First of all, I am so excited to share this post. Why? Because I learned SO much and I am really excited to share it with you. Even though I have a lot of friends who had kids before me, no one told me most of this stuff. So if you have any pregnant friends - feel free to share this post with them :)
You DO NOT have to spend a lot of money to look good while pregnant. In fact, even though I didn't spend that much on maternity clothes, I honestly think I could have spent less. I'll share my purchase mistakes with you so you can hopefully learn from them.
Here are my seven tips for Saving Money on Maternity Clothing:
1. BORROW, BORROW, BORROW
This is the best tip I can give anyone. If you have friends that have been pregnant before you, ask to borrow their clothes. Chances are, their maternity clothes are sitting in a box in the attic collecting dust until they decide to have another kid. I had three friends lend me clothes, which I am so grateful for. My pregnancy was in a different season than most of them, and we all have different tastes in clothes, BUT just getting a few pieces to wear was great.
2. Become familiar with stores that sell affordable maternity clothes
It's important to be aware that most shops don't carry much in their in-store maternity sections. I figured most of my maternity wardrobe would come from Target because I was familiar with their Liz Lange line (how many times had I found a cute shirt in the sale section, tried it on, and then figured out it was maternity by the masses of fabric in the belly?), but they hardly ever had anything I wanted in-store. Same with Old Navy and GAP. So be willing to shop online. Most stores listed have cheap/free shipping and great return policies. Here is where I found the best deals:
- Target Maternity
When is Target not a winner? The best maternity dress I bought was from Target (seen here and here) for $10. Target had lots and lots of options and while I didn't end up with as much as I thought I would from the store, their stock changes enough that I browsed it constantly.
- A Pea in the Pod Maternity
So, the largest chunk of my maternity purchases came from a Pea in the Pod. Which is kind of crazy considering that most people would hardly list them in the "affordable" category (especially a cheap-o like me). But here's the deal: they have awesome sales. They have a BOGO deal on their sale items once every 2-3 months or so and that is when I bought everything I have from the store. I got some amazing deals - for example this sweater had $128 on the price tag (what!?) but I got it for $20.
- H&M Maternity
h&m is amazing for basics, though some of their stores carry maternity clothes and some don't. I'm not really comfortable ordering from h&m online, so I stocked up when I was in NYC this summer. Their clothes are super soft (a pregnancy must!) and very affordable so if you are lucky enough to live close to one, feel lucky :)
- ASOS Maternity
I had never tried ASOS before I was pregnant, but I was really happy with my purchases. Their clothes fit true to size (at least in maternity styles) and they have some of the best selection of maternity dresses and work wear that I have seen. They also have great sales.
- GAP Maternity
I have two items from gap maternity that I love, but I tried some others were terrible. Make sure you read the reviews if you order online. Also, I recommend only buying on sale (I personally think GAP is overpriced).
- Honorable mentions: old navy, loft, thrift stores, motherhood maternity
All of these places have good maternity clothes, I just didn't really utilize them in my pregnancy. None of my local thrift stores had maternity sections, which was annoying. I have also heard that some people have had good luck with ThreadUp (essentially an on-line thrift store).
3. Wear non-maternity clothes
I got completely different advice from most people on this. I had friends that said things like "I only bought 2 maternity items the whole time and just made do with my regular clothes." I heard other things like "it's not worth being uncomfortable in your clothes - spend a little money on some nice things you feel good in."
My philosophy falls somewhere in the middle. First of all, comfort is so important in pregnancy. Your body is growing/changing rapidly which is uncomfortable in itself, so wearing things that feel good is important. In that respect, I think it's worth it to spend money on things that make you feel comfortable. I also did not want to wear any of my normal clothes that I felt could stretch out and not fit well later.
On the other hand, there were plenty of "normal" items that I could wear for the nearly the entire pregnancy. They included:
- stretchy maxi dresses
- elastic waist skirts
- long tunics
People will not notice that you are wearing the same clothes over and over again if you accessorize and layer strategically. There is lots of hype out there right now about building a french wardrobe or a capsule wardrobe (essentially you invest in basics and change it up with accessories). That's essentially what I did when I was dressing the bump, and honestly it was kind of fun. I liked the challenge of making the same pieces look different every time I wore them.
with jeans with pencil skirt with black pants
5. Focus on your personal staple items
I spent most of my maternity budget on clothing items that I wear often in everyday life. It was pretty easy for me to figure out because of the blog (I referred back to my "one piece many ways" posts) but if you are unsure, ask your significant other or just look at what clothing items you have to wash the most. For me it was:
dark rinse skinny jeans
with pencil skirt with black pants with jean shorts
These items definitely got the most wear in my maternity wardrobe and made me feel like I was dressing like myself everyday. Plus, most of them are "classic pieces" that I hope to get use out of in subsequent pregnancies.
7. And A Few Random Pieces of Advice:
- Belt your shirts/dresses over the top of the bump. I actually did not utilize this tip as much as I should have, but so many ladies look great with a belt over the top of the bump (examples here and here).
- Invest in pants/shorts with a full panel maternity belly. After about 20weeks, the short panel bottoms starting digging in after sitting for a short amount of time. You can also roll the full-panel down easily until you are ready to wear it all the way up.
- Men's button-downs are a great thing for a growing belly. I wore my husband's plaid shirts a few times when I was desperate for something different.
- Maternity skirts are really hard to find. Everyone sells pants... skirts... not so much. I tried soooo many, and I finally found a favorite pencil skirt from GAP. So moral of the story - if you find a great maternity skirt, snatch it up!
- Don't let other people make you feel guilty for spending money on maternity clothes. I had a few people say things like "Oh, I just essentially wore leggings and stretchy tunics the whole time - it's not worth it to spend money on maternity clothes." That's great... if you aren't working. If you work in an office, you're probably going to have to spend money on maternity clothes. That's just the way it is.
Now it's your turn! I would love to hear anything that you learned about styling the bump or any maternity style tips you might have!