Welcome to our very first maternity style post! Evanthia recently wrote a great post discussing all of the changes your body goes through during the journey of pregnancy (and beyond), which can be challenging enough. Add to that thinking about what you are going to wear? Potential headaches ahead!
I conducted an informal poll to find out what women hated the most about maternity clothes. The number one recurring response? PRICE!
The maternity section of a store is probably among the highest priced and lowest quality. Non-maternity jeans may be $20, but those maternity jeans? $49.99. See this cheaply made polyester shirt? $35. Or how about these nice dress pants where the hem is about to unravel at any point? Bargain priced at $39.99.
Unfortunately, we are made to think that the maternity section of the store is our only option when we are pregnant. While it is true that you likely will end up purchasing some maternity gear, there are some ways to save some money on dressing your pregnant body.
1. Buy regular clothes in stretchy fabrics or bigger sizes.
If it has an elastic waistband, it has the potential to grow with you. Leggings and stretchy skirts are two big contenders in this category. One of my friends had these great cargo-type pants from Express that were elastic waistband that she wore for many months while pregnant. Marionberry Style has a range of looks she wore, sticking to stretchy fabrics in non-maternity clothes.
For several months, I just bought clearance or secondhand jeans and skirts that were in bigger sizes than I usually wore. These things also came in handy as I was working my way down the scale after having the baby and were not as big an investment as regular maternity.
Leggings are a pregnant girl’s best friend. (Photo source)
2. Use a belly band (or an old tube top) to wear your pants longer.
A belly band is essentially a thick piece of spandex that goes over the waistband of your pants to turn them into “maternity pants” (example from Target). This way, you cover the fact that your pants are unbuttoned and/or unzipped with the spandex band. (Trick: use a rubber band to quasi-fasten your jeans shut under the belly band.)
The belly band concept can be hit or miss. Some people love it, buy a variety of colors and patterns, and it works for them their entire pregnancy. Others find that it works in the early months of pregnancy, but not later. Others completely hate it. Even if you do not like the belly band for holding up pants, you can also use it to provide coverage under shirts that may be a little too short in later months. The belly band can be useful for your post-pregnancy body as well. They are great at providing extra coverage for nursing mamas. Casual Glamourous attributes her being able to wear most of her pre-pregnancy (awesome) pants to the belly band.
You would never know a belly band was holding these pants up. (Photo source)
3. Borrow or buy secondhand.
Have you heard of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? My office has the sisterhood of the traveling maternity pants: the magical black pants that we passed around while pregnant. Chances are you know someone who used to be pregnant or is pregnant. Do a clothing swap with your friends to expand your wardrobe for a bit, especially if you are bored with your clothes.
While secondhand maternity clothes can be difficult to find, most consignment stores do have a section dedicated to them. You could also try shopping for bigger sizes of non-maternity clothes in second-hand stores as well.
If you can sew, there are a lot of tutorials out there to refashion non-maternity clothes into maternity clothes. I added a simple elastic band to a $4 jean skirt when I was pregnant.
Clothing swaps are a great way to get a new wardrobe for nothing. (Photo source)
4. Consider tunics, A-line dresses, and sweaters.
Non-maternity tunics and A-line style dresses can work on a maternity body for many months (and are useful for that post-pregnancy body, too!). Pair them with some stretchy leggings if your belly makes them a little too short or in fall/winter months. Sweaters, especially those cozy, bulky ones that are in right now, will likely go the distance in your pregnancy as well.
This non-maternity sweater poncho and leggings look is fantastic! (Photo source)
5. Wear jackets and cardigans.
Buy two or three basic t-shirt type maternity shirts (tank, t-shirt or long sleeve varieties) and pair them with different cardigans, button-down shirts and jackets that you may already have in your closet. This is an easy way to get multiple looks while investing in only two or three “maternity” shirts.
A bright blazer adds some punch to a neutral maternity shirt. (Photo source)
6. Think accessories!
We’ve had several “Fashion Fridays!” dedicated to various accessories. Accessories can really go a long way while you are pregnant, and they can change the look of the same basic outfit. If you are still not convinced, check out The Uniform Project, featuring one woman’s quest to wear the same little black dress for one year as an exercise in sustainable fashion.
I was very thankful for my extensive shoe collection when I was pregnant ;)
Great boots and scarf with a basic white shirt and jeans (photo source)
7. When you do buy maternity, buy basics.
You are likely going to get to a point where you will have to buy some “maternity” clothes. I’m not saying you shouldn’t indulge in a fun dress or shirt that you can only wear one way once in a while, but you will get the most mileage out of your maternity clothes if you try to buy things that you can wear several different ways with other non-maternity items in your closet, different accessories or dressed up/down.
What are some of your favorite ways to get maternity clothes on a budget?
For more maternity style inspiration, visit our Pinterest board and check out the photo source links above!