De-frumpifying the Third Trimester With Affordable, Stylish Staples

I am so happy to share a guest post today from Mary Boctor, who offers some guidance on adding a little style to that most uncomfortable and awkward stage of pregnancy (and of life?): the third trimester.  Mary is currently expecting her fourth baby, and she’s a trained personal stylist.   She blogs at Atelier about living and dressing with style.

Third Trimester Staples

Today I want to share with you some of my third trimester staples (though most of these items are great to have even earlier). I’m thirty-three weeks along in my fourth pregnancy, so I’ve had some time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Of course, every pregnancy is different – different weather, different circumstances, different emotions, but there are a few things that are always a good idea. I’ll start at the beginning:

Third trimester staples

Third trimester staples

Tunic (similar) // Assets Shorts //  Grey Tee //  Jeans  // Occasion Dress // Flats //  Casual Dress

Undergarments… that fit! It can be so tempting, especially when on a tight budget, to ignore what can’t be seen. But then more than your budget will be tight, and that means panty lines, straps that pinch, and cups that overflow. That being said, undergarments that are maternity specific can be pricey, and aren’t an absolute must.  I have been really satisfied with this microfiber number, because they sit comfortably below the belly and deliver on their “no panty line” promise.  And the price is definitely right.  For bras, it doesn’t fit if it doesn’t contain you and/or it’s too tight.  Size up at that point!

Assets Marvelous Mama Maternity Shorts. Okay, maybe these aren’t absolutely necessary, but they are great for under dresses and skirts. They keep the look smooth without being too constrictive. The third trimester can be an uncomfortable time in more ways than one; twenty bucks isn’t too much for a little bit of extra confidence on big occasions.

Full Panel Jeans. I find that these are the most comfortable option once the belly is full blown. The band on the demi-panels that I love just seems too tight by the third trimester, and it irritates my pregnancy sciatica. If you are on a budget, try H&M, asos, and Old Navy. I also just discovered that even Wal-Mart online has some super inexpensive options. Who knew?! Whatever the brand, look for a pair that is uniform in color (i.e. doesn’t have “feathering” or other embellishment on the hips or rear) to avoid drawing the eye to any one area, such as the widest point of your thigh. Dark washes are especially flattering, as dark colors recede and thus give the appearance of decreased size.

Long Tees and Tanks, depending on the season. Too-short shirts are unflattering and uncomfortable. Look for fabrics that are thick enough that they can be worn alone, if you choose. Such shirts make up the bulk of my maternity wardrobe. I pair them with shorts, jeans, linen pants, alone or under a blazer.

Stylish flats. I don’t forego heels just because I’m pregnant, but for everyday wear, flats are the way to go. Depending on the weather, tall boots, booties, or ballet flats complete an outfit without sacrificing style or comfort.

Non-Yoga Pants Comfort Wear. There comes a point in every pregnancy (for me, at least) when I don’t even want to bother with the constriction level of jeans. And I have nothing against yoga pants, it’s just that when I get out of them in the morning I feel more productive and ready to meet the day’s challenges. In summer, this isn’t a big issue because there are lots of light weight dress options that are cool, comfortable, and pulled together. In winter, it’s a little more difficult but tights with a tunic top works great, or even a casual dress if I know I’m sticking around home.

A Special Dress. I spend the majority of my time home with my kids, or out and about in casual settings, running errands, playdates, that sort of thing. Yet, I find it absolutely necessary to have at least one dress that is special occasion appropriate. Target has some really cute options for $40 and under. Topshop is a nice midrange retailer,  [editor’s note: Topshop’s maternity line is Duchess-of-Cambridge approved!] and if you’re looking for something that will last many a pregnancy, Isabella Oliver has lots of beautiful items.

Thanks so much for the pointers, Mary!

13 thoughts on “De-frumpifying the Third Trimester With Affordable, Stylish Staples

  1. Wow wow wow. Perfect timig!

    Yes, most awkward stage of life fo’ sho.

    Mary, thanks for the encouragement that a budget is MORE of the reason to have a few essentials. My husband is my biggest cheerleader so I just know that once I evaluate my current wardrobe he will support more support. 😉

    I’m currently 19 weeks along and I’m in that awkward weight distribution stage where clothing is odd and obscurely fitting. My go-to (right now) is leggings, low wedges and a longish blouse/tunic…or leggings, tennis shoes and an athletic top.

    • That stage is awkward, too: where nothing fits but the bump isn’t pronounced yet. . . . but 3rd trimester takes the cake!

      Somehow leggings weren’t on my radar screen until the very end of my second pregnancy. And even then I only had two tops to wear with them. I suffered through in maternity jeans but, as Mary mentioned, even the best maternity jeans are uncomfortable after a certain point.

    • You’re welcome, Suzette! Thank you for commenting. Yes, the very beginning of pregnancy is so awkward… And depending on when you make the announcement, everyone is just wondering if you’re putting on a little weight, for me at least : )

      • Ugh. Me too. I don’t know what’s worse, the beginning of the pregnancy with the awkward pudge and nausea or the elephant stage at the end. Basically, I hate pregnancy. But it’s worth it though, right? Thanks for the tips, Mary.

  2. what a great post! I wish i would have read this about a year ago when I was pregnant and had an office job. It’s so true that those last few weeks of pregnancy are uncomfortable and awkward. I wish I would have just spent the money on better fitting clothing to make myself feel better. I already felt huge haha I didn’t need to add bad fitting clothing to the list.

    • Thank you, Rachel! With each pregnancy I’ve gotten progressively more okay with the fact that, yes, I’m only going to be pregnant for x number more weeks, and its OKAY to buy more clothes because nothing fits. And I’ve also appreciated being able to pull out some of those last weeks’ purchases during the last weeks of the next pregnancy…

  3. I am dressing for my second pregnancy totally differently. I guess the first round is always experimental. You never have a real grasp of what your body is going to do and how it’s going to change. But after looking at too many awkward pregnancy outfits … next time (whenever that will be) will be majorly different.

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