However much I’ve always wanted to, I’ve never been successful at the whole capsule wardrobe thing. However, dressing for maternity, particularly winter maternity wear, has left me with a severely reduced wardrobe, meaning I’ve fallen into a sort of capsule wardrobe lately. So today I’ve put together a list of my personal 25 essentials for a winter maternity wardrobe.
Building a winter maternity wardrobe
The list below features all the items of maternity wear I currently own (aside from a pair of maternity denim shorts that I needed for Florida, but I’m pretty sure they don’t make the “winter” part of the list!), but it’s not necessarily everything I’m currently wearing. As you’ll find when you’re pregnant, some of your existing wardrobe can be used to fill in gaps, particularly oversized, stretchy or (once!) baggy items. I’ve managed this with outfits such as this one with dungarees – none of these items were maternity, but I managed to get away with them in a larger size in early to mid pregnancy.
Without further ado, my list of maternity wardrobe essentials that are getting me through winter – scroll on to see where you can buy all of these items.
Winter Maternity Essentials
Polka Dot Top | Grey Top* | Striped Top
Pink Vest Top | White & Black Tee Multipack
| “Nice” Striped Top |
Striped Jumper | Pink Turtleneck
Denim Shirt | Yellow Cardigan
Jeans | Leggings | Pencil Skirt | Tights | Denim Skirt
Smart Wine Dress* | Basic Black Dress | Casual Dress | Wrap Dress*
| Camel Cape Coat* |
Wireless Nursing Bra | Wireless Bandeau Nursing Bra | Flexi Wire Bra
A couple of things first:
- While this list is predominantly maternity wear, there are a couple of items that aren’t – the cardigan and denim shirt. Both are in the list where other non-maternity items aren’t because I don’t feel items like this that can be worn open need to be maternity-specific in design at all, but are total necessities for me over winter.
- I actually own more than one of some of these items – for example, I have 3 pairs of maternity jeans currently (the stretchy jegging type ones above, a darker “smarter” H&M pair, and a Mayarya “waterproof” pair – more on these soon!). I’d also swap that yellow cardigan for a red, green or black one from my existing wardrobe depending on the outfit.
Living with a capsule wardrobe
Capsule wardrobes are tricky to get on board with (at least for me) as I’ll often look at my wardrobe and feel bored by it – “I wore that outfit once already this week” or “that top is SO uninspiring” are thoughts I have many a time when my wardrobe is restricted.
The benefits of having a capsule wardrobe for maternity wear are pretty huge though. The vast majority of your maternity wear will on be worn for a limited amount of time, but during that time it will get a lot of wear. You might notice I’ve worn this outfit across my Instagram and pregnancy diary updates multiple times, for example – in fact, I wear it at least once a week!
And that’s why I’ve devised mine out of basics that I know work for me and that I shouldn’t really get too bored of. Rather than going for trend-based items, I’ve chosen a range of essentials that won’t go out of style and can be worn in several different ways.
What to consider in a winter maternity wardrobe
Even though I love summery dressing, with the light layers and carefree attitude, I think I’m glad to be pregnant over the autumn and winter. I did worry that I would struggle, as summer seems much easier to dress a pregnant body for at first glance with floaty maxi dresses and casual clothes to hide the bump under. However this summer’s heatwave would have been torture to be heavily pregnant for, so that’s a blessing at least!
In fact, a winter maternity wardrobe might be easier as it means you can layer the basics you have in a number of different ways to create more unique outfits. It also means you can disappear under leggings and huge jumpers and no one will care!
But there are a few things to take into consideration when building your winter maternity wardrobe:
I’ve predominantly based my maternity essentials around long sleeves and layers. In summer, this isn’t necessary, but in the northern hemisphere, I need my long sleeves in winter, whether that’s a cardigan layered over a T shirt, a long-sleeved top by itself, or a snuggly jumper.
Take a look at your existing outerwear too. Luckily this coat from last year was always a little on the large side, plus it buttons over the bust rather than the bump where it flares out, meaning there’s still room for growth – I think I can get away with it for a while yet. On the other hand, I can barely fasten this coat which has toggles and is fitted over the bump, at 24 weeks pregnant. I decided I personally needed a new coat with room for the bump – one that could be worn over jeans rather than dresses like my other coat.
Layers are so important during the winter for me. I don’t spend a lot of time outside as my commute to work is by car and I sit in an office all day, but the office temperature can be all over the place, plus I’m noticing that I’m occasionally feeling warmer than I used to (something to do with increased blood in my body?!). Layers mean I can be warm outside or when the heating’s down low, but I can take them off if I’m too warm.
This is probably the biggest factor in any maternity wardrobe. Your body doesn’t really feel like your own any more, and what used to fit you is nowhere near any more; you can feel self-conscious in your clothing and your new body, so feeling comfortable and confident is really important. For me, over the bump bottoms (jeans, leggings and tights) are most comfortable, but under the bump knickers are more comfortable – don’t ask why it’s different for each, but it is! I want stretchy things that fit closely to my body, showing that I’m not just dressing a bit strangely and looking a bit bulky under my clothes!
Comfort is going to be totally subjective though, and you might feel better in looser, baggier clothing than me.
Winter in the northern hemisphere equals a lot of occasions around Christmas and New Year. For me, I’ll have 3-4 days around Christmas and New Year where I need something nice to wear, plus I’ve also got a christening coming up and potentially meals out with friends too.
I took these into consideration when building my maternity wardrobe – I have the wine coloured dress that will function perfectly for the christening as well as Christmas dinner, looking smart but also stretchy and comfortable. I have a “nice top” for “nice top and jeans” outfits as well as pairing well with skirts. I have a pencil skirt (jersey for comfort!) that can be dressed up or down, and I have another dress that will function as a fairly smart work dress. I should probably note at this point that my office is fairly casual, so you might need a couple more smarter dress/bottom basics than I do!
This kind of comes under comfort, but getting good, well-fitting foundations under your clothes is super important. Your breasts will be changing size and shape – if you’re anything like me, very rapidly! – and you’ll want to make sure you’re not putting them under any additional undue pressure from a size that’s too small. I’m writing much more about this at Big Cup Little Cup where I’m reviewing maternity underwear at the moment, but some general points to note about bras during pregnancy:
- Underwire is not necessarily a complete no-go during pregnancy. As long as the wire isn’t pressing on any breast tissue, you should be good. Personally, I don’t like to be without wires too much and find bras with wires far more comfortable on a day to day basis.
- Look for bras that have the potential to expand – your band size will most likely increase during pregnancy (mine is already up from a 28 to a 32 band), and your cup size will likely increase throughout pregnancy, and again when your milk comes in. Search for cups with the potential to stretch and, if shopping earlier in your pregnancy, choose bands that fasten on tighter hooks to allow you to move to looser hooks further along.
- Get properly sized at the beginning and middle of your pregnancy if you can. I’m checking my own size every few weeks using this calculator (which has always been spot on for me – read this article if you find yourself in a size that’s a shock to you!). From week 0 to week 24, I’ve gone up 2 band sizes and 4 cup sizes, from a 28GG to 32H – trying to wear your old bras throughout, especially if you experience changes like I do, will be so uncomfortable, plus bad for your breast tissue, so keep on top of it!
In terms of knickers, as I said, I prefer under the bump because I find higher waistbands that sit mid-bump bother me and baby – she presses against them! I’ve been wearing my most comfortable and stretchy old ones still, but have been on the lookout for a multipack that fit my requirements for a while. The ones I’ve listed above from Matalan are SO comfortable as well as looking pretty. The lace panel is soft and more gentle for me than usual knicker elastic, so I really appreciate this.
Outfits from my winter maternity wardrobe
Here are a few examples of outfits I’ve put together out of my winter maternity wardrobe, but keep your eyes on my maternity style category for more outfits and more ways to wear these pieces alongside non-maternity items too!
The above outfit is a good basic which layers a simple tank top underneath a turtle neck sweater for warmth, but still looks lightweight rather than bulky. It’s simple but can work for a smart-casual look when paired with these Mayarya jeans* (which aren’t actually the ones pictured in my 25 essentials, but come as an additional, because you can’t wear the same jeans every day for a full week!).
Tying my normal non-maternity cardigans over a slightly shapeless maternity dress has become one of my favourite outfit tools lately. As someone with a curvy body type, I’ve always wanted to make sure my waist is highlighted, and that’s been no different during pregnancy. I’ve been wearing oversized non-maternity dresses in this way often too – see here for an example.
This makes a good casual outfit when worn with flat or low ankle boots, but could also be dressed up for occasions that veer on smart-casual over the winter period, like family Christmas meals, with a pair of black heels or sparkly shoes. This pencil skirt is an excellently versatile item as it’s jersey (so super comfortable) but could also be worn for smart office wear too.
This is an outfit of basics that works perfectly for my very casual office and feels like pyjamas! Having a few key basics is important, but I think a pair of maternity leggings are crucial – even if you’re not really a leggings person as I usually am, they’re very comfortable and stretchy. I imagine they’ll be even more important as I reach the end of pregnancy!
A jersey wrap dress makes a good maternity wardrobe staple as it’s something that will stretch to fit you and will work for easier breastfeeding after birth too. The denim shirt works well as a top layer for almost any outfit too so is very versatile.
I’ve probably worn this top more times than any other top in my wardrobe ever – it’s become my go-to outfit with a pair of jeans or this denim skirt to change things up a bit. For me, a striped top equals a basic, and the skirt being denim is another way to wear all my tops that go with jeans but without wearing jeans every single day!
And for something a bit more fun, on trend (my sister said I looked like candy corn – a compliment in my eyes!) but still warm, a colourful striped jumper that would work with the jeans, leggings, denim skirt or even pencil skirt. That’s the benefit of a capsule wardrobe – all the bottoms work with most or all of the tops, meaning far more potential combinations.
See more of my maternity style posts here: