People choose to switch to a capsule wardrobe for many reasons. A desire for minimalism, a long trip, or maybe even a move. But nothing forces the issue quite like growing a human and becoming a different size for about half a year, necessitating a complete closet overhaul. I’ll be honest, I’ve been pretty excited for the excuse to build an entirely new wardrobe for myself – but I didn’t want to go in blind. I wanted to make sure I had a plan before I started buying clothes all willy-nilly. So with that said, here is my plan for building a solid maternity capsule wardrobe:
STEP 1: Determine your needs
This is quite possibly the worst step, so it’s good that we’re getting it out of the way early. That’s because this step starts with acknowledging something not that fun… which is exactly how long you’re probably going to need these clothes. AKA accepting the fact that you’re probably going to need those maternity pants for a little while after your kiddo is born. So let’s just embrace that now. Plan for whatever you buy to take you into the month post-baby.
Anyway, now that you’ve come to terms with that reality, think long and hard about what you’re going to need to dress for during that time frame. Weather, holidays, work circumstances, everything. For me, I know that the vast majority of my maternity clothing wearing will be in the winter. So I’m going to need warm clothes. I’m also going to need professional (or at least upper-end business casual) clothes for a variety of work events. Tack on a few holidays and a possible baby shower or two, and here is my final “needs” list:
- Several meeting-worthy work outfits
- A dress for special occasions
- One or two festive pieces to take me through the holidays
- A winter jacket that can accommodate a full term bump
STEP 2: Coming up with a color scheme
Look, I love having clothing in a bunch of different colors as much as the next guy. I really do. But this is one of the cases where less truly IS more – as in, less color options equals more outfit options, because everything will go with everything else. So it’s time to pick some colors that go together!
Your color scheme should have 3 parts:
Your base neutral: This is the color your core pieces should be, like your work pants or your leggings. Assume it will play a part in most outfits.
Your supplemental neutrals: Think of this as the colors your camisoles will be. So if you pick navy as your base neutral, you might pick white and beige for your supplemental neutrals.
Your “fun” color: This is that pop of color that will
make life worth living your wardrobe more interesting. Make sure it goes with your base neutral and your supplemental neutrals! So, for example, if you picked navy, white, and beige, blush would be a pretty “fun” color.
Here are the color I picked:
Now, not EVERYTHING needs to be in these categories (case in point: the fun red plaid shirt I picked up this month), but you should aim to buy most things in those colors.
STEP 3: SHOP!
You don’t need to (nor should you) buy all of these things at once. It’s going to take time to build up your wardrobe, and it should come in stages, as you need it. I found that I was more comfortable in maternity pants starting around week 12 (because the bloat is real), so I bought them then… but I didn’t start truly committing to wearing maternity shirts until closer to week 18, because I could still fit into enough of my normal tops. Now, at just over 22 weeks, it’s all maternity, all the time.
Here are my tips for shopping:
- Target sucks. Sorry Target. I love you normally. But you thought that a maternity peplum top was a good thing, and I just can’t quite forgive that. Plus, their in store selection is abysmal and their online selection is weird.
- EXCEPTION: The Liz Lange maternity tanks (the ones folded on the end cap, at my Target), are the things that dreams are made of. Thick, high quality material and lots of stretch? Yes please.
- Gap and Old Navy both have great selection, constant sales, and free shipping (for orders over $50) and returns (all the time for all orders). Take advantage of it – order literally everything you’re interested in, and return everything that doesn’t make you feel great.
- If you’re in between sizes, or even the teeniest bit worried that an item might be a LITTLE tight, size up. Trust me on this one. Size. Up.
- Think long and hard about your pant waistband preference (under the belly vs. full panel). I thought I was going to prefer under the belly… until I actually had a belly, and realized that my short torso made under the belly pants SUPER uncomfortable. So full panel it is!
STEP 4: Accessorize with your non-maternity items.
You heard that right – this is just the list of maternity specific items you should plan on owning. Your cardigans, blazers, and scarves? Keep on rocking them (just forget about ever buttoning them for any reason). You might even want to hang on to a few belts, just in case you want to belt something over the bump to accentuate how
huge cute it is. These accessories are how you are going to keep from going insane from wearing the same tops over and over and over again for half a year. Embrace them!