Pregnancy wardrobe

How to build a pregnancy wardrobe

With the end of my second pregnancy in sight, I would like to share with you what I’ve learned about building an affordable and amazing pregnancy wardrobe. It’s always easier with hindsight to know what really was a good purchase and what not. Because I started showing, both times, late in my pregnancy I won’t refer to the trimesters, but to the size of your baby bump.

But before you really begin you have to choose your color palette to make sure that everything that you buy matches in order to maximize the amount of combinations you can make. Choose 2 basic/neutral colors and 2 accent colors, your fifth neutral will be white or cream. If you stick close to your current wardrobe color scheme you will find that you will need to buy fewer items.

Example Color schemes

I’ve recently been very inspired by The Vivienne Files and took the liberty to use one of Janice’s color schemes for the example pregnancy wardrobe, beneath. Also her ideas, using a core of four for your neutrals / basics and the whatever is clean wardrobe were an inspiration for the template I use.

Your breasts are still larger than your belly, your belly has grown but instead of pregnant you look like you just gained some weight

Not a cute baby bump yet that you can and would like to show of to the world? But your breasts and cleavage are growing! This, especially if you are small chested like me, is the time to take advantage of it and enjoy it. Ideal for this stage in your pregnancy and your pregnancy wardrobe is to wear shift dresses and sweater dresses. If you add (high) heels to the mix, everybody’s attention will be drawn to your legs. Tops, tunics and dresses with an A-line or empire waistline are also perfect. They will look fabulous on you now and after your baby is born.

Herewith a template for your wardrobe that you will have to update regularly with new items, throughout your pregnancy and afterwards.

Template Pregnancy wardrobe

Pregnancy wardrobe template

Let’s give you an example for the navy and grey color scheme. You are already into navy and posses the 5 navy items and the long striped t-shirt. Purchase the other items following the template above and the “guidelines” about hiding your belly.

Example Pregnancy wardrobe phase 1

I found all these clothes on the De Bijenkorf online webshop, except the navy shift dress, that I found on Pinterest. Don’t be too frugal with purchasing this first set of items, as you can use these again after your pregnancy.

Shift dress

Here I am, hiding my beginning baby bump with a shift dress. Now, in my 9th month I’m using this essential piece of my pregnancy wardrobe as a top.

You have developed a cute baby bump

This is the ideal phase during your pregnancy to show your belly! Have a look at your current wardrobe and select all the items that have stretch in them and that you don’t mind disposing of after your pregnancy. Your little black dress that is starting to fade. Tank tops and form following sweaters are great. You might want to invest in your first pair of comfortable maternity pants. Pair those with cardigans, jackets and scarves you already own. You don’t need to invest in maternity versions of those (yet) and can wear them open. If it’s to cold to leave your coat open and have trouble closing buttons or zippers, a poncho is a great investment to stay warm. It’s good to exercise during your pregnancy and follow a yoga class. You might need new sport bras, in new sizes and firmer support. Don’t buy new bras all at once, since your breasts will keep growing.

Example Pregnancy wardrobe phase 2

As the shift dress is becoming too short to wear as a separate dress, it moved to the “tops section” of the template. It replaces the navy top that you can put away for after your pregnancy. It leaves a gap for a tight fitting dress you already own or this maternity dress that also has the option for breastfeeding. Your blouse in accent color, can be replaced by a tight fitting, long singlet, to show off your bump. The sweater dress is replaced by a tight lace pink dress and the grey A-line skirt by maternity trousers. Everything still combines perfectly!

As the clothes you are buying now aren’t going to be used very often, stick to the template, “sacrifice” some older elastic clothes from your normal wardrobe and don’t buy too expensive items. You have plenty of options!

Pregnancy wardrobe - sweater dress

I sacrificed this sweater dress from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Over 36 weeks pregnant and it still keeps me warm. Photograph by Miranda Vijfvinkel.

None of your “normal” clothes actually fit any more

This is the time to fill the gaps in your wardrobe with maternity versions. Select two maternity dresses, in different colors, that make you feel beautiful. I have a black dress that I can match with a wide variety of jackets, blazers, scarves and footwear. Make sure you have comfortable shoes. Flats, loafers or ballerina’s that you can slip on without needing to bend over, sneakers and depending on the season flip-flops or boots. Then fill the template, but don’t buy more than that. If you actually want to splurge, use your money to buy accessories, like scarves, hats, bags, jewelry and gloves. Herewith some accessories that will go well with the example wardrobe and pull the whole look together.

earringsSjaal roze_grijsPom sjaalsuede grey over the knee bootssuede navy loaferssneakers


Maternity dress

This black maternity dress is one of the “real” maternity clothes that I’m using a lot, since I style it in many different ways with jewelry, scarves and jackets in a wide variety of colors.

You have a gorgeous baby, but your belly is not back yet in it’s original state

Don’t worry, you can use some of your maternity clothes and of course all the tops, shift and sweater dresses that you bought when you just started showing until you have your figure back. Some say it takes 9 months to grow a baby, and 9 months to recover. So don’t worry if you don’t fit all of your pre-pregnancy clothes yet. Love yourself and keep updating your wardrobe with gaps in your template in your current size. For more inspiration for your pregnancy wardrobe visit my Pinterest board.