Finding Cheap Maternity Clothes

A few weeks back I wrote about How to Look Good Pregnant. And, if you read that post, you’ll know that one of my 5 strategies is to invest in a great maternity wardrobe. That sounds great to any pregnant woman—we all love shopping, right? But how can you do that without breaking the bank? My husband is currently in grad school, so I for one know what it’s like to feel tied down by a tight budget. Maternity clothes can cost a small fortune: I literally feel like I’m shopping for two when I see some price tags. So today I thought I’d share my tips on how I’ve scored cheap maternity clothes that don’t LOOK cheap.

I’m not usually the OOTD type, so I felt a little silly taking all of these pictures. I also realize I’m not exactly a fashion guru, so I may be breaking “rules” or clashing somehow in some of these pics. But the bottom line is that all these outfits are things I felt pretty in and that I didn’t pay much for.

 

cheap maternity clothes from H&M
This is one of my favorite maternity tops. I paid just $5.99 for it at H&M. Woot!

First Stop (If You’re Lucky): Hand-Me-Downs

My husband is the youngest of seven, and most of his older sisters and sisters-in-law are done having kids. This has made me the lucky recipient of lots of fantastic maternity hand-me-downs. This pregnancy I also had a neighbor offer me two huge boxes of maternity things she was done with. When it comes to cheap maternity clothes, nothing is cheaper than free! So if anyone offers you old maternity clothes, say YES.

pretty while pregnant in gray shirt and hat
Both this shirt and these shorts are hand-me-downs from my awesome neighbor Rachelle.

It is true that you may not love everything that’s passed on. And if you don’t absolutely love an item, don’t feel obligated to keep it. But here are a few things I’ve found to be true about maternity hand-me-downs:

  • Hand-me-down tops are often pilled and old looking, but bottoms like jeans usually come looking great. Of the hand-me-downs I’ve gotten, jeans and skirts are the #1 things I’ve kept. This is huge because jeans and skirts also tend to be the most expensive maternity items.
  • Hang onto jeans even if the fit is a bit baggy. I’ve found that these often look great as cutoff shorts. Buying maternity shorts is frustrating because I find the length is often shorter than I want. But if you’re the one wielding the scissors, you can create more of a Bermuda-style length (or whatever length you happen to want) without shelling out $50 or more.

Stop #2: Find Cheap Maternity Clothes at Discount Stores

I’ve found that stores like Ross, Marshall’s, and TJ Maxx have great maternity clothes. You do have to do a bit of digging, and the selection of colors and sizes isn’t what you’ll find at a typical store. But if you do find something you love, it’ll likely cost you far less than its department-store alternative.

Also, keep an open mind. This dress wasn’t in the maternity section. It’s generally true that squeezing into non-maternity things that are too small or simply buying normal clothes larger is unflattering, but not always! Flowy tops and dresses are your best bet for cheating a non-maternity item into your maternity wardrobe.

cheap maternity dress
I scored this dress for just $10.99 at Ross.

Next, Invest in a Few Key Pieces

Most of your maternity wardrobe can be found for a pretty low price. However, you may need to view a few key clothing items as investments. Think about the things you wear the most. For most of us, one or two pair of great maternity jeans are a wardrobe staple worth spending a little extra on. My favorite maternity jeans are from Motherhood Maternity. They tend to be pricy, unfortunately, but I found these ones to be far-and-away more flattering and comfy than anything I found anywhere else. And they do have decent sales from time to time, so watch for those if you can.

Now, consider that wardrobe “staples” vary from person to person. For example, I don’t work in an office these days, so for me, investing in nice maternity slacks would be silly. But during my first pregnancy when I was working outside of the home, slacks were at the top of my must-have list. But these days I’m a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom, so I’m all about comfy jeans and skirts instead. And thanks to Santa Claus’s gift of season passes to a nearby waterpark, I take my kids swimming at least once a week. So for me, spending money on a really cute and flattering maternity swimsuit was well worth it. The one I found and love is from Target. I love both the top (which is nice and long and roomy but somehow still not baggy) as well as the bottoms, which ride nicely below my bump so that I don’t have an awkward mid-bump line. And both the top and bottom, which I snagged on sale back in the spring, came to right around $40. YEAH! It looks like the magenta color is all that’s left in stock at this point in the season, but when I grabbed it a few months ago I opted for the solid black.

maternity swimsuit
Haha. You don’t get a full-on picture of me modeling this one. 😉 But it really is a great, basic maternity swimsuit I’ve loved all summer long.

Another staple for me is a solid pencil skirt in a dark color. It’s nice to be able to feel classy for dates, parties, and so on, plus I go to church weekly and need a few nice outfits to wear there. This awesome maternity pencil skirt from ASOS happens to be a bargain at just $25. It’s super comfy and looks great considering that it’s simple jersey fabric. ASOS also carries quite a few other colors and styles of maternity pencil skirt. I don’t own any but this black one personally, but I’m willing to bet that the others are great too.

 

Layer & Accessorize with What You Have

Now, take a look at what’s already in your closet. What non-maternity pieces do you have that you can layer? Jackets and cardigans can do a lot to make an outfit look intentional and pulled-together. Button-up shirts can also work well. I don’t wear layers all day long too often since my current pregnancy falls in the hot summer months. But whenever I’m going somewhere and want to look nice, layering is one of my favorite options to make a tired clothing combo feel fresh and new and cute. Hats, scarves, bags, and jewelry are also great ways to dress up a basic outfit. You’ll notice that I especially love big earrings. 🙂

Keep in mind what you have on hand as you go out and do your final step in building your maternity wardrobe. I have this yellow cardigan I love, for example, as well as a few big belts I really like. As I did my last step of shopping, I tried to think of what pieces might work with these accessories that I already owned.

Hit Target, Old Navy, and H&M for Everything Else

Hopefully, between hand-me-downs, discount stores, purchasing a few staples, and raiding your existing closet you have quite a bit to work with. But you’re likely still going to need a few more things. And I’ve found that Target, Old Navy, and H&M are the best and cheapest places to get whatever else you still need.

For example, you’re going to want solid t-shirts or tanks in not just neutral colors but a few other colors as well. These pieces can stand alone with a pair of jeans or will pair nicely with the jackets, cardigans, or jewelry you’ve got already. My two go-to maternity t-shirts are these v-necks from Target as well as these basic scoop neck tees, also from Target. I couldn’t survive pregnancy without them.

cheap maternity clothes from Target
Here’s the V-neck. You’ll notice from lots of my pictures that I have this one in white and wear it ALL the time.

 

cheap maternity clothes from Target
I have this one in black and wear it by itself plenty, but it’s also what I’m wearing under the black lace H&M top pictured above (since it was a little revealing for my taste on its own).

You may also want a few tops that are dressier than tees. As much as possible, try to get these things in prints and colors that could potentially layer with things you’ve already got.

cheap maternity top

And last of all, in addition to any more upscale dresses or skirts you may have invested in, you’ll likely want some comfy, basic dresses as well. Maxi dresses and skirts are great as well as anything else that makes you feel pretty and comfortable. I find that using big belts on these kinds of pieces makes you look classy and intentional rather than frumpy. I found the best and cheapest dresses online at Old Navy.

cheap maternity maxi dress

Should I Shop Online or In-Store?

For both Target and Old Navy, you’ll likely want to do most of your shopping online. Their in-store locations will likely have a small maternity section, but both offer a TON online. Better still, around holidays especially, both Target and Old Navy will offer promotions like free shipping or 30% off your entire order. I bought most of my maternity clothes this pregnancy over President’s Day weekend, for example. If you can wait long enough to shop strategically, you can save a lot of money this way. Note too that Target’s RedCard gives you free shipping, period. Since so much of their maternity is online-only, I’m glad I have a RedCard for this reason alone.

Also, take advantage of free return shipping. When shopping online, it can be hard to know what size to get from sizing charts alone. Simply order a few sizes of items you like and send back the ones that don’t work out. (Target lets you return any unwanted items for free in-store as well, which is a major pro for me since it’s both free and easy to do).

H&M is also a favorite of mine for cheap maternity clothes. I find the opposite to be true for H&M, though: I prefer to shop H&M in-store instead of online. Their clearance racks especially are goldmines. That black lace top I put at the start of this post was just $5.99 on one of their clearance racks. Crazy, right? I find that some of my cutest, most expensive-looking cheap maternity clothes have come from H&M.

cheap maternity clothes at H&M

Go Forth and Shop

There you have it. Armed with a specific game plan, you can now go out and shop for cute, cheap maternity clothes. Happy shopping! 🙂

Full disclosure: This page and a few others on my blog contain affiliate links. That means if you click on a link on one of my posts that takes you to another site where you buy a product I recommend, I get a small commission. I take that as a huge virtual high-five and thank you from my readers and am tickled when it happens, but I hope you know that I have a staunch policy of only including affiliate links for products that I actually own and think are incredible, as well as only linking to the best price I can find for any given product. 

How to Get the “Pregnancy Glow”

You’ve probably heard people talk about a “pregnancy glow.” But if you’re like me, maybe you don’t always feel terribly glowy or attractive or anything but BIG during pregnancy. Both physically and emotionally, pregnancy can be tough that way. So today’s post is on how to look good pregnant and get that “pregnancy glow.” Because really, who doesn’t want THAT secret? 😉

But I’m going to be real. It can be hard to look in the mirror and jump for joy when you’re pregnant. (Actually, it can be hard to jump for any reason without peeing your pants when you’re pregnant. But you know what I mean.)

It’s discouraging to suddenly see your waistline disappear completely. It’s tough to see your fingers and feet swell up to sausagey proportions that make all thoughts of rings or shoes that aren’t flip flops sound like a joke. It can be frustrating to see pictures of pregnant celebrities who look like supermodels with a basketball tucked under their shirt and then feel like rather than having a cute bump, you have instead BECOME a bump. Some days, I feel like this guy:

pregnancy glow funny meme

Yet at the same time, if you’re like me, you’re ashamed of these feelings. You know what a blessing and miracle it is to be pregnant. There are women out there who would give their right arm for your sausagey fingers. You’re thrilled about having a baby, but less thrilled about this new version of you that is larger than you’ve ever seen yourself before. And so you end up feeling not only ugly and fat but guilty too—a pretty miserable trifecta of emotions.

I wish I could tell you how to banish swelling, stretch marks, and anything else that has you down. The bad news: I can’t. But the good news? You don’t need anything like that.

The real secret to looking good while pregnant is BELIEVING you look amazing and then carrying yourself accordingly. If that sounds too good  or simple to be true, I dare you: try it out and see what happens. 🙂 I’m pretty sure that glow = confidence. So if you can figure out how to stay confident about yourself and your body while pregnant, you’ve got it made.

Today I’m going to share five things that help me keep my head in the right place. These five things help me carry myself with confidence, stay body positive, and see myself as pretty even on my most sausage-fingery, non-glowy days.

 

1. Ignore dumb comments from others.

During my first pregnancy, I had to go back to my old high school to drop something off for my job. As I waddled down the hallway, from behind me I heard a teenage girl giggle and then whisper to her friends, “Oh my gosh! I hope I’m not that huge whenever I’m pregnant!” I totally cried once I got back to my car. I let it ruin my day and replayed the scene over and over in my head the rest of that pregnancy. I let it get to me, and if you look at pics from that first pregnancy, it shows.

In my second and current pregnancy, I’ve done better this way. Thankfully too, I haven’t heard anyone be as outright mean in their comments. But you always, always have the insensitive, oblivious weirdos at the store who make comments like, “Are you sure you aren’t due today?” “Got twins in there?” “You look ready to pop!”

funny pregnancy ecard
You know what you should do when that happens? Flat-out ignore it. Totally disregard anyone who feels the need to comment on your size. Forget about whatever crap they said on the spot. That person is either not thinking, or more likely, is insecure about his or her own weight or appearance. Most snarky, unkind comments come from people who don’t feel good about themselves. Haters gonna hate. So whenever you are at the receiving end of unwanted commentary on your appearance, take it as 100% a reflection on the giver of the comment, not on you.

But What About Compliments?

But what about positive comments? You shouldn’t hinge your self-esteem on what others think, obviously. But I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with graciously accepting compliments and letting yourself feel happy when they come. This pregnancy, actually, people have been insanely nice to me this way. Last week I posted a pic of myself on day 1 of my third trimester and was overwhelmed by how kind people’s comments were.

That’s both nice of people and kind of funny. Why? Well, my doctor has given me the heads-up at my past few appointments that my uterus is measuring about a month ahead of average (not a health concern in his view, but still). My weight gain and my baby’s measurements are on track, but apparently I just have a super huge uterus. So the truth is that I am in fact abnormally BIG for my 28 weeks! But when someone says something nice to me, I don’t feel the need to explain to them that I’m actually not cute or tiny or pretty or whatever because my doctor said so. I just smile and say thanks.

 

2. Keep track of your baby’s development week by week.

For me, it’s helpful to constantly remember WHY I am getting bigger. I’m having a BABY! And the more specific I get, the better. Find a week-by-week pregnancy tracking app or hit a site like BabyCenter or What to Expect that tells you how your baby is growing each week. It’s nice for me to be able to think, “Wow! My baby gained 4 ounces this week, is as big as an ear of corn, and now has enough hearing to distinguish MY voice from other sounds!” instead of solely thinking about the number on the scale.

These specific details about how miraculously my little one is growing helps keep my head in the right place. Plus, how crazy-amazing is it to think that your body is currently growing another human being?! That is both something to be amazed by and proud of. Getting bigger is totally worth it for a sweet little baby, and reading specific weekly updates about my baby’s development helps me to remember this AND appreciate all that my body is capable of.

pregnancy glow at 24 weeks along
Me during the week that Scarlett was the size of an eggplant.

3. Buy cute maternity clothes.

This sounds shallow, but my experience is that on days when I’m dressed in something I like and have spent as much time on my hair and makeup as I did pre-pregnancy, I’m a lot more able to stay body positive. I spent most of my first two pregnancies schlepping around makeupless and unshowered in my husband’s old clothes. I’m huge anyway, I remember thinking. Why bother? As a result, I felt pretty frumpy and awful most of the time. Anyone who lived in their husband’s  baggy old things would feel that way after long enough!

But dressing up a bit sends a powerful message, both to yourself and others. When I take the time on myself to put together a cute outfit, I’m essentially telling myself, “Yeah, I’m worth the effort.” And that self-affirmation radiates out and lets everyone else know that you still think you’re gorgeous.

 

look good pregnant black lace top

4. Work out.

Exercise is powerful. Remember what Elle Woods has to say about exercise in Legally Blonde? Well, in addition to helping you not kill your husband, endorphins can help your confidence too. Simply working up a sweat, in whatever way is safe and fun for you during pregnancy, feels good. Personally, I know workouts keep my outlook on not just my body but life in general more sunny.

As an added bonus, working out regularly can keep your pregnancy weight gain in check. Now, let me be clear: you can and should feel confident at any weight. But it’s just the truth that the farther you get from your pre-pregnancy weight, the tougher it may be mentally to stay body positive.

Every healthy pregnant woman needs to gain some weight  and will therefore get bigger. But working out regularly can help stave off excessive pregnancy gain along with the benefit of simply helping you feel good. If you’re curious about how to get in safe but effective pregnancy workouts, check out my list of the 6 Best Pregnancy Workout DVDs as well as my post on Pregnancy Cardio. 

 

how to look good pregnant workout gear

5. Last of all, remember that you are your own worst critic.

You may look in the mirror and be horrified at what you see, but guess what? Your opinions aren’t fact. Especially if body image is something you’ve struggled with in the past, keep an open mind and consider that your view of yourself may be pretty distorted.

You may be less sure, but trust me. Others probably look at you and see a gorgeous, glowing, lovely mama-to-be—not whatever you’ve decided in your head that you more closely resemble. They’re looking at you and wondering how YOU figured the whole pregnancy glow thing out so flawlessly.

So be kind to yourself. You’re doing better than you think you are! Keep your chin up and your confidence high. Remember that your attitude is what will make you the ultimate gorgeous and “glowy” pregnant person.

How do you stay body positive when you’re pregnant? Comment away!