You have a new little bundle of joy on the way…with all of the expenses that go along with it! No need to break the bank on maternity fashion, here’s how:
Yes, maternity and fashion CAN go together in the same sentence! With a little finagling of your own closet, practical purchases and good use of accessories, you’ll have a pregnancy wardrobe that will get you through all nine months.
Wear What You Have
In the first few months, you may be able to wear your normal clothes without any modifications. Or you might be feeling so bloated and tight around the middle that you resort to stretchy pants. In any case, wear your own clothes as long as you comfortably can. This might mean doing the rubber band trick on your pants (fold a rubber band or hair elastic in half and insert through your button hole, then loop the ends onto your button). Cover up with a longer tee and nobody will be the wiser.
I’m currently 30 weeks pregnant and have been wearing my button-up blouses and cardigans, unbuttoned over a maternity tank or tee and a pair of leggings. Add some jewelry or a scarf from your closet and you can switch up the looks with minimal purchases. I also love to wear my stretch knit maxi dresses that are loose and flowy in the mid-section. Since it’s been chilly, I simply layer with a cardigan sweater to keep me warm.
Wait Until You Need It
Since every body is different, you really have no idea when you’re first pregnant how your third trimester belly will look. I recommend waiting as long as you can to purchase late pregnancy clothing so you can get an appropriate fit.
Buy Sparingly & Accessorize
Maternity clothes can be pricey and considering you’ll only wear them for a few months, try to purchase only what you’ll need and what is most versatile. Purchase a few tank tops and tees that can be layered under sweaters and unbuttoned blouses. One white, one black and a few versatile colors that coordinate with items in your closet are the best bet. Choose a few neutral-toned pairs of pants (perhaps a pair of leggings, dressy slacks and a pair of jeans) that you can wear until month 9. Non-maternity leggings are probably going to be less expensive so try these first. Your preference will be “over” or “under” belly so keep that in mind when shopping. Stretchy knit skirts are great too and can be layered over leggings in cooler months.
My husband’s work party was a dress up occasion and I really didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on a fancy maternity outfit that I’d only wear once. I was able to find a pretty maternity knit top at Old Navy for about $10! It was a simple black top but had dressier lace sleeves that I layered over black leggings so it was perfect for the occasion. Fancy earrings and high heels and I looked and felt dressed up.
Beware the “Sale”
I bought a pair of cropped jeans early in this pregnancy that cost me $8. Yep, they were cheap and according to my husband, they were unflattering and he told me to “Please, never wear those pants again!” This goes with all fashion, not just maternity. Just because they are “only $8” doesn’t mean you should buy them. Avoid the lure of the “sale” and only buy what’s still appropriate for your body.
Avoid the Stretch
Keep in mind that your tummy expands pretty slowly up until the last trimester. You can probably get away with wearing most of your usual clothes until this point (bottoms being the exception). Some clothes have better stretch than others and will easily accommodate your belly into later months. However if you continue to wear some of these pieces as your tummy expands, you may stretch them too much and the fabric won’t go back into pre-pregnancy shape. I did that with a beautiful electric blue blouse during my second pregnancy. Though it fit me nicely until my 8th month, after the baby was born I realized that I’d stretched it beyond its limits and the fabric was too stretched out and loose to wear post-pregnancy.
What’s Under There?
I think I’m down to about 5 pairs of underpants that fit me at this point! They are either too tight along the thigh or are rolling off my tummy and bunching up at the bottom…so uncomfortable! And my bras? Well, let’s just say things aren’t being properly contained at this point.
No need to purchase pricey “maternity” underwear as a size or two up or a different style might do the trick at a lower cost. For bras though, if you are planning on nursing, it’s a good idea to buy a few nursing bras to accommodate your larger cup size. I’ve always preferred stretch knit for the comfort factor. And a wireless “sleep” nursing bra is a wonderful idea so you’ll have support 24/7. You want your breasts to go back into their original position, right? Wearing a bra all the time is good way to help give them proper support and reduce stretching and discomfort.
Buy What Can Be Worn Later
Pregnancy open cardigans?! Why would you need a flyaway cardigan to be maternity-sized? If you have to buy something to wear while pregnant, keep in mind what can be used post-pregnancy. It will take you a bit of time to get your pre-pregnancy body size back so you’ll continue to wear your maternity clothes (size 6-7 months, or so) after delivery. If you’re going to be nursing, consider purchasing shirts and blouses that make nursing easier, like button-down shirts or nursing tanks with clip straps. Some clothes can be impractical when nursing, like long tops or dresses (unless you like bunching up the fabric under your chin and exposing your bare stomach!)
Local resale shops are a great place to find maternity clothing but did you know you can also find great deals online? I’m already a huge fan of threadUP for their kid’s clothing but now that I’m in my third trimester, I’m scouring the site for pieces that will see me through these last few months and beyond. You can also sell back your maternity outfits later for cash or credit. Request a “Clean Out Kit” for those outgrown baby clothes and sell them back to threadUP as well! (affiliate link)
Borrow or Rent
Put the word out via social media that you’re in need of maternity clothes to see you through your pregnancy. Your post-pregnancy friends will likely be happy to help you with donations from their maternity stash or share with you the name of a friend who may have what you need.
There are many online maternity clothing rental companies that can help you find just what you need. This is particularly handy if you work in a corporate setting and require dressier clothing on a daily basis or if you need formal attire for a specific occasion. A quick search online for “rent maternity clothes” will give you several options.
To the Tips of Your Toes
You may find that your usual shoes start to pinch a bit with swelling feet and ankles. I remember with my first pregnancy, I could only wear flip-flops for the final month! You might need to purchase an inexpensive pair in a half size up to get you through or choose shoes that are less constricting. Your feet may or may not return to their original size after baby. I actually have one foot that went up half a size and one foot that went up one full size and they have stayed that way!
Do you have any inexpensive maternity wear tips? Please share them in the comments!