My Maternity Wardrobe Basics

Remember these maternity dresses, mommies? When I was younger, it seemed as though every pregnant woman I saw was dressed like this. (Only the patterns of their dresses differentiated them from each other!) Thankfully, we modern-day mommies have a lot more options when it comes to dressing up for the nine months while our bellies play host to our little ones.

It's important to me to still look presentable even though I look, and sometimes feel, like a beached whale. Don't get me wrong, I love my body when it's pregnant, but let's face it, all expectant mommies have THOSE days. You know, the ones where you feel huge and awkward and you stare wistfully at all the other women who can still find their waistline. (I haven't found mine in oh, about three and a half years.)

Looking presentable (and staying comfortable) while pregnant can be challenging, but it isn't impossible. Having gone through three full-term pregnancies in less than four years, I could say that I spent more time in maternity clothes than I did out of them. Most of the clothes I own are for maternity use, or adaptable to maternity use. However, a big problem was how to keep my wardrobe updated -- on a budget.

My main beef is that I felt that clothes made especially maternity-use were a tad too pricey. Also, some of the maternity shops I've tried have clothes that I can wear only at certain points in my pregnancy, but not throughout. Case in point, while pregnant with Little C, I was shopping to add some basic pieces to my closet. I found a pretty nice shirt that I liked and I tried it on. I was only about 10 to 12 weeks pregnant then, but I could already tell that there was no way that shirt would go the whole nine months for me. So I've gotten pretty good at hunting for pieces that would work not just for the entire pregnancy, but could also be used for breastfeeding. So for my expectant mommy friends, here are some of my basic maternity wardrobe must-haves that will go the distance:

1. Leggings: These have pretty much replaced pants for me. I suggest getting them in basic black, so that it will be easy to mix and match. Black can be a bit boring though, especially if you've been wearing them for the better part of four years, so I've been looking for denim fabric leggings that will look like skinny jeans. Plus points: the fabric is lighter than maternity jeans, which is something to consider when you live in a tropical country and your body temperature spikes due to pregnancy.

2. Empire cut tops: For pregnant women, empire-cut clothes are our best friend. The cut gives room for your expanding tummy, and they're a good match for your leggings. Plus, they will emphasize your newly acquired assets (a.k.a. your pregnancy boobs). A tip though: if you're buying these during your first trimester, make sure it's a bit longer than normal, because in a few months, you'll have a bigger bump to cover. Like the leggings, these will last for pregnancy and beyond.

3. Maxi dresses or sundresses: I've also accumulated quite a collection of these in varying colors, designs and lengths. (Again, three pregnancies in less than four years.) What I love about these is that they're really comfortable, but still look nice. They give you a nice feminine feel and personally, I feel lighter when I wear dresses because they're breezy and well-ventilated. These are also really good as nursing clothes, since most of the maxi dresses I've seen have V-necks, or tube-type necklines that can easily be pulled down for a hungry baby.

4. Nice flats: Although pictures often show pregnant celebrities in sky-high heels, it's usually not advised for pregnant women. Flats are still the best option for me, especially since my babies tend to grow a bit on the large side. Flats don't have to mean boring slippers or flip-flops though. Fortunately for us, there are a lot of options for footwear, especially if you're one of the lucky mommies whose feet don't swell to epic proportions when pregnant (a.k.a quakermommy). For this pregnancy though, my feet haven't expanded much, so I'm still able to wear ballet flats, which are also another option for pregnant women.

5. Comfortable underwear: Pregnancy gives you a whole new set of curves and you may need to bump up a cup size (or two) to accommodate them. Believe me, everything will grow. Your boobs, your waist, your hips... You don't want uber-tight, constricting underwear that pinches and creates unsightly lumps under your outfits. For those in the last few weeks of pregnancy, you can probably get a maternity bra that doubles as a nursing bra to get more bang for your buck.

That's it for now, mommies!


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