The clutter-free maternity wardrobe
How many XXL T-shirts do I need?
Everything I've written so far of course comes with the disclaimer that I haven't had the baby yet. All my ideas and plans may come to nothing when the big day arrives and all that will be left of this site is a hastily scribbled article posted in 2016 about how wrong I was about basically everything.
I do have experience of being pregnant. I may only be 2/3 of the way through my first one, but at least I'm in the club. So let’s talk maternity clothes, or rather the clutter-free maternity wardrobe.
My version of minimalism doesn't involve reducing all of my possessions to nothing. That would be both too easy (just throw out everything except for a pair of yoga pants and T-shirt) and too miserable (where's the joy in having only one outfit?). A big part of it involves reducing mental clutter and to me that means being prepared: I might never need a first-aid kit, but I'd rather have one in the house for the one time I need to use it.
But how do you prepare for something that is completely unpredictable? This is the bit like the problem I faced when preparing my baby's wardrobe: I really have no clear idea of how big he'll be, how many clothing changes he will need, how he will respond to the climate and so on. All these variables can be guessed at but there's still a lot of room for error. The same goes for maternity clothes - especially with your first pregnancy, you just don't know how your body is going to change from week to week, except that it will get bigger.
I divided my wardrobe planning into three phases (or trimesters, as it were!):
1st - the "chubby but still wearing normal clothes" phase
2nd - the "everybody look at my awesome bump" phase
3rd - the "this bump is so big, nothing fits" phase
Each phase is associated with a certain comfort level and look. Although not directed at pregnant women, I found reading about wardrobe streamlining projects like the Wardrobe Architect or Project 333 helped me narrow down my personal look for each phase.
For example, I knew that during the chubby stage, when I wasn't clearly pregnant, I'd rather draw attention away from my bump - for me that meant baggy tops paired with a short skirt over leggings as a basic look.
As of the second phase the bump would take centre-stage: tops needed to be comfortable, but there was no need to camouflage my growing midriff. It actually meant I could reuse some pre-pregnancy tops, paired with stretchy skirts and more leggings.
I haven't reached phase 3 yet but as I'm going on maternity leave at 37 weeks, I hope I can weather it out with my stash of XXL T-shirts and, yes, leggings.
So far, this approach has worked really well: of course I've had to purchase quite a few items of clothing but there have been few misses and I've been very comfortable and happy with my pregnancy look. I have to admit though that, as I work from home, I'm lucky enough not to need a professional outfit to wear every day (and I'd love to hear any tips for a working maternity wardrobe).
Next time, let's dissect the phase nobody talks about: what to wear post-baby!