I just had a minor panic attack looking at my pregnancy tracker app, three and a half weeks to go until my due-date, oh my! As I’m nearing the end of this crazy journey, I have been thinking about what I’ve enjoyed during the pregnancy experience, and a few things that I won’t miss at all (like skipping a post-work glass of wine). One thing that I surprisingly enjoyed was getting to build out a little capsule wardrobe of maternity clothes. It’s a strange thing having to buy a whole new wardrobe all at once! It had it’s perks though, like stretchy waistbands, getting to plan out pieces that would mix and match together in versatile ways, and getting to experiment with styles I’ve never tried before (body-con dresses were suddenly acceptable with a bump!). I thought I’d share my favorite pieces, shops, and maternity-wear tips here as a good starting point for anyone that may be in the same boat soon!Jeans, Pants, Leggings. My first “oh my god this is really happening” moment of pregnancy was when my pants stopped easily buttoning. I tried the ‘hair tie around the buttonhole’ trick for a few weeks, but there comes a moment when you just can’t trust that tiny piece of elastic to hold your pants up anymore! I found that A Pea in the Pod was the best spot to find jeans and pants because they had a huge selection of different designers, styles, and lengths. After trying several stores, I landed on their Luxe Essentials Denim brand in the Secret Fit Belly style and bought them ankle length for my short frame. A pair of dark denim jeans and one pair of army green pants have done the trick. I also rotate in a pair of thick terry leggings in the same fit-style. They were a little bit more expensive than other styles, but I would splurge on these again because they’re so warm and comfortable, and didn’t get stretched out.

Dresses. I normally live in dresses all year round, so I had to add a few to my maternity wardrobe. At the beginning of the pregnancy I received a few wrap dresses from Pink Blush Maternity that have been staple pieces to wear to work. I also loved the simple fitted t-shirt dresses from H&M and wore them with booties, blazers or vests, and some fun necklaces for a casual pregnancy look. The only truly big maternity splurge I made was an Isabella Oliver dress for my baby shower. It was so comfortable, made my bump pop, and helped me feel confident with my round-shape on the day of the party.

Tees and Tops. I tried to keep things simple and stock up on inexpensive basics – tons of black and navy t-shirts that fit well and could be layered with my existing sweaters and blazers. I found two brands that did maternity t-shirts really well: H&M’s maternity line had great long-sleeve t-shirt options that have held up after dozens of washes, and the Gap had great quality maternity t-shirts that I’ve worn almost every day. A lot of maternity clothes were too long on me, and both of these styles fit really well on my petite frame, plus they seemed to grow with my bump nicely! Outside of those basic t-shirts, I splurged on one trendy maternity top that I’ve worn to lots of blogger events and holiday parties. I’ve also spent weekends and work from home days in this cozy maternity sweater from Old Navy Maternity.

Activewear and Sleepwear. I felt silly spending money on maternity workout clothes or sleepwear, but just like the moment when my jeans said “enough is enough” so did my yoga pants and pajamas. So for these purchases I tried to stick to a budget and found some inexpensive options from the Old Navy Maternity line. I’m a big fan of their maternity activewear and will probably continue to wear these maternity yoga pants long after the bump is gone! I also found really cozy maternity lounge pants that have been incredibly useful for all that 3rd trimester lounging that’s going on. I paired both of these with t-shirts from the Gap.

The Layers and Details. In addition to the maternity-wear clothes I bought new, I also had a few layering pieces from my pre-pregnancy closet that I relied on heavily for mixing and matching outfits. An army green vest I already had in my wardrobe might be my most worn maternity piece (even though it’s non-maternity!). A stylish vest hides the bumps and bulges that come with a growing body and helped elevate plain black tees and dresses to trendier outfits. I also had a classic black blazer that I’ve layered over just about everything to give my maternity pieces a bit more polish at work and events. Comfortable shoes are a MUST during pregnancy and I basically lived in these easy to wear booties. A few pairs of quality maternity tights have made a difference in extending the wear of my maternity dresses into the winter months (A fair warning though: it’s a full-body workout getting tights on at 9-months pregnant!). That chilly December air has also demanded a real winter coat too, and I’m lucky that a friend had one I could borrow for a few months. I loved the coat’s style and appreciate that the belt makes me look truly pregnant, not just large! My last little maternity-wear tip is downsizing to a smaller purse. To minimize backaches as much as possible, I’ve tried to keep only the essentials in a small cross-body bag and avoid lugging around my massive tote bags whenever I can!