I hate buying clothes that I can’t wear for more than one season.  So when it came to maternity clothes, the thought of wearing something for less than nine months total seemed like a waste of money.  Ideally I would have bought more used, but I never seemed to come across the right pieces on the cheap.  Being pregnant with twins made this even more challenging, because past about 30 weeks, I was larger than the average pregnant woman and was growing out of many of my maternity clothes.

Being pregnant can be tough on your self esteem, while it is amazing what your body is doing, it can be hard to feel like none of your clothes fit, or that your swelling ankles are all that you can focus on.  Feeling like you’re dressed well without spending a fortune can make you feel even better when you walk out the door.

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Here are my top 5 items to stretch your maternity wardrobe, and sometimes even wear again.

1. Neutral colored work pants with full belly panel.

These should ideally be so nondescript that you could wear them every day and no one would notice.  Make sure that they fit well and are work appropriate, because a bad fit can stand out as much as a bright color in making them memorable. I’d recommend these in both black and grey to provide some flexibility.

The below belly waist band is really more suited to earlier in your pregnancy, so with twins, that full panel will make a big difference in them continuing to fit longer.  Also, pants hide your cankles if your feet/ankles/calves/thighs start swelling.

I like these straight leg pants by motherhood maternity for a good value, versatile trouser.

2. Cardigans.

Cardigans are awesome because they can dress up an outfit, keep you warm in the office but taken off if you’re outside and it’s hot, and don’t have to cover your ever expanding belly.  You can also wear them after your pregnancy, (even fairly immediately when you haven’t quite returned to your pre-baby body.)  You can spend a little extra money here, this and your jewelry is where you can jazz up those boring neutral pants you’re wearing all the time.

I recommend buying one size up from normal though because your boobs will grow while you’re pregnant, and if you’re nursing afterwards.  Gotta keep those ladies contained tastefully!

The possibilities are endless, but I love these basic cotton cardigans from Joe Fresh.  At $19 each, you still have money left to get something else!

Or you could get something a little more striking like this black and ivory print from Ann Taylor Loft.

3. Maternity Tank Tops

Maternity tank tops are a really versatile part of your wardrobe.  You can dress them up with a cardigan and jewelry, or just wear them around on the weekend or for comfortable lounging.  You may even want to look for a pregnancy/nursing combo with a cross front than you can use in your early days home after you have the babies.  Another option is to look for a slightly dressier tank that includes lace or some embellishment to fancy it up a bit. These are essentially really long tanks with a little extra stretch in the belly.  I’m still wearing these 8+ months post-partum because they’re so comfy.

I love these basic maternity tanks from Liz Lange at Target or these from Motherhood Maternity.  I like basic colors: black, white, grey to push these to the background of your outfit as well.

4. Dresses

Dresses are a great way to stretch the fit if you’re having twins.  While my tummy was poking out of my shirts, my dresses still fit. They are also nice looking if you’re pregnant during summer without requiring too much fuss.  You can get maternity dresses, or look for regular dresses with empire waists.  The big difference is that maternity dresses have a little extra length in the front to account for your belly.

I loved being able to throw on a dress like this adorable t-shirt dress from Liz Lange for Target for meeting up with friends, or with a cute cardigan or necklace for work.

5. Loose Fitting Blouses

A loose fitting blouse may not take you through your whole pregnancy, but will work well for both the beginning and if you’re going back to work after having your babies.  Go for something that you know has a little bit of give, with detailing like pleats.  This will probably pair well with a belt over the shirt for use post-pregnancy.

This maternity shirt from Ann Taylor Loft will fit nicely through your whole pregnancy, and could likely work well afterwards also.  Pair with a belly band if your shirt becomes a bit short at the end of the pregnancy, as your twins take you beyond the typical maternity sizes.

6. Great Accessories

So technically this is 6 items, not 5, but I won’t count this one because it’s something you should always consider.  Cute (low) heels can help alleviate the pain in your back.  Go up a size or so if your feet are swelling or just getting bigger from the weight of the pregnancy.  Rock a statement necklace or fun earrings to add variety and excitement to your outfit.  Throw on a pretty scarf to add some color and texture.  All of these things can be worn after your pregnancy as well, so choose things you like.

Overall, keep in mind that you won’t be pregnant for long, so enjoy the time and show off that bump!  It’s hard working growing people inside you, so show off that belly!  You look great, and you’ve earned it!