Fashionable Pregnancy Clothes on a Budget

One of the exciting parts of being pregnant is that you get to go shopping! First there is shopping for fashionable pregnancy clothes and then there is shopping for the baby. However you can spend a lot of money on both types of shopping excursions and that is something Sustainable PF and I want to avoid as much as possible.

Purchases: I had the great pleasure of shopping with both Sustainable PF’s mom and my own mom to put together my fashionable pregnancy clothes wardrobe. Between the months of February and June of this year I spent $550 on maternity clothes. With this sum I purchased the following garments:

  • 11 short sleeve shirts (some plain for the weekend, some dressier for work)
  • 3 short sleeve blouses
  • 3 long sleeve blouses
  • 3 long sleeve t-shirts
  • 1 long sleeve sweater
  • 1 hoodie
  • 4 tank tops
  • 7 pairs of pants ( 3 dress pants, 2 jeans, 1 khaki, 1 cord)
  • 3 capris (1 jean, 1 black, 1 khaki)
  • 4 shorts
  • 3 cotton dresses
  • 1 fancy dress (for a wedding)
  • 2 bras
  • 1 bathing suit

On average each item cost me about $12.  Of all these clothes I only bought 5 new items. If I had bought every other item new as well (estimating $50 for pants and dresses and $30 for shirts) I would have spent close to $1500 on fashionable pregnancy clothes .

I hope that I will not have to buy any more clothes before the baby arrives and I transition back into my old wardrobe. Although $550 is a lot of money, I essentially bought an entire wardrobe to cover the four seasons in Canada with a mix of work , casual and lounging attire.  If we some day have another Lil’ SPF these fashionable pregnancy clothes will once again be worn and then I will pass them unto to friends or family members who are expecting.

Lessons Learned: This being my first time buying maternity clothes, I have learned some lessons.

Shop progressively throughout your pregnancy: In the beginning I was very eager to buy everything at once and then not have to worry about it. While this approach saves on gas and saves you energy it is impossible to predict how your body will change over nine months and so you might buy clothes that you think will fit you in several months time when they don’t in fact.

Don’t just shop in the maternity section: I found that many second hand stores had very small maternity sections (always located next to the uniform section for some reason) and so I ended up browsing the entire store for fashionable pregnancy clothes . While all of my maternity pants were really maternity pants most of the tops I purchases were not. Empire waisted top and stretchy cotton tops with long torsos work really well.

Make sure to get pants in your size: Just because you are growing does not mean that you suddenly have to jump up a pant size. Rather what you need is a pair of pants in your size but with an elastic band at the front to allow for your growing belly.

Evaluate pant material: I discovered many different types of maternity pants throughout this whole experience. There are some with low, soft elastic bands, some with large elastic bands that go up to your belly button, some simply made of stretchy cotton, other with an elastic at the top that can be adjusted. I found that the latter was not the most flattering because the elastic tended to stick out so you could not wear it with tight tops. Give some consideration to the type of material that the elastic piece is made of as well as some can be quite itchy which again is uncomfortable especially as your belly will also be itchy due to the stretching skin.

Reuse pre-pregnancy clothes: I wore some tops that I already had pre-pregnancy, which actually look better on me now with the belly! I would caution however that if you do wear some of your pre-pregnancy clothes while expecting, they might not fit quite the same way after wards, so choose wisely. You do not want to have to buy an entire new wardrobe after you give birth!

Ask for and accept clothing: I have been very fortunate to have received many clothing items from family; dresses, sweaters and tops. Accept these gifts with open arms. Also if you have family or friends who have recently had a baby, don’t be shy to ask to borrow their fashionable pregnancy clothes .

All in all it has been a fun experience. I cannot wait to go shopping for Lil’ SPF!

Have you shopped for fashionable pregnancy clothes ?  What was your experience?

18 comments to Fashionable Pregnancy Clothes on a Budget

  • Great post and great tips. You did really well with saving all of that money. I have had friends who have gotten hand me downs from others and the clothes look great. If you plan on having more than one kid than it isn’t that bad to buy some clothes since you will use them again, however, saving when you can is still the best option.
    Glad to hear you have some great options in place.
    So do the MOM’s get along or do you have to walk in the middle?…lol
    Hope you are feeling ok.

  • Kay

    Mrs.SPF,
    That was great shopping!! And I agree with the idea of using non maternity clothes during pregnancy as well! Knits are quite a blessing! I remember that I liked those pants that fold over at the bottom of the belly. And except for one skirt that stayed away from the body and flowed well, synthetic clothes were a total no-no for me.

    Now that I think of it, I am wearing a GAP maternity dress right now, but no, I’m not pregnant, and it looks like a regular dress. So comfy! I thrifted it a couple of months ago, it fit well and was surprised to see the label as maternity clothing!

    • agreed Kay, synthetics are not helpful in maternity clothes because your skin is already itchy. Sustainable PF’s mom warmed me about that and I am glad I listened to her. Neat that you are able to find some nice maternity clothes to wear when not pregnant…I would like to wear some of mine too-we’ll see how they look post belly:)

  • I actually found quite a few of my maternity clothes on eBay. I went to the maternity stores, tried on shirts to get an idea of what size I needed and what style looked good, and then I bought them used off eBay. The lasted through two pregnancies. I also found great casual pants at Target that lasted through all three of my pregnancies.

    Great tips. I hope it is not too hot where you are. Pregnancy and heat are not a good combination. :)

  • Hahaha… for a minute when I read this I was thinking SPF wrote this and I was mighty confused. Then I saw the author is Mrs SPF! :) Congrats on the pregnancy. These are good tips and you seem to have a nice wardrobe going!

  • No baby yet, but looking forward to using some of the tips here when the time comes :)

  • lots of info my Mrs can use when there’s the need.

  • To save a lot of $$, check out the BeBand, it’s about $15 at target and could allow you to wear your own pants for the whole pregnancy.

    I just had my first 5 months ago and spent about $200 on maternity clothes. I saved a lot by getting clearance items in the juniors’ department, it’s amazing once you look around how many clothes are extremely forgiving in the midsection. Sweater and empire waist dresses over leggings was my standard uniform. Some details about my maternity wardrobe here? http://frugalveganmom.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/frugal-cost-of-having-a-baby/

  • Amanda

    You mention shopping for the wee one, so I thought I’d mention this. I’m not sure where you live, but in Ontario at least, Once Upon a Child is a good source for used baby clothes and equipment. In my experience, sleepers were all my kids needed for the first few weeks and were easy to change, so don’t go crazy on cute outfits in the wee sizes. Do have a few larger ones on hand — my first didn’t fit into her going-home-from hospital outfit and my second was in 9M clothing at 8 weeks. :)

    • We’ve heard this advice as well. We will buy almost all of lil’ SPF’s clothes used. He will grow out of it so quickly! The clothing we did get @ the shower was pretty gender neutral too so hopefully, if we are so blessed to have a 2nd child, we can re-use the tiny onesies!

  • MommyofTwo

    You can find very affordable RESALE maternity clothes at http://www.maternityresale.com. Prices range from $4-$14 for pre-owned, name brand items. Shipping starts at $1.99, so it’s really reasonable.

  • Pin up dress for Maternity

    SO CUTE!!! Have you tried Old Maternity clothings? It’s not going to last forever but it sure will get you through your pregnancy and its really cheap! If you have a store near by they always have tons of clearance because they don’t sell as much through the store as they do online. It’s definitely worth a look! Oh and their nursing camis are the best! I lived in those the first year after apple was born and I still rock them quite often because they are long and comfy!

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