Tips - Maternity Chic on the Cheap

I am a bargain shopper.  I've talked about that before. I don't like paying full price for anything and there's usually nothing in this world that is so amazing that it's worth the full sticker price.  Nothing.  Not even with my wedding dress, which is usually the one thing that all women universally agree you have to splurge on.  Nope, not me.  I really liked a $1500 dress, but I also found a $500 one that I thought was quite nice.  Of course, at the time they wouldn't tell me the cost, because they want you to "love" the dress before you find out how much it's going to set you back.  Little did they know that as soon as I realized the $1000 difference I was like "Hells no!" and the $500 dress was the winner.

Oh what I wouldn't do to be able to fit into my wedding dress right now....

Anyway, once you realize that you're going to have to completely replace your wardrobe with clothing that will accommodate a watermelon sized stomach, you have a mini panic attack about how in the hell you're going to get that to fit into the budget!  (What? You don't constantly stress about fitting stuff into your budget?)  With a budget of $100 month split between DH and I, you can take a wild guess as to who isn't getting new clothes this year.  (Although with the way things have gone this year, the budget is pretty much out the window at this point anyway....)

So I made it my mission to find cute, affordable maternity clothes spread out over a period of a couple of months.  If I found something that was on sale and I knew I would need it eventually anyway, I bought it.

Here are some of my tips - most of them probably very obvious, but they initally weren't to me! - on how to build a new maternity wardrobe without breaking your bank.  I've also included some "style" tips that I have found that help me avoid looking super frumpy. 

1. If at all possible, buy at a store and try it on first
Maternity sizing is ridiculously inconsistent.  Most places say to buy your pre-pregnancy size and that's a good rule of thumb, but don't swear by it.  For example, I have a pair of skinny capri jeans that are size Large, but also a pair of size Large cargo pants that are so big on me I'm pretty sure they won't fit even when I'm 9 months pregnant.  I have skirts that are size medium, but also one that is a size small.  My skirt from Motherhood Maternity is a size large, and it fits fine. The moral of this story - try things on at the store if you are lucky enough to have the option to do that.  Otherwise, you're going to find yourself spending a huge portion of your clothing budget on return shipping when you get stuff in the mail that doesn't fit properly. Online shopping seems great, until you realize the inconsistency in sizing and then you're just pissed at yourself.

2. Make your pre-pregnancy clothes work
When you're around 15 weeks pregnant, spend an evening going through your current pre-pregnancy wardrobe and figuring out what will work for you as you continue to expand.  I say do it in the evening because if you puff up like I did in the evenings you'll be able to see how you'll look at 25 weeks even though you're only 15, and you'll be able to try things on and get a sense of whether or not they'll work.  I was thrilled to find that I have 3 shirts that will probably get me through at least the 7 month mark, as well as a number of empire waist dresses that may last me my entire pregnancy if I'm lucky!  Some of things that I identified as "maternity" options were clothes that I stopped wearing when at my normal weight because they were too baggy or I just didn't like them anymore.  But when your options are buy something new or wear something old and you're broke, it's like shopping in your own closet. Also, just know that at some point - usually around 20 weeks - your pre-pregnancy pants are going to be a lost cause.  Trying to squeeze your stomach into them will only make your baby kick you all day long in anger and cause painful red indentations where the button is (which is probably unbuttoned anyway.)

3. Mix and match a "fitted" with a "loose"
You're already feeling self conscious enough about how you look with this new stomach, so the least you can do is make yourself feel good about how you look in your clothes.  Baggy clothes are a preggers best friend in terms of comfort, but they can also make you look really frumpy.  My solution?  Never put two baggy or two tight articles of clothing on together.  For example, if you're wearing a pair of skinny capris, wear a looser fitting top.  If you're wearing a skirt on the bottom (anything other than a pencil skirt) go with a fitted top.  This method prevents you from looking frumpy or overconfident with your body. (Let's face it, you are bigger than you used to be.) 

4. Shop Sale and Clearance ONLY
Even if the time passes quickly, you're going to be pregnant for a really long time.  9 months is basically a year, and it's not like you're automatically going to fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes right away anyway.  Keep this in mind, and buy stuff gradually.   For example, when I found out I was pregnant, it was December/January.  That meant that a ton of stuff from the previous summer was on sale or clearance.  Since I am due in August, summer stuff is exactly what I eventually would need (and do need now) so I was able to score some cheap deals!  In the spring, the winter stuff like sweaters and long pants are on sale.  If you find out now that you're pregnant and due in the late fall or winter, you're definitely going to need warmer clothes and you'll score better deals by buying it now, on sale, instead of later, when you desperately need it and will thus pay anything.

Again, this is just what I have found to work for me, and is based on my obviously limited experience with the matter.  However, it can definitely save you a lot of money and keep you looking - and thus feeling - good!

I have a few more posts coming up related to maternity clothes, and these one include pictures, so stay tuned for that!  


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