“Maternity” is a lot like “wedding.” Slap that word in front of anything, and just like magic, it instantly doubles in price. When your pants start getting tight and you start spilling out of your bras it can be tempting to go out and drain your checking account on a whole new pregnancy wardrobe. Pause! There are so many “maternity” items that are exactly the same as regular items at double the price. I started showing unreasonably early (we’re talking full on bump at 8 weeks, here), so I learned how to make do with what I had for a while, and ended up doing that for most of my pregnancy. Most of my non-maternity leggings and a lot of my shirts were still comfortable until the third trimester. Honestly, in the third trimester, nothing is comfortable. So what should you buy “maternity” and what can you skip?
Splurge On Maternity
- Jeans- There is no way around this really. Unless you are the tiniest pregnant lady of all time, regular jeans will not be comfortable. The waistband will cut into your belly and it will be uncomfortable and could cut off circulation, which isn’t ideal for you or for baby. Invest in a versatile pair, in a dark color, in a cut that you normally wear. Unfortunately, I promise once you slip those stretchy preggo pants on, you’ll never want to wear regular pants again. (I still wear mine sometimes…Shhhhhhhh.)
- Shorts- If you are unlucky enough to be pregnant all summer like I was, you’ll need some shorts. I ended up getting a denim pair, a black pair, and a white pair. Looking back, I could have done without the white ones and the black ones. I mostly wore the denim ones every day and really only wore the other ones when the denim ones were in the wash.
- Bras- When I say buy maternity bras, what I actually mean is, go ahead and buy nursing bras. That way you only have to buy one new set of bras instead of two. I chose to get sports bra-style ones in a nude color that I knew would still work when I was breastfeeding and looked like Dolly Parton. Stretch is key. For me, anything with an underwire was out. They actually left bruises on the top of my belly. If you’re “carrying high” (though, if we’re being honest, towards the end your going to be “carrying everywhere”) you’ll probably have the same issue. Seriously, you’re uncomfortable enough as it is, go for comfort in the bra department. Not exactly sexy, but who cares?
- Leggings- One pair, just because they are the most comfortable and around the third trimester, your regular ones will probably start to get a bit tight. I still wear mine, I just fold the band down. No shame.
- T-shirts- Go ahead and get a couple of the t-shirts or tank tops with the little ruchey things on the sides. They are usually pretty cheap and are more flattering than regular ones. Especially during the “is she pregnant or just eating good?” phase.
- Swimwear- This can go both ways. If you are comfortable in a bikini, a regular one will work just fine. I suggest bottoms that tie on the sides, so they can be adjusted. If you would rather a one piece, a maternity option is probably a better bet.
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission for items purchased through my blog, at no cost to you. All items advertised are items that I actually use and all opinions are 100% my own!
What To Skip
- Underwear- Seriously, why? Your regular underwear is fine. Buy some cotton granny ones in a dark color for after delivery.
- Maxi Dresses- Almost all of these are cut in a way that flatters a bump. Go for stretchy ones that will grow with you.
- Pajamas- ??? Why do these even exist? Regular pajama pants will still fit beautifully throughout pregnancy and postpartum. You’ll probably be too hot to sleep in pajamas anyways, because oh my god is it one thousand degrees in here?
- Loose Tops- First, if you’re pregnant during the summer, I’m sorry. Second, loose fitting non-maternity tops will totally work. You may just need to go up a size.
- Active Wear- Most active wear is already pretty stretchy and forgiving. You may need to go up a size, but normal active wear is totally doable.
- Stretchy Soft Pants- Since they stretch, they’ll work. Plus, this style of pants comes in a lot of fun colors and patterns. Now is the time to try the trends that you were scared to try before. You know, because you’re pregnant, so anyone who tells you that your outfit look bad is automatically the asshole, not you. Win!
Where To Shop
Unless you’ve got money to blow, avoid the big “maternity department stores” at all costs. Everything in there is outrageously priced. Most of my maternity wardrobe came from Old Navy, Macy’s, Amazon, and Target. All stores with cute options that are notorious for good deals.
Tricks To Make Your Regular Wardrobe Work
- Mini dresses are now tops.
- The rubber band trick. Loop a rubber band or ponytail holder through the button hole of your pants or shorts and around the button. That should buy you a few more weeks of regular-pants-wearing.
- Your favorite maxis or loose tops may make you look like a sack of potatoes now. Throw a belt on over or under your bump to accentuate it and to confirm to the curious strangers that yes, you are pregnant, not just mysteriously lumpy.
- Wear jewelry. It will help you mix up the limited wardrobe that you have. Also, once you pop that baby out, you won’t want to wear jewelry for a while unless you want it yanked on.
- Wear adjustable shoes. Your feet will probably swell, so sandals with buckles that can be loosened will be necessary.
- Add a cardigan or denim jacket. If the outfit just seems like it’s missing something, it’s probably one of these two things.
- If your wedding/engagement ring no longer fits due to those lovely swollen fingers, but you don’t want to take it off, you can put it on a chain and wear it as a necklace. Make sure it’s a sturdy chain with a good clasp so it doesn’t fall off.
- If you have a friend/friends that have kids and are a similar size to you, ask if they still have their maternity clothes and if you can borrow them. Free is always the best option.
Easy Outfit Ideas
What maternity clothes did you invest it? Which ones do you still wear after baby (be honest, ladies)? Where did you like to shop? Share in the comments!
The Crispy Mama