Forget all the hype about maternity wear. We’re going to give it to you straight: you can get through nine months of blossoming bazookas and a widening waistline with just five additions to your wardrobe. Yes, really, just FIVE. I know, because I just very recently did exactly that. So here they are; the five maternity wear basics that you need for the perfect maternity capsule wardrobe:
Get properly measured in a reputable store and buy a two-pack; that way you’ll always have one on and one in the wash, as my mother used to say. I am a major fan of the maternity bras by H&M - super affordable but just that decidedly bit more glam and sexy than the average unclip-to-let-it-all-hang-out bra.
I actually bought mine for a song in the sale - this one is reduced from £12.99 to just £7 - and I’ll let you into an embarrassing secret - I’m still wearing my nursing bras now, several weeks after I stopped breastfeeding. I thought I'd be itching to ditch the things as soon as I no longer needed quick and easy access to the old mammaries, but these bras are THAT comfy, they're actually hard to part with. There's also this lovely two-pack of maternity / nursing bras from Marks and Spencer but this is a bit pricer at £29.50.
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Personally I’d go with a maternity / nursing bra that you can wear whilst pregnant (underwiring is still a no-no for bras during pregnancy, last time I checked) but which will still have some use during the early days of feeding. You might want to stock up on new nursing bras after baby arrives, depending on how much your cup size changes - but leave it till breastfeeding is established and your boobs have - I was about to say 'found their feet' but that sounds several shades of wrong. Heck; you know what I mean - don't rush out and buy nursing bras until your cups have stopped overflowing.
The right pair can see you through your entire pregnancy, if you choose ‘em carefully. I found the maternity jeans from Next really hard to beat but jeans are such a personal choice, you’ll probably have to shop around to find ones you really love.
There’s some debate as to whether over-the-bump or under-the-bump ones are best and again, it really depends on how much you’re a cover-it-all-up or let-it-all-hang-out sort of mum-to-be. I loved over-the-bump jeans because that swathe of extra soft and stretchy fabric kind of sucked me in and made me feel all cocooned and comfy at a time when I was feeling pretty vulnerable and subject to scrutiny, with strangers wanting to touch my bump and people commenting endlessly on my changing shape.
The drawback of over-the-bump maternity jeans is that as your bump grows the stretchy panel does sometimes lose its elasticity, and you can find yourself doing the pregnant woman waddle as you try to keep hoiking your jeans up while you walk.
In my last pregnancy I practically lived in these jeans from Next and just adored them. I've had the black skinny maternity jeans too but I found the bootcut ones flattered me right the way through my pregnancy whereas the skinny ones started to feel a bit like I was all out of proportion. Each to her own, though, of course. These maternity jeans from H&M are just £15 right now in the sale, too.
I think people really underestimate the value of a really well-cut maternity jacket or blazer when it comes to the ultimate maternity capsule wardrobe. I just love this maternity blazer from Mothercare and right now it’s half price, reduced from £40 to £20. No matter what else fits and what doesn't or how you feel about your changing shape, I find you can throw on a maternity blazer and always feel well-dressed and that little bit polished.
Now obviously you’re going to need more than one frock if you have a wedding or a special 'do' to go to during your pregnancy, but remember I’m talking about your capsule wardrobe of weekend wear and daily casual wear.
So you can’t go wrong with a wrap dress or empire line dress when you’re pregnant, and if you really play your cards right with your purchases you can dress it up with your maternity blazer or dress it down by throwing it on over your maternity jeans.
I think this Talbot Maternity Tunic from Isabella Oliver is just gorgeous, and it's reduced right now from £109 to just £32.70, plus there's plenty of stock left in a variety of sizes. I almost wish I was pregnant again just so I could wear this!
And finally, you obviously need a natty little maternity top or two. Which counts as one item, of course, as long as you buy them in a two pack, ha! In fact here's a three-pack of long sleeve maternity tops for just £19.99. Sorted!
Do bear in mind that many of your ‘normal’ non-maternity tops will fit for ages during your pregnancy so there’s no need to go mad replacing your entire wardrobe. A clever trick for extending the life of non-maternity tops during pregnancy is to invest in some cheap vests that are nice and long, and wear them underneath your normal tops to help keep your bump under wraps even if your normal tops start getting a bit short as your bump grows.
Keep those vests, too, because they’re also a great way to turn normal tops into nursing tops if you breastfeed - just lift your normal top up to latch your baby on, safe in the knowledge that your vest will keep your tummy cosy and covered. This kind of strappy vest top (£7.99 and free delivery if you buy two) from The Hut is ideal.
So there you have it - you could splash out on that little lot and get your ultimate casual wear maternity capsule wardrobe sorted for little more than £100. Bargain, baby!
Maybe we'll even do a maternity workwear capsule wardrobe guide soon...