The First & Second Trimester Maternity Capsule Essentials

…that (hopefully!) won’t be a waste of money.

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Ok, I’ll admit that I’ve had a ‘Pregnancy Outfit Ideas‘ saved section on my Instagram for about the last two years. I just like to feel prepared, you know? Of course I never knew if I’d ever need it for certain, let alone whether I’d have the bulk of my pregnancy in the summer or winter, but I just liked to know it was there and whenever I saw a Mum-to-Be in an outfit that I thought ‘HELL YES I’D WEAR THAT!‘ I’d secretly squirrel it away for a rainy day.

It turns out that nothing can really quite prepare you for pregnancy as a whole, and definitely not the changes that happen to your body. Everyone is different and especially if this is your first rodeo you’re not really sure what to expect. LIKE HELLO BOOBS WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? I’ll be at my most pregnant during the hottest months of the year and although there some saves that have helped guide me to some new purchases and certain sections of my wardrobe, I’m having to learn how to dress a body that feels like it changes hourly. My bump is a more recent development so I didn’t feel up to anything curve-hugging until recently, but before that my boobs exploded and so everything I owned became pretty darn tight in the chest-area – gaping buttons galore!

Before getting pregnant I really believed that I owned plenty of things I could make work as maternity pieces, and although that’s been the case for a few things, I have had to make some purchases. I’m trying my best to be mindful and pick bits that should work postpartum too, so they don’t feel like a complete waste of money and actually a small handful of buys have really helped me to feel like myself when all I’ve wanted to do is lie in bed and eat ready salted crisps by the bucketload, watching ‘The Great Pottery Throw-Down’…


Stretch Fabrics Are Your Best Friend. It’s like lycra was MADE for this. It might not be your preferred choice of fabric, but you can’t argue that it’s the best choice when it comes to comfort and versatility as your body grows and morphs by the hour. Tops, bottoms, dresses – the lot. There is nothing better. Anything in your wardrobe already that has a decent amount of stretch to it is in the running to be a potentially amazing maternity piece.

Have a Fashion Show. There were so many bits in my wardrobe that I’d put into the category of ‘great for pregnancy’ that turns out are absolutely terrible for a body with child. For instance my Realisation Par Iggy Dress. I thought this would be a lovely pregnancy piece – nice and clingy around my belly, still chic and cool for summer, I’d seen pregnant people wearing it on the ‘gram! In reality it has absolutely no stretch in the fabric and although it sort out works around my tum, I hadn’t factored in the growth and widening that occurs across your chest and shoulders. My newly acquired boobs don’t even stand a chance. So when you’re feeling up to it I highly recommend trying on the things in your wardrobe that you’d dubbed a solid pseudo-maternity piece and see if it actually works – some things will and some things won’t. From there you’ll have more of an idea of what you might need to think about purchasing.

Tops Over Bottoms. From having multiple fashion shows I’ve realised one thing – general clothing is not cut for a pregnant body. I mean, like DUR OF COURSE NOT. But sometimes sizing up just isn’t an option. A skirt bunches up at the bag, or the trousers cut in, a top doesn’t fit right around the chest. All of the maternity guides I’d read online from people who are as chic as hell just recommended sizing up in your favourite pieces, but I haven’t found that to be the case 100% of the time. Because my pregnancy is going to be at it’s most blooming over the summer I’ve been able to dodge any maternity trouser purchases, but from experimenting I’ve seen that when it comes to sizing up in tops or stretchy dresses, it has a much better chance of working, than sizing up in trousers or skirts. If I was pregnant over the winter months I think I’d have to cave and buy a pair or two of jeans and trousers because sizing up can only really get you so far when it comes to fitting around le bump.

Borrow What You Can. I have two weddings to go to over the summer and my wardrobe is looking seriously lacking when it comes to possible options that will fit around my boobs and/or over the bump without me exposing my pants with every step I take. Thankfully a friend who has recently given birth has sorted me out with a few of her Topshop Maternity* buys. WHAT A BABE! I’d suggest asking around and seeing if anyone has any maternity bits going spare – so many of my mates were happy to lend things that were no longer in use, but that they had put to the side incase they have more kids. Not only can it help bulk out the ‘essentials‘ part of your wardrobe, but it can be great for occasion bits too.


Lululemon HR Align Pants*. I realised quite early on that when wearing my usual workout leggings my belly sort of popped and flopped over the top, leading the fabric to cut in and not be the most comfortable. I can handle it for working out – and now just roll the waistband under the bump as I’m at home and I do not care what I look like when I’m sweating out of every orifice – but it’s not the best for an all-day piece. So I picked up a pair of my usual Align style, but in a size up from usual and with a high-rise waist and so far they have been brilliant at accommodating my changing shape. So soft, nice and stretchy and I’m hopeful they can get me to the finish line and will work postpartum too.

RE/DONE High Rise Stove Pipe Jeans*. Now these were a cheeky purchase that I picked up in my first trimester. I grew out of my jeans fast and doing up the buttons past the 12 week mark was something I could do for a very limited amount of time and only if it meant I didn’t sit down. Fine for filming a quick video, but not great for actually wearing them all day. Then I found a pair of my favourite jeans in a great mid-blue wash in the MyTheresa* January sale, 4 sizes bigger than I’d usually wear. They have been great for concealing the bump when I don’t fancy being a bump parade and making my outfits look like outfits I’d normally wear, when actually I’ve had plenty of space around the waist. Although I haven’t got too much longer left in them, they’ve made me feel more like myself and I hope they come in handy post-birth too. Disclaimer: The whole ‘sizing up’ thing is complete slim person privilege as so many higher-end brands cater to such a small range of sizes and in reality they just aren’t cut for a pregnant body, especially when it comes to jeans. These were definitely a shorter-term maternity piece for me. 

Baserange Shaw Long Sleeve Kaftan. I mean basically knitted and/or stretchy dresses are a huge category for me right now, whereas previously I’d barely touch a dress all summer. Seriously, what was I thinking?! For more dress-related recommendations and for links to ones that I’ve purchased recently, check out my last post, but this one from Baserange is ticking all the boxes for me right now and is fast becoming my most worn. I have it in a M and it’s so extremely oversized, plus it’s a wrap front so has been great for my ever-changing bod. It’s a very slouchy and loose fit and sometimes that’s just what you fancy – nothing that’s too clingy. It’s quite a heavy fabric so is great for now but is probably one I’ll have to retire when it gets a bit hotter, but again like everything else here is something that I can wear in the autumn and spring once it gets chillier again.

ARKET Oversized Linen Shirts*. I had these in my wardrobe from last summer and they are once again proving themselves to be an absolute must-have staple. Sure I’d usually wear them tucked in, but worn loose they still look fab and it’s just great to get more use out of something that I already owned. For the moment I can still get them buttoned up, but later on down the line when that may not be possible they will still be great as more of a jacket and cover-up that I can throw over the top of a tank top dress or vest and leggings. I genuinely think these are one of the best things I’ve ever purchased. Truly.

ARKET Long-Sleeve Pima Cotton T-Shirt* (ad – gifted). Once the 20 week mark hit my usual t-shirts just weren’t cutting it and thanks to my brand new boobs, they had started to veer into cropped territory. Thankfully I had these on hand (and yes I have it in the off-white, white *and* black styles), and they are incredible. Once again they aren’t maternity, so although I wear a M that’s extremely oversized and fine for me right now, they might get a bit tricky towards the end when dress wearing becomes the only option, but it was great to find my dream fit of t-shirt that weirdly works for me right now. The fabric is really soft and thin so it’s a great layering piece to have on hand. I also love the Oversized T-Shirt* and again, the M in that is serving me perfectly well right now.

Chantelle Soft Stretch Thongs*. I’ve mentioned these before in my ‘Pregnancy Essentials’ post, but comfy underwear is a must. These are a one-size-fits-all style which I’d usually raise an eyebrow at, but they have stretch by the bucketload and I haven’t had any problems with fit or sizing so far. They feel like butter on your skin and basically feel like you’re wearing nothing down there. Later on down the line I’ll pick up some larger briefs to accommodate for the gigantic sanitary pads you need after birth, but for now these are doing the trick.

Seraphine Maternity Tights*. There are just some maternity pieces that you have to invest in and tights are one of them. I did some googling around and these ones consistently came up on top and although I haven’t tried anything else to compare them to, I’d say they are pretty great. They don’t dig in at the waistline, fit over the bump and don’t slip down. I mean, what more can you say?! Seeing as I’ve been so into dresses, but I’m extremely cold blooded and don’t like a breeze around my ankles unless it’s a very toasty day, I’ve been wearing these basically everyday and it’s like a nice hug for you and your baby. Just pick up two pairs off the bat.


Photos by Mark Newton