Looking good while pregnant can be tough. There will be days when all you feel like wearing is a t-shirt the size of your house, some sweatpants the size of your basement, and some soft bunny slippers. But other days you’ll feel like dressing up and painting the town pink or blue in giddy anticipation of your upcoming arrival!
Maternity fashion these days is on-point and plentiful: Maxi dresses! Leggings! Even swimsuits that don’t make you look like a beached whale! However, most of us don’t have the budget for an entirely new maternity wardrobe. Thankfully, it’s possible to find cute, affordable maternity clothes. Having just weathered this search myself, I polled my mom tribe for the best places to find affordable maternity clothes so all of you expecting moms can look good and feel even better about your budget.
Tips to consider before you shop:
- Maternity clothing sizes are the same as regular sizes but with an appropriate allowance for your growing belly. If you normally fit in a medium, you will likely take a medium in maternity clothing as well.
- Stretchy clothing like leggings or gym shorts will fit you longer into your pregnancy (and possibly your entire pregnancy) than less-forgiving fabrics like denim, so hold off on buying maternity versions of these pieces until you no longer fit into what you already have.
- If your partner wears larger t-shirts, gym shorts, and sweatpants, raid their closet for some free and ready-to-go loungewear!
- Get creative with your existing wardrobe. You might discover you already have plenty of maternity clothing options. Loose dresses become tunics when paired with leggings. The waistbands of skirts that don’t zip up all the way can be hidden by longer sweaters or tops.
- If you purchased something in the wrong size and didn’t bother to return it, or if you’ve recently lost weight but didn’t clean out your closet of old clothing, you’re in luck! Dig out those larger sizes and give them a second chance covering your sweet, growing miracle.
- Budget now for larger bras: In anticipation of providing milk for your newborn, your chest will start growing anywhere from 10 weeks to 5 months into your pregnancy. You’ll likely go up at least two cup sizes by the time your bundle of joy arrives – and then you’ll get even bigger once your milk comes in. Invest in some new bras now: T-shirt bras, sports bras, full-coverage bras, camisoles with built-in bras – whatever type of coverage your lifestyle demands. Pick up two to four nursing bras while you have time to shop. Your girls will thank you for being prepared.
Here are some popular options for affordable maternity clothes in order from least to more expensive:
Shared maternity clothes are a fantastic gift for a mama-to-be! Because maternity clothes are only worn for a handful of months at a time, typically they are in good shape in between babies and after the original owner is finished having kids. What better way to help out another mama than to loan or donate your collection to her? If you know an expecting mother, offer up your clothes as a way to recycle your no-longer-needed maternity wardrobe. If your friend group is in the season of having kids, swap clothes with the gentle understanding that the original owner might need their items back at some point to bring another little one into your playgroup!
Places like Goodwill or your local consignment store can offer relatively inexpensive options for dressing your expanding belly. Finding something you like in your size may be a little harder than shopping firsthand retail, but some women consider that part of the fun of bargain hunting! The other upside is the price tag: Donation-fueled thrift stores offer some of the most affordable prices on maternity clothing, and even upscale consignment stores can yield bargain prices on inventory that needs to be cleared out. Worried about wearing someone else’s germs? That’s nothing a hot water wash with some laundry detergent can’t fix.
Some of our favorite secondhand stores that offer affordable maternity clothes:
Maternity/kids’ consignment sales:
Different from consignment stores, consignment sales are typically huge inventories of clothing, baby and kid-related items sold in large buildings over a few days and nights. Many churches hold consignment sales that are open to the public as a way to raise money for their preschool or nursery programs. Consignment sales can net you a sizeable haul of fabulous maternity clothes that are just a season or two old for a fraction of the retail price. Most consignment sales only accept clothing that is in excellent condition and within a few years’ styles, making them a very reasonable alternative to the higher prices of retail stores and the lower standards of donation stores.
Pro tip: If you don’t have an opportunity to share your maternity clothes with a friend, resell your maternity clothing as a way to recoup some of your costs!
Some of our favorite consignment sales that offer affordable maternity clothes:
Clothing subscription services:
Have a budget for maternity clothes but not the space to keep it? Want to wear lots of maternity styles without actually buying a ton of items? Just like you can rent a dress for a fancy event, you can rent maternity clothes, too. Some companies offer the “traditional” deal of renting a maternity item for a few days (a great option for finding that special baby shower dress!); others let you keep a certain number of items as long as you want with the ability to rotate items in and out of your closet. Maternity clothing subscription services are perfect for the mama-to-be who considers herself more stylish than the average bear.
Some clothing subscription services that offer affordable maternity clothes:
Plenty of traditional retail stores offer maternity clothes at varying price points. Consider buying wardrobe staples like jeans, leggings or t-shirts brand new because you’ll get more use out of these pieces than seasonal or trendy items, especially if you would like to be pregnant again in the future. Traditional retail stores are often your best bet for finding a special outfit for holidays, baby showers or other festive occasions because you’re more likely to find current styles in your size. And when you’re pregnant, you deserve a special outfit or two that amplifies your glow! If you have a coupon or shop the sales, you can snag some of the current season’s styles for a bit less. Most retailers offer a discount on your first purchase if you register for their email list.
Some favorite retailers that offer affordable maternity clothes:
- Sam’s Club
- Old Navy
- Motherhood Maternity/A Pea in the Pod
- Pink Blush
Pregnancy is your time to feel special, and there is no better feeling than knowing you’re growing a tiny human while looking stylish in comfortable, fabulous and affordable maternity clothes. Did we miss your favorite maternity store? Share your go-to in the comments.
Special thanks to the Dunwoody Mommy and Me-Breastfeeding Group for their suggestions!