Shopping for maternity clothes can seem daunting or tricky for some. You might feel like a stranger inside your own body or not even recognize yourself. You might be embracing the bump and trying to show it off as well as possible at every growth stage. Maybe you’re not comfortable and you are seeking whatever will fit, last and keep you from having to shop continuously throughout your pregnancy.
The great thing about maternity style now is that there is something for everyone. You can still find those pieces that are very 1950s-1960s ‘matronly maternity’ or you can stick with the modern styles and current trends.
When it came to sourcing maternity pieces for my wardrobe, I decided that for me it was best to find maternity versions of the things I already wore. I’m not a girl that gravitates towards patterns or anything flowing or boho – I always stick to basics and classic pieces, so I decided that my maternity wardrobe would be no different.
Here’s what I found worked best for me when shopping for maternity clothes!
TIP: Shop Your Own Style
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to alter your personal style or become a completely different person. I wear a lot of jeans, t-shirts, long sleeved tees, shorts in the summer and tee and tank dresses. If I dress up, I wear a fitted cocktail dress rather than an ethereal gown. So when it came to maternity shopping, I avoided the temptation of switching up my style too much.
I bought a couple pairs of jeans, some great cotton shorts, basics like tees, tanks and long sleeved tees, a couple of sweaters, some leggings and super stretchy basic dresses. For my baby shower and other special occasions I picked up a couple of simple and fitted cocktail dresses. I basically created a small capsule wardrobe for my maternity needs.
TIP: Don’t Spend a Fortune
Maternity clothes, especially from specialty boutiques can be hella expensive. It’s hard to justify purchasing an expensive new wardrobe that you’re going to wear for less than a year! Be sure to sign up for sales and coupons and try shopping online. Maternity clothing doesn’t have to be expensive if you know where to shop.
I didn’t do much splurging on maternity pieces except for a pair of jeans. I wear 7ForAllMankind’s b(air) skinnies all year long and so when I found them in maternity, I couldn’t resist. Being able to wear my favorite pair of skinnies with a baby bump made the transition into maternity clothing a little easier!
TIP: Where To Shop Online
Well-Known Retailers: H&M, Zara, Gap & Old Navy
Other than maternity boutiques you aren’t going to find a lot of bump-centric pieces at your favourite stores, but this doesn’t mean that they’ve forgotten about you! Stores like H&M, Zara, Gap and Old Navy have extensive maternity collections that can be shopped online, each with great return policies and shipping rates. Each carries a mix of basics and current-trend pieces for every budget.
I personally prefer shopping online for maternity clothes because there is a huge variety! You can find clothes in every taste and style, deals on basics like tees, tanks and jeans and you get to try them all on in the comfort of your own home. Don’t worry about shopping online for sizing either – every site has a great size chart and customer comments below where others can help you determine if something is ‘true to size’ or not.
Online Boutique: Pink Blush Maternity
Another of my favourite online maternity boutiques has got to be PinkBlush. I’ve ordered both casual and dressy pieces from their site and have been really happy with the quality and fit. Their collection of pieces is extensive and they offer more formalwear than other sites so you can find something perfect for weddings, maternity photos and baby showers.
TIP: Shop For Maternity & Beyond
Yo Mama Maternity. This is one of my absolute fave places to shop for maternity and nursing. Yo Mama was started by two Canadian boss mamas in Edmonton and although they’ve got a brick and mortar store up there, they’ve also got an amazing online boutique for the rest of us! What I love about this particular site is that they offer pieces that work for maternity, nursing and beyond. My fave brands that they carry have to be Ripe and Seraphine.
Rather than having to purchase pieces that only work for one phase of the motherhood journey, many of the brands that they carry work for all phases of maternity (as you grow) and then transition into nursing as well. They carry a wide variety of trendy styles, essential basics and seasonal must-haves. Plus, they often do try-on sessions on their Instagram Stories so you can see how a piece fits and moves.
Want to see what I got? Check out my IGTV Try-On Session here!
TIP: Stick to Comfortable Fabrics
Pregnancy isn’t always comfortable, so it’s important to make sure that your clothes aren’t one of the things that are driving you nuts. Here are a few tips for finding pieces that will keep you comfortable:
#1: Finding the Right Bottoms: Depending on the pants you choose, you might find that they slip down throughout the day. Test the stretch of the bellyband and where it begins and ends – this will help determine where the seam will rub and if they have stay-up power! You might find that maternity jeans and dress pants just aren’t working for you due to how your bump comes out and opt for something tried and true like leggings.
#2: Breathable Fabrics: Cotton and linen are your number one allies in warmer months and I would argue the colder ones, too. When checking out maternity clothes, be sure to check the fabrics of not only the pieces, but the belly bands, too! You’ll want something with a soft and breathable belly band so you don’t get itchy!
#3: Fabrics That Stretch: I’m all for bodycon pieces to show off that bump, but make sure those pieces have plenty of stretch. You don’t want to have to keep purchasing tops and dresses every couple of months as your bump grows. Plus, something with a bit of stretch will hug your new curves really nicely and be a lot more comfortable.
TIP: Consider Non-Maternity Pieces
Okay, this is a tricky one for me. So many people told me to just buy “regular” clothes in one size up, but depending on your pregnancy body, this might not be an option for you. It certainly has not been one for me as I started carrying quite far forward. The way my bump decided to show up was heavily concentrated in one area and often the only thing that would fit properly and be comfortable was straight up maternity clothing. Anything else just looked bulky and sloppy.
When it comes to non-maternity wear, though, my favorites have been:
#1: GAP Factory Classic Tank Tops (in one size up)
GAP Factory’s tanks are perfect for maternity. They’re super long to begin with, they’re extra stretchy and are great for layering under shorter tops if you require. It’s also nice to have something cotton and soft against your skin. I usually have one on under a sweatshirt or a long cardigan.
#2: Lululemon Align Leggings
These pants are great pre-maternity, during maternity and postpartum. They support your bump and belly, the fabric is super soft and comfy and after birth they hold you in when you feel like your organs might fall out! They come in a ton of different colours and lengths, too, so you don’t have to stick to basic black if you don’t want to.
#3: Local Laundry Sweaters + Hoodies
Because Local Laundry‘s sweaters and hoodies are unisex in sizing, they’re nice and long for fitting over that bump! The fabric is cozy and soft, and they’re great with leggings, shorts and jeans. I’d pick up your regular size or one size up, depending on how you like the fit.
I stuck to my regular bikinis and let that baby bump get some direct vitamin D! Not everyone is comfortable showing their bare bump off at the beach or pool, but embrace this part of pregnancy if you’re comfortable doing so. You can also opt for a tankini or a set of bottoms with ruching for extra support on that bump.
#5: Long Cardigans & Sweaters
Sometimes the easiest layer is a cardigan. I wasn’t one to wear many long cardigans pre-pregnancy, but I’ve found that shorter ones just don’t balance nicely with my pregnancy body. A long cardigan is perfect over a maternity tee or even a long non-maternity tank top.
TIP: Add-Ons + More
Sometimes there are things you can wear to help transform your pre-maternity pieces into maternity ones!
#1: MakeMyBellyFit: Outerwear, especially winter outerwear, is something we require here in Canada. Finding a jacket to fit over your bump isn’t always easy. Some women will just wear an oversized coat, but why sacrifice style or search for something to fit over your bump for only a few months?
This is where MakeMyBellyFit comes in! These fantastic jacket extenders zip into your favourite coat or parka to keep that baby bump warm. The added bonus of these is that these jacket extenders are perfect for wearing over a baby carrier in postpartum, too!
#2: Longer Layers: I mentioned my fave GAP tank tops above – they are my go-to for a longer under-layer. I wear them under long-sleeved tees and sweatshirts (maternity or non-maternity) to cover the bottom of my bump or just add a thin base layer to keep me warmer.
#3: Belly Bands: So many people swear by belly bands. They like them because they can wear them over top of non-maternity pants to make them fit over their bumps, but also because they provide extra support, especially in those later weeks of pregnancy.
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