Dress Cute Throughout Pregnancy Without Going Broke

Christie Haskell

maternity clothesI like clothes, a lot, but I really like money, and I am very much a cheapskate. I'm sure some fashion writers roll their eyes every time I comment, "Too expensive!" but it's true, for me at least. And it was the worst when I was pregnant. I couldn't justify shelling out money for maternity clothes, knowing they were temporary and often ridiculously overpriced.

During my first pregnancy, my mom bought me clothing at a retail maternity store, but the second time around, I was on my own. I discovered you can shop around and get creative and make your maternity wardrobe large and fun without being cruel to your wallet.

#1. Use non-maternity clothes as much as possible. You can get by with your own clothes for way longer than you think. The rubber-band trick with jeans or shorts that already look good on you and a longer shirt like a tunic can make your own wardrobe go way longer. Longer length shirts and especially tank tops for layering are easy to find right now, last your whole pregnancy, AND can be a part of your post-baby wardrobe. Old Navy's tank tops, especially if you use coupons from the email list, can cost you less than $6 each. Catch a good sale (which happens a lot) and you could get two for that price.

#2. Skip maternity stores. Huge chain maternity stores are almost always way overpriced, with limited selection. Even their sale items often are still pretty pricey. Many clothing stores you already like have maternity lines (or have clothes that will work!). The Maternity Starter Kit (pictured) from Forever 21 is just $15.80 and adorable. Baby doll shirts, empire-waisted shirts, and dresses? All great for maternity.

#3. Hit up your friends. If you have friends that wear similar sizes/styles, ask to borrow maternity clothes, or maybe even just ask about a particular piece you loved that they wore to expand your wardrobe and make it through the pregnancy still feeling cute and stylish.

#4. Don't be scared of used. Not all used clothing stores are grungy or weird -- in fact, some have really high standards when it comes to what clothing they will take. Also check out Craigslist and even eBay where women will often sell individual pieces or lots of clothes, with pictures. Sometimes there are designer pieces on there for half the cost or less.

#5. Don't buy anything you wouldn't wear normally. Some women end up looking ... matronly ... during pregnancy, because of the stores they go to and the maternity clothes they buy. Heads up -- just because you're pregnant doesn't mean your style has to change. In fact, you'll be happier if it doesn't. Sure, you'll accentuate the belly instead of hide it, but don't wear patterns you hate or colors you look bad in just because it's maternity-wear. This is where using your own wardrobe and buying things you can wear even after the belly is vacated really come in handy.

#6. Be realistic. Go buy some comfortable flats if your feet hurt -- they do spread and grow. Also, if you feel like the shirt is getting too tight or riding up, people will notice. Don't be sad if you can't fit into some things you love. THAT is when you splurge on something nice -- when you really need a pick-me up -- and if you've been realistic with the rest of your wardrobe, you can actually afford to.

#7. Accessorize! Because you won't have a huge wardrobe like you're used to, take advantage of accessories -- they don't care if you're pregnant or not.

What other tips do you have for moms-to-be to save money on clothes? Pregnant mamas, where do you shop for maternity clothes?

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