13 Maternity Clothing Items Every Pregnancy Wardrobe Needs

Timeless and functional clothes you can wear with style.

It’s now easier than ever to dress for a pregnancy, and options for maternity wear seem endless. But when you’re spoiled for choice (Asos, H&M and The Gap all boast chic, affordable maternity verticals), it’s difficult to discern what’s really needed to make it through ten months of a changing physique ... without breaking the bank.

Four experts weighed in and put together a list of 13 items moms-to-be will need to get through pregnancy with style, including items to mix and match for all seasons and (almost) any occasion. “The rule for maternity styling is exactly the same as any styling,” advised Elle Wang, founder and CEO of maternity brand Emilia George. “It’s always worth investing in timeless and functional pieces you know you can always wear.”

“You might not be pregnant forever, although sometimes it certainly feels that way,” said Tara Elwell Henning, the co-founder of maternity brand Superkin, which seeks to challenge outdated norms of motherhood with high-tech, low-maintenance clothing. “With this in mind, you’ll wear your maternity clothes a lot, so buy something you love. Make sure you’re considering good quality fabrics and low-maintenance care. No dry cleaning!”

And for those who need an item for a special event ― a formal dress for a wedding, a coat for the coldest part of winter or a bump-friendly swimsuit for the babymoon ― sites like Rent the Runway or Le Tote offer sustainable, rentable maternity options.

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Maternity jeans will easily receive the most wear of any item throughout your pregnancy, so it is important they have an elastic waistband and be of good quality in order to keep up. “If jeans are a staple in your pre-maternity life, then they'll be a staple now,” said Joanna Lovering, founder of Copper + Rise, a New York City-based style coaching service dedicated to personal and professional empowerment. “My favorites are from Madewell and the denim leggings from Motherhood.”

Motherhood Indigo Blue Secret Fit Belly Stretch Ankle Maternity Jeggings , $34.99
Zella Mamasana
You’ll live in your maternity yoga pants, for exercise and beyond. “Layer leggings with items you already have in your closet. Your blazers, jackets, cardigans, kimonos, and dusters still fit — and let's face it, you probably have never buttoned them closed anyway,” Lovering suggested. “Wear these items with leggings, a comfortable tee and sneakers, and you're good to go for the day.”

Zella Mamasana Live-In Maternity Ankle Leggings, $65
Ingrid & Isabel
Invest in an on-trend piece of athletic wear for weekends and casual outings. “Athleisure wear is a must, because it is so versatile and so easy to dress up and down,” said celebrity fashion stylist Soneca Guadara, “and it’s stretchy so it grows with you and baby.” As a bonus, buying maternity-specific joggers (rather than sizing up in non-maternity items) means you can wear these items during postpartum recovery.

Ingrid & Isabel Maternity Active Jogger Pants, $78
Work-Appropriate Pants
A Pea In The Pod
Grab a pair of pants for work in goes-with-anything black or navy, but only if you anticipate returning to your office in the near future. Otherwise, skip this item and invest in the other pieces listed below.

A Pea in the Pod Secret Fit Belly Ponte Skinny Leg Maternity Pant, $88
Is there an item more versatile than the trusty camisole? You can wear it for sleep, work or an evening out, depending on how you decide to style it. Make sure to buy a designated maternity camisole to accommodate a growing bump. This way you can layer it under pre-pregnancy tops to extend your wardrobe; a camisole will provide coverage for any small gaps between tops and pants in the earlier months of pregnancy.

Hatch, The Cami, $68
Short Sleeve T-Shirt
For pregnancy you can size up in T-shirts, but the fit is better if you buy maternity-specific items. This way, you’ll get room and fabric where you need it, and still retain your regular length in the shoulders and sleeves.

Hatch, The Crew Tee, $88
Long-sleeved Tee
For fall and winter pregnancies, a basic long-sleeved tee can go to the gym, or can function as an added layer under cardigans and sweaters.

Bumpstart Long Sleeve Maternity Shirt (2 Pack) , $20.99
Dress Shirt
Emilia George
If you work in a professional setting (even if it’s just over Zoom), you’ll definitely need a work-appropriate top that can also double for date nights or dressier weekend wear. To extend the life of the purchase, think one step ahead and seek blouses with nursing functionality, like this option from Emilia George.

Emilia George Olivia Shirt, $155
Knit Dress
Universal Standard
Eventually, you may not feel like wearing pants at all, which is where a few go-anywhere dresses will come in handy. One tip to extend the life of your maternity capsule wardrobe is to avoid the loud, trendy prints and stick to solids that can be mixed and matched. “Versatile maternity pieces can be dressed up or down throughout the week,” shared Henning. “Consider the alternative — a crazy loud print can’t be worn three times a week without being noticed.”

“Whether they're T-shirt fabric or thicker like a sweater, knit dresses are the ultimate ‘grow with you’ garment,” Lovering said.

Universal Standard Geneva Dress, $120
Wrap Dress
“Invest in a wrap dress,” Guadara advised. “It's definitely a wardrobe staple that will last during and after your pregnancy.”

Asos Design Maternity Denim Wrap Dress, $27
Little Black Dress
Henning notes that the trick to finding the perfect “LBD” is to find one as perfect with a jacket and sneakers as it is dressed up. “Even better: it can be your go-to dress in the fourth trimester,” she said.

Superkin Cocoon Dress, $130
Supportive Underwear
Fit, comfort and support for your expanding waistline is paramount during pregnancy. Lovering often suggests the low-rise lace options from brands like Aerie or Hanky Panky to clients.

Aerie Eyelash Lace Thong Underwear, $12.50
Sleep Shorts or Pajama Pants
Thanks to the forgiving fabric of pajamas, many of your existing items will fit as your bump grows. It’s still important, however, to invest in a maternity-specific pair of sleep shorts or pajama pants for those last few months when it feels as if very little fits.

Motherhood Ruched Maternity Sleep Short, $28
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