As a clothing designer, I often get asked if I only wear my own pieces. While the answer is mainly yes, I still wear other clothes. I only buy ethically made clothing, which means it was made by an independent designer or secondhand. I tend to shop secondhand because it is more affordable and benefits the environment!
Those first three months can be awkward, emotional, and somewhat depressing. Your body is going through a myriad of changes and your hormones are like a roller coaster. I looked bloated, hated healthy foods, and felt exhausted all the time. Clothing was not on my list of priorities. I heavily turned to Sotela’s Essential dresses during that first trimester. I needed something that hid my tiny, but still too big for my skinny jeans belly. The Jersey Swing Dress and Pocket Shift dress were on repeat from December-February. I wore it over leggings, jeans, turtlenecks, you name it. Those two dresses were a lifesaver because I didn’t feel good in anything else.
Ah, those amazing three months where I had endless amounts of energy. It’s no surprise the second trimester was my favorite because my hormones calmed down and I finally started showing. I felt like myself again albeit a growing belly. Getting dressed in the morning was much more enjoyable because I only wanted to wear tight clothes to show off the bump. This was also when I started shopping because I wanted/needed maternity specific items like jeans, leggings and dresses. My favorite second trimester outfits anything that tight that showed off my bump. Completely different than the first trimester.
Finally, the homestretch! I’m currently 34 weeks pregnant and feeling very big and uncomfortable. Still wearing most of the pieces in my capsule except for the Mara jumpsuit. That had to be retired at the beginning of the third trimester. I’ve been leaning towards flowy clothes because it is so hot! Being pregnant during the summer is no easy feat friends. My favorite third trimester outfits consist of flowy dresses and the occasional tight maternity dress.
Below is my 20 piece maternity capsule wardrobe. I occasionally added another top here and there, but these 20 items were my wardrobe essentials that got me through three trimesters of pregnancy and three different seasons.
Sleeveless Maternity Dress: This dress was graciously gifted to me by a friend. It has been a second and third trimester staple. I usually wear it with Birkenstocks or tennis shoes and if I feel like being a little more modest, I tie the chambray shirt around my waist.
Sotela Magnolia Shift Dress: I mainly wore this dress during my second trimester because the weather was finally warmer. It was definitely a favorite outfit on our babymoon in Hawaii. I also wore it with Birkenstocks.
Sotela Jersey Swing Dress: Ah, an oldie, but such a goodie. If someone were to ask me to choose a favorite Sotela piece, it may be the Jersey Swing dress, especially during pregnancy. I’ve worn it throughout each trimester and will continue to wear it even though it is scorching hot. I love how easy it is to wear and how good it makes me feel. It looks great with a baby bump too. If someone were to ask what Sotela piece they should buy during pregnancy, I’d recommend the Jersey Swing dress. I’ll let you know if it passes the breastfeeding test 😉
Vintage Maxi dress: I’m not a huge fan of maxi dresses because I’m short, but this vintage dress is my absolute favorite. I bought it several years ago so it isn’t a maternity dress, but still fits because it is very flowy. Maxi dresses that are long and wide are essential when you are pregnant because you don’t want to close your legs every time you sit down. My belly is pretty big right now and closing my legs takes hard work. You can forget about crossing your legs too. This dress is a third trimester favorite that I wear weekly.
Sotela Pocket Cocoon Dress: Thank god for its forgiving shape or else it wouldn’t fit during this third trimester. The Cocoon dress is part of my weekday uniform when I’m out running errands because I can bend down without showing the goods. Even though I know it looks better with my white tennis shoes, I usually just wear Birkenstocks. Have you noticed they are my favorite shoes?
Short Sleeve Maternity Dress: This is one of the few secondhand pieces I’ve bought since December through ThredUp. It is a tight maternity dress made of modal, which is the same fabric as the Jersey Swing dress. It feels like heaven when I wear it and has been a second and third trimester favorite. I probably wear this dress 2 times a week.
Off the Shoulder Dress: A secondhand dress that I specifically wear for special events. I’ve worn it to graduation parties, bridal showers, and rehearsal dinners. It’s been a perfect summer dress for a growing belly.
Sotela Pocket Shift Dress: A first and second trimester favorite, I’ve loved wearing it layered over leggings and jeans. I don’t wear it as often anymore because I’ve been leaning towards very flowy or very tight, but it still fits. I’m actually wearing it right now at home where I don’t have to worry about sitting and keeping my legs closed.
White Graphic Tee: This old J. Crew shirt has been on heavy rotation throughout this pregnancy. It’s light enough to wear layered over my pencil skirt and long enough to wear with my maternity jeans or linen shorts.
Black Tee: Can’t go wrong with basic tees! I usually only wear it with jeans or shorts.
Sotela Lyla Crop top: The perfect top to wear over a pencil skirt. It was a second trimester favorite that I wore on vacation and for special occasions. I can’t wait to wear it with my high waisted jeans and shorts next summer!
Secondhand American Apparel Tunic: A third trimester favorite because it is flowy and so comfortable. I wear it layered over leggings and shorts because it is a tad short to wear alone.
Borrowed Tunic: My sister let me borrow this tunic during my second trimester to specifically wear over leggings. Now that it is too hot, I don’t wear it as often, but I wore it almost daily during the second trimester and June gloom.
Chambray Shirt: Every capsule wardrobe needs a button down chambray shirt. It is one of my most versatile pieces. I haven’t worn a jacket in a long time, but wear this chambray shirt when inside cold restaurants. It is also a great layering piece when wearing leggings or any of my tight maternity dresses. My friend gave me this Madewell shirt last year to replace the one I had because I didn’t love the color. I love that this one is a light wash chambray.
Sotela Mara Jumpsuit: I loved wearing it during my first and second trimester when I was small and didn’t have to pee every hour. It was also cooler making it an ideal outfit. Now that it is too hot and I’m big, I’ve officially retired this piece.
Maternity Skinny Jeans: Another gift from a gracious friend, these jeans have been worn at least 100 times. I started wearing it early on in my second trimester and have been wearing it on repeat. It’s hard to find skinny maternity jeans because most of them have some sort of flare leg, which I don’t love wearing with a belly. Nevertheless, maternity jeans are an absolute must. You won’t feel human without them. I promise.
Maternity Leggings: Okay, so this is the last gift from that gracious friend I’ve been talking about. She gave me these leggings and they have been perfect. They have a full belly panel and are pretty thick. I’ve worn these leggings with the Essential Dresses and tunics. Another pregnancy must.
Pencil Skirt: I bought this skirt secondhand because of its length. It isn’t specifically for maternity, but since it is so long, I can pull it up over my belly to my bra. I layer it with the Lyla crop top or one of my tees, which I knot to the side.
Linen Shorts: These secondhand shorts have been nothing short of amazing. They aren’t maternity specific, but since they have a drawstring waist, they fit perfectly under my belly. I wear these shorts multiple times during the week especially when running errands. I usually wear them with the two tees in the capsule or several of my home/workout shirts.
Jersey Culottes: During my first trimester when I felt bloated and miserable, I asked my husband’s aunt if she could make me culottes out of the modal used for the Jersey Swing dress. I wanted something that felt like pajamas, but was still appropriate to wear out. These fit the bill and were perfect during my second trimester. The elastic waistband is a little too tight to wear now for long periods of time, but you bet that I will be right back in them postpartum. I’m pretty sure those will be in my postpartum capsule wardrobe.
So in total, I’ve purchased 6 secondhand items in the past 8 months. I would’ve bought the jeans and leggings if my friend hadn’t given them to me because they are maternity ESSENTIALS.