Last week, S. made a list of her wardrobe essentials, the glue that holds her wardrobe together. I’ve been thinking a lot about wardrobe foundations since being pregnant. How does one, exactly, put a wardrobe together from scratch? My list of essentials at 6 months pregnant is of course strongly influenced by my pre-preggers style that I’ve tried to maintain, with some tweaking, as my bump has grown. And actually, compiling this list — a mix of extendable existing garments and new maternity purchases — revealed a couple of holes in my preggers wardrobe that I need to try and remedy shortly!
While S.’s and my lists overlap quite a bit, you’ll of course notice that the particular shapes and colors we use as our “essentials” are different and influenced by our personal style and our body types. You may also notice the big gaping absence of a white button down in my list. Anathema! But I rarely wore button downs pre-preggers (being long-waisted and thin made that difficult) so I felt no compunction at all to add it to my list of preggers essentials. I need a bumper sticker that says, “One person’s white button down is my magenta cardigan.”
Click through the jump for the full list…
1. A great pair of jeans. No surprise there. What has surprised me during this pregnancy, though, is how a straight fit pair has served me better than a boot or trouser cut. The slimmer pants have offered a more versatile counterpoint to the blousier and longer tops that I’ve been wearing.
2.Perfect trousers. It took me a while to hunt these down, but I’m so glad that I did. Gray is my go-to neutral. I find that it plays well with other neutrals and offers a softer counterpoint than black. These fit perfectly and — in an important move for a maternity pant — make me feel like I am wearing grown-up trousers not some fantastic elastic concoction.
3. A skirt that can be both professional or casual. Again, I needed this in my favorite neutral. The structured shape of this skirt makes it perfect for professional looks but — as soon as it warms up more consistently! — I know that the comfortable, stretchy fabric will let me wear it in more casual settings too. I love how this hugs my bump and balances me out without adding too much volume.
4. A flattering dress in a neutral you love. The “flattering” part is key. A neutral dress will not be as useful to you as a neutral dress that hugs you in all the right places and makes you feel more confident the moment you put it on. This brown surplice dress has proved to be seasonless, too, making an appearance under a chunky sweater, with a drapey jersey top, with a lighter cardi for spring, and soon, I assure you, without any layering at all.
5. A flattering dress in a color you love. This is the hole in my preggers wardrobe thus far. I sewed this purple dress last summer and loved how the rich color allowed for great color combinations and the simple shape allowed me to dress it up or down for different occasions. I’m now on the lookout for a preggers dress in a great hue that can do the same for me now.
6. A cropped blazer. I wear this navy, three-quarter sleeve blazer at least once a week. The shrunken fit keeps it modern despite the more conservative color. I’ve worn it over a t-shirt to dress up a simple outfit, with a flowy dress to add polish, with trousers for a more professional ensemble, and as a counterpoint to a flowery skirt.
7. A bright cardigan. I do own a black cardigan, but it gets nowhere near as much wear as this brighter magenta one does. The trick, I think, is to choose a color that you love so much you’ll wear it as if it is a neutral. I’ve certainly been surprised by how much this cardi “goes” with and I’ve stumbled on some fun color combinations in the process.
8. A solid top with an interesting neckline. The neck-tie detail in this top adds a little extra something to any outfit but it’s subtle enough to be repeated frequently. It’s like having a built-in accessory! A pleated, cowl, or ruffled neckline could serve the same function. I’m about to pop out of this pre-preggers top shortly, so I’m looking now for a maternity top to replace it.
9. A patterned top in mix-able colors. Mine isn’t that exciting — just a graphic black and white print — but its simplicity makes it a great way to add a little interest to otherwise simple combinations. I’ve worn it in more casual looks, with jeans, but also used it as a presentation outfit at a conference and as a fresh pattern under a bright cardi. This is another top that I may need to replace with an actual maternity purchase soon.
10. A statement shoe. I, obviously, have several. I love that each of these pairs of shoes are capable of transforming an outfit with an unexpected pop or color or pattern. The red wedges have elevated jeans-and-a-button down. The printed flats have proved useful for pattern mixing and for rescuing an otherwise drab outfit. And no one, really, expects an orange shoe. They’re each comfortable enough, too, that I feel supremely confident walking in them.
10.5. Belts. At six months my bump has grown big enough that the wider belts I favored early on have had to be replaced with skinny, stretchy ones. I’ve found that the ties that come with some jersey shirts or dresses have been wonderfully versatile for this purpose. I store all of these belts separate from their original garments, allowing me to use them as a kind of free, secret accessory stash.