Tip #1: Don't Buy Maternity Clothes Until You Have To
Like Jessica suggested, don't buy maternity clothes until you have to. If you're like me, you probably didn't want to purchase maternity clothes. But then again, you may be one of those mamas that are so excited about the prospect of showing off that mini-bump that you're jumping at the seams to wear them. If that's the case, keep in mind that the size of your belly at week 16 is not going to be the size of your belly at week 36! Trust me on this. When I was around 20 weeks pregnant, I went to Target and they were having a massive clearance sale on maternity clothes. I ended up purchasing several dresses, skirts, and shirts for next to nothing and decided to put them up for when I really needed them. The problem was, when I decided my belly was big enough to wear them, the clothes no longer fit. I'd made the mistake of buying maternity clothes to fit at the time that I'd tried them on. I hadn't considered how big my belly would end up getting towards the end of my pregnancy. In the end, I had to return all of my great buys and spend twice as much on new maternity clothes so that I could get some that fit.
Tip #2: Regular Clothes Still Work For Preggo Mamas
One of the reasons I hated the idea of wearing maternity clothes is because they all look the same. They all are bland and no matter how cute the designers try to make them, they just don't compare to all the adorable items that are found in regular clothing stores. But the wonderful thing about the styles today are that most of them work great for preggo baby mamas and you don't have to sacrifice being cute just because you're pregnant. Here's a few tips that I discovered throughout my pregnancy.
- Tank Tops: Tank tops are life savers during pregnancy. You can wear them under you pre-preggo shirts and as they get shorter, no one notices since you have a layered look. For me, I wear a tank top almost everyday. So when I got pregnant, I knew I was going to need to invest in some new ones. However, I wasn't about to spend $20 for a maternity tank top. So I went to Forever 21 and purchased tank tops in every color in one to two sizes up. They were only $4 a piece and they worked great throughout my pregnancy.
- Long Tees/ Tunics: Longer T-shirts and tunic style tops are really big right now. Throughout my pregnancy, I pretty much lived in these. I purchased quite a few tunic style tops from Old Navy and Walmart for less than $10 each. I also purchased tee shirts in every color from Walmart for $6 a piece and they worked great to dress up or down. I bought them each in a size up and they worked perfect with my growing belly because of the stretchy cotton and longer length.
- Button Down Shirts & Cardigans: These work great to create layering looks! You can actually buy them in your normal size and wear them open with tank tops. They're also super easy to accessorize.
- Jeans: Instead of spending a fortune on maternity jeans, I went to American Eagle and purchased some low-rise jeans in a size larger than I normally wear. I was able to wear them throughout my pregnancy. By buying a size larger, it gave me room for those extra pounds that seemed to go to my thighs and allowed room for my hips to expand in preparation for childbirth. The low cut allowed my belly to fit over the buttons so they weren't tight.
- Leggings: Leggings are amazing! They're comfortable, stretchy, and cheap. Just go up a size and there isn't a need to purchase maternity ones.
- Maxi Dresses: Maxi dresses are perfect for pregnancy. With the exception of one maternity maxi dress, all of the maxi dresses I purchased while pregnant were non-maternity dresses. Maxi dresses all stretch and have so much fabric that they cover your baby bump perfectly. Better yet, you can still wear them after baby arrives and no one notices the difference!
- Maxi Skirts: Maxi skirts are a huge hit right now and there are so many adorable ones in the stores. Because they have elastic waste bands, they also work great for pregnant mamas. I purchased several to wear during and after pregnancy. Because of the elastic waste band, I purchased the size I'd wear pre-pregnancy and just folded the band over under my belly so that I could wear them while pregnant. No one has ever known the difference.
Tip #3 When Buying Maternity Clothes, Stick to Basics
I finally broke down and purchased more maternity clothes when I hit the third trimester. However, I had so many pre-preggo clothes that worked that I didn't need to purchase a lot. So I stuck to purchasing the basics so I could wear them next pregnancy too. For me the basics were as follows:
- Pair of Khakis
- Pair of Black dress slacks
- A few solid color tops in neutral colors
- Two pairs of dark maternity jeans (one skinny leg pair and boot cut style)
Tip #4 You'll Need Maternity Shoes... Not Just Maternity Clothes
No one bothered to tell me that when you're pregnant you'll need to invest in maternity shoes as well as maternity clothes. The concept was completely foreign to me until I woke up one morning and had no shoes to wear because my feet were so swollen. Trust me, it'll happen. It may happen around 20 weeks it may happen at the end of your pregnancy around 36 weeks, but you will wake up one day and have no shoes to wear. My suggestion is to hit up Target. They have cute shoes and they're relatively cheap. I purchased flats from Target in neutral colors in a size up and got them in a wide. It did the trick until it got warm enough that I could wear sandals. Thankfully, sandals work great for swollen feet because you can adjust the straps and make them different widths. So keep that in mind!
Tip #5 Accessorize
The best way to get the most bang for your buck when buying maternity clothes is to buy neutral items and stock up on a ton of accessories. Accessories are so inexpensive and you can really dress up an outfit or dress it down with them. I can't tell you how many scarfs, chunky necklaces, and bracelets I purchased while pregnant. I purchased a variety or prints, patterns, and colors of accessories so that I could mix and match them with a variety of different outfits. The wonderful thing was that I could wear a scarf with a black shirt one day and wear that same black shirt later in the week with a chunky necklace and no one had an idea it was the same shirt. Accessories allow for versatility and aren't just for when you're pregnant so you can get lots of use out of them!