Maternity Business Travel Wardrobe

a green dress on a mannequinI have spent years working on my travel wardrobe. I have capsules for winter and summer, and enjoy adding to it on a regular basis. So it was a bit disconcerting to realize when I got pregnant that I would basically have to start over, and get a completely new wardrobe. Even more so to know this wardrobe would only be good for about six months, and had to accommodate a growing belly. Here are my tips for putting together a maternity business travel wardrobe:

Use non-maternity pants as long as they are comfortable. There are these miracle things called Belly Bands, sold all over the place, that you can use to hold up your unzipped non-maternity pants. They are great at the beginning of your pregnancy, and some people can use them throughout. They stopped being comfortable for me for a few months, but I have a pregnant woman wearing a black and white shirtstarted using them again recently.

Use non-maternity cardigans. As long as you don’t need to button them, your non-maternity cardigans should work just fine. Using them really helped me stretch my maternity wardrobe!

Don’t buy too much at one time. This is a good rule of thumb for all maternity wear—don’t go crazy at the beginning buying stuff, because you just don’t know what will fit you comfortably as you get bigger. I actually found that once I got past 20 weeks and was feeling pretty good, I could wear my non-maternity pants with the belly band again. If I had spent a ton of money on a bunch of different maternity pants, well, it would have felt like a waste!

Dresses are tricky for travel days. I love dresses, and normally love wearing them for travel days. But during pregnancy, because my ankles would swell so dramatically, I had to wear compression socks on the plane. This meant I could only ever wear pants, which involved some planning.

Full belly panel vs. short. I definitely, definitely prefer the full-panel maternity pants over the shorter panel. The a woman wearing black pantstaller panel is usually softer and less constricting, which is great for travel days especially. However, I recommend trying on each type to see which you prefer before purchasing. And the full panel does get kind of warm…..

Layers. Some people get really warm while they are pregnant, while others get really cold. I was cold for the first, I don’t know, 30 weeks, and then started getting really, really warm. Of course, that might have something to do with the triple digit temps here in Texas…. Anyway, layers are crucial. Tip: Make sure your bottom layer is appropriate for work, in case you have a hot flash and have to take the top layer off.

Neutrals. I had black pants and a black and white top that I wore all. the. time. Adding jewelry or a different color cardigan made the same old outfit feel new. Because again, I wanted to spend as little as possible on clothes I would only be able to wear a few months. Although tops are so inexpensive, it’s easy to add variety there.

Places to shop. I really, really didn’t want to spend a lot on maternity clothes, since I knew I was going to only be able to wear them for a short period of time. So I got most of mine from Old Navy, Target, JC Penney, and Motherhood a colorful tank top with a white backgroundMaternity. But there are some great options at Gap, Pea in the Pod, and various department stores.

Here are the pieces of my maternity capsule business travel wardrobe:

  • 2 pairs of pants. One pair from Motherhood Maternity, one pair from Gap.
  • 1-2 dresses (if they work for you). I have two maternity dresses from Old Navy (similar to this one), plus my favorite Everyday Jersey Dress from Boden worked until I was about seven months.
  • 3-4 tops. From all over. My two favorites are the pictured black and white cap sleeved top from JC Penney and this tank top from Target. I could put a variety of colors of cardigan over either one and make a whole new outfit.
  • 2 cardigans. My favorites are both pre-maternity—my chartreuse Talbots 3/4 sleeve cardigan, and a turquoise short sleeve Old Navy version.
  • Comfy flats that are a little too big. Too big because your feet will swell. Sorry.
  • Compression socks. I just used black ones from Walgreens, and they worked great.
  • Jewelry/scarves. The necklace I seemed to wear all the time was my favorite turquoise Bead For Life single-strand. Whatever you choose to wear, jewelry and scarves can liven up your maternity clothes when you are sick to death of them, and make them feel new again.

Readers, what tips do you have for dressing for business travel while pregnant?



  1. Chico’s travelers collection worked really well for me up until abou 6-7 months. They are not maternity, but the fabric is very forgiving, comfortable and looks really nice.

  2. If you’re OK with the below the belly band (I was) – look into the “comfort” waist bands in non-maternity. I *hated* maternity pants – they never fit, they were uncomfortable, and just *ugh*. I have a tiny waist, big hip problem to start with, and the support band kept falling down – making things worse. Instead, I picked up a pair of LL Bean’s comfort waist pants (with the elastic in the sides) one size up (to fit the new hips and thighs) and just wore them under my belly – up until the day I delivered.

    I had a January baby in New England – so pants were almost a necessity. I also was able to use drawstring pants in a size that would accommodate the hips and thighs (non-maternity), so you could try that in the summer.

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