whole lotta turkey that very same evening. Eventually, my disillusion wore away, as my belly expanded over the holiday season where baby ran amok with his own holiday feast.

I didn’t upgrade my clothes until month five. I am fortunate to have a tiny frame, which also means that regular clothes have a boxy, loose fit on me. The years have taught me how to rock-it with my shapeless, petite figure. In the end, loose-fitting clothes served me well, as they transitioned into ever-tighter fitting maternity clothes. But for the majority of them, the fit was comically wrong in certain places. My clothes rode up, sagged down, or somehow achieved both in the same day.

I had resolve to resist buying clothes that would serve me for only a few months. It seemed wasteful from a monetary and environmental standpoint. I thought about buying ‘regular’ clothes in the form of flowy dresses or loose jumpers that would be wearable even after baby entered the real world. But alas, I can’t live life in flowy dresses all the time! The first person to buy me maternity clothes was my husband for Christmas, after seeing my confidence wane. When I succumbed to the pressures of a growing belly, I compromised by committing to my usual standards: neutral colors, versatile cuts, and only a handful of them. If I had to cave, it would be on my own terms.

After wearing maternity clothes for a few months, I have to say it’s definitely worth it. I wouldn’t have guessed to grow as much as I did, but the babe will gain half a pound per week towards the last few weeks. As in, there’s still a long way to grow.

Curating Wardrobes: Maternity Clothes

A gal can go crazy with maternity clothes. I mean, I never knew I had body image issues until I became pregnant. Mostly, because I had no body to be conscious of in the first place. But once I started growing, I realized how one could fall down a rabbit-hole of buying maternity clothes that make them feel (and look) good.

Some women swear they love their figures during pregnancy. I find this bolus in the middle of my body difficult to man-handle. Read as: this is all quite frustrating for me. My bowling ball belly prevents me from bending over my patients or getting close enough to them to work. It prevents me from doing my usual exercise routines. Like trying yoga inversions without toppling over, doing a push-up without scraping the floor, sitting up with no core to speak of, or even walking up the stairs with twenty extra pounds to carry. Even picking up dog poop on my dog walks became challenging.

For me, function mattered most, but there was the issue of appearance too. There were maternity clothes that saved me, and then there were maternity clothes that were beautiful and gifted to me by those who knew I wouldn’t allow myself to buy them. Meaning, the former ones allowed me to feel like myself and live life as normally as possible while the latter made me feel comfortable and confident. I’ll separate the lists into such categories.

Maternity Clothes That Saved Me

  • FIGS Maternity Scrub Pants: These are so comfortable to wear! My co-workers have been lending me their regular scrubs as I got bigger and bigger. One lent me an XS in month 6 and now I am outgrowing another co-worker’s size S at month 8. I’ve already requested to borrow a medium for my final month of work! But I did buy ONE pair of black Maternity Yola Skinny Pant and they have grown with me from month 5 until now. I know it will last me during the entirety of my pregnancy, and unlike sizing up in regular sizes, the maternity pants fit in all the right places, all the right ways. If you are early on in your pregnancy and working in health-care more than a few days a week, I would get these pants for work. Seriously, it was the best purchase for me.
  • FIGS Rafaela Oversized Scrub Top: These tops are NOT the FIGS maternity tops. I purchased a maternity top from the company but the cut was all wrong. For starters, the maternity top was way too long! It went to my knees (quite literally), which also says something about my height. And it wasn’t exactly that flowy. I didn’t want a belly that stuck out too much while I was working. Luckily, I already owned a few Mandarin Tops from FIGS and my usual XXS size has lasted me thus far (8 months). In fact, the fit is SO GOOD that a majority of my patients have no idea I am even pregnant. Seriously. The length hits right, and the flowiness covers my bump completely. I am happy that I owned these before, and can still use them after my pregnancy. It is the most versatile scrub top for women.
  • Beyond Yoga Leggings: Towards the end of my yoga teacher training, I was still trying to squeeze into my size 0 Lululemon pants. I have since sold them on Poshmark because they’ve started to look like pants that would fit my baby better than myself, and I heard that our bone structure changes after birth anyway. But what I did do is trade them in for Beyond Yoga’s Maternity Leggings. I have owned Beyond Yoga before and would go so far as to say that they are the softest, most comfortable leggings on the planet. So I knew that their maternity line had to be the same, and comfort is key. The stretchy belly band really molds to your growing baby. I wore these to my final yoga sessions religiously.
  • Eileen Fisher dresses and rompers: I already owned a number of dresses and rompers from the brand Eileen Fisher. I can attest to the fact that these looked good on me pre-pregnancy and served me well during pregnancy too! The cuts of EF are boxy and looser-fitting than other brands, and this brand is the only one that lasted me the full eight months without an upgrade. I think it’s worth a mention, as it saved not only me, but my wallet too!
  • Oysho: I fell in love with this Spanish active brand when I went to visit my sister in Madrid. So when my parents went to Spain this year, it was all I asked for! Oysho has a minimalist MUM section, from which I got some leggings and biker shorts. My sister also gifted me a loose-fitting pajama set that I have been wearing during the day, too! They ship to the US and are worth a gander. I like all their products, so even if you weren’t searching for maternity clothes at this very moment, you’ll find great active and lounge wear on their site.
  • Old Navy Basic Tees: I got a pair of long sleeve V-neck tees that I wear all the time! They come in black and white. If I was working in an office, I would have bought five or six of these tees and one pair of maternity denim jeans. That would have been my daily attire. Old Navy is a great source for cheap maternity wear. But because they aren’t high on the sustainability charts, I only opted to nab a few.

Maternity Clothes That Look Great

  • Nesting Olive House Dresses: This house dress isn’t your old-school, boring duster. I was gifted a Nesting Olive House dress to try and I have to say that it is versatile, cute, comfortable, and seriously so useful! I literally can wear this for days on end, no matter what I am doing. I have worn them as pajamas, to lounge around the house, to do chores in, and even to run errands. When I have my periodic melt-down about not knowing what to wear to dinner with friends, my husband always suggests the Nesting Olive House Dress because he knows I can eat to my heart’s content without feeling constricted, and he knows I feel confident in it. That’s a game-changer for all maternity peeps! You can find my Instagram review of this dress here.
  • Vuori’s Alpine Sherpa Jacket: My parents gifted me this jacket in size XS for Christmas. I am pleasantly surprised to report that it fits really comfortable and hides my growing belly! The boxy cut is flattering, and I can wear these with my maternity yoga leggings from Beyond Yoga and Oysho. I literally have worn this jacket every day since receiving it. It is warm, comfy, and really utilitarian. Just my vibe! I own it in the Olive Green color which is sold out, but this one is a very similar jacket.
  • Isabella Oliver: My husband gifted me these 100% responsibly sourced, European made, zero-plastic packaged maternity clothes and I love it! The cuts are made for taller European figures, but I don’t even care. These were so comfortable around the waist that I have lounged in them for hours on my days off. Many a blog post was written and books read.

Now you may be wondering, where’s the rest?? But that’s all I invested in! If I had deeper pockets, or a less strict environmental conscience, or more room in my home, I might have been willing to try buy more options. For example, this Storq dress would have been lovely. And I was curious about Hatch’s maternity jeans (did I mention I REALLY miss my jeans?). I also would have loved to snag a Jenni Kayne cardigan. I probably would have felt cool in her over-sized poplin shirt as well. However, how much does cool factor really count?

Going down a rabbit-hole of buying more clothes wasn’t going to change the way my body looked, or improve my lifestyle one bit. It wasn’t going to help set us up for financial success, or allow us to spend more time with the baby once he arrives. The clothes would have been temporary fixes to a problem that is centered around vanity. For those reasons, I couldn’t get myself to buy more than the basics.

This post was written with the very best brands in mind. I hope this post helps point you in a few right directions. But I also hope it serves as a reminder that you don’t need to buy them all. Yes, some days you will wake up feeling VERY PREGNANT. For those days, pick a few good staple items to act as your best friend. But for the rest, make do, get by, and keep on keeping on. The baby will not care one iota what you look like in the photos, I promise.

Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

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