As new moms, we’re busy, exhausted and usually preoccupied thinking of someone else’s needs, so we don’t have time for fashion fads and questionable quality. A capsule wardrobe, coined by British boutique owner Susie Faux in the ‘80s, is all about zeroing in on high-quality essentials you can wear over and over again. Here are our picks for functional, fashionable and mom-friendly items to stock up on. Bonus: Some of these pieces work great with bumps too, so if baby hasn’t arrived yet, you can get even more use out of them!
Remember your favorite college sweatshirt? The one you never took off that managed to get better with time? It seems like the talented folks at Everlane found it and made it into a super stylish and ridiculously comfortable dress that can easily become a year-round staple. Its classic, French terry fabric is as soft as your baby’s skin, so they’ll happily cuddle up to it. Available in rose, washed black and bone.
Available at everlane.com, $58.
Every new mom needs a killer pair of leggings. The key is to find a pair as flattering as they are comfortable—and that you can wash and wear over and over again. Leave it to Boob Design, a Swedish company that has been making mom clothes for more than 15 years. These appropriately named “once-on-never-off" leggings are made of soft, comfy lyocell, with a high cuff at the waist that can be folded up or down over the stomach. They work with a bump too, so you can use them before baby makes their debut. We love the Leo print for moms who want to get in touch with their wild side.
Available at boobdesign.com, $59.
Like a robe you can wear out in public (and look and feel amazing in!), this caftan dress is a wardrobe must! Storq founder Courtney Klein, who when pregnant with her second child craved something comfortable and chic to wear home from the hospital and beyond, designed the piece and it has been a favorite of Storq shoppers ever since. Unbutton the dress for easy nursing access whether you’re at home or on the move.
Available at storq.com, $155.
Nursing-Friendly Tank Top
Some brands just "get it," and Loyal Hana is one of those brands. Their entire capsule collection of stylish nursing and maternity wear was designed to ease a mother’s transition from pregnancy into motherhood while comfortably accommodating her new body. We’ve picked their comfy nursing tank top because of its hidden zipper for breastfeeding and subtle razorback detail that elevates it way beyond your basic tank.
Available at loyalhana.com, $55.
Ask any new mom what her most treasured day-to-day accessory is, and she’ll likely point to her trusty diaper bag. Yes, the diaper bag will become your lifeline when heading out with a little one, so choose one that’s highly functional and complements the rest of your wardrobe. The Chelsea Downtown Chic diaper backpack from Skip Hop offers all the must-have features of a diaper bag and the convenience of hands-free parenting.
Available at nordstrom.com, $100.
High-Waisted Mom Jeans
So, jumping on the high-rise denim train can be difficult for new moms because, let’s be frank, the thought of being squeezed around the middle doesn’t sound that appealing. Luckily, there are some mom-jeans that are uber comfortable, like these straight leg comfort jeans from Zara. If you already know you love the high-waisted look and are ready to commit to a more expensive pair, these high-rise skinny jeans from Rag and Bone ($195) fit the bill.
Available from zara.com, $49.50.
The Fashion Sneaker
These splurge-worthy Golden Goose kicks will keep you fashionable for years to come. From pushing your baby in a stroller to cheering for them from the sidelines of their first game, these stylish sneakers are an investment worth making. (For a less spendy option that's still capsule-worthy, try the Esplar leather sneakers from Veja for $120.)
Available at shopbop.com, $395.
Sure, we know that if the fit or cut isn’t right things can get (and feel) awkward, but fear not: This jumpsuit from Boob is a one-piece wonder. The mock wrap top adds structure and hides horizontal nursing access underneath. Fans of the one-piece should also check out these cute and casual knit overalls from Madewell, in classic colors like canterbury red, bright ivory and deep navy.
Available at boobdesign.com, $155.
Mom jeans are on everyone’s radar, but we’ve also found the quintessential mom skirt to round out your capsule. It’s the combination of comfort and style that makes this slimming skirt from Madewell an ideal fit for your new mom status. Made of stretchy ribbed fabric and the perfect midi length, you’ll be wearing this one on repeat!
Available at madewell.com, $49.50.
Like being wrapped in a warm hug, this long, cozy cardigan from Audrey and Olive is exactly what new moms crave. The loose-fit knit pairs perfectly with jeans or leggings, and this is another staple you can start using pre-baby. Its chic lines flatter every shape.
Available at audreyandolive.com, $48.
What’s your new-mom must-have fashion item? Let us know in the comments!
— Aimee Della Bitta