They say you show earlier with each pregnancy, and boy did this ring true for me. It wasn’t like a sweet little baby bump showed up all of a sudden at 16 weeks, either. No, it was a general widening of what was my waist line and lower torso so that despite my best attempts, my pants would not button by ten weeks in. Basically, I couldn’t fit in my clothes at a time when I was still keeping the human growing inside of me under wraps.
In order to cope with my growing belly, I broke down and purchased a small selection of maternity items that looked just like normal people clothes and paired them with the items I could still squeeze into from my closet.
Now, several years ago when I was pregnant with my son, I was able to wear regular non-maternity clothes for well over half of my pregnancy. At the breaking point I purchased two pairs of black maternity leggings, two long open-front cardigans (one black and one grey), and a handful of maternity tee shirts. Altogether, the apparel cost about $150, which, at the time, was more than I wanted to spend on clothes that I wouldn’t be needing again, at least not for some time. Sure I saved money, but the downside was that I had to wear this boring uniform every single day for 3 months. And then I hid them away, never to be used again.
This time around, however, I know better. I realized that if I shopped sales and selected items carefully, I could buy some maternity clothes that not only fit my personal style, but would fit my body for the next year (or more!) and fit my budget.
WHERE TO SHOP
While there are a great many retailers offering maternity clothes these days, including favorites like Old Navy, Target, Nordstrom, H & M, and ASOS, my go-to resources so far have been Macy’s, Motherhood Maternity, and A Pea in the Pod. These three have a huge selection of maternity clothes on their websites that are way more stylish than I thought they would be. Plus they have a wide selection of sizes and frequent sales. Motherhood Maternity even runs these amazing sale-on-sale specials, which is how I bought all of my jeans.
In general, I have found that maternity clothing is frequently discounted, so shop the sale sections of these retailer’s websites for a great selection of styles and sizes at very affordable pieces. Don’t forget to sign up for a store’s emails notifications. They will usually send out additional savings codes that really add up.
BUY ALL SEASON CLOTHES
Another tip that has helped save me money is buying season-less clothes. In other words, items you can wear year round, so you don’t end up buying a new maternity wardrobe several times during your pregnancy.
Some of the pieces I like are skinny jeans in a creamy white, light pink, forest green, and classic dark blue. For a business-casual work situation, add in a pair of faux leather maternity pants and a couple of dressier patterned pants (I did snake skin and herringbone).
Pair with a handful of flowy blouses, like these hanky hem blouses, which have a removable tie (you known the ubiquitous under the bust ones?) so you can move it down to your waist line or take it off completely post-baby. For colder days, layer a simple long sweater vest or open front cardigan over the blouse.
Another good choice are light-weight kimonos which can be layered over a thin long-sleeved tee or turtleneck in the winter or paired with a tank in the summer. Both the kimono and the flowy blouses are items that are wearable year-round (thanks to climate control) AND they are items I will wear for quite some time post-baby too.
SHOP YOUR CLOSET
Even though I can’t fit in any of my regular pants, I was surprised at how many of my dresses I could still fit in to. The ones I think will last the longest are my flowy mini dresses from Free People, which I am currently sporting as tunics over leggings. I also have a few body-con knit dresses that will stretch nicely over my growing bump. Maxi dresses are another non-maternity item that can last well into your pregnancy. Pair with an open jacket or cardigan and sleek boots during cooler weather.
Besides dresses, any open front jackets and sweaters, and flowy boho tops will serve you well during your pregnancy. Base layers like stretchy tanks and tees will make it throughout most of the nine months, as will (most likely) your current underwear.
If you decide that you need to purchase the next size up in bras, seriously consider investing in nursing bras, which you will need anyway if you plan on breast feeding.
And finally, if you want to continue wearing the pants and jeans you have in your closet, the BellaBand is highly praised for extending their wear.
If you are looking to really save money, search craigslist, eBay, and Poshmark for used maternity clothes. Sometimes, ladies will list multiple maternity items together for a single price. This is a good option for basic work clothes, jeans, plain shirts and dresses. Just keep in mind that sometimes you can actually find a better deal shopping the sale section of the retailers I mentioned above where I frequently see rock bottom prices on really great items.
This time around for my second pregnancy, I am having way more fun with my style, but still not spending much money. The key is shopping the sale section of online retailers and applying discount codes to purchases. Plus, I realized that if I shop smart and pick items I would wear anyway, I could continue using most of the clothes I am wearing while pregnant well after giving birth. They are flowy and forgiving, perfect for those first few months post birth, and even well beyond.
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