Alternate title: How to Stretch Your Non-Maternity Wardrobe During a Summer Pregnancy
OR: When It’s Too Hot for Pants… And You’re Pregnant
Now that I’m officially in the third trimester, my bump is hard to ignore! For the first twenty weeks or so of pregnancy, I was probably the only one who noticed that I was wearing loose tops and tunics. Hubby got to play the “Bump or Plump?” game every morning before I left for work until he finally started asking, “What’s the right answer?!”
I’ve been diving deeper and deeper into my closet, especially for work clothes, but so far I’ve been able to keep wearing my regular wardrobe with the addition of a few new items, both non-maternity and maternity.
Around 25 weeks, I finally went through my closet and separated everything that no longer fit right, which eliminated a lot of frustration in the mornings. It’s hard to justify spending a lot of money of clothes that will only last a couple months, so I’ve tried to be strategic about what I’ve added to my closet.
I definitely have a few favorites for stretching my non-maternity wardrobe through the 2nd trimester… and since I did Fashion Diaries for so many years, I have pre-pregnancy pics to compare too!
Empire waist dresses and tops
Dresses that I’ve owned for years and years are still going strong, especially since I’m petite and most dresses that were knee-length previously are still long enough to accommodate a growing belly. My tolerance for pants is at an all-time low this summer!
Pre-Pregnancy (that still work):
These were never my favorite kind of tops pre-pregnancy, but I still have a couple in my closet and they fit surprisingly well now that my belly fills them out.
Super comfortable, and a foldover waist is great since it’s adjustable as the bump grows. The tricky part is finding a shirt that’s long enough to cover the bump but not so long that it looks sloppy since I can’t tuck it in. I’ve had the most luck with form-fitting t-shirts (before pregnancy too!).
When my regular pants stopped fitting, I looked for a pair of black capris with an elastic waist that I could push underneath the belly, and that’s been my main pair of work pants so far this summer.
Same goes for shorts and leggings! My favorite elastic-waist shorts are J. Crew Factory’s 3″ boardwalk shorts – in black and navy, I’m set for the summer.
A few purchases have helped me stretch my non-maternity wardrobe as far as possible:
I bought the Target brand, but I don’t think there’s a “best” one out there since it’s basically just an elastic sleeve that you can wear over unbuttoned/unzipped pants. For me, the band worked best during the first trimester and half of my second trimester, when my pants still mostly fit but needed to be unbuttoned. I found it more comfortable for work pants than for jeans, and eventually I got tired of constantly readjusting it throughout the day, so I stopped bothering with it. But I could see the band coming in handy again postpartum when clothes still don’t fit quite right since it provides some shaping also.
Jersey tank dress
Stretchy jersey dresses have been a staple on the weekends and they’re great for work with a cardigan. They still accommodate a growing bump in the third trimester, but in the early days the loose silhouette covered up a lot.
I’ve bought a couple pairs of maternity pants from ThredUp (That’s a referral link but this post is not sponsored. In my experience, consignment is the way to go – with high-end brands and cheap prices, each purchase doesn’t feel like such an investment if it doesn’t fit, plus you can return items for store credit). Built-in belly panels are still tricky though – especially in the dead of summer, they start to feel hot and itchy after a few hours so I end up folding over the waist… and honestly, on most days I’d rather wear a dress anyway. (Here’s hoping my next pregnancy will be during the winter – then it will be leggings and tunics all day every day!)
One of my favorite stores in MS (Deep South Pout) carries the Nikibiki brand of seamless bandeau bras, but I’m sure you can find similar brands elsewhere. These are super comfortable alone or as a layer on top of a regular (or nursing) bra if you need more support. I used to wear these for coverage under low-cut necklines or with backless tops/dresses but now I just wear them when I don’t feel like dealing with confining straps. Every time Deep South Pout runs a sale on these I stock up on the basic colors, and they have definitely come in handy during my summer pregnancy.
Basic tees one size up
Kohl’s Apt 9 brand of v-neck t-shirts have been my favorite basic to add to my wardrobe basic. I don’t shop there too often but I always pick up another color or two if they’re on sale. I buy one size up from my normal size to get the longer torso, which covers up the belly but is still form-fitting enough to look like a cute t-shirt.
And that’s about all the words I can muster about clothes in the dead of summer, at the beginning of my third trimester. Only three months to go… !