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Finding a Maternity Style that Works for You AND Your Budget

Maternity clothes are EXPENSIVE, and honestly still not that flattering unless you’re willing to drop some major money in some of the higher end stores and boutiques. The stores and locations you can shop vary. Some stores are geared towards maternity clothing only, while others carry selections (large and small) pending on the location. However, in my opinion, the places that tend to be the most “affordable” have the worst selection. Most items are plain or striped and have that gathered side look that is the clothing trademark of “look at me, I’m pregnant!”. I’m a more “think outside of the box” kind of person when it comes to my pregnancy wardrobe where others feel or think they can only wear maternity clothing. Just because I’m currently pregnant doesn’t mean my personal style needs to take a vacation, it simply needs tweaking to account for my changing body.

During my first pregnancy and now this second one I’ve only splurged (sometimes price and sometimes quantity) on bottoms and bras. Two pairs of shorts and two pairs of jeans are all I’ve picked up “maternity clothing” wise since I, like many women, will be experiencing pregnancy during two different seasons.

I’ve gone the route of wearing bralettes. When I’m not pregnant I tend to have a smaller bust size and they provide plenty of coverage and support. Transitioning to simply wearing a larger size in these styles has been easy for me. Underwire bras tend to really bother me and hurt. Plus finding the right brand and size in general, let alone while pregnant is a nightmare especially when you know in a week or two they possibly won’t fit. Then there are sports bras, but they are also expensive and isn’t a style I wear regularly so those were out of the running almost immediately. So, with my ever-expanding bust size, bralettes are more cost conscious and fit my personal style and lifestyle best. Now I know some women prefer the support of a normal bra or sports bra so, by all means, do what works best for you and your own tatas. Then there is the nursing bra category, but I’ll save that whole situation for a story of its own.

When it comes to tops, I’ve made do with what I have in my current wardrobe. Style-wise, I tend to wear things a bit large anyway. I’ve never been one for tight fitting clothing options unless it was a “look” I was going for. My clothing has yet to be tested to its limits as my body has continued to change and grow. However, I know that day is coming and I’m already starting to watch for sales on tank tops as summer ends. As the weather gets cooler a tank top paired with a cardigan, or long sleeve cover up seem like the perfect combo. As stated before, all my tops, sweaters included, are oversized for the most part. I typically wear a size small, where my sweaters are mainly the size XL so I’m set for when the really chilly weather around my due date sets in. All the things I mentioned are easily accessible and affordable if you know where to look. Here in the Dayton area, we have multiple retailers that sell “discount” clothing and merchandise. There are also re-sale shops in the area with great selections and prices as well. Don’t be afraid to root around in these types of stores ladies, because there are legit treasures to be found out there if you only set aside the time to look.

Dresses have become my best friend during this pregnancy especially when we’ve had those hot and muggy Ohio summer days. Flowy, boho style dresses are a huge trend right now and happen to be very flattering on pregnant women. I’m also a fan of the stretchy, body-con style maxi dresses as well because the material is soft, lightweight, and shows off my cute baby bump. These styles will also be going on sale soon due to the season change and are easy to transition into fall/winter with the use of cardigans, denim jackets, leggings, tights, and boots. I know I plan to hunt a few more down on the sales racks in the coming weeks and is a style worth trying if you haven’t already.

I’d say this is the most difficult clothing item to carry over from regular life to pregnant life. That’s why out of any category this is the one I decided to splurge and go with the maternity version. My advice with this one is keeping it simple. Limit yourself with the quantity here and be smart about it. You won’t be wearing these items for the long haul, get what you need for this brief time in your life and keep it at that. There is so much more that needs to be purchased when a baby is on the way besides jeans if we’re being honest here. First off, leggings are my pregnant girl (and not pregnant girl) go to. Maternity leggings are EXPENSIVE. So, I just size up and adjust the leggings themselves. I typically adjust by rolling down the waistband to fit below my belly, and cuffing under the legs if they are a bit too wide/long. I love the ease and versatility of a pair of leggings. They are comfy enough to wear around the house all day, or layered and styled to wear out to dinner later. Plus, unless you’re a magical unicorn, most women take some time after baby arrives to get back to their pre-baby size/weight and leggings are still an easy go-to for wear after. I’ve also heard of women wearing their husband’s jeans and wearing those out and about. Think the “boyfriend” jean trend that’s been showing up off and on over the past couple years. While I’ve seen this play out well for some women on Pinterest I know I’d look ridiculous as my husband is a good 6 inches taller than I am. I’d look like a clown I’m sure. But hey, more power to you if you can rock this look because when it’s done right it’s cute.

Belly Bands:
Belly bands are basically like a giant headband for your regular pants. They look like a long tank top when worn with another top, but they hold your normal pants up and cover up the fact that they are not buttoned or zipped up due to the ever-expanding pregnant belly. So once again, we have a way to wear items from our regular wardrobe well into pregnancy due to a simple, but effective product/idea from another penny-pinching mama like myself.

At the end of the day, whatever you decide to wear during your pregnancy is your decision. However, there are other options that still allow for us to be ourselves and go through this amazing time feeling comfortable and feeling like our bodies are still ours to use to express that. You don’t have to get sucked into the hype that is “maternity fashion”. Yes, there are some things that make pregnant life easier and more comfortable, but that doesn’t mean we MUST buy them. Like many things in life, there are loopholes, and I hope some of mine help a lady or two out there that dislike those gathered side tops as much as I do.

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