When to Splurge -or Save- on Maternity Clothes

Maternity Clothes

Pregnancy can be amazing if you love to shop for yourself—a whole new wardrobe to buy! It can also be stressful if shopping’s not your thing, or thanks to the rapid changes your body undergoes as you grow a whole new person. And then there are budgets to consider. Some people have plenty of disposable income to spend outfitting themselves for pregnancy and postpartum, while others prefer to buy as little as possible. No matter your shopping or budget preferences, this post will give you some ideas about the best maternity clothes to splurge on—as well as some ideas about where you can save some cash.

When to Splurge

There are so many amazing things that people sell for pregnant and new moms to wear. If money is no obstacle, you can find any and every thing your fashionable heart desires to wear during your pregnancy. If, however, you want to prioritize within your maternity clothing budget, here are some areas that are worthy splurges:

  • Maternity bras: your breasts may have been one of the first pregnancy symptoms you noticed. Breast tissue gets tender, grows, and changes throughout pregnancy, then again once baby is born and your milk comes in, and then after you are done breastfeeding. Plus, discomfort in your breasts is something that adds insult to all the other uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. For that reason, it is a great idea to splurge on comfortable, soft, and supportive maternity bras. And you don’t have to wait until you are breastfeeding to get nursing bras—sometimes it’s possible to buy these bras during pregnancy and continue to use them while breastfeeding. Ask for recommendations from friends or read online reviews to find the bras that work for you. Life—and pregnancy—is too short to have uncomfortable breasts.
  • Comfy and beautiful pajamas and robe: you will likely spend a lot of time in your pajamas and robe after baby arrives, but as you get closer to your due date, you might find that being cozy while you’re nesting is just what you need. There are plenty of companies out there that make maternity-friendly leisure wear—such as nightgowns and house dresses—that is also beautiful.
  • Every day clothes: maybe you work in an office and need to look professional and presentable throughout your pregnancy. Or perhaps you’re rocking that work from home or stay at home parent look in your yoga pants or jeans. Either way, spend your money on the clothes that you are going to wear the most. There is no point to buying multiple maternity cocktail dresses when you have no occasion to wear them. Find clothes that are soft and comfortable, but that you feel great in. Pregnancy can be a tough time for your body image, but having clothes that you love to wear can definitely help.

When and How to Save

If you want to save your money to buy adorable baby clothes or, more likely, for any of the other expenses that babies bring, there are lots of great options for you. The following are some of my favorite ways to save on maternity clothes:

  • Buy used. Because maternity clothes are only worn for a short period of time, many of them are in great shape after pregnancy. You can find great used clothes buying directly from other people on secondhand marketplace Poshmark or through a service like ThredUp, which is an online consignment store that buys the clothes from individuals and then resells them. Many of the clothes available through these markets are brand new with tags or have only been worn a few times, but are still much more economical than buying something in the store. It’s also possible to find used maternity clothes through local buying and selling websites like Craigslist or Facebook.
  • Wear hand-me-downs. Maybe you have a friend with similar fashion sense and dress size and she’s all done having babies. If she still has maternity clothes, maybe she’ll offer to share them with you. Or check out your local Buy Nothing group, where people give things away for free. It might not fit perfectly, but luckily many maternity clothes are cut in such a way that things don’t have to fit perfectly and free is pretty hard to beat when you’re shopping sensibly.
  • Check out fashion rental services. If you’re in need of a specific item—say a dress for a black tie event—it may not make sense to purchase something that you’re only going to wear once. If you find yourself in this situation, try Le Tote and Rent the Runway. While slightly different, both services offer the option of renting and not buying maternity clothes, which may make sense for you even if you’re not planning on wearing something just one time.
Abby Olena
Dr. Abby Olena has a PhD in Biological Sciences from Vanderbilt University. She lives with her husband and children in North Carolina, where she writes about science and parenting, produces a conversational podcast, and teaches prenatal yoga.

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