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Maternity Clothes on a Budget

Katlyn Joy |12, March 2009


Shopping for maternity clothes is one of those special activities you look forward to in pregnancy, until you begin shopping and reality settles in on you. What should I get? How can you afford to look nice and still afford groceries this month?

For the more everyday items, don't overlook the borrowing option. Talk to friends and relatives and borrow some basic items. Just remember, later on, it's assumed that you'll return the favor.

Check out consignment shops, thrift stores and garage sales. Maternity clothes are tough to find items, so when you find something—don't hesitate; snap it up! If garage sale listings include maternity clothes, plan on getting there early or they will most likely be gone!

By using these cheap/free resources, you free up more of your budget for shopping for quality maternity clothing. Think in terms of outfits, and how the pieces can work together. Will those slacks dress up nicely with a blazer for work, but work well with just a blouse for going out to dinner? Remember most maternity pieces are designed to accommodate your growing figure throughout your pregnancy, so consider how to layer for the seasons with key pieces. Keep in mind however, that later in pregnancy you'll feel like your thermostat is set higher than everyone else.

For everyday wear, you'll likely need a couple pairs of jeans, maybe a pair of casual knit/sweatpants, some nice dress slacks depending on work needs, probably two or three pairs, and a nice skirt is preferable to a dress for convenience and versatility. Try to find several tops of varying weight/style that can be paired with all the above, along with a blazer or jacket. If you think you'll need a jacket or coat, consider just buying a larger size rather than limiting yourself to maternity ones.

You will need pajamas, or nightgowns. Consider buying only those that are also nursing friendly. You will likely deal with many comfort issues as your pregnancy progresses, so make certain you sleepwear doesn't have any features that interfere with comfort. Choose lightweight breathable fabrics that are roomy enough to grow with you.

A good fitting, supportive bra is crucial, and you'll need a minimum of two. You might stick with a maternity bra, or find a good nursing bra. However, it can be difficult to know the size, as you'll continue changing in size until your milk comes in a few days after the baby's birth.

Panties are more of a personal choice. Some women love maternity underwear, while others keep wearing their regular style only in larger sizes. Others get bikinis that sit below the bulging belly. Get a few different kinds to compare before you decide.

You might be surprised to learn that your feet might just grow along with your belly. Many women need to get larger shoes during pregnancy. If you do, make certain they are comfortable and will accommodate the common symptom of swelling feet. Also make sure they provide good traction, your balance will not always be the best.

As fun and exciting as it is when you first start shopping and wearing your maternity clothing, there will come a day when you long to light it all on fire. You will most likely grow to hate most of the items. That's why it's important to indulge in a couple special pieces you really love. Also, get accessories to jazz things up when you have grown tired of certain outfits.

Don't feel bad about buying something that perks you up later in the last trimester. You might think, I'm almost done, why buy now? Sometimes a new top just can buoy your spirits enough—and if you feel badly for spending the money, consider that if you won't have the chance to wear it out, you can always resell it to a consignment shop or on ebay.

Shopping for maternity clothing doesn't have to take a ton of money, just some planning. But remember, what you buy you will be seeing an awful lot for the next several months. Don't get it if you don't truly like it from the outset.

Katlyn Joy is a freelance writer, and just graduated with a Master's of Arts in Creative Writing. She is mom to seven children, and lives in Denver, Colorado.

Related Articles

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8 Maternity Style Do's and Don'ts

The Do's & Dont's of Maternity Fashion

Maternity Fashion Tips for Looking Fit, Not Fat

Maternity Pajamas - A Must For Sound Sleep


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Carri Apr 6, 2009 08:55:12 PM ET

I use hair ties to extend the time I can wear my pants. Just loop the hair tie around your button and push it through the button hole, then loop it back around your button again. I've found that goody's hair ties work way better than rubber bands :-) I'm 7 months and still wearing my pre pregnancy jeans. Such an inexpensive fix. My shirts are all loing enough to cover the "fix" even when I reach up over my head. I did just move to Central Fl and am dying for some shorts though, guess that'll be my next project lol!

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Paula Apr 5, 2009 05:02:24 AM ET

Get a belly band and your shirts will last a lot longer. The style is layering and the belly bands come in multiple colors.

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