When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I knew I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on maternity clothes because the pregnancy time-frame is so short. For both of my pregnancies, I managed to spend very little money on maternity clothes, by buying some staple pieces and working with items I already owned. By purchasing a few pairs of pants and longer length tops to cover my growing belly, I could work these staples into my current wardrobe to keep me well dressed throughout my pregnancies. Here are my money-saving tips for looking fabulous throughout your pregnancy.
Invest in 2-3 pairs of neutral and versatile maternity pants.
I suggest one pair of black slacks, and one to two pairs of jeans or other pants. If your job requires you to dress up for work, then buy two pairs of dress pants and one pair of jeans.
For pants, you will have to choose between a demi panel (sits at or below the belly button) or a full panel (can be pulled all the way over your bump). I personally found the full panel too restrictive, but some women prefer the fuller coverage.
Opt for boot cut or straight leg pants, as they are the most universally flattering on all women. As for jeans, choose a dark-uniform wash, which are the most slimming and also versatile. I suggest black slacks because you can wear them to work frequently and no one would second-guess your fashion decisions.
Buy 5 to 7 cotton-blend short-sleeve, long sleeve and/or ¾ sleeve shirts in neutral colors.
A lot of my t-shirts and long-sleeve shirts happened to be very long, so they worked through most of my pregnancy, until around 30 weeks. If this isn’t the case for your wardrobe, you may need to buy a few extra tops. With both pregnancies combined, I only had to purchase about 5 tops, such as these: ¾ sleeve, long sleeve and t-shirt. I chose very neutral colors with no patterns so that I could wear them as layering pieces underneath sweaters or alone with accessories.
Use what you have.
A lot of my clothes are cotton or cotton blends so they worked through most of my pregnancy. The stretchy materials bounced back so I didn’t cause any prolonged stretching or damage to the clothes.
Jackets. Just like cardigans, jackets you already own can be thrown over the basic tops and pants without worrying about buttoning them up. Some jackets and blazers come in an open style without buttons, or have a tie at the waist. Even if they have buttons, they can look great unbuttoned, so throw them on as a layering piece in place of a cardigan for a pulled-together look.
Accessories. You might be bored wearing the same 5-7 tops and 2-3 pairs of pants, so that is where accessories come into play.
I believe in investing in fun statement necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and scarves because they completely change an otherwise dull and mundane outfit without having to purchase a bunch of new clothes. Also, most accessories have staying power and don’t go out of style too quickly. I still wear statement pieces of jewelry I’ve had since the early-mid 2000’s and no one is the wiser.
Don’t feel bad about spending money on pieces of costume jewelry you love, as you will definitely get your wear out of them for years to come.
Cotton Dresses. I own a lot of cotton blend dresses, in maxi and knee length, so I would regularly wear them throughout my pregnancies. Dresses are perfect during pregnancy when you don’t want anything restrictive around your waist. If you don’t already own dresses, check stores like Target, Old Navy or TJ Maxx where you can easily find dresses under $30. You don’t need to feel confined to the maternity section either. Plenty of dresses are empire waist (the waist sits right under your bust) or a wrap style, both of which leave plenty of room for a growing belly, but can also be worn after your pregnancy is over.
If your dresses have the room in the belly but start getting too short in length as your belly expands, try wearing the shorter dresses with leggings or tights paired with flats or boots, to give you coverage on the legs.
Cardigans. I also own a lot of cardigans, which are the perfect layering piece to wear over basic tops with jeans or slacks. If you don’t already own cardigans, you can find cute ones for very reasonable prices at nearly any retailer. Even if you can’t button the cardigan while you are pregnant, no one will be the wiser, as cardigans look great unbuttoned. Or you can opt for an open front cardigan that doesn’t have buttons. If you are able to find sweaters in your pre-pregnancy size and simply not button them while pregnant, you will be able to use them even after your pregnancy. Cardigans that are long enough to cover your bottom also look great paired with leggings.
Leggings. Many pregnant women wear leggings throughout their pregnancies because they have stretch and they are downright comfortable. I approve of wearing leggings so long as you have suitable tops to cover your tush and upper thighs. There is the rare super fit pregnant woman who can pull off leggings as pants, but she is the exception. Most women look much better when they wear tunic-length tops with leggings. A little modesty goes a long way.
Other Ways to Save Money
Second-Hand Stores. Many second-hand baby stores also carry second-hand maternity wear including: jeans, slacks, dresses and tops. You can find designer jeans like Seven for All Mankind or Citizens of Humanity at ½ to ¾ off of the retail price.
Ebay. Ebay is a great place to find maternity clothes at steeply discounted prices. The caveat is that you may need to know what size you wear before you start bidding, as some sellers don’t accept returns. Visit your local maternity store to figure out generally what size you will need before you start bidding on non-returnable items on Ebay, or opt to purchase from sellers who accept returns.
Sales. I’ve found great prices at Target, Gap Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, Old Navy and Destination Maternity, especially if you can buy out-of-season items (i.e. sweaters in summer, t-shirts in fall/winter). Use the layering technique of adding cardigans, blazers, leggings and tights if you buy summer clothes for a winter pregnancy.
Discounts. Always check coupon sites like Retail Me Not before you purchase items online. Most of the stores that carry maternity clothes regularly have some sort of promotion, like free shipping, or a percentage off of your purchase. Check out my online shopping guide for more online shopping tips.
Pregnancy is the perfect time to embrace your changing body and show off your bump. Being pregnant is no excuse to not feel fabulous about the way you look. I’ve shared tips on how to make the most of your maternity wardrobe by using what you already own and buying staple pieces that can carry you through your pregnancy without having to spend very much money. I hope you find these ideas helpful as you plan for your maternity wardrobe.
I would love to hear what worked for your during your pregnancy to maximize your maternity wardrobe. Please share your stories with me!