I met the über-stylish, über-smart Lauria Locsmondy a few years ago, when she and I worked for the same publishing house. It took me two days to realize she's one of the best dressed people I've ever met and about two days longer to realize this isn't a huge secret in Chicago — she was already well known for her work as a makeup artist, for founding PISTIL magazine, and for singing with her punk band Vicki. Since then she's gone on to found Jealous, the political, additive online fashion magazine. The new momma recently shared her maternity essentials with me and every single one is practical and affordable. . . .
With a big belly and a small budget, I invested in a few maternity staples that provided style, comfort and versatility well beyond my nine months. For fans of practical wardrobe essentials and health-conscious mamas, my list will hopefully save you time getting ready in the morning, and cash getting ready for your little love.
1. Old Navy Maternity Low-rise Leggings
I was determined to not spend a fortune on an entire new wardrobe now that my previous pants, skirts and shirts were in plastic bins in the basement — so to Old Navy I went. I bought one pair of these leggings for $14.99. A week later, I bought another pair; that’s how often I sported them. The Old Navy leggings wore incredibly well—in the wash and on my gams. The black stretch pants, long enough to cover the ankles of my 5’ 8’’ frame, went well with practically every maternity top, with a thick, cotton midsection that rested comfortably below my bump, and continued to be a go-to piece for months during my post-partum weight loss. $14.99
2. Vans Classic Slip-ons
Nightmare stories of pregnant friends’ swollen, unreachable feet resonated from head to toe. So around 5 months, I shopped DSW for men’s Vans Classic Slip-ons in black and white. (I also bought my husband a matching pair so we could be expectant dorks together.) Lucky prenatal yoga and regular exercise never kept my toes out of reach, still the classic Vans easily became a staple in my wardrobe with just enough summer style and cushiony support that I needed for my tired feet during the warm months ahead. $45
3. Fertile Mind Maternity Super Bra
“Your boobs will only get bigger. Buy nursing bras now so you can use them once the baby’s here.” I took this advice. And no thank you. Nursing bras with all of their straps and clasps and weird boobie outlets are the strangest, most uncomfortable undergarments I’ve ever worn—and I’m typically a fan of uncomfortable undergarments that do their tricks. Luckily I discovered this pullover Super Bra that wears like a soft yoga bralette, provides enough support for my average-sized bust, allows the girls some elasticity to grow, and stretches below the breasts for feeding time. Again, I bought two and am still wearing them seven months post-partum for comfort and feeding convenience. Win, win. $34.99
4. Burt’s Bees Radiance Eye Cream
When I became pregnant, I also became very informed about natural beauty and hygiene products so as not to harm my little bambino. I quickly rid my facial product collection of nasty chemicals marketed to warp wrinkles, zap zits, and restore radiance—replacing them all with one product: Burt’s Bees Radiance Eye Cream. It gets a 5 on Skin Deep Cosmetic Database—not perfect, but better than my previous goo. The pluses are that the cream conveniently sells at many retailers, smells lightly fruity and clean, makes my eye area feel moisturized and youthful, and lasts for about three months with daily morning and bedtime use. $18
5. C9 by Champion Women’s Seamless Roll-over Waist Yoga Shorts
Exercising every day became a priority to my prenatal health. Being pregnant during the summer, I needed workout shorts that didn’t grip or cinch my tummy. And then (cue the “Ahhhh!” from heaven above), I found these yoga shorts at Target. I would go so far as to call them my pregnancy-wardrobe secret. The rollover waist is super soft and comfortable on a growing bump—and can flip up for the perfect length of extra coverage when eight or nine months require more fabric. Keeping to habit, I bought two. And the best part is that the shorts are not maternity clothing, so I can still wear them. Cha-ching! $17
6. Burt’s Bees Peppermint Foot Lotion
Oh. My. God. This lotion sent me into a state of relaxation just from the peppermint scent. I received a bottle as a hand-me-down from a friend who never opened the gift during her pregnancy. While the refreshing fragrance, cool sensation, and toothpaste-thick consistency are enough to sell me, the foot lotion also gets a 2 rating on Skin Deep Cosmetic Database and lasts for months, even with daily use. I loved the product so much that I continue to use it post-partum and always include a bottle for mama in my baby shower gifts. $9
7. LaCroix Pure Sparkling Water
Staying hydrated was a top priority during my pregnancy to flush waste and support my growing blood volume—but filtered tap water can become boring and even hard to drink with morning sickness. LaCroix Pure Sparkling Water was my saving grace. With no artificial ingredients, no calories, and no sodium, this flavorful carbonated water kept me feeling hydrated and healthy, even on the queasy days. Plus, with a variety of flavors, I could experiment by adding splashes of natural fruit juices or wedges of lemon and lime for pretty, celebratory mocktails.
(Image: Andrea Bauer)