I’m All About Simple Living, But I Still Need 3 Wardrobes

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One of my goals this pregnancy has been to take at least a weekly photo of myself, something I avoided as much as possible when I was pregnant with my first (or at least I did once I reached a certain point in the pregnancy). Since I haven’t been doing regular pregnancy updates here on the blog, I’ve been doing short little blurbs each week over on my Instagram each Tuesday, when I “complete” another week of pregnancy.

In today’s IG post, I talked about one of the big blunders I felt like I made my first time on The Pregnancy Train—

Buying a ton (like, around $600-700) of maternity clothes, even though I’d literally inherited 3 big bins of maternity clothes from my sisters.

Some of my reasons were pretty justified—

First, my two sisters who have had kids are both taller than me (one significantly so), so most of the pants I got from them just didn’t work. Like, at all.

Second, I was at a job where I was required to dress professionally every day, and my sisters had had the majority of their kids when they were either already staying at home full-time or where they were at jobs that didn’t require too much dressing up.

Third, with my first pregnancy, I gained fifty pounds, while both of my sisters gained much less (the poops! they must have inherited all the good genes). Since my sisters are already a bit smaller than me anyway, that meant that in the third trimester, I literally reached a point where a lot of the stuff just plain didn’t fit anymore.

(And a fourth reason was that at around a decade old, some of the clothing was a bit dated, though I’m not sure I can count that as a “good” reason.)

This time around, I knew that I didn’t really have the clothing budget to blow on much more maternity stuff (if hardly any), plus, with everything I bought last time, I really didn’t NEED to, anyway. I also had learned a very important truth since my first go-around, and that’s this:

Women are ALWAYS looking to get rid of their maternity stuff once they’re done having kids, and some of that stuff is hardly worn!

Since I started subscribing to my area’s local classifieds page on Facebook, I’ve definitely noticed a plethora of posts about maternity clothes going for cheap, cheap, cheap (and sometimes even free), so I knew that if I DID decide that I needed/wanted something this pregnancy, I must thoroughly check out my secondhand options before I even stepped foot into a store (or checked out a site online).

And that’s exactly what I did a couple weekends ago—I had basically outgrown (or almost so) the two maternity activewear tops I had, and since this pregnancy I’m actually exercising regularly (unlike last time), a top that actually covered my ever-growing belly was something I really needed. I first checked with some friends in my neighborhood to see if anyone had one I could have have or borrow, and when that didn’t turn up anything, I made a visit to our local thrift store in search of one.

And you know what I found? A whole big rack just of maternity stuff (much of it in fabulous condition), for way cheap.

And, as I seemed unable to pass by such a fabulous deal, I promptly took back several pieces into the dressing room (much more than just one activewear top) and came out ready to buy about 2/3rds of them (which I did). That’s how, for just over $20, I ended up getting six new-to-me maternity pieces including a great new pair of skinny maternity jeans, the activewear top I’d originally gone in search of, AND the blue dress featured in the pic above.

Anyway, I’d mentioned all of this (albeit in a much more brief IG post), when one of my close friends replied back with this:

“Good find on the dress! Clothes can be so hard. You basically need like 3 wardrobes when you are in child bearing years. Regular clothes, maternity clothes, and post baby clothes when you can’t quite fit in your regular clothes. It’s a struggle.”

To which, in my head, I replied back, “AMEN!!!”

A mash-up of sizes here—a black cardigan and dress that I wear at my “regular” size and a black tank top and grey leggings that are both maternity.

Honestly, I often hear (or mostly read, I guess, as many of them are bloggers) about women who are able to go their whole pregnancy without hardly needing ANY maternity clothes—how they just wear their regular wardrobe, use the rubber-band-on-the-jeans trick, and they do just fine.

Now, I am all for not spending needlessly on clothes you won’t wear for too long (especially now that I’m older and wiser than I was 3 years ago), but for this particular pregnant lady’s body, that just isn’t going to work.

Does it drive me nuts that, like my friend, I ALSO have literally 3 different wardrobes I’m having to store in my house?

YES.

BUT, now that I’ve already paid the upfront cost of either purchasing the clothes or the energy cost of acquiring those three wardrobes in some other way (like from relatives or friends), I would argue that it’s actually MUCH more “simple” and yes, even “economical” for me to just keep all three of my wardrobes for the time being.

Firstly, even though I’m trying a lot harder this pregnancy to NOT gain fifty pounds this time (and it does seem to be working), my belly is still getting pleeeeenty big, thankyouverymuch. So keeping all the maternity clothes I bought or was given (or at least all the ones I actually wore last time, as I got rid of those that I didn’t ever wear once) makes sense.

It also makes sense for me to keep my “in-between” wardrobe, as I literally have no idea when (or if) I’ll be fitting back into my pre-pregnancy clothes again. Last time, due to an autoimmune disease diagnosis and a subsequent year or so being prescribed steroids as a treatment, I was just unable to shed the weight as soon as I wanted. So, as I didn’t want to continue wearing my maternity clothes for all that time, it made sense for me to acquire and wear some pieces that were simply regular clothes, but in larger sizes from before. (These were also excellent items to wear during the beginning of the first trimester of pregnancy this time around, before we announced it publicly!)

And lastly, for my “regular” wardrobe—while I didn’t lose quite as much weight as I would have liked after my last pregnancy (though I technically got down to the weight I was just prior to getting pregnant), I was able to fit back into around 80% of the clothing I had before. And the other 20%? I actually did get rid of it. Basically, it consisted of pieces that only looked good on particularly “skinny days” before, and since my body shape did change quite a bit from pregnancy, I just didn’t think the clothes would probably ever look like they did before.

And that was okay.

So that, my friends, is why yes, I do think I “need” 3 wardrobes currently.

Side note needed here, though: Since I’ve accepted this idea over the past few years of now needing 3 wardrobes for the next seven or eight years or so, I have at least tried to get a bit smarter in the clothes purchases I do make. While some things I will purchase true to size and whatever is most flattering to me at that very moment in time (like jeans), with things like tops and dresses and skirts, I have become much more mindful of whether those pieces will be versatile in more than one “wardrobe.” I tend to buy longer, slightly looser tops now (button-ups tend to work well, as do tunics, asymmetrical hems, and anything with ruching up the sides), dresses and skirts made from stretchy material, and overall, I look for pieces that I can ideally wear at least at some point in ALL three stages (pre-baby, pregnant, AND postpartum). Those pieces take a lot more thought, but when I truly have found a piece that works for all purposes, it’s worth every penny.

Second side note: To save my sanity, I definitely don’t keep all my “wardrobes” in my closet simultaneously (not only because they wouldn’t even come close to all fitting, but because that would be a sure recipe for reducing me to frustrating tears about every other day when it came time to get dressed). Rather, years ago, when I tried out the capsule wardrobe trend, I got in the habit of looking through all the pieces in my closet every 3 months or so (as the seasons changed) and rotating stuff in or out as needed. Now that I’m pregnant, I’m constantly rotating out pieces–probably once a month or so–as they get too small or grabbing some of the bigger pieces to put in as the weather warms up. Doing this every season is something I actually look forward to, as it kind of makes me feel like I DO have somewhat of a new wardrobe every quarter-year, and it also helps my self-esteem to know that basically everything that’s hanging up is actually going to look okay and fit okay.)

Now, do I need to ADD anything to any of these 3 wardrobes currently?

No, not really.

(Will I add a few pieces here and there every six months or so? Yes. Because I have a slight clothes-buying problem and probably always will, though I’ve gotten worlds better in the past couple of years.)

For me, simple living does not mean living with the least amount of stuff possible (which is why I could never be a true minimalist) because that would stress me out to have to worry about what to wear every time my body shape changed, or if I needed to buy all-new clothes for my second or third baby because I hastily got rid of the ones from the first baby.

So I keep it all, in vast numbers of bins, in our garage.

And my simple living self is actually quite pleased about it.

 

A perfect example of a non-maternity dress that I’ve successfully worn in all three stages (thanks to the stretch fabric and slightly looser fit)

Now for the real question—how many of you have multiple wardrobes like I do?

Time to ‘fess up.