Minimalist Bedding

One way we’ve pared down over the years is to get rid of excess bedding. You know – the kind that somehow takes over your linen closet and makes you feel overwhelmed on laundry day. Or the kind that drives you mad when a guest comes to visit and you can only find one clean pillowcase of a matching set.

Searching out secondhand, thrifted, and ethical linens and donating or recycling what we don’t truly need or love has allowed us to feel organized and streamlined.

 

Here’s what we’ve done to simplify our bedding:

Get rid of extra sheet sets. Currently we have one set of sheets for our bed; one set for the guest bed; one extra in case either of those first two needs a tight turnaround; and one set for our preschooler’s bed. For the thrifter-on-the-way, I’ve kept 2-3 fitted crib sheets from our first go-around and don’t plan to buy more. (We were gifted/secondhanded 5 with our first kid and never used them all.)

We find that even when factoring in occasional accidents, this is enough, because it motivates us to wash sheets as soon as they become dirty. Knowing we need to put them back on the bed that same night propels us to get them out of the washer and into the dryer ASAP – which means no manky clothes that sat too long in the washing machine. And when they’re dry, it saves us the chore of folding them because they just go right back on the bed. (Because let’s be honest, who wants to fold fitted sheets? No one, that’s who.)

To donate sheets in good condition, drop them off at your nearest thrift store (check first to make sure they take linens). For sheets that have gone hole-y, take them to the nearest textile recycler or cut them into rags.

Nix the top sheet. This was initially controversial at our house, since I could care less about top sheets but the spouse was rather attached to them. When we got a down duvet, however (see below), he was converted, mostly because sleeping with just a down duvet feels like sleeping on a cloud – ahhhhhhh. Our preschooler also loves going without a top sheet because she’s much less likely to get tangled up in a blanket than a sheet.

No top sheet also cuts down on washing/drying/folding. Plus making the bed is 1000% easier – we just shake out the blanket or duvet into a semblance of smoothness and we’re done.

We do put a top sheet on the guest bed because we assume that not everyone who comes to stay will want to go top(sheet)less. And we also keep the top sheet for our bed folded neatly in the linen closet for the hottest part of the summer when a duvet would roast us alive.

Consider secondhand. Unlike mattresses and pillows, which should not be bought secondhand (hi bedbugs and dust mites!), sheets and washable blankets make for great thrift store finds. You get a sense for whether the item wears well; you can feel the goods before purchase; you save money; and it’s an ethical option since you’re not creating demand for new linens that might be made in environmentally or ethically questionable ways.

We got our backup set of sheets at Goodwill; they’re a pleasing blue and are 100% cotton from IKEA. We also got our duvet cover secondhand from a parishioner who thought we could use some extra bedding as we moved into the parsonage. Pattern-wise, it wouldn’t have been our absolute first choice, and we may eventually buy something we like better; but in the meantime it’s actually kind of grown on me:

Consider ethical retail options. If you have access to a Costco membership, they sell quality sheets and down duvets at great prices. (It’s where we got both our duvet and our main sheets.) While you need to check individual brands on offer for their labor/environmental practices, Costco as a company has great labor practices including paying employees a living wage with benefits.

IKEA also offers sheets that are made with sustainably grown cotton and/or lyocell, both of which reduce water, pesticide, and fertilizer usage. (Check the “materials and environment” tab on a particular product on their website to learn more.) If we get a new duvet cover one day, it will be one of these.

Etsy also offers US-made duvet covers but usually for a heftier price. Be sure to check whether the listing explicitly says “Made in US” (or other country with good labor practices). “Ships from US” might mean nothing more than that the US seller imported it from a wholesaler before sending it to you.

And nix microfiber when possible – it feels super comfy but is made with petroleum-based polyester fibers, tiny bits of which break off and pollute the watershed every time you wash. Try cotton sateen or a cotton/lyocell combo for a luxurious-feeling, plant-based alternative.

 

Tips to make life with linens easier:

For that backup set of sheets, learn how to fold a fitted sheet.

Learn how to easily put your duvet cover back on the duvet after washing it.

Speaking of duvet covers – if in doubt, get a duvet cover that is smaller than your duvet. Duvet covers often come in different dimensions than the duvets themselves, which can be a huge headache when trying to find the right size. You might be tempted to size up on the cover for roominess, but a duvet that is the same size or smaller than the cover will use that extra space to move around a lot more, leaving you with flat, empty edges and weird lumps. Our duvet cover is a few inches shorter than our duvet in both dimensions and you can’t tell – it just fills the space instead of looking overstuffed.

 

What’s your sheet situation? Any suggestions for how to slim down your linens and/or creatively source them?

September Outfit Roundup: What Worked, What Didn’t

I post my outfits on Instagram for two main reasons: 1) the creative challenge of putting together an outfit I like and capturing it half-way decently on camera; and 2) to keep a visual record of what I wear – the successes, the failures, and the patterns.

It’s a nice (and weird?) bonus that 500 people follow along – but they rarely comment, so there’s not much feeling of community. (That’s what this space is for – thank you!) It’s mostly me, my outfits, and the reality-serving lens of the selfie setting on my camera.

Which makes my IG feed a great place to look back over my outfits to see what worked and what didn’t – especially since it’s sometimes hard to tell which is which until you look in a full-length mirror (which we don’t have) or take a full-length photo.

So here are some hits and misses in my maternity wardrobe from the last month.

First up: made-for-pregnancy tops with ruching in the side seams to accommodate a growing belly. These are super comfortable and practical – no worries about whether the belly is poking out – but I’m not in love with the silhouette they create:

 

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It’s funny, because I love snugly-clothed bellies on other pregnant people…but seeing it on myself makes me realize I prefer skimming silhouettes, not tight ones. (If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you will not be surprised by this revelation.)

Which brings us to some of my favorite looks from this past month.

The silhouette here is great – not clinging, but not a shapeless blob, either:

 

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I dig the contrast in colors: a kind of glowing medium blue – thank you, Light Summer – with very, very light grey makes for some visual interest, as does the juxtaposition of bigger-on-top, slimmer-on-bottom. The on-trend thin-white-stripe-on-blue look made this a “fan favorite” as well, receiving the most likes in the past month.

Anything with this wider-striped, non-maternity top was a win for me:

 

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It’s my ideal stripe ratio, skims instead of clings, and provides great visual contrast for solid-colored blazers:

 

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I’ll have to get a shot of the back because it has buttons running down the middle, making for an interesting touch of detail.

Contrast that with this blazer look, which chopped me off right at the middle:

 

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I should know by now that the length of this blazer makes it prone to creating this effect, but it’s so snug on cool days and it’s made out of such lovely fabric that I consistently reach for it and don’t realize the problem until I take a photo and can’t be bothered to change. (That hard break across the middle may also be why I’m not loving the ruched maternity tops – they tend to create a strong horizontal line at the hem.)

Returning to the success of skimming silhouettes: I love the way this swing sweater from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe looks over ma belly – it has interesting shape without clinging too much, and the scallop overlap at the sideseam breaks up the line of the hem. I layered a blue maternity tee underneath for warmth & coverage:

 

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It was super comfortable and fit right in with my Light Summer palette. And since most of my fall sweaters from last year are packed away, I was thrilled to get to wear a favorite.

This made me realize that I could probably pull out a few other favorites from last year and layer them over maternity tops, so I’ve put them through the wash to clean off the dust and they’re in my sweater drawer, ready to rock and roll. We’ll see how it goes as the weather gets chillier and I layer more!

Throwing back to warmer days at the beginning of the month, I finally figured out how to do a maxi dress – with a slit! Good for ventilation, ease of movement, and some visual interest:

 

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^^This one will be great for nursing as it has a snap-button wrap v-neck.

I’m hopeful these will both be stars of my summer wardrobe next year, though I don’t really know yet how they’ll look without a belly:

 

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A couple of reminders that non-maternity sweaters make you look like you’re about to erupt:

 

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But I do like how the stripes look underneath the solid here – adds a bit of Venetian (or otherwise Italian) menswear flair:

 

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And last but not least, a non-maternity favorite that somehow looked even more fetching, pregnant:

 

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I’d keep wearing it all fall with layers, except I’m not sure how much stretching it will take before it no longer wants to return to its original shape.

What were your favorites in my wardrobe over the last month? (Visit www.instagram.com/thriftshopchic to see everything.) What styles did or would you wear, pregnant? Any tips for stylish dressing while growing a human?

Wearing “Light Summer” Colors in the Fall

I have to admit I feel a great and growing affection for the colors in my “season” – Personal Color Analysis-speak for the range of colors that bring out the best in one’s skin tone. (See this post for a lot more on PCA.) I’m a Light Summer, and here are some of my palette’s glorious hues for my upcoming fall/winter maternity wardrobe:

Ahhhh! Happy sigh. I’m biased, of course, but I love the way Light Summer colors seem to glow from the inside like a sorbet, or popsicles, or sherbet…

…which of course, no one is excited to eat once cool fall weather arrives.

And therein lies the conundrum: none of these are “fall” colors. And because I’ve been very well trained by marketing trends and society’s idea of which colors belong to which season (thank you, Pumpkin Spice Lattes), it feels weird to look at these clothes – with nary a burgundy, aubergine, mustard, or pumpkin in sight – and think of them as my “fall” wardrobe.

Of course I could go ahead and wear whatever I damn well please, sporting rust and sienna and cognac with abandon; but as I said, I’ve grown to like my colors, feel at home at them – and perhaps most definitively, see how off-kilter my skin tone looks by comparison in colors that are too warm and dark (i.e. all the fall colors).

So I think I’ll stick with my palette – but use the fall (that is, next fall, since I’m already set for clothes this season) to explore the darker and more muted neutral ends of my color palette. Colors like these:

If you don’t particularly like or wear autumn colors, how do you deal with the transition to fall style?

Thrifted Maternity Capsule for Fall/Winter

Hey all! I’m past the 6 month mark over here, so as the warm weather transitions into fall, it’s time for some legit maternity clothes. Let’s take a look at what’s in my cold weather closet (even as I’m still wearing some warm-weather stuff on Instagram); talk about how it got there; and discuss capsule strategy.

Maternity Wardrobe Capsule Strategy

This “capsule” wardrobe – which I define as an edited collection of clothes I don’t plan on adding to over the next 3 months – is bigger than I would like, numbers-wise. That’s due to a little bit of self-imposed minimalist judgment (“You can’t say it’s a capsule wardrobe with this many pieces in it!” says the little voice in my head) but mostly due to the uncertainty of a growing belly. With my previous pregnancy I wasn’t anywhere near this pregnant during anything near as cold as a New England winter, so in many ways I am guesstimating what I’ll need over the last trimester. Plus, as I feel more than satisfied with the options available to me in this wardrobe and would love not to have to go shopping again, I’m hanging on to a couple of impulse purchases (and a few too many gray dresses) in case I outgrow one or more of my planned items or find them too hard to layer.

I went for a limited color palette to help everything go together: mostly Light Summer solids with some stripes and leopard print thrown in. (There are a few pieces that fall outside my season which I’m hoping will work for my expanding mid-section, so they stay.) I’m aiming for two main outfit combos: a lot of dresses over leggings, and sweaters or long-sleeved tees over maternity pants. I’m relying on blazers, open cardigans, and vests for added warmth without worrying about whether they close. We’ll see how it all shakes out!

Where I Got My Clothes

As described at the end of this post, I went with a combination of thrifted clothes I already had that feature stretch fabrics or loose waistlines; thrifted finds from the non-maternity section; and maternity consignment pieces. Every piece here is secondhand – thrifted, consigned, plus a few Poshmark items.  I’ll note what were actually “maternity” pieces with an asterisk as I go.

The Clothes

Dresses
Dresses are theeee most comfortable thing in my wardrobe right now.

    

Lands End; Old Navy; Liz Lange Maternity*; Merona; J. Jill; Comfy; Gap Maternity*; Merona. The first, second, and last dresses are from my regular wardrobe; the third dress is from my last pregnancy.

Sweaters and Shirts

             

Carol & Chris; some sports brand; Express men’s merino sweater; Xhiliration; Old Navy*; Old Navy; H&M Maternity*; Gap; Old Navy; J. Jill; maternity tee*; GapPure; Loft; Old Navy. The purple sweater and the white sweater are from my regular wardrobe. The empire waist leopard tunic, the popover navy blue tunic, and the blue/purple GapPure sweater are from my last pregnancy.

Top Layers
No buttoning needed!

      

Gap; no label but from the Gap family of companies; Metaphor; Lands End; H&M; Madison & Mercer; Banana Republic; Loft. I thrifted the two vests specifically for this pregnancy; everything else I already had.

Pants and Leggings
I went with one pair of blue jeans; one pair of light jeans; and a pair of corduroys (because we all know I can’t make it through winter without corduroys). I also have white, blue, and grey leggings already in my wardrobe, which I wear under dresses for cooler weather; I find tights too restrictive in the middle even when I’m not pregnant!

  

Liz Lange*; Gap (surprisingly not maternity; it’s called their “legging pant”); Gap*

As I noted previously, this feels like a lot of clothes! Should be interesting to see what actually stays and what goes over the next 3 months. If you’re interested in seeing how someone did a very streamlined version, check out The Daily Connoisseur’s maternity wardrobe or postpartum wardrobe videos.

For those of you in the northern hemisphere, what’s happening with your transition to fall right now? Have you swapped over to fall clothes or not yet?

Check out a few swaps on my capsule wardrobe update post here.

Thrifted Storage Solutions – Or Not

For the longest time, I was keeping my thrifting eyes open for a shoe rack to try to corral this mess:

Every time I opened my closet, I averted my eyes from the horror that was the top shelf. Despite how clean and uncluttered my clothes looked hanging just below, it was kind of ruining my closet mojo.

I pride myself on thrifting anything I need for storage (or repurposing something I already own) – I dislike the idea of paying retail money for storage solutions, probably because there is so much out there designed to make you think you’ll never be organized without splashing out cash. But no matter where I thrifted, I couldn’t seem to find one – or anything that really could work in a pinch. So I let the shoes (and the scarves, and the router, and the…I don’t even know what some of that was?) sit in an inglorious jumble, messing with my feng shui.

Until I realized I didn’t need to thrift, or even find, any storage solution. I just needed to move my off-season shoes elsewhere, and put everything else where it belonged.

So the shoes I wasn’t currently wearing went in the guest room closet where we keep off-season clothes (one pair that was too tight got donated). The scarves went on the scarf hanger thingy that hangs in my closet. And the antennae/router junk (used to very, very occasionally watch network tv and stashed there to keep out of the reach of my kid, who kept messing with it) went in a box and into the guest closet shelves where it could easily be set in the guestroom, where it gets the best signal.

Here is my new shoe shelf:

Ahhhhhhhhh.

What corner of your house has been waiting – so you think – for that perfect storage solution but really just needs a clear out or something as simple as a repurposed shoebox?

Thrifted Maternity Capsule Wardrobe for Summer

Today I’m sharing what I’ve been wearing this summer as I work on my second trimester. With the exception of a pair of sandals I bought retail last summer, everything here is thrifted – and 98% of it is stuff I already owned that I’m making work for my changing body. (Turns out it pays to like looser silhouettes on top and shorts with a little stretch!) That won’t last forever, however, so I’m trying to enjoy living off of what I have before I get into full-blown maternity clothes.

Without further ado, my current wardrobe!

Dresses

 
Talbots (with J. Crew denim jacket); S Wear; Who What Wear; Old Navy; Old Navy

Tops + Shorts

These are the two pairs of shorts that fit – and apparently that’s all I need! The blue tie-dye-ish top is the only shirt I’ve thrifted specifically for my pregnancy (so far). It’s just an oversized tee that feels like pajamas but looks semi-presentable for dropping the kid off at school or lazing around the house on the weekend.

   
Yellow shorts = Forever21 (pants DIYed into shorts); white shorts = American Eagle. Shirts: Old Navy; Banana Republic; Loft; no tag; Old Navy; Ralph Lauren; H&M; Zara

Sandals

 
Clarks & Saltwaters (retail)

That’s it! Short and simple. It’s been lovely to have in rotation a handful of things that fit and make me feel good, all in my closet at a glance.

Are you capsule-ing it this summer?

PS To see how I’m styling these, head over to my Instagram account.

Friday ReBlog: RV Living with 5 People + an Epic Closet Purge and more

It’s been a minute since our last Friday ReBlog, a spotlight on articles/posts/podcasts I’ve recently found interesting. This week I’m sharing some good minimalism-related reads and listens I came across while recharging my enthusiasm for keeping my stuff to a dull roar.

First up, here’s a fun read on the principles of psychological economics behind Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The article puts some words on phenomena we’ve all experienced – like finding it a lot harder to give something away once we’ve let it live in our closet/house/bookshelf for awhile.

Next, here’s a few tips on really paring down in order to live in a smaller space – and some amazing pics of a family of 5 who live in a converted RV: Living simply, going tiny.

These two Brooke Castillo podcast interviews with Shira Gill (episode 216 and episode 217) are short and sweet bursts of inspiration for decluttering. Shira’s approach is basically the opposite of Marie Kondo’s massive tidying spree (while also overlapping in some ways). Some of my favorite parts were the discussion about how much mental space clears up when you don’t have to manage excess stuff; the glory of empty drawers; and consuming as a way to numb our feelings. PS Shira’s blog is full of great decluttering ideas, too.

Last but not least, pop some popcorn for this excess-to-edited account of a closet purge of astounding magnitude. I’d wager most of us have never spent $25,000 on clothes in one year, but if you’ve ever bought something to soothe some unprocessed emotion, you’ll relate.

Happy Friday!

My Kondo-ed Sock Drawer

While I got a lot out of reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – including the ever-useful closet-clearing question, “does this spark joy?” – I’ve never properly Kondo-ed my possessions.

It’s not that I’m against the idea of collecting all my clothes, or books, or kitchen gadgets, etc. in one place and holding each of them to determine how they make me feel. (I think that would be rather invigorating, actually.) It’s just that I seem to accomplish tidying in waves: Hmm. The closet/bookshelf/kitchen drawer is looking a little full. Think I’ll do a quick review to see how joyful I feel about all this stuff. It’s analogous to the “these pants are getting a bit tight” method of weight management rather than the crash diet method.

Regular but small-scale evaluations of my stuff seem more manageable, time-wise, than Kondo’s recommended “tidying marathon.” And it’s nice to have something to tackle when I get the “clean out and organize” itch.

But I think the real reason I like doing it this way is that it lets me work up to letting go of items with which I’m not quite ready to part. Usually this is about an image of myself, an image that’s more fantasy than real life, more vanity than authenticity, more fear-of-the-future based than present-need-based: “This architectural blouse makes me look so hip on Instagram.” Or “What if I need this [insert kitchen thingamabob here] some day? It’s so practical!” Or “What will people think of me when they see the entire collection of Mitford novels on my bookshelf?”

In my experience, shedding those phantasms takes time. When I recently ditched the books from college that made me feel well-read (but that went largely unread), it was because I could finally embrace the fact that I’m much more likely to re-read a good mystery or a cozy, psychologically astute portrait of small-town life.

(Seriously, as a pastor, Jan Karon’s Mitford novels – while occasionally a bit simplistic – and Patrick Taylor’s Irish Country Doctor series are morale-boosting manuals on how to live life in service to the “takes all kinds” variety of people you find in a church and still keep your sanity and sense of humor. Prayer and whiskey both seem to help.)

I do have a picture frame conveniently placed in front of the Mitford series just in case a guest is feeling super judgmental. So maybe I still have some work to do.

But these prolonged tidying forays have taught me that Marie Kondo is spot on about at least one thing: my wardrobe/bookshelf/kitchen drawers feel the happiest when I focus on my feelings (whether I love something) rather than my thoughts (rationales for why I “should” keep an item).

Oh, and she’s right about boxes for organizing. So helpful.

So since I like seeing pictures of other people’s lovely, neat drawers after they’ve been Kondo’d, I thought I’d share my sock and underwear drawer, where I just axed two pairs of socks (donated) and two pairs of saggy underwear (textile recycling) that were still “practical” but utterly unjoyful. I also just realized I would feel mentally happier if I used one little storage box (from some storage system I bought years ago and then tried to make my spouse use for computer stuff) to give it a little structure instead of letting all the socks and underwear run together:

(Yes, I roll my big socks and undies Kondo-style because it’s aesthetically pleasing but ball the athletic socks because I can’t be bothered. I am a walking contradiction, what can I say?)

Disclaimer: if you don’t count the three-pack of new underwear I picked up at a Goodwill in North Carolina, absolutely none of these clothes are thrifted, because used socks and underwear rarely make it to thrift stores and when they do, I’m not buying them. And because the sleep t-shirts are from my childhood and the bras are retail – saggy used bras that may or may not be my size are not something I thrift. (Oh, the wonders of a proper bra-fitting! High on my list once I have exited the maternity/postpartum stages.)

(Wait! I lied! The King Kong Empire State building t-shirt was a prize find from the Scituate Goodwill in college. Still use it as a sleep shirt because it’s worn so wonderfully thin and comfy.)

Cute and practical but no-longer joy-sparking socks:

Well, that was a heftily psychological excuse to show you my sock drawer.

What’s your psychological approach to tidying? Or your practical approach to organizing your sock drawer?

Why I’m Skipping the 10×10 Challenge This Summer

If you’ve been reading for awhile (hi! thank you!), you probably have become familiar with the 10×10 challenge – 10 pieces of clothing to make 10 outfits over 10 days. Started by Lee Vosburgh and Caroline Rector, it’s a way to practice contentment with your closet, to get creative with what you already have, and to get inspired by other people doing the same.

In the past I’ve had fun with the challenge and learned something (click that 10×10 link in the first sentence to read up on all that). But this time around, I’m skipping it.

It’s not because I don’t think I could pull it off; ironically, I’m pretty much living a 10×10 all the time thanks to an edited maternity wardrobe.


Variations on themes here, people.

As I wrote about here, I’m feeling mighty content with my closet at the moment – to the point of not thrifting in any regular manner (what??).

I’ve also realized that I tend to pick 10×10 pieces that stand on their own, or combine in very specific, well-trod ways (e.g. button down + sweater + pants +boots) that don’t allow for as much creative mixing and matching. As I ran through potential 10×10 outfits in my head this time around, I realized that all I want to wear is dresses and the only way to make “new” or stylistically interesting outfits would be to throw on a white denim jacket or swap out a shirt on the rare day I want to wear the two pairs of shorts that currently fit. Hardly groundbreaking.

Last but not least, the style of the folks who participate in the 10×10 tends to echo Lee & Caroline’s – minimalist patterns and silhouettes that, while aesthetically quite pleasing to my eye, bear no relationship to how I dress in real life (as opposed to in Instagram-influenced fantasy land).

So I’m good on my usual reasons to do a 10×10.

What about you? Where do you fall on the goals for a 10×10? Are you participating this time or sitting it out – or curious to try it? (If it sounds intriguing to you, though, hop on over to www.stylebee.ca to learn more, or search the #10×10 hashtag on Instagram for inspiration.)

Maternity Wardrobe without Breaking the Bank, Part 1

Hey all! So, I’m pregnant, due in December with Mini Thrifter #2:

We’re really excited, especially Mini Thrifter #1 who will get to be a big sister:

Thrifted shirt, natch.

When we started trying to conceive, I admit I was super psyched about the idea of thrifting a maternity wardrobe. It seemed like a great excuse to go thrift a whole bunch of clothes without having to think about whether I really needed them.

And then a funny thing happened – I suddenly had no desire to thrift. I mean, if a friend had suggested we hit up a Goodwill, I would not have said no – but I didn’t feel the need to initiate anything myself, and even inside a store, didn’t feel much desire to buy. Proof: the last time I went thrifting, all I grabbed was pants for my kid because I had neglected to bring anything but shorts for her on a trip to Maine. (Note: even if it’s the middle of summer, Maine always requires pants. And a sweatshirt. Always.)

In other words, I suddenly felt content with my closet. Hormones?

In part I just couldn’t be bothered, so I started looking for ways my current wardrobe could stretch (pun intended) to cover at least part of my maternity wardrobe. I already favor looser, fall-from-the-shoulders type silhouettes, so tops were pretty easy to find in my closet. And thanks to growing up in the 90s and feeling like waistbands anywhere near my actual waist are anathema, my shorts all button closer to the hips and a few are still doing maternity duty:

Pants only made it the first couple months; I am now done with them until the cold weather comes back. Dresses have picked up the slack and are doing a great job of keeping me cool on hot days:

I have one new (to me) piece which is not actually maternity but regular Uniqlo – a skirt with a nice wide elastic waistband, on hand for days when the shorts are too casual or don’t want to button:

And I have one new (to me) dress waiting in the wings for August-September when things start to get a little bigger around here:


Pockets! Thrifted J. Jill, found in the regular dress section.

I have no doubt I’ll need to thrift more for colder weather; I don’t have any pants left over from last time and the few maternity sweaters I needed in Atlanta are in eye-burning color combos like electric purple and chartreuse (what was I thinking??). I’ll keep you all up to date!

 

Tips for building a maternity wardrobe

Thrifting (or shopping secondhand in other ways) is a great way to save money on a wardrobe you won’t need forever. Here are some strategies to help you thrift maternity clothes:

  • Shop your closet – don’t assume all your current clothes won’t work, particularly if you favor roomier styles.
    • Pull out the pants/skirts/shorts that have always seemed a little loose or needed a belt – they’re your friend when your waistline starts to expand!
    • Dresses with any kind of stretch in the fabric are your friend – they can bridge from pre-pregnant through your first few months and give you time to scope out maternity clothes for when things really start popping.
    • Use the rubberband trick to keep regular pants in rotation longer.
  • Hit up maternity consignment stores. This is what I’ll do for my winter clothes because they have the advantage of a) a lot more selection in one place and b) more modern, up-to-date styles. If you don’t want to abandon skinny-cut jeans, for example, go consignment. All I ever see in thrift stores are bootcut styles. Pro tip: many children’s consignment stores have a maternity section that’s worth checking out.
  • Shop secondhand online. Same as consignment, you get a wealth of current style options. Downside: you can’t try on for size and often can’t return, so look for pieces like dresses and stretchy tees that can afford to give a little either way.
  • Look beyond the maternity rack at your local thrift store. You can easily find pregnancy-friendly tunic tops/dresses and skirts/pants with elasticated waistbands in the regular racks; empire waists are also great at adapting to pregnancy. Look in the PJ section for cute shorts for sleep or play, or fashionably oversized pj tops. Size up for regular shirts/sweaters, or snap up one of those normally frustrating pairs of jeans that leaves you swimming in the waist but fits everywhere else. Shoes that are wider than your normal size (particularly sandals, mules, clogs) are a cheap thrift score to give those expanding feet more room.

If you’ve thrifted for a maternity wardrobe, what are your strategies and tips?  Or any specific season in your life – when you’ll need clothes for a certain purpose but you know you won’t keep them forever?