Now that I'm on to number three pregnancy (did I mention that? The latest installment is joining us in late March), and given my obsession with capsule wardrobes, I like to think I've got pretty slick at efficient shopping for and dressing of the temporary humpty dumpty body.
I have a fair bit of clothing left from my last two pregnancies, so I just needed a bit of a top up, and obviously my vast array of scarves, shoes, hats and jewellery will all function just as well in pregnancy, which is why the selection above is pretty limited, but apart from a few ebay buys and one pair of Topshop tartan leggings that I can't track down a picture of, that really is all I've bought so far this time.
First things first, let's admit that maternity shopping in your colours is not easy. Unles you're a Winter, in which case why are you wasting time here? There's tons of clothes out there for you! However, don't lose heart entirely. It is perfectly possible to pull together a capsule maternity wardrobe without straying too far out of your palette. Here are my top tips:
- Go through what you've got. Will any of it work for pregnancy? Jersey dresses, knitwear etc - just be aware that if you wear them until you pop they might be stretched beyond non-maternity use. Now is probably not the time to keep trotting out your favourite Vivienne Westwood dress, even if it is stretchy.
- Pull out your accessories and make sure you've got enough in good colours - a good scarf or necklace can save most outfits, in my experience!
- Really think about what your lifestyle is like when you're pregnant - do you need office clothes? Party clothes? running-around-after-existing-children clothes? Make a list of what you have and what you need
- Consider investing in one nice outfit that you feel really good in for Christmas/weddings etc. It saves the guilt of buying one last minute, and means you've actually got one instead of limping through with something not really appropriate and feeling fat and frumpy (guess who did that first time round and swore never again?)
- Consider post natal clothes as well. I did a blog post a while ago about breastfeeding friendly style and a lot of maternity camisoles come with drop fronts for feeding, but however you intend to feed consider things like loungewear with stretchy waistbands which will work during and after your pregnancy.
- Be honest about your shoe situation - I am well aware that I probably won't want to wear my 5" heels at 36 weeks pregnant, so I've invested in one cheaper pair of nude lower heels to see me through work events until then. If you work full time you'll probably need more than one pair of smart but comfortable shoes. I also know that as I get bigger I lose the will to wear heeled boots for casual, so I have had my biker boots re-soled in the knowledge that they'll be getting plenty of wear this winter.
- Your maternity clothes should mix and match pretty well if you stick to your season, but if you have to step outside it slightly in order to actually find clothes (I think it is possibly even harder to be a pregnant Spring than an Autumn, for instance), consider sticking to only one 'off palette' neutral to see you through. As an Autumn I know that grey and navy are both better than black as an emergency neutral in the absence of much brown and olive in maternity wear, but I know that grey will harmonise better with the kinds of colour I wear than navy, so anything extra I need to buy (leggings, tights, vests etc) that I can't find in my colours, I will get in grey only, to minimise the potential for hassle when getting dressed.
- I am keeping my bright colours mainly as accessories (as you can see from the less than vibrant selection above) as it means that what I have can be mixed and matched without it being too obvious that i'm wearing the same dress today as I wore last week. The more statement the clothes, the more people will remember that you're wearing the same things in rotation. Plus, have you ever tried to find statement maternity clothes?
- Try buying in your pre-pregnancy size to start with, but if anything is remotely snug when you are at the 12-20 week stage, send it back and size up. You honestly will not believe how enormous you get, even if you are lucky enough to only gain in the bump department.
- Don't be afraid of online shopping. Hardly any shops carry a decent maternity range in store any more, so you really need to go online for the best finds.
And because I love you, here's a list of my favourite maternity shops:
- Isabella Oliver - expensive, but great if you need some quality workwear to see you through pregnancy. Their ruched tops are, quite simply, the best. No maternity tents, just flattering and stylish clothes. Can be tricky if you're not a Winter though, as they mainly operate in the black/charcoal/cobalt blue sort of zone. Keep an eye out for the odd bit of orange, red, lighter grey or burgundy though.
- Mothercare - cheap and cheerful. The quality isn't exactly mind blowing, but they do a nice selection of t-shirts and knitwear in plenty of colours at reasonable prices.
- H&M - this shop has saved my bacon this time round. I think about 70% of my maternity wardrobe is from there. Have a look at non-maternity knitwear and jersey dresses too, as H&M do a huge range of colours and styles
- Next - I am emphatically not a Next shopper, but I have been pleasantly surprised by their maternity range, and the side zip cable knit jumper I bought from there is one of my favourite items of clothing at the moment
- Seraphine - good mid-range basics. Not a huge range of colour choices, but lots of denim and work tops
- eBay - Look at both auctions of secondhand maternity wear (you can pick up Isabella Oliver stuff quite cheaply) and eBay shops - my only other maternity purchase has been a £13.99 leopard print maternity dress which I am in love with. Yes, the shop is a bit tacky and yes, it isn't going to look like new in a year's time, but I only need it to last another 20 weeks or so!
What about you? Have you got any top maternity wardrobe tips to add?