This is one area where a time saver guide is not really what you might be looking for. For the next 8-9 months you are going to let your body get totally out of shape and wonder of wonder – feel good as your belly becomes bigger and bigger. This is something that I could not even imagine before I became pregnant.
This is indeed a challenging phase but the good news is that there are clothes than can make it a comfortable experience and also give you an opportunity to display the fashionista in you. The sense of experimentation should be encouraged with the knowledge that your are getting a wonderful gift for your efforts and that you can get back to shape in a few months after the baby is born.
Before I dive deep into the essentials and where you can buy them from I will answer some frequently asked questions.
Do I need maternity clothes or can I make do with my existing ones with slight adjustment?
There is no one size fits all advice for this question- it all depends on whether you want to splurge on clothes you may never wear again, and whether you are willing to downgrade your style quotient by somehow making do with your existing clothes.
It may be possible to make do with your clothes or your partners clothes for all 9 months, if you are spending all your time at home. But if you are going for work or if you spend a lot of time out and about, then this may not be possible. In my case with my twins – it definitely was not something that I even considered. I did not buy too many clothes, and made sure that I was well presented whenever I decided to step out.
When do you need maternity clothes?
The only changes that may be prominent during the first few months are increase in the size of your breasts. Even in my case I did not buy maternity clothes for the first four months and made do with a few of my more stretchier clothes. That said make sure you are comfortable and do not putting pressure on your bellies – a strict no no. Do not try to procrastinate on buying the necessary clothes if you are feeling really uncomfortable in your existing clothes.
What can you do to manage during the first four months?
Here are some suggestions to manage the first few months
- Use shirts and blouses that are longer fitting and generally look to deploy your stretchy clothes – such as tees, tanks and tunics.
- Start wearing you skirts a little higher.
- You can wear your jeans unbuttoned using elastic bands that loop around the button hole and the button. I would also recommend using one of these.
- You could also use belly bands which will enable you to wear your clothes unbuttoned. More on that in the next section.
What can you do to manage without purchasing maternity clothes at all?
In my opinion the goal should be reduce the need to buy lots of maternity clothes by extending the use of your prior clothes. You can get good quality used maternity clothes at many places and there is no reason to go through a self inflicted torture just to save a few bucks.
That said, here are some tips to stretch the use of older clothes so that you don’t have to buy a lot of maternity clothes and if you want to take it to the extreme, you could opt not to buy any maternity clothes at all.
- Belly bands – Belly bands such as the bella band are elastic bands for pregnant women that can worn over unbuttoned pants or skirts. It is long enough that it can conceal all the buttons and zippers and keep the pants and skirts in place. This is probably the most useful of all tools at your disposal.
- Try using your partner’s clothes while you are at home. You will find them surprisingly comfortable but I would not be caught dead wearing them when people were visiting.
- If you own elastic or drawstring bottoms then this might be the time to pull them out. In particular I preferred the drawstring bottoms since they allowed me to adjust the tightness as I wanted. But if you really have to buy these then I would not recommend, you are as unlikely to wear them again as you are to wear maternity clothes.
- You could also buy clothes that are a couple of sizes bigger and use them even after pregnancy as night clothes.
- Low rise pants fit just below the belly and are pretty useful for this situation and so are clothes with lycra and spandex. I would also recommend softknits as they are stretch and can last through the pregnancy period.
What are all the sources for maternity clothes?
Here is a comprehensive list of all the locations to buy your clothes from the cheapest to the most expensive. As a rule you will find more section and better prices online and so i preferred buying that way.
- Thrift stores – All stores that sell children’s clothes also inevitably sell maternity clothes. Some of these clothes are as good as new and are available at really low prices. If you have an aversion for used clothes, then possibly you will have the same aversion for used maternity clothes and so its better to avoid.
- Big Box Retailers – Walmart, Target and K-mart do have maternity clothes that are much cheaper and offer a limited selection. Department Stores like Sears and Penneys and are even better in terms of price,as they have sales frequently. You could monitor the sales and stock up. I liked to shop these stores for basics that were comfortable- primarily for home and for quick trips outside. I was very satisfied with the products.
- Outlet stores – Several maternity chains have outlets where you can get products you like for much cheaper.
- Cloth stores – Gap, Old Navy and Ann Taylor offer clothes that are way more cheaper than maternity chains. Check out Old Navy’s maternity line here and see for yourselves. You could even shop by semester – that was really cool. H&M and Zara also have their maternity lines that you might like.
- Maternity Chains – You might be tempted to go to maternity chains like – Pea in A Pod, Destination Maternity and Motherhood. Seems like one of those things you have to do once you get pregnant – but not really. Be prepared to spend a lot of money for clothese that are not the best quality either. Motherhood is the lesser expensive of these and pea in A pod the most expensive – literally too expensive for most people. Some have presence in Kohl’s and Macy’s as well and that is how i got myself to buy a winter jacket from Motherhood. It tore pretty soon and became useless for me. Return policy has not kept up with the times and you are required to divulge personal information that can result in a deluge of junk mails, related to pregnancy and babies. Strongly recommended to avoid these chains.
Is there any place to rent clothes for special occasions?
There is no excuse to spend a bomb on expensive evening wear which you may use for a few days at the max. Rent maternity Wear and MinforNine are good places to rent your maternity clothes for special occasions. Clothes are well drycleaned and shipping costs are low. You could use these for work clothes as well.