How to Build a Basic Maternity Wardrobe on a Budget

I have a really hard time shelling out for maternity clothing. I don’t fit into maternity stuff until well into my second trimester, and then I only get a few months of wear out of it. My babies have been far enough apart that stuff I loved with one didn’t appeal to me at all by the time I got pregnant again.

I’ve learned the hard way that a maternity wardrobe made up of just a few basic, affordable, and mixable pieces is the best thing for dressing yourself when you’re pregnant. Then, if you fall in love with a not-so-basic top or dress or you need some more supportive underwear, you’ve got the budget to make a splurge.

Here are the very basic pieces that can get you through pregnancy with your budget (and sanity!) intact.

1. A Few Tanks

Image source:
Image source: Old Navy

I’ve discovered that three or four basic tanks (or tees) in neutral colors are a really good starting point. Wear them alone or add a vest, cardigan, cropped jacket, scarf, or above-the-belly belt. There are so many ways to jazz them up with your pre-pregnancy clothing that they go a lot farther than you’d think!

(via Old Navy)

2. One Pair of Jeans

Image source:
Image source: Macy’s

The hair-tie trick gets me through all of my first and most of my second trimester without having to wear maternity jeans. When I do make the switch, I’m usually round enough to want a full panel. One good pair of full panel maternity jeans is enough to get me through the rest of my pregnancy in comfort and style. A word to the wise: Just like with regular jeans, you’re probably better off going to the store and trying on a few pairs until you find one that fits your shape. It’s so hard finding a good fit online! I love to check department stores like Macy’s and JC Penney … they usually have quite a few options and they’re always having sales!

(via Macy’s)

3. Pencil Skirt … For When You Need to Look Nice

Image source:
Image source: JCPenney

We’re church-going folk which means I need to have a bump-friendly skirt or dress option open to me every Sunday. I’ve also been pregnant over Christmas twice now, which included some nicer parties for work and family. I have a skirt that is very similar to this one and it has been a lifesaver.

(via JCPenney)

4. Maxi Dress

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Image source: Gap

I firmly believe that every pregnant woman should have one thing in her closet that is both easy to wear and makes her feel like a million bucks. I have a dress very similar to this Gap one that I pull out whenever I’m just feeling fat and blah. There’s something about it that makes me feel long and lean regardless of how big my belly gets!

(via Gap)

5. Leggings

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Image source: Target

I know some people swear by maternity leggings (and you should definitely try some on!) but I’ve had a couple of pairs and I’m really happy just wearing my regular (very stretchy) ones with the waistband under my belly. Also, if you have one of those jersey fold-over skirts, then don’t buy a maternity version — it’s the same thing! Lastly, avoid maternity versions of anything with an open front, such as a cardigan, unless it’s on amazing sale. You can probably get the same thing for cheaper in the non-maternity section! There are plenty of things in your pre-pregnancy closet that will work great through your whole 9 months!

(via Target)

6. When All Else Fails … Raid Your Man’s Closet

Image source:
Image source: Kayla Moncur

When you get to the very end and you’re huge and nothing fits, then take a gander at the OTHER side of the closet. My husband hates when I steal his clothes but desperate times, you know? His stuff can usually get me through those last few weeks. Bonus: It’s free!

Also, don’t forget to check out thrift stores. Sometimes I find stuff, sometimes I don’t, but when there are $4 maternity tops at stake, it’s at least worth looking!

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