It’s easy to be sucked into the idea that you need to buy all yours clothes from specific maternity wear ranges when you’re pregnant. The truth is that the clothes you wear during, and after, pregnancy don’t have to come with a maternity label. Trust me, I’m going through it for the third time. Lots of brands would like to have you believe that maternity wear is the only thing you can buy when you’re pregnant but that is so far from the truth! Given, there are definitely items of clothing you should invest in, but others you can totally avoid buying. Here’s why you don’t need to spend £100s on maternity wear.
First Things First. Invest.
In the bare minimum. There are just some things you can not scrimp on and the first is bottoms. Whether it’s jeans for every day wear, trousers for work or a decent pair of maternity leggings – invest in these items. I don’t mean go out and buy ten pairs of everything because realistically you just won’t wear them all but take your time to invest in a good pair that actually fit you and your growing bump.
- Remember that your bump won’t usually show from the minute you get pregnant – although bloating can be an issue in the first trimester – so you won’t need to invest straight away. Lots of people go with the bobble round the button and through the hole approach before they turn to maternity wear. Just saying.
I’d also take the time to order a few different sizes so you can have a try on at home. Different stores are very different in size. You may even have to size up or size down are some of them are overly generous on the bump band area.
The second thing you needn’t try to save on is a coat. The likelihood is that you’ll experience some cold weather either when you’re pregnant, or not long after you’ve had a baby. You might still be a little bloated, carrying some extra baby weight, potentially self conscious, are breastfeeding/baby wearing and I found that having a decent coat that kind of covered all bases was invaluable. There is absolutely no way I’m going to be fitting back into my Barbour jacket any time soon so I know I’ll be getting a proper coat for this Winter – and it’s perfect timing too because it’s Summer and there are quite a few in the sale.
The third and final thing I’d choose not to be tight with is pyjamas. Yes you can go to Primark and just keep sizing up but I can guarantee you’ll either never wear them again as they’ll end up being way too big or you’ll grow out of them way too quickly to keep buying ones that fit. Invest in some decent pyjamas and, if you’re going to be breastfeeding, I’d suggest looking for ones with a spaghetti strap to pull down easily, or something that unbuttons down the front.
They will grow with you and your bump, and are perfect for lounging around in postpartum. Yes, you will probably be living in pyjamas and joggers for as long as humanly possible until you feel you’ve recovered enough to venture outdoors!
One of the easiest things to do with clothing during pregnancy is just to size up! This is particularly handy for things like vest tops, t-shirts and certain dresses. Look for things that either have a bit of float, plenty of room to stretch and/or buttons. Things that wrap around are also really good. I bought a maxi dress from Primark for £3. Yep! Three quid! It was a size too big, but fit me during the end of my pregnancy perfectly. I wore it to a festival at 34 weeks pregnant and it was great for easy access breastfeeding for the rest of the Summer too.
If you’re planning on breastfeeding then think ahead about whether it’s going to be accessible or not as this will also save you from buying specific ‘nursing’ wear. You may only need to go one size up or a couple of sizes up depending on the style of the top and they can last you to the end of your pregnancy and further.
This means you don’t have to look in the maternity range because, let’s be honest, it’s not really a fashionable market when you compare it to clothes for “non pregnant” women. And if it is fashionable, it costs the Earth!
Check The Curvy Ranges
I know this kind of goes hand in hand with sizing up, but you can really find some diamond pieces in the curvy/plus size ranges. There tend to be more of these ranges available in store as maternity tends to be very limited, if they offer it at all! If you think it might be a bit too big, you can always accessorise and accentuate with a belt. Plus the clothes are just as fashionable as the normal ranges are are always around the same price, rather than paying a huge premium for a maternity label.
Keep It Cheap And Cheerful
Primark is your biggest buddy, but so are charity shops and supermarkets! You’ll be amazed at some of the clothes you can pick up, and at a fraction of the price of other high street brands. You may have to do a bit of hunting around the charity shops but otherwise Primark would be my next go-to retailer, followed closely by the likes of Tesco and Asda. My gorgeous friend Ami demonstrates exactly the kind of thing I mean; a Florence and Fred floaty maxi dress that isn’t designed for maternity but works amazingly well!
They’re super cheap and cheerful and they have so much choice that it’d be hard to not find something in there that’s suitable. You’ll be going through at least two seasons during pregnancy/postpartum so you can pick up enough to last you for the Summer, for example, without feeling like you won’t have enough money to spend on things that are a bit warmer when the time comes. Also, my super beautiful friend Faye picked up this gorgeous red dress with tortoiseshell buttons from Primark. It’s elasticated at the back and is very roomy from the under-boob down to hem. Non-maternity!
Go Back To Basics
If you really want to reign in your maternity wardrobe then capsulise it. We’ve all heard of a capsule wardrobe, right? Who’s to say you can’t do the same with maternity. Pick out a few faves and mix and match throughout your pregnancy. The best way to make it look different is with accessories. Different necklaces, bangles, earrings, bags can make all the difference!
Wait For The Sales
If you really, really want to buy things that are in the maternity ranges then definitely wait for a sale. Usually they’re not in line with seasons because who can predict the English weather anyway? If it’s a nice dress, see if you can team it with tights and a cardigan. I picked up this wrap dress from Topshop for £10 – it’s maternity wear but is perfect for boobing the baby once he’s here! That’s a bargain compared to the £30/£40/£50 odd quid it was originally sold for!
But What About Shoes?
Some women do experience a change in foot size during pregnancy – sometimes it’s a lasting effect, other times they do shrink back down. I’ve been quite lucky in that my feet only looked quite swollen toward the end of my pregnancies and I did manage to get away with flip flops.
I’d just make sure you get a couple of pairs of comfy slip on shoes (ain’t nobody got time for laces with a bump) and live in flip flops when you can. Easier said than done for Winter babies, I know – but even then you can get some darling slip on Chelsea boots or, dare I say it, Uggs if you have them!
What About Other Places To Check For Maternity Wear?
Firstly, if you really don’t think it’s going to work but you just have to have it, buy it anyway and make it work! You’ll find a way – trust me. I loved this top so much, and it was no good for boobing but I just whipped it up anyway and made it work for me…
There are definitely other places you can pick up clothes for when you’re pregnant. Facebook selling groups are rife – just join a couple of your local groups and ask if anyone has anything in your size, people love saying goodbye to their maternity tops (though I’d probably hold on to my jeans until I knew I was done being pregnant) and they often go for cheap too.
Ebay is another great source of maternity wear that doesn’t cost the Earth. Often people will sell in bundles but if you’ve found a particular high street store that fits you and your bump perfectly, you can go searching for more of the range.
‘Can I breastfeed in it?’ is an incredible group on Facebook where women share their everyday, high street buys that offer easy access for breastfeeding. Not strictly maternity wear but definitely helps to save some pennies in the postpartum department.
What did you do throughout pregnancy when it came to clothes? What are you top tips to be fashionable and comfortable without breaking the bank?