practical wardrobe staples for the mama-to-be

Me @ 34 weeks - white jeans from Anthropologie with a belly band; tank from Gap Maternity; sweater from TJ Maxx. Photo by  Faith Teasley Photography .

Me @ 34 weeks - white jeans from Anthropologie with a belly band; tank from Gap Maternity; sweater from TJ Maxx. Photo by Faith Teasley Photography.

Now that I've survived nine months of pregnancy and emerged from the fog of the newborn days, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite items for dressing the baby bump that are practical and will take you through the whole nine months and beyond. Dressing for pregnancy is hard, y'all. Your body is constantly changing. Your pre-pregnancy jeans start to get a little snug, then you're stuck in the phase in between when nothing in your closet fits but you still don't yet have the bump to accommodate the ruching that designers so love to put on all those maternity tops. For me, I hoped to make it through the whole nine months spending as little as necessary on my temporary wardrobe while still looking great (and continuing to dress like myself instead of succumbing to the "maternity" style).

I found that I was actually able to get away with wearing alot of my pre-pregnancy tops and dresses that either weren't super fitted or had a peplum type fit to them - particularly, my clothes from Anthropologie worked great for the first and second trimesters. Before going out and buying a bunch of new stuff, be sure to raid your closet for things that you can continue to wear (without stretching them out so much that they no longer fit you once the bump is gone). Once you're ready to shop, take a look at these items that got me through all three trimesters and were my life savers:

1. A bellaband. I think this was my first purchase after I found out I was pregnant, and my poor bloated first trimester belly was just making it far too difficult to comfortably button my jeans. It was pretty much the best investment ever. I was even able to wear it through the third trimester (though it became less comfortable after the second trimester as the belly grew and made it more difficult for the band to hold the pants up).

2. Basic maternity tanks. Once the bump got larger, I liked some of the tanks from Asos and Gap, but these from A Pea in the Pod were my favorites! Lots of colors, extra long, and best of all, no ruching. This meant that I was able to wear them from the first trimester all the way through the end of my pregnancy, and I can even still wear them now.

3. Open-front sweaters. The majority of my pregnancy was in the warm, summer months, but since Miles was born toward the end of November, I had about a month of cool weather to dress for. I did not want to go out and buy long sleeves and sweaters that I would only wear for a couple of weeks, so instead, I opted for some non-maternity open-front sweaters that I could pair with those maternity tanks and a scarf and continue to wear once my body was my own again. I splurged on one from Anthropologie but got several more at TJ Maxx.

4. A comfy pair of slip-on shoes. One of the realities of pregnancy is you eventually get to a place where you can no longer bend over to tie your shoes. Be prepared with a cute and comfy pair of slip-ons when this happens. My favorites were a pair of brown leather Kaanas (similar to these) that I also got from Anthropologie.

5. One great pair of jeans. The bellaband kept my pre-pregnancy jeans fitting well into the end of my second trimester, but eventually, it just wasn't that comfortable. I got one pair of maternity skinny jeans from H&M, which for me was plenty since I spent 90% of my time in leggings or dresses. These jeans were super comfy with the belly panel, but still made to look like a regular pair of jeans with all the appropriate buttons and pockets.

6. Leggings, leggings, and more leggings, please. Maternity leggings are just. the. best. My favorites were these from Asos which were super soft, and I lived in them from about 12 weeks on. I may even pull them out again for Thanksgiving this year :)

What are/were your favorite maternity clothing must-haves?