Maternity Fashion

I Challenged Myself to Only Buy One Piece of Maternity Clothing—Here’s How It’s Going


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maternity fashion photo"
maternity fashion photo
Source: Allyson Trammell
Source: Allyson Trammell

It seemed that within minutes of me finding out I was pregnant, the algorithms also knew. Before I could fully process the exciting news, social media influencers told me what I had to buy. I’m now 27 weeks in, and the recommendations keep on coming. I realized quickly that I needed to cut through the noise and be very thoughtful about what I purchased for me and baby, or I would be inundated with stuff. My first act of resistance? Avoiding maternity clothes. 

To be clear, I have nothing against buying maternity clothes if they are necessary, but I wanted to challenge myself to buy only one essential piece for my entire pregnancy: a pair of over-bump leggings from Belly Bandit. All bodies are different, and every pregnant woman has her own unique needs, but so far, this wardrobe workhorse has gotten me through my pregnancy, and I expect it will carry me through the winter until I welcome my April baby. 

If you also don’t love the idea of buying maternity clothes you will only wear for a few months, read on for my tips on how to pull that off. 

My Hero Product: Belly Bandit Bump Support Leggings

belly bandit leggings
Source: Jacqueline DeMarco

Years ago, a friend told me that she loved being in her third trimester in the fall and winter because you could survive with a good pair of leggings and some oversized sweaters. So far, I’ve found her to be right. My body started to change quickly, and even before I was showing, bloat could make my normal high-waisted jeans and leggings uncomfortable one day, even if they would fit the next day. 

Luckily, I discovered the Belly Bandit Maternity Bump Support Leggings, which can be worn when you’re showing or not. They come with a super supportive waistband that can fit all the way over your bump, or you can fold them down below your stomach. I found being able to fold them down made them a super versatile choice before I was really showing, and in my third trimester, I still like to roll them down. I also appreciate that I will be able to wear them postpartum. 

belly bandit leggings
Belly Bandit
Maternity Bump Support Leggings

Three colors available

Shop now

These Belly Bandit leggings are nice and sleek and don’t have any athletic detailing, which makes me feel a bit more like I’m wearing normal black pants (at least that’s what I tell myself). Do I have a ton of variety in the pants department right now? No—but these leggings do the trick whenever I leave the house and don’t feel comfortable wearing baggy sweats. I want to note that I am very fortunate to work from home and, therefore, don’t need a professional wardrobe at the moment. Understandably, if someone goes into a workplace five days a week, they will likely need to invest in maternity clothes that suit their workplace dress code. 

How I Supplemented My One Maternity Piece

Embraced Stretchy Base Layers

One great maternity style trick I learned from following stylist Allison Bornstein is to focus on buying great base layers while pregnant. Depending on your needs, this could be maternity leggings, tanks, or tees. Then, you can layer those with your normal button-downs, cardigans, and coats to lend a little more personal style to your look. I was very tempted to order a bunch of basic maternity base layers early in my pregnancy, but am glad I held off. After trying on a bunch of my clothes, I realized that I already had plenty of stretchy pieces in my closet that could get the job done.

The trick is to lean on any flexible knit materials you already have. For example, even when it started to get chilly, I would wear my SKIMS Soft Lounge Slip Dress. To make it cold-weather-friendly, I layered a cardigan or oversized sweater over it. In my experience, nothing feels better on my bump than the SKIMS material, and I love that I can wear my normal size even when pregnant since it has so much stretch. 

When it comes to tops, pull anything from your wardrobe that is long and stretchy. Anything with a short hem can be hard to wear once you start showing since your bump will pop out. I always joke that it must have been great to be pregnant in the mid-2000s when low-rise pants, long tops, and empire waists reigned supreme. 

Borrowed From My Husband

Because I have pants settled between my Belly Bandit leggings and any stretchy loungewear I already own, the only clothing gap I foresee having as I finish out my pregnancy is tops. This is where my husband stepped in to save the day. I have full permission to pull anything from his wardrobe that I need as I continue to get bigger.

Because his wardrobe consists of a bunch of classic tees, sweaters, and button-downs in basic colors, I don’t feel like there is a great need for me to go buy similar pieces from maternity stores. Instead of buying my own base layers, I plan to borrow his and continue to layer them under my favorite jackets and sweaters. 

pregnant bellies stretchy clothes
Source: Pexels | cottonbro studio

Created a Capsule Wardrobe

I learned quickly that pregnancy is not the time for variety. Once I find something in my wardrobe that fits and feels good to wear, I stick with it. Trust me: Your friends and family won’t think twice about you repeatedly wearing the same pieces while pregnant. Now is a great time to create a capsule wardrobe. That way, you can limit how much you need to buy, and anything new you do purchase gets a lot of wear. 

You also shouldn’t be afraid to let pieces in your wardrobe do double duty. When I hit the 24-week mark, I tried on an Eberjey pajama set in the size I normally would buy and realized their low waist and flowy top still had plenty of room for a growing bump. I now own two pairs and wear them as both pajamas and loungewear (anything goes when pregnant), and I know the button-down front will be a huge help while breastfeeding. 

Thought About My Entire Pregnancy Timeline

If you aren’t pregnant or showing yet, my best piece of style advice is to buy pieces that will suit you before pregnancy, during a good chunk of your pregnancy, and postpartum. As I shared earlier, I experienced a lot of bloat right away. It was far too soon for me to even think about buying maternity clothes, so instead, I invested in normal clothes that would carry me through multiple chapters.

For example, I wore a lot of tennis skirts through my second trimester because—in addition to loving the Meredith Blake vibes they provide—I know I can also lean on them a lot when my spring baby arrives. The stretchy banded waists give me so much flexibility, and the quiet luxury vibes also helped me feel pulled together even when I wasn’t feeling my best.

My cup size also began to expand immediately. Instead of rushing out and buying a new bra that might not suit me in the future, I started wearing a maternity and nursing bra that I really loved. This felt like a great way to get more use out of my nursing bras and to avoid buying bras that might not fit me once I’m done breastfeeding.  

What I’ve Learned from This Challenge

My goal in sharing my pregnancy style experience is not to dissuade you from buying maternity clothes if needed. Comfort is key while pregnant, and if a time comes when I do need maternity clothes, I’ll buy some. My main takeaway after these first six months is not to panic and start ordering clothes you may not get that much use out of. I’m still pleasantly surprised each week to see many of my clothes still fit. 

To be frank, I would much rather save some money now and spend it later on new wardrobe essentials that will suit my postpartum body and mom lifestyle. If you have a strict office dress code, booked your social calendar with special events, or don’t own a lot of clothing that can adapt to your maternity body, you very well may need to embrace maternity wear, and that’s more than OK. Take your maternity style journey day by day, and you’ll find what works for you.