I can’t get this Cap Cana dress by Troubadour Clothing (out of Charleston, SC) out of my mind. I think it’s just THE most perfect frock for any possible spring/summer social engagement.
I feel like that at 30.5 weeks, I’ve got enough experience dressing my belly that I can finally share what has worked for me. For reference, I work in a corporate environment where the dress code is business casual. Blouses and trousers make the cut, but legging and sweaters don’t. On the weekends, I am much more casual, so this post focuses on finding clothes that suit my entire life needs. Additionally, I didn’t/don’t want to spend that much on maternity clothing since I will only be able to wear it for a relatively short span of time. And finally, my philosophy on looking good while pregnant is that you didn’t look good wearing a sack of a dress or “babydoll” tops before getting pregnant, so why start now. I’m a big fan of showing off that belly and wearing clothes that hug rather than hang on it.
So first, let’s focus on nonmaternity clothing that I have been making work a la Tim Gunn. Next, I’ll talk about what maternity pieces I picked up and have found to be essential.
Non-maternity clothing essentials:
- Belly bands. These are stretchy pieces of fabric that you can put over non-maternity pants that are unbuttoned so that they stay up. I actually hated this contraption at first because I felt like my pants never stayed up like they were supposed to. Now that I’m much, much, much larger than I was when first bought the belly band, I have been using it more. In fact, I’m wearing my non-maternity skinny jeans in the post below, just with a belly band that I got at Target. So, I’d recommend picking one up but try it out at a few different phases of belly growth to see when you are most comfortable wearing it.
- Lulu Lemon Wunder Under leggings. My weekend uniform is basically leggings and some kind of long top or what used to be a dress on me and is now more of a tunic. I have two pairs of lulu lemon leggings from my pre-preg days that are going strong and I bought one additional pair in a size larger than normal. All pairs have done a great job stretching with my belly and since the wunder unders are basically the gold standard in leggings, I feel pretty confident that they will retain their original shape when I no longer need them to fit over my extra girth.
- Rachel Pally. Rachel Pally has been a favorite brand of mine since way before getting pregnant and I’m especially loving her stuff now that I’m expecting. Her jersey pieces are comfortable and easily stretch as needed, and I’m addicted to her maxi dresses. I know her items can be kind of pricey, but I regularly see Rachel Pally sales on HauteLook and Gilt Groupe and there’s no shortage on ebay either. Plus, it’s nice to know that you’re spending money on something that you can wear with or without child. #shoppingjustificationFTW
- Michael Stars. Michael Stars is another line that is great for the expecting mama, but also is something that you can wear after popping out the baby. His clothing is “one size fits most” and I especially like some of the longer tunics/tops for preggos. He also has a maternity line, too, and I have one dress that I picked up at a maternity consignment shop, but honestly I still prefer to wear the pieces from the regular Michael Stars line.
- Skinny Tee tank tops. I have these in a few colors and wear them under my looser blouses and tops which really helps stretch the mileage on my pre-pregnancy clothes. One of the things about wearing clothes that aren’t made for maternity wear is that as your belly gets larger, everything hangs shorter in the front because it’s got to go around that tummy. Skinny tee tanks are nice and long and not too constricting. They just provide a nice smooth layer and cover up any stomach skin that might otherwise hang out.
- Jewelry. Let’s be honest - shopping is not really that fun when you are pregnant. Everything is larger and you notice extra blobs of your body in places you didn’t realize you could. But jewelry is size-independent and I love to wear a fun statement necklace both because it makes me feel a little spunky and also because it detracts attention from the basketball-sized bump below. J Crew (sale section, natch), Anthropologie and Bauble Bar are great resources for fun necklaces.
Maternity clothing essentials:
Most of the actual maternity clothes I have picked up have been so that I can still dress professionally for work. If I didn’t have a job, I could get away with maxi dresses and leggings forever, but such is not my life. Here’s what has been absolutely essential and what I’ve worn to death these days:
- Two pairs of maternity trouser and two maternity pencil skirts. Gap has been my saving grace for maternity clothing. They regularly have great sales of 30-40% off and their maternity sizes match up exactly with your pre-preg sizes making it really easy to shop. I bought two pairs of trouser and two skirts - both in black and in gray - which I rotate around with different tops and jewelry for different looks using many of the same pieces.
- One pair of nice maternity jeans. Since my office wears jeans on Friday, I picked up a dark wash, trouser style pair of jeans that I wear pretty much every Friday (Mine are by James Jeans and I really like them). I feel like I’m really getting the most out of my cost per wear and the dark wash ensure that the jeans can be worn for a lot of occasions besides just Casual Friday.
- Pea in the Pod tights. It’s winter, so the only way I can get away with skirts and dresses is with tights. I tried to wear my Spanx tights as long as possible, but that got old fast as my stomach continued to grow. The Pea in the Pod brand tights are really opaque, go over your entire stomach, and are extremely comfortable - all three of which are musts in my book.
- Hand me downs/consignment stores. I’ve been blessed that my sister-in-law was pregnant before me and also had to work in a corporate environment. She’s let me borrow some of her dresses and tops which have been a real lifesaver. I definitely recommend hitting up any female family members that have already been pregnant to see what they’d be willing to temporarily part with. Just remember, you’re borrowing so make sure to give it back at the end! Consignment shops have also been great. For local ladies, there is a great one called Babiology in Five Points. I picked up the aforementioned Michael Stars dress as well as a new with tags Isabella Oliver dress for $30 (normally almost $300)! If you’re going to spend money on maternity clothes, checking out a consignment store is key to sticking to a low, low budget like I am trying to do.
And that’s about it. Between working with what I have, picking up a few key essentials, and going slightly overboard with accessories, I’ve been able to maximize a lot of what’s in my current closet throughout the duration of this pregnancy.
I’m definitely interested to hear what worked/didn’t work for you, too. Do tell!
Important PSA of the day: J Brand is having a 30% off sale on their website. LOTS of styles and colors are discounted. And there are no jeans in my closet that have made me look skinnier than my J Brands.
… I was without child, and
… I had some fabby New Year’s Eve plans,
THIS is the dress I’d be wearing.
I’m voting for whoever promises to bring this clutch to the little people.
I love the print and the cut on this bump-friendly DVF dress. Though with a baby on the way, $400 dresses are a little out of my budget.
Here’s some general cuteness from Piperlime brought to you by the fact that you can still snag $50 worth of goods for $25 (the $100 for $50 deal sold out. boo).
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10
I tried this dress on at LOFT today. It is really cute and flattering and cozy. Now, I’m just waiting for a coupon code because I refuse to pay full price for anything from there. See also: Banana Republic, J. Crew, Gap, and any internet website.
Note: Runs large. I was swimming in a small.
This post was inspired by the fact that Refinery 29 is currently offering $50 toward Sole Society for $25. So, I figured now was as good of a time as any to tell you about this shoe club. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, it really is no surprise that I am ob-sessed with monthly membership clubs. But, over the past year+, there are a few that have stood the test of time.
Shoe Dazzle? Out.
Just Fab? No thanks.
JewelMint? We have our months.
ShoeMint? Still warming up… it’s a little pricey but so far so good.
Sole Society? YES!
I have probably a dozen pairs of shoes (maybe more?) from Sole Society and I really think the quality for the shoes you get is really worth the $50 (give or take depending on the actual shoe) or so you spend. Some of my favorite pairs that I actually own are:
Kelly. These remind of the Pour la Victoire wedges that I love but don’t want to pay for. They also go with everything.
Heather. These booties are too cool for school. I wear them in the fall with tights and also with skinny jeans. I’ve also worn them with bootcut jeans but you can’t really see them when I do that, obviously. They are awesome.
Noah. I love this jungle green color and wore these all through summer to work. They added a nice pop of color to black slacks and when I was feeling feisty, I’d pair them with a hot pink pencil skirt. I have two types of shoes in my life, my SRO (sitting room only, because I can only sit while wearing them), and everything else. These are the latter.The heel is a respectable height while still being short enough to maneuver around the office.
My other favorite pairs are so old that they aren’t on Sole Society anymore. However, these lovely ladies will likely be my next addition.
Anywho, I’d definitely recommend Sole Society, and with the Refinery 29 deal, now’s the time to get on that.
Oh, and shipping and returns are totally free, fyi. AND you’re not obligated to opt out each month lest you forget and get slapped with a monthly fee. You only pay for shoes when you want to buy a pair.
If you’re not a member already, I’d love for you to use my referral link (which I’ve also linked to throughout this post) so I can earn some credit if you love Sole Society as much as I do. Pay it forward, and all that jazz.
(p.s. I’m not being paid or perked for this post. I just really love Sole Society and thought you might, too. All shoes I own are ones that I’ve paid for myself!)
Nobody does stripes quite like Marc Jacobs. Love the colors on this one.
(I realize this is a totally lame blog post after days on end of nothing, but I hope to return to my regularly scheduled blogging soon enough. Life has been cray lately - work is busy, I got a new car (!!!), one of my besties is getting married in December and we’ve got some super fun parties for her, and then all the other regular life stuff that just needs to be tended to. I’ll be back soon enough. Until then, I’ll share little gems that catch my eye, like this dress.)