Friday, April 17, 2015

8 tips to keep you from going broke on maternity clothes.

im going to be completely real here, i HATE maternity clothes. a strong, powerful, oddly disproportionate hate like the hate i have for morissey and wil wheaton and things that are orange-flavored. i hate having to buy special, single purpose garments for a very specific, very temporary transitional period in life that lasts approximately five months. when you add the fact that the majority of traditional maternity clothes are expensive, unflattering, uncomfortable, and inexplicably geared to the over-40 set style-wise, well, there are a whole lot of layers to that hate-cake. 

but being pregnant doesnt have to mean dropping hundreds of dollars on clothes that you hate. i mean, theres not a whole lot you can do to change whats already out there in the world of maternity clothes, it turns out there are actually quite a few things you can do to make things easier in the money department. 

and now that i have (almost) two whole pregnancies under my (currently very large) belt, i herby present to you my top eight tips for saving money on maternity clothes: 

1. re-evaluate your "normal" clothes. so the idea that youre going to need an ENTIRE new wardrobe as soon as you find out youre pregnant is a total lie, because 1. its probably going to be a while before you actually need different clothes (especially if its your first pregnancy) and 2. you probably have a LOT of regular clothes that will serve you well through pregnancy. things like: long/loose tops, sweaters, jackets, empire waist/fit and flare dresses, stretchy skirts, leggings, etc.. so before you rush out and buy anything, move all of THAT stuff to the front of your closet and see how far you can go. 

2. splurge on a belly band. these range anywhere from $15 to upwards of $60, which is an absolutely stupid price for whats basically just a circle of stretchy fabric that really isnt all that comfortable (personally i find it very itchy and constricting). but, it does have two key benefits (especially for the first half of pregnancy/postpartum): 1. it lets you wear your normal pants unbuttoned without them falling down/everyone being able to see your open pants, and 2. it fills in the gap when your shirts start getting too short (but not necessarily too small). 

3. dont get ahead of yourself. i know the idea of a single, big maternity shopping spree to outfit yourself for your entire pregnancy might sound super fun and efficient. but honestly thats a surefire way to end up wasting a TON of money on clothes that wont get worn. why? because, like most things involving babies, you really CAN NOT anticipate what youre going to need until you actually need it (or dont need it). there is literally NO way to predict how big you are going to get at what stage, how youre going to carry, or what kind of clothes you are going to want to wear/feel comfortable in once you get bigger. so when you run out of pants or shirts or underwear or whatever that fit, go get that one thing you KNOW you need, and hold off on everything else. 

4. look for non-maternity alternatives. heres the thing with anything labeled "maternity": much like anything labeled "wedding", whatever it is is going to cost about three-four times as much as its normal counterpart. but the thing is (just like with weddings) sometimes there is literally no difference. take extra-long tank tops for layering: theyre a good $20 + in the maternity section (even at cheap places like h&m), but you can get them at forever 21 for like $4. another great trick (especially for skirts and dresses) is to find a flattering cut thats loose around the belly area, and buying it in a larger than normal size. in addition to saving you tons of money, it will not have the belly-accentuating gathers and panels that maternity clothes tend to have, so you can continue to wear them postpartum without still looking pregnant (trust me on this, you do NOT want to be wearing belly-emphasizing maternity clothes after the baby is born). 

5. invest in versatile basics. as with clothing in general, youll get a LOT more mileage out of your maternity budget if you stick to higher quality, mix and match pieces in neutral colors. one really great dress or pair or pants can be dressed up or down in a variety of combinations and no one will really notice, but loud, trendy tops will only last you a few wears. also, great basics are less likely to go out of style, and a LOT more likely to be useful to save for your next pregnancy/hand down to another expecting mom. 

6. always look check the clearance sales. there is one plus side to the fact that maternity clothes tend to be horribly dated: the stuff on clearance is exactly the same as the stuff thats regular price. wherever youre shopping, whether its an an actual maternity store like motherhood or somewhere less expected like h&m or amazon, check the clearance, because there is probably something fantastic/necessary for a fraction of the price. actual real-life clearance scores so far: $6 and $12 nursing bras, a $12 bathing suit, $5 tshirts, and a very, very versatile black and white striped dress (because we all know how i love those) for $25. all because i checked the clearance. 

7. thrift/consignment stores, thredup, and your other mom friends. so far ive only talked about buying new maternity clothes. but, of course, theres also the option of not buying new maternity clothes. since theyre typically worn for such a short time, most used pieces are still in fabulous condition, and if you have the patience/free time for it (but if you dont, thredup is a wonderful online substitute) you can find deals way better than the clearance racks. also, hand me downs. if you have other friends that are new moms, pregnancy is not a time to be too proud for hand me downs. 

8. consider your postpartum needs when youre shopping. i really, really hate to break it to you, but you are probably not going straight back to your pre-pregnancy shape immediately after giving birth. youll need transitional clothes. also, if youre planning on nursing, youll need tops and dresses that will work for that too. BUT, if you carefully select your maternity purchases so that theyre also useful postpartum, then you can really stretch your clothing budget. 

so yeah, long story short, maternity clothes kind of suck. but at least they dont have to eat all your money. 


  1. I'm 26 weeks in and was given a belly band for Christmas that I wore once. That damn thing was way to constricting for this mama's belly. My aunty blessed me with three maternity pants (one pair of slacks, one black jean and one blue jean) and my boyfriend got me one more pair of slacks. That's it! I just use alot of black long camis with something to cover or go over and I'm done. On occasion I'll wear one of my regular maxi skirts or dresses. The only thing I think I'll need more of are cheap long camis because the ones I have - I've had, and they've about run their life's cycle.

  2. sounds like youve got all your bases covered! im about due for a trip to forever 21 for new camis too... and maybe a couple of kimonos for nursing in the summer...