Need a Maternity Wardrobe?
A Simple Maternity Capsule
Happy day, dear reader!
The summer wedding season is upon us, often closely followed by pregnancy season… I am happily married, and NOT expecting (Those days are loooong past!), but I find it amusing that as soon as the pregnancy test comes back positive, young couples start looking at little tiny shoes, baby furniture, and toys. They are getting the cart before the horse! What the mother-to-be will need first is a maternity wardrobe. A maternity capsule, if you will!
If you’ve never “done” a capsule wardrobe before, pregnancy is a perfect time to try one out! You don’t want to buy an entire closet/dresser full of clothing. You have more important things to save your money for! But you do need a wardrobe that makes you feel great (especially near the end and after delivery), and suits your lifestyle and personality.
Maternity Wear Then
A generation ago, maternity wear looked very different! I remember searching through the maternity section of a catalog (No online shopping then!) and thinking “I’m having a baby, not turning into one!” There was lots of pastel pink and blue, and bows. Bows!? Why would I want bows? We were living in Athens, Greece, and since I wasn’t working, a dress, a couple of shorts outfits, and a few extra tees were all I needed. AND a bathing suit. I was due in the middle of summer. There was no air conditioning. I spent a lot of time at the beach, laying in the sand with a hole scooped out underneath for my enormous belly. Enormous is no understatement. For a very long time, the doctor thought I was carrying twins. Note: Ice cream every day of pregnancy was not a good idea. Gaining 60 pounds wasn’t either.
My second pregnancy, I needed a very different wardrobe. We were living in the DC Metro area. I was due in the spring, and working full time in an office. The maternity clothing I saw was expensive and (to me) ugly. Showing off the bump was not a thing. Hiding the bump under acres of fabric was the norm, so being petite, I could size up and make do. Most of my “maternity wardrobe” was simply regular women’s wear sized up. My capsule was 12 pieces that took me everywhere. There were four tunic tops, and a denim shirt I borrowed from my husband. I bought khaki and black stirrup pants (Oh so early 90’s!). Two skirts that matched two of the tunics created a “dress” look. I also remember a black dress, with a 1970’s style large collar. I rediscovered a swing coat bought many years before; it made a return to my wardrobe and kept me warm for the winter. For casual wear, I borrowed my husband’s jeans until I outgrew them. After that, I wore his denim shirt with my stirrup pants. (Yes, those were the stirrup pant days, people!)
The funny thing is, I loved that capsule. I didn’t even know what a capsule wardrobe was. I just knew that everything went together, and hung neatly in 18 inches of closet space. When number three was on the way (a winter baby), I think I added a pair of maternity jeans, and let a skirt go. I wore the same capsule, trading the heels for flats (I still miss the beautiful blue suede Mary-Janes from that work capsule…), and silk scarves for necklaces that number two could safely tug on and play with. Note 2: Clip-on earrings are a lifesaver! Lobesaver? Now you can find darling (and much safer) silicone teething necklaces, in all the shades you could imagine.
Pre-Loved? Be Choosy!
I know many women who pass boxes of maternity clothes from one friend to the next. I love this for thrift and wise resource use, but not so much for what I see happening when they dress. Unless you are in refugee mode, “Because it covers my body” is not a good criteria for choosing clothing. And pregnancy is an especially good time to be choosy about color! (Morning sickness, anyone? How about third trimester exhaustion?) Take the box, edit to choose what will look best on you for fit and color, and pass the rest on to the next pregnant woman. You don’t need to keep the entire collection. More is not necessarily better! Be choosy. If you pass the extra along now, someone else will enjoy good use, and the excess won’t be hanging over your head later when there are sleepless nights, and a baby to wrangle in and out of a car seat.
Keep in Mind
When choosing, think about your lifestyle, and how often you do laundry. If you can do laundry at home, you do not need as much clothing as you think… A week’s worth should do. Another plus: less clothing means less build up in the laundry basket and fewer items to fold. I don’t know about you, but the folding and putting away is the hardest part! Think about what kind of clothing your lifestyle requires. Make notes. How do you spend your time? How dressy or relaxed is your work? What kinds of social events to you attend regularly? Supper club? Church? Dinners out with work associates? How do you play? Give all these some thought before you pull from the pass around box, or buy. If you know you will need something for a special event, rent! There are services that specialize in renting maternity wear.
This Should Keep You Covered
This sample capsule isn’t for everyone! Your lifestyle, coloring, and style may be very different, but this one suits a lovely woman I know…
Each top here can be worn with every bottom. The kimono toppers add finish, pattern and fun without the weight and heat of a jacket or cardigan. The stretchy leopard flats are comfy and add interest to the otherwise plain solid tops and bottoms. The dress can be worn with the booties for a casual look, but pop on the gold sandals and earrings for a holiday fete! The statement necklaces give any of the top and bottom combos some sparkle, and draw the eye to the face where it belongs. I count 53 different outfit combinations here without even starting to play with accessories! That should be enough to get through most of a pregnancy and the first few months post-partum.
Do you know any expectant moms? Helping create maternity wardrobes is one of the more joyful and exciting challenges I take on! It’s like packing for a very long trip, without knowing the itinerary… If you are a “seasoned” mom, when were you due, and what maternity items did you find most practical? (Yes, those are related!) Please share in the comments below; I love to hear from you!
Please feel free to share this link with any expecting moms you know, or save it to your Pinterest for when that day comes!
The images in the capsule above are from Amazon, Motherhood Maternity, Nordstrom, Old Navy, Pink Blush, Premier Designs, Rothy’s, Target, and The Gap.
A hug and squeeze to Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge for hosting her Link-Up, and a thank you happy dance for the feature!