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Top 10 Pregnancy Essentials: The Basic Maternity Clothes Wardrobe Must-Haves 2014

Updated on June 17, 2014
Pic by adamr
Pic by adamr | Source

Dress Your Bump 101

Welcome to Dress Your Bump 101. As a new mom, dressing your baby bump can be a daunting experience! What exactly will you need to get your new maternity wardrobe started? I've gone through three pregnancies with many fashion mistakes along the way, but I feel that I now know what works and doesn't work! I've helped many other moms with their questions on my successful Facebook fanpage, Maternity Clothes Online, which has over 550 followers. These maternity clothing pieces below are the top ten items that I would recommend to my closest friends in starting their pregnancy wardrobe. Please leave your comments, questions, and suggestions at the end of this article. I would love to hear your opinions on what maternity clothing items that you love!

# 1 - Maternity Jeans

My number one pick in starting your wardrobe is a versatile pair of comfortable maternity jeans. Pick the style that you like best, however, I've found that the most popular jean is the boot cut. There are several different types of bands and panels to choose from. Bands typically fit under your belly and panels fit over your bump. Each retailer designs and names their maternity support differently. Most retailers provide a guide to help you in choosing the right fit of maternity support for your trimester, depending on their design. As a general rule, the full belly panel will support your pregnancy for the full nine months. In the spring or summer, definitely opt for a pair of maternity Capri's or shorts! They are great to wear around the house too.

Great for ALL 9 MONTHS! : Full Belly Panel

Amazon | Source

# 2 - Maternity T-Shirt or Tank

Maternity T-shirts or Tanks are a great buy for your maternity wardrobe, no matter what season! The point here is to buy a longer length short sleeve or tank top shirt for the purpose of layering. The maternity design allows for a longer shirt to cover your belly in the later months. For this reason, instead of a belly band, you can get by with layering a non-maternity shirt over the maternity tank because of its added length. To keep cool, I always find that tanks and t-shirts are my go-to choice. It's comforting to remove a layered garment when your internal temperature is running hot. In my opinion, the longer the maternity t-shirt or tank top, the better! Love to have a few different colors to add a bit of variety and visual appeal to your wardrobe.

Most Popular Maternity Wardrobe Must-Have:

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# 3 - Flat Shoes

With all the aches and pains that come with pregnancy, you'll want a good comfortable flat slip-on type shoe. In the mid to later stages of your term, it will become difficult to bend over due to your protruding belly, back pain, and other pains like sciatica. Choose a slip-on shoe, like a ballet or mule with very little heel, which feels comfortable without any buckles or laces. Keep in mind, also, that your feet might swell in the later stages of pregnancy. At one point, none of my shoes fit which were a 7.5 size. I had to choose a shoe with a larger width or up my size to an 8. You absolutely need a few different colors of shoes in your wardrobe, but I usually start out with a basic black pair because they go with everything.

# 4 - Maternity Dress

The maternity dress is one of my favorite pregnancy pieces. There are so many designs to choose from. There is knee length, mid length, and maxi length. My all time favorite is the mid length. Since I am petite, I have found that the long maxi dresses are better worn in the first and second trimester of pregnancy as my size is accentuated in the later trimester. However, if you are taller the maxi dress might be perfect for all 9 months. You'll want to choose a maternity dress that is right for your body type. You can't go wrong with a plain black maternity dress! Most often, I pair my maternity dress with a thin cardigan, jean jacket, or blazer for a more slimming effect. The colorblock design and skinny belts are on trend for a sleek, sharp silhouette. Below, is a cute figure flattering Vanessa Minnillo Lachey style maxi dress from Motherhood Maternity.

Vanessa Minnillo Lachey Style Maternity Maxi Dress

Vanessa Mannillo pic from
Vanessa Mannillo pic from | Source

# 5 - Maternity Cardigan

Whether it's summer, spring, fall, or winter; the maternity cardigan is a must-have maternity piece; great for any season! Unless it's in the dead of winter, I prefer the lighter fabrics. There is nothing worse than burning up while you're pregnant. But, I live in Texas & we barely have a winter. So buy a weight of fabric that suits your needs. My main purpose in wearing a cardigan, during pregnancy, is to elongate and flatter my figure. Let your cardigan hang open and to-the-side, for this reason. Layering is the greatest trend in pregnancy! Also, another option for layering is the classic casual maternity jean jacket or opt for a maternity blazer if you are career minded.

# 6 - Maternity Tunic Top

Why are maternity tunic tops so great? They have a long length which covers your growing belly. Plus, tunics cover your growing hips and back-side, making them perfectly appropriate to wear over leggings; which are super comfortable during pregnancy! Again, the colorblock design is a hot trend right now for maternity wear. The tunic, in my opinion, is one of the most figure flattering and comfortable go-to pieces for pregnant women. A tunic is fitted across the shoulders and arms. The adjustable side ruching is a nice design feature in ANY maternity shirt, but especially the tunic, because it allows more or less fabric to be let out to accommodate your growing belly. I love the 3/4 length sleeves on maternity tunics, just because I feel like my arms look bigger in the later months and the longer sleeves help conceal that insecurity issue for me.

# 7 - Maternity Leggings

Now that you have a maternity tunic, you need a pair of maternity leggings to complete your outfit! Leggings are also perfect for any season. With my leggings, in the summer and spring, I wear my flats or sandals. In the winter and fall, I wear flat mid-calf or knee high length boots. I've tried pulling off non-maternity leggings, but as your bump grows they become very uncomfortable and by about 20 weeks (or sooner) they no longer fit. The maternity leggings include a waist band which is much more forgiving and comfortable to wear while pregnant. They have been around for a while, but I am just now seeing them really pop into maternity stores due to their huge popularity. Maternity leggings are a definite must-have!

Time for Some Maternity Clothes! Helpful tips from a Youtuber:

# 8 - Maternity Button-Down Shirt

I love the plain white or black button-down long sleeve maternity shirts with adjustable sleeves. This is one go-to piece that I can always count on. A v-neck can dress up a simple cotton shirt. If you are career minded, pair this piece with a blazer, pair of black pants, and pumps. For a more casual look, layer the shirt over a colorful tank or t-shirt and/or a cardigan. I've even worn this type of shirt underneath a maternity dress to give it a different look. Most button-down maternity shirts now come with an adjustable tie, in the back, for a more flattering figure and to accommodate your growing belly.

# 9 - Maternity Black or Gray Stretchy Pants

Whether you are career minded, or not, a pair of black, or gray, stretchy maternity pants goes with everything! Just like jeans, when a full belly panel is included, the stretchy maternity pants can be worn during all nine months of your pregnancy. For work, the classic way to dress these pants up is to pair with a button-down shirt and a blazer. For a more casual look, wear with your favorite maternity tank, t-shirt, tunic, or blouse and a cardigan or jean jacket. Go for a straight leg or boot-cut pant which generally include a combination or blend of poly / Lycra / and spandex. The use of these types of materials in your fabric ensures that your pant will fit and flatter your curves no matter what body shape you have.

# 10 - A-Line Maternity Skirt

The A-Line maternity skirt is by far the most popular and figure flattering for pregnancy. As with jeans, maternity skirts come with different panels. Most often, I have seen the self-belly, or real waist, fold-over belly, or belly band, and the secret fit belly, or full panel. Check with the garment designer or manufacture to discern which panel will work best for your stage in pregnancy. Choose a versatile color of dark blue, black, or gray. During my heaviest period, I preferred to wear skirts over dresses or pants for the convenience, comfort, and for a more feminine appearance. Most skirts can be worn right up to the day you deliver.


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