Capsule Maternity Wardrobe

Hi, everyone! I wanted to share my capsule maternity wardrobe here, as a way of keeping track for myself, and possibly as a way to inspire anyone who wants to build a fairly stylish and practical maternity wardrobe themselves without spending a lot of money and time on it.

Back in the day, I used to have a pretty successful vintage clothing and daily outfit blog: A Cat of Impossible Color (it grew out of posting on Wardrobe Remix, a fantastic Flickr community in which women share their daily outfits and how they remix items in their wardrobe). That blog was so good for me in so many ways. It helped me to develop a visual identity; it introduced me to a lifelong love affair with vintage clothing and thrift shopping; it built my confidence, as I grew more comfortable with sharing images of myself and meeting new people through this shared interest; and, when I moved to Austin, it was the first way in which I met new people here and started to develop friendships. It also had some negative effects for me, however: I ended up doing way too much thrift shopping and spending too much money, particularly when I moved from New Zealand to the USA and was trying to fill the void caused by missing family, friends and my hometown; and, when my first books were released, it made me too visible online in ways that made me uncomfortable. So, I stopped.

I’m certainly not planning to revive that old blog, but I have been thinking more about my clothing as I move towards a minimalist lifestyle, and as my body and needs change as my pregnancy progresses. My clothing philosophy has changed a lot. I used to be almost head-to-toe vintage, and the larger my wardrobe was, the happier I was. Now, I try to own as little as possible, and spend as little as possible… while still enjoying color, pattern, and the fun of putting outfits together. Pregnancy adds its own challenges! I’m already a lot bigger than my normal self, even at just 18 weeks, so I can’t wear my non-maternity clothing.

I am making a big effort to be a minimalist (as a way to cope with chronic and severe anxiety, as well as a way to save money and reduce housework: I’ll go into detail about this all one day), and so I am very picky about what I allow into my life. I’m also picky about what I spend money on. Luckily, a lot of my maternity clothes were lent to me by my friend Theresa, and some were gifts from my mum and my lovely mother-in-law. Everything else was bought from Goodwill. So I didn’t end up spending much!

Tank tops

It is really hot in Texas, obviously, and I’m going to be pregnant all through the summer, so I don’t need much in the way of warm clothes. Even our winters are pretty mild. I have four sleeveless tank tops:

(Please excuse the messy bathroom in my bump photos—it’s the only mirror that works for these!)

All of these are on loan from my good friend Theresa, which was a godsend (literally), as these are all colors I would have actually spent money on if I had to buy them myself. Grey and navy are my favorite neutrals, and coral is one of the few colors I’ll wear in a T-shirt.

Colored Tees

As well as these, I have a few colorful short-sleeved tops (photographing these, I’m already feeling like I have way too many clothes and could do with some more paring-down):

I really like pink. Also, looking at this makes me realize again how much bigger I’ve become in just a couple of months! I felt huge here, ironically. This was taken before I cut and colored my hair to get rid of all the terrible dead and straggly ends I had.

The rust-colored knit and the coral 3/4-sleeve top were both Goodwill finds, and the two others are on loan from my friend Theresa. As I said, she lent me her whole maternity wardrobe, but I just picked out the few things I knew I would wear and stored the rest to give back to her after the baby is born.

Neutral Tees

As I mentioned above, grey is my favorite neutral. I’m not really a black or brown person—grey is softer and prettier on me, and not too harsh.

I have a few graphic tees, as well, but forgot to photograph them! Two are pink, and two are grey.

Long-sleeved Tops

As I mentioned above, Texas is damn hot, and even when I go into labor in November, it still won’t be that cold, so I don’t need many warm things.

The two neutral grey tops and the black-and-white striped top are on loan from Theresa, and the grey striped top is from Goodwill. All of these are ruched at the sides to fit over the bump!

Dresses

I’ve worn dresses a lot, particularly on hot days. I prefer the body-conscious, fitted style, because they make the bump obvious, and I don’t just feel fat!

The grey and striped dresses are from Goodwill, the olive-green one was an Amazon purchase, and the rust-colored one was from Max in New Zealand.

I also bought one ‘fancy’ dress from Amazon, because I couldn’t find anything in Goodwill. It has a floral print and open shoulders, and I thought it would work for any events that required anything a little dressier.

I didn’t bother buying any maternity skirts, because I really don’t wear them. I can knot t-shirts over these dresses and use them as skirts, because they’re fitted enough to work as pencil-skirt substitutes.

Cardigans and Wraps

These and my jackets are my life-savers. They make me feel so much more put-together, and like I’m wearing an outfit rather than just throwing on whatever comes to hand. Anything I wear as a cover-up needs to be fairly lightweight for our hot weather, and needs to be open and draped to fit over the bump and not add visual weight to my body.

The grey open cardigan was from Amazon, and is the most comfortable thing ever. I bought it during my full-time teaching days to help me survive the school’s over-enthusiastic air-conditioning. The olive cardigan is an Ann Taylor piece from Goodwill. I think it shows that I’m a Proper Adult now that I’m more excited to find Ann Taylor clothing at the thrift store than anything else. Both these cardigans go with everything.

The two floral kimono wraps are so useful. They’re so light that I almost can’t feel them, but make anything I’m wearing look prettier and more intentional. The one on the left is a Goodwill find and has fringe along the bottom, and the one on the right is from Amazon.

Jackets

A lot of my usual jackets don’t fit anymore—they’re way too tight over my upper arms and back, now that my chest has become enormous! I do miss my pre-pregnancy body, not going to lie. A lot of jackets look pretty weird over a pregnant body, too, but these are the ones that still fit AND work with The Bump.

I love earthy fabrics for jackets, and so this faux rust-colored leather, distressed denim and olive-green parka fit the bill perfectly. I can throw these over any of my tops and dresses and feel like a bad-ass. All of these are from Goodwill, and the Abercrombie & Fitch parka in particular is one that I wear several times a week.

Jeans

I had to start wearing maternity jeans as soon as I hit the second trimester! The Bump must be obeyed. Theresa lent me a ton of them, but I only kept one pair of hers out to wear (like I said, I’m picky and trying to keep my wardrobe to a minimum. You also really don’t need that many jeans, because you don’t need to wash them too often). I purchased a very dark pair and a distressed pair from Amazon, both Levi’s. I would have thrifted them, but good-quality maternity jeans that fit are hard to find in thrift stores.

I also have a long pair of denim overalls, not pictured here.

Shorts

Honestly, I feel self-conscious in shorts a lot of the time because my bum and thighs have grown so much, along with my belly. I have one denim pair lent to me by Theresa, and one pair of short denim overalls that I purchased from Amazon.

And that’s it, barring accessories, of course! Thank goodness hats and jewelry fit no matter what size you are. I can’t wear heels at all now because my feet get so swollen and sore, so I wear ballet flats, converse and flat sandals. Here’s the full list of all my maternity clothing:

Capsule Maternity Wardrobe

Grey tank
Striped navy and white tank
Coral tank
Navy tank
Hot pink tee
Turquoise tee
Coral tee
Rust tee
Graphic tees x 4
Neutral grey tees x 2
Striped tees x 2
Long-sleeved grey tee x 2
Long-sleeved striped tee x 2
Grey cardigan
Olive-green cardigan
Kimono wrap x 2
Neutral body con dress x 2
Striped body-con dress
Sleeveless loose floral dress
‘Fancy’ bodycon floral dress
Leather jacket (faux)
Denim jacket
Olive-green parka
Skinny jeans x 3
Denim shorts
Denim overalls x 2

I hope that helps if you’re creating one of your own! I would like to pare down even further, but I do need enough clothes to last me for nine months and cover every possible occasion, so I think this amount isn’t too bad.

(And thank you, Theresa, for lending me so much!)

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