My Best Kept "Maternity" Clothes Secrets

trimesterMaternity fashion has always been an oxymoron. There are literally like three actual maternity pieces I have liked in all of my pregnancies so far, but mostly what I've found in my search for something comfortable are non-maternity pieces you can wear from the first trimester through the fourth trimester and beyond. You just need to know the tricks and tips to finding those non-maternity maternity must have pieces...

First, let me just tell you that in each of my pregnancies so far, I have gained 50+ pounds during the course of the pregnancy. Yes. FIFTY. FIVE OH. I know, I know, that is more than the recommended amount, but that is just what my body does whether I have morning sickness for the first three months or not, and my doctor is okay with it and so am I. But, that being said, I am not one of those ladies that can breeze through pregnancy wearing the same pair of jeans up until the end. No sir. I also go from like an A-cup to WAY BIGGER during pregnancy, so tops are also impossible to find for me for the pregnancy/maternity/breastfeeding outfit range. Or rather, were.

I've already shared my go-to "maternity" piece, these tanks are the BEST but really, it's all about the length. Any long tank will do, but these Liz Lange babies from Target just happen to be perfect and please don't ever change them, thanks in advance.

Do the dress as shirt. Something with a little stretch, and why not, maybe a great pop of color, will see you through the entire pregnancy. Wear it as a tunic at first, then pair it with leggings or a maxi skirt towards the finish line, pair it with some shorts for post-preggo, or go back to full on dress! Nobody does dress as shirt better than American Apparel (all of the dresses pictured below can be found here). Their styles and colors are fresh and vibrant, or you can opt for the classic black.

dresses

Next, let me tell you a little secret. I LOVE getting maternity clothes from Forever 21. I LOVE IT. Sure, you may get a few weird looks from the salesgirls (this has happened to me so many times like "Uh lady? It's Forever 21, not Forever 37.") especially when you're perusing their racks with a toddler in tow, but there is NO place better for cheap maxi dresses (and mini dresses to wear as maternity shirts) that you can wear during pregnancy and afterward. Their t-shirt dresses are unbelievably cheap (the one pictured below and online here is THIRTEEN DOLLARS) and I even found one that was a deep enough v-neck that I could breastfeed the baby in it as well. These are especially crucial for summer pregnancies, I practically lived in their tank maxi dresses with my summer pregnancy. And really, at less than 20 bucks a pop, if you don't wear it again it really isn't a waste. Don't let the model in the photo dissuade you. I bought one of these dresses at my pre-pregnancy size, wore it all through my pregnancy gaining 50+ pounds, could toss it in the washing machine no problem and I STILL have it and am wearing it this time around too, during the winter with some boots and it'll be a mainstay this summer. My favorite one is navy and I pair it with a cropped denim jacket, some chunky bracelets, a bright scarf and feel like I actually have an outfit on. 00150778-05Long flowy cardigans, the softer the better. Either lightweight for spring and summer or something heavier for the winter, you can pair your go-to tank or mini dress/shirt with a cardigan and you're good to go. Great for breastfeeding too, especially the really shawl-y ones like the cashmere wrap one below or the go with anything cardi from LL Bean.

cardis

Fleece leggings. Now, for some reason, I am like SUPER DUPER sensitive to tight clothing when I'm pregnant. Like I can't go out wearing something that is even remotely tight on my belly/under the belly area. My favorite yoga pants are out, because even with their stretch they are still too tight, but of course it's like impossible to find leggings that aren't maternity that aren't tight but will stay up. Right? WRONG. The fleece leggings at Target are THE BEST. They somehow stay up and yet are so comfortable on the belly area that I even sleep in them. And for post-partum! OMG YES THESE ARE THE BEST. There is something about the fleece aspect that makes them stay up easier than regular leggings without the tightness on the waistband, I mean there is none. I wear a pair almost every day. I even have a "formal" pair of black fleece leggings for when I want to look like I'm not wearing pajamas in public. Oh and? They're like twelve bucks.

leggings

Embrace the beach cover up as shirt. I sort of started doing this by accident because I had the cutest beach cover up and thought what the hell, I'm wearing this bad boy as a shirt and ain't nobody gonna stop me. Now steer clear of the more gauzy, obviously beachy ones and choose something that while having a nice breezy shape doesn't have like seashells or seahorses on it. J.Crew has some great choices, like the chambray one and the color block one pictured below. Plus, when it comes to pool time, you already have your cute cover up ready to go.

coverupsIf the beach cover up as shirt leaves you feeling a little more parade float than you would like, invest in a good wrap belt to cinch it off over the bump for a super cute look. Why a wrap belt and not a regular belt? Well, besides being a stylish, on trend accessory it allows you to customize the size without counting down the number of belt holes you have left. These are so great for fourth trimester wear too when you want to belt something but aren't ready to get back into your pre-pregnancy clothes and accessories. Plus, this style is just so universally flattering on all shapes. My favorite? Check out the gorgeous one pictured below from Anthropologie.

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Now for shoes. I am among the lucky group of pregnant ladies that doesn't suffer from swollen feet during pregnancy, but that doesn't mean that my regular shoes are doable either. TOMS are always a great option for the non-snowy/mud season months here in upstate NY, and I also love Dansko clogs. They are cute and comfortable and you can even have a little bit of a lift in them without killing your feet. Oh and those sweet little flats pictured below? Those are TOMS and they are on sale for 35% off right now (I know).

flats