A few years ago, capsule wardrobes–the notion of building a small, timeless set of clothes—were all the rage. Some capsule wardrobes included thirty items per season, while others gave a little more flexibility. The point of a capsule wardrobe is not necessarily to have an exact number of clothes, but more to hone in on basics, avoid fast fashion, and invest in quality.
I never truly subscribed to the capsule wardrobe philosophy with my regular clothes. With pregnancy clothing however, a maternity capsule wardrobe is definitely my goal. I love the idea of having staple pieces of clothing and saving money, especially because I will not be wearing the clothing for a long period of time.
What is a Maternity Capsule Wardrobe?
A maternity capsule wardrobe is a thoughtful selection of maternity pieces that mix and match well and serve a mama throughout her nine months of pregnancy. Every woman’s maternity capsule wardrobe will look a little different but most will include a handful of tops, bottoms, a dress or two, and one of my most recommended maternity items—maternity underwear!
If you are aiming to not overwhelm your closet with maternity clothes and want to stay within budget a certain budget, a maternity capsule wardrobe might just be for you. Also, if you think you might have more children in the future it will definitely work out to your benefit to strategically build a collection of maternity pieces that will last both in quality and style over the years.
How to Build a Maternity Capsule Wardrobe
When building a maternity capsule wardrobe, I like to think through everything I wear from the base layer up in the context of a normal week. If you are in the beginning stages of kicking off your maternity capsule wardrobe, let these suggestions lead the way.
Start with the Underwear
I weathered my first three pregnancies with regular underwear and then finally splurged during my fourth pregnancy. Friends, never again. Buy the maternity underwear. This pair from A Pea in the Pod is one of my favorites.
True, you won’t be nursing during pregnancy, but this bra will allocate for your growing breasts and expanding rib cage and then double as a nursing bra, so it’s a win-win. Granted, don’t stock up on too many bras early on as your size will most definitely change throughout pregnancy, postpartum and if you breastfeed.
These Target camis are gold—add 2-4 to your base layer collection and you’ll be set for layering in cooler weather while helping regular tees work a wee bit longer.
Add in the Pants
Available in black and blue denim, these maternity jeans are well worth the splurge. When it comes to denim and the stretch needed for maternity comfort, you really do get what you pay for. And, realistically you only need one pair of jeans, so snag an amazing pair and enjoy them.
Capsules are all about covering the basics and that means comfortable tees are a must. Wear casually with yoga pants, with jeans, layered under a cardigan. Find a style you like and add 3-4 to your collection.
Every maternity capsule needs a few seasonal pieces to dress up the basics. I am a big fan of this boyfriend fit style because it’s a piece I can easily transition to postpartum since it doesn’t have the shirring that screams, “I’m a maternity piece!” while still having ample room for a growing bump. This dusky green and apricot colorways from H&M MAMA line are great considerations too.
So much about pregnancy bends towards comfort which means a cozy sweatshirt that fits well is well worth the investment. This one from GAP blends maternity comfort with nursing access, making it a piece you will love beyond pregnancy.
Last but not least, don’t forget bedtime! It’s the time of day to be ultra-comfortable, so be sure to add a pair of maternity pajamas to your capsule that will see you through nursing as well.
Minus the underthings, this list puts you at about twenty items in your maternity capsule wardrobe. Start there and add as you see fit, but don’t go overboard. Remember, you won’t be pregnant forever and you want to choose quality, timeless pieces that you will look forward to wearing throughout another pregnancy or passing on to an expecting friend. Plus, you can count on quite a few non-maternity items like cardigans, jean jackets, scarves, and shoes working alongside your new maternity pieces.
How to Plan for Different Seasons
Every season will warrant a bit of adjusting to your maternity capsule wardrobe. Once you calculate your due date and determine when you will have your most prominent belly, you can start to plan ahead with what extra you might need.
Spring and summer will call for more dresses, less sweaters, shorts instead of pants, and supportive sandals. You might also want a maternity swimsuit depending how far along you will be whether or not you have a babymoon or somewhere pool-worthy planned. Fall and winter will require thick leggings, a maternity coat, and possibly a fancier option for holiday attire.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many clothes should be in a capsule wardrobe?
Traditionally, capsule wardrobes are in the 20-40 piece range. The point of a capsule is not the exact number but more the meaning behind each item. Can it be worn multiple ways? Is it a timeless style? Will it serve you through various events and seasons? You get to make the rules.
What month should you start wearing maternity clothes?
Some women begin wearing maternity clothes the day they get a positive pregnancy test. Others never do! It all depends on your body and preference. Granted, the sooner you start wearing maternity clothes, the more time you will have to wear them.
Can you wear plus size clothes instead of maternity?
You can, of course. Once again, it is all about personal preference. And of course, don’t forget that maternity leggings are always in style in our book.
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Reviewed by Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN…