Maternity Capsule Wardrobe

I’ve been practicing a seasonal “capsule” wardrobe approach to my clothing choices for the past few years. For me, it’s been a way to make more thoughtful purchases less often, and to resist the lure of consumerism.

A capsule wardrobe is simply a limited wardrobe, reassessed seasonally. The goal is to compose the wardrobe once with items you will wear, and wear often; it eliminates impulse purchases, an overcrowded closet, and the feeling that you have nothing to wear.

A maternity capsule wardrobe can be pared down even further, since so many of your “regular” clothes can be worn throughout pregnancy. With the benefit of hindsight, here’s what I consider the essentials of a spring/summer maternity capsule wardrobe:

Maternity capsule wardrobe

  • 7-9 tops (including some non-maternity tops)
  • 4 bottoms (one pair shorts, two pair jeans, one pair leggings)
  • 4-5 dresses and skirts 
  • 2 workout tops
  • 1 workout bottom
  • Swimsuit (since I live by the beach and took two beach trips in my third trimester, this qualified as “essential.”)

A few items from my capsule, left to right: Blanqi leggings, Top Shop swimsuit, Top Shop top via ThredUP, Liz Lange white skinnies from Target

Top lessons learned “dressing the bump”

  1. I didn’t need maternity clothes for most of my pregnancy. For first pregnancies especially, it can take a long time to show. (I barely started showing at 18-20 weeks, and was still wearing my regular jeans unbuttoned and secured with a hair tie) –>

(Side note: I’m still amazed that this little tiny bump, easily mistaken for a large lunch, is now a little person sitting next to me as I type this. Wonder of wonders.)

2. I could wear most of my regular tops  throughout the pregnancy, even once I had a “bump” –>

(26 weeks here, but several regular tops saw me through all 40 weeks!)

3. There was no difference other than marketing (that I could tell) between my “maternity” maxi dresses and my regular maxi dresses. Maxi dresses are the dream pregnancy outfit! I’m mourning them now that I’m nursing and it’s not convenient to wear dresses.

4. If planning to breastfeed, nursing bras/tanks and postpartum clothes are an investment just as important as maternity clothes (if not more so!).

5. Having even fewer options than my already pared down wardrobe made getting dressed even easier, albeit a little repetitive. It prompted me to consider a smaller postpartum wardrobe, but I am so excited to get back into regular clothes for fall, my favorite  style season, (bring on the booties, skinny jeans and sweaters!) that I probably won’t be making any major cuts just yet. :)

My go-to maternity items

  1. Blanqi leggings – pricey, but worth it. Use this link for 20% off your order! (I bought the postpartum ones and wore them through most of my pregnancy — it was too hot near the end to wear long pants at all — and I am loving them postpartum as well.)
  2. Jeans (I had an L.E.D. pair of blue jeans, and the white jeans pictured above and below.)
  3. Jean shorts (I found an L.E.D. pair on ThredUP)
  4. Workout clothes – A friend gifted me two tops and a pair of capris, and I ended up wearing them all the time for workouts, walks, and around the house.

5. Maxi dresses

Left to right: Pea in the Pod, Gap Maternity, and Calvin Klein, all acquired via ThredUP. (The striped dress isn’t a maternity dress, and I’m pictured wearing it at 38 weeks. I’ve worn it since, so it didn’t stretch out, either!)

My go-to maternity outfits

Basic tee with leggings

Liz Lange maternity tee, borrowed, Blanqi leggings

Tunic with skinny jeans

Stitch Fix tunic (not maternity), Liz Lange maternity skinnies from Target

Tee with maxi skirt

Madewell cotton tee, Stitch Fix skirt (neither are maternity items)

Little black dress

Rosie Pope dress, borrowed

Maxi dress

Target (not maternity)

And just like that, my baby is seven weeks old, we’re past Labor Day and ready to roll out the fall wardrobe! No one is more surprised than I am that I actually miss being pregnant. A bump is a great accessory, but a baby is an even better one. :)

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One thought on “Maternity Capsule Wardrobe

  1. I have wanted to do a capsule wardrobe FOREVER, but was pretty much forced into it [finally] when I got pregnant because I had to eventually pare down what fit me/what looked good still/etc. I’M LOVING IT.

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