The Capsule Maternity Wardrobe That Will Save Your Style (and Some Cash)

maternity capsule wardrobe

One of my concerns about being pregnant was giving up my established wardrobe for six months. Once you start showing, does that mean you throw in the "style" towel and start sporting outfits that resemble pajamas more than they do fashion, more than they do "the regular” you?


I know it sounds vain, but I couldn't help but feel the fear. Sure I'm ecstatic that I'm growing a life inside of me, but I didn't want to look like a different version of my former self -- one that came with apprehension as weight gain, bloat, and other physical changes were a strong possibility.

To combat my worries, I hashed out a plan -- a style list to live by, really -- to keep my wardrobe in check. I logged three simple categories in my maternity style plot: stuff to repurpose, stuff to buy, and stuff to never ever touch even when met with no other options.

Stuff to Repurpose

Leggings with matching tops. The key is to use the same fabric and color for a seamless look. It's sleek and chic, especially if you pick a shade like black or navy blue.

Trapeze dresses. The ones that you wore pre-pregnancy can now be layered with tights (or leggings in the winter time). I also suggest wearing them alone just like you used to if your baby bump hasn't grown too much, because its usual length will be maintained. If you're in your third trimester, odds are that dress will feel shorter than it used to, as it will fill out in the front like it never has before.

More from The Stir: 8 Pregnancy Hacks to Get You Through the Next 9 Months

In cold weather, layer a fitted, long-sleeve turtleneck or button-down underneath your trapeze dress. Pick complementary colors for some contrast, like dark blue with yellow, tan with pink, or red with gray. If your dress has a pattern, pick one color from the print and wear that color in solid underneath.

Blazers. Both the tried-and-true "staple" variety (in blacks and neutrals) and the trendy ones (in prints and bold hues) you've had in your closet -- they will become your go-tos. But don't expect to wear them like you used too. You'll have no choice but to leave them opened and unbuttoned at all times.

maternity clothing

Stuff to Buy

One to two pairs of really great maternity jeans. I especially love the full-panel ones for extra comfort. The demi and no-panel versions seem to cup my baby bump in a way that, when I'm sitting, feels constricting.

Three to five pairs of maternity leggings (in colors like black, dark gray and navy). You will live in these -- morning, noon, and night -- and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. To give your style some pizzazz while virtually living in leggings FOR MONTHS, accessorize with scarves, patterned or bold light jackets and sweaters and statement jewelry.

Lightweight infinity scarves. In bold prints, these will hide your baby bump when you’re not quite ready to unleash the news to everyone. And post-pregnancy, these accessories (as mentioned prior) will give your style some oomph.

Roomy, cozy sweaters (preferably the open or wrap kind). These will become your when-in-doubt go-tos when you feel like you’ve got “nothing to wear.” Leggings or jeans with any chic top, plus a sweater thrown on and a pair of booties, will get you out the door quickly and still fashion-forward.

Two pairs of comfy, flat shoes. Even if you already have plenty of shoes, your swollen feet (which eventually started to ail me toward the end of my second trimester and continued on to my third) likely will require you to buy more. One sneaker-style option and another dressier pair in suede or leather are all you need. At least one will match the outfit ideas I’ve mentioned above.

maternity capsule wardrobe

PJs. Though you may be more concerned with looking fashionable in public, stylish pajamas for home should also be considered. I urge you to go for comfy and cute. Looking your best -- even when you're lounging at home -- will help you feel good.

More from The Stir: 20 of the Best Things About Wearing Maternity Clothes

Bonus tip for cold-weather season: Don’t splurge on a new maternity coat to accommodate your baby bump. Treat yourself to that AFTER your little one is born. In the meantime, get a winter vest (which is a fraction of the cost) to wear under your regular, non-pregnancy coat or jacket. You'll feel just as insulated. Even better, when you feel those pregnancy hot flashes, you can easily remove layers and shove that vest into your bag.

Stuff to Avoid

Non-maternity pants late in pregnancy. Don’t even try to squeeze into your pre-bump pants in the second and third trimesters. As much as you love ’em, you’ll have to hold off until after delivery. I gave them a try and regretted every moment as I struggled to breathe while I was sitting. They are constricting and will only give you aches and pains in the belly.

High-heels and platforms. Not only are these shoes uncomfortable, but they can also be dangerous since your balance is affected during pregnancy. Don't risk a fall!

A small handbag. This is your new, pregnant figure’s worst enemy. The smaller the bag, the larger you’ll look. Opt for a fabulous oversized purse to wear over your shoulder or on your forearm. Warning: Don’t fill it up. Keep your carryall light because you’ll be more tired than usual, and even walking (especially in your third trimester) can feel like a challenge.


Ysolt Usigan is first-time pregnant lady who is admittedly not built to be one. You know how some women say, "I love being pregnant"? That couldn't be further from Ysolt's truth, she says. As a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, non-maternity-clothes-wearing mom-to-be, she strives to "keep it real" (with her pregnancy and beyond). Don't judge! Excited to meet her little girl (due in May), she currently works as a full-time branded content director at The Weather Channel and freelance writes for The Stir in the meantime. You might've also seen her work from when she was a lifestyle editor at,,, and more.


Images via Ysolt Usigan

Read More >