Some women are able to fit into their normal clothes well into their pregnancies; others will find themselves in elastic-waist pants much earlier than planned.
I definitely fell into the latter category.
I was surprised at just how different my body felt and looked from the beginning. (Even if others didn’t notice.) And to be honest, I struggled with this a lot at first! I assumed that since this was my first pregnancy, I’d show a lot later on and be able to wear all my favorite things well into my second trimester. (Seeing other pregnant bloggers in regular skinny jeans and super tiny dresses didn’t help much.) What I’ve learned (and am still learning) is that everyone’s body is different. If you’re small and petite like me, you’re likely to show much earlier on because that weight has to go somewhere. (Hence the bump I’ve had since Month 3.) And truth be told, every time I have a checkup and hear how well the baby is doing, every time I feel a swift kick or flutter, every time I catch a glimpse of my belly in the mirror – I love it. It’s beautiful and miraculous and functional. I’ve embraced my new body and am enjoying the challenge of dressing for a new shape. (And just think – my pre-pregnancy clothes will feel like a whole new wardrobe when I get to wear them again!)
Whether you’re trying to keep your pregnancy quiet for awhile or just want to feel comfortable during the early stages of morning sickness, here are a few first trimester must-haves.
Black Leggings: Invest wisely, friends. I tried a few doozies before landing on my current favorite, the Isabel and Ingrid maternity everyday leggings. The incredibly helpful manager at Kickin’ Maternity in Roscoe Village walked me through the various brands in store and helped me find a pair that checked all the boxes: comfortable, slimming, and with the option to wear them postpartum. They wash up great and are appropriate for both work and play. Chicago ladies, if you’re expecting or know someone who is, I can’t recommend Kickin’ enough; their beautiful clothes are wearable before, during, and after pregnancy (and at reasonable prices to boot).
Leggings to avoid: Liz Lange For Target and Gap Maternity. I own a pair from both lines and was so disappointed in the quality of the fabric. For as much as you wear these leggings, you want something that will stand up through many wears and washings. These two options were threadbare before I knew it. (The realization that your underwear shows right through your leggings at work will not be the highlight of your day. Trust me.)
Oversized Sweaters and Slouchy Tees: Ah, the best (and coziest) way to hide a growing bump and boobs. I stocked up on chunky cable-knits from Gap, slouchy sweaters from Zara, and boxy tunics from Old Navy. (All of which I’m still wearing well into the second trimester.) I recommend longer options that hit mid-thigh to pair with leggings and boots; not only is this look always on trend, but it’s leg-lengthening and slimming.
Too warm for sweaters? Try a longer tee instead. I love this striped version with leggings and jeans; it’s just slouchy enough to hide a small bump and the length works great with skinnier bottoms. I bought white, gray and black tees to mix and match, too. (And with the constant sales at Gap and Old Navy, you should never have to pay full price for these!)
Boxy Shift Dresses: It’s the one fit that always works with a growing bump. (Bonus points for being inspired by the likes of Jackie Kennedy and Kate Spade.) An A-line hem and three-quarter length sleeves are so flattering and timeless; I wore this shape all the time pre-pregnancy and will continue long after Baby Mac makes his/her arrival. Don’t be afraid to size up here – as your bump grows, you’ll need the extra room and can always belt it after baby.
Where to shop: H&M, Zara, Gap, ASOS, and Target.
Flowy Blouses: This is another pre-pregnancy piece I’m still fitting into. If it’s blousy, slouchy, and hits mid-hip, it’s a winner. I bought this option in December and wear it with everything. Banana Republic, Loft, and Francesca’s are great places to pick up affordable blouses and silky button-downs, especially during their frequent sales.
Comfy Underwear: Even if you haven’t started to show yet, you might be feeling seriously bloated – or at least I was during the first two months. Restricting waistbands were out of the question, so I relied on black leggings and the following underwear options to keep me comfortable: Victoria’s Secret Lacie and Victoria’s Secret Sport No-Show (for seamless). They’re the only ones I wear to this day and sit perfectly below the belly with no spillage over the sides. I will forever love them. (Take advantage of their sales and stock up on multiples!)
Would love to hear all about your maternity style! Share your favorites below – I’m always looking for new ideas.