The idea of stocking up on adorable baby bodysuits, wee knit hats, and teeny-tiny socks for your baby-to-be can be super exciting! But for some, the idea of buying a whole new wardrobe to accommodate an expanding pregnant belly can be decidedly less exciting...and more expensive. But don’t worry! A soup-to-nuts closet clear-out is not needed when you’re pregnant. In fact, many items that you already own—like wrap dresses, elastic-waist skirts and pants, and flouncy tops—can easily double as maternity wear, especially during early and mid-pregnancy. And when the time comes to buy maternity clothes—usually in your second trimester—know that you can likely focus on just a handful of maternity basics that’ll get you through your journey easily and stylishly. Here, what to look for.

Maternity Basics #1: Belly Band

A maternity belly band is a wide stretchy piece of nylon and spandex fabric that slides over your unzipped or unbuttoned pre-pregnancy jeans, pants, and skirts, allowing you to wear your non-maternity faves as long as humanly possible. A belly band can also offer much needed tummy coverage when tops start inching their way higher and higher up your bump! But what makes a maternity band one of the most versatile maternity essentials is that you can use it postpartum as you slowly transition back into your pre-pregnancy clothes.

Maternity Basics #2: Maternity Jeans

Jeans are an essential wardrobe staple pre-pregnancy, so it’s no surprise that they continue to be a must-have basic during pregnancy. It’s best to buy a couple of pairs in the most functional washes and styles for your particular lifestyle. While there are three basic types of maternity jeans (under belly waistband, over belly waistband, side stretch panels), the best maternity jeans are made with either spandex or elastane and feature a soft, stretchy panel that pulls up over your bump, offering support, comfort, and a good fit throughout your pregnancy.

Maternity Basics #3: Lounge Set

Even when relaxing at home, moms-to-be want their comfort to come in style. Enter: The versatile lounge set. The ideal loungewear pairing should be elegant enough to be worn when unexpected visitors drop by and cozy enough for you to want to wear all day, every day. That means super-soft, stretch fabric and a gentle, grow-with-you waistband are musts. Bonus points for maternity loungewear sets that are high-quality enough to comfortably take you through not only pregnancy, but nursing...and beyond. One that does all the above is our very own Everyday Lounge Set, specially designed in breathable fabric to be nursing-, c-section- and bump-friendly. (Our special hem will never ride-up on your growing bump.) And because of its timeless look and first-rate design, you’re sure to enjoy the set well past your postpartum days.

Maternity Basics #4: Leggings

Thank goodness for the epic rise of athleisure! For today’s moms-to-be, leggings are a maternity wardrobe must-have that can be worn to the gym, the office, the grocery store, the sofa...and then pretty much everywhere else! While, yes, your favorite pre-pregnancy legging can indeed be used early on in your with-baby journey. But once your bourgeoning bump begins to roll your waistband down—or stretches your leggings past opacity—opt for maternity leggings. No matter if you choose an under-the-belly or an over-the-belly style, make sure your maternity leggings are made from a breathable fabric with lots of stretch. And if you’ve got varicose veins or swollen ankles, consider compression maternity leggings for a double-duty pregnancy-helper and stylish find.

Maternity Basics #5: Extra-long Tees and Tanks

Grab a stash of stretchy maternity T-shirts and tank tops in classic colors like white, gray, navy, and black. A few well-made—and extra-long—solids can work wonders on a maternity wardrobe. They can be easily worn under your pre-preggo blazers, button downs, cardigans, as well as knits and blouses that may be slinking their way up your growing belly. If side-ruching—a maternity shirt staple—is not a must for you, consider simply buying tall or larger versions of your favorite tops.

Maternity Basics #6: The Go-To Dress

Nabbing the perfect pregnancy dress means you only have to slide on one comfy item of clothing to look totally put together—and that’s a major win. The best do-anything / go-anywhere maternity dresses can be accessorized up or down to be worn to work, at a lunch with friends, to a fancy dinner party, and everything in between. The key? Finding a buttery-soft, breathable dress that has plenty of stretch. Our elegant empire waist Everything Dress is one of those dresses. It’s a grow-with-you maternity dress that can be worn throughout pregnancy, thanks to its half-moon hem that ensures your dress won’t ride up as your bump grows. Plus, it’s perfect for nursing (there’s a built-in soft nursing bra), and it can be worn for years after your baby’s arrival, thanks to the adjustable shoulder straps and flattering, timeless design.

Maternity Basics #7: Button Down Shirt

Roll the sleeves or button the cuffs, top with a blazer, layer over a long tank, add a belt over your bump: No matter how you choose to wear a classic, crisp maternity button down, you’ll always add a touch of sophistication to whatever outfit you’re wearing. And for a more casual vibe, there’s always a plaid boyfriend-style maternity button-front that’ll add a soft, fun layer of cozy warmth to most any look. Whichever one you choose, you’ll surely look effortlessly cool. Best part? Button-front tops are great for post-pregnancy, too...especially for those who are planning on breastfeeding.

Maternity Basics #8: Romper

One-piece maternity rompers, jumpsuits, and overalls haven’t always been a maternity clothes must-have, but today they’re go-tos for trendy moms-to-be...and for good reason: They are yet another one-and-done look that can easily be casual or dressy depending on your mood (and accessories.) Plus, maternity rompers are soft, stretchy, and waistband-free, which is ideal for your blossoming bump. Look for a maternity romper that’s nursing-friendly, with say, a button-front closure or a wrap front, to extend its life.


For more advice on all aspects your pregnancy, browse our must-read collection.



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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.