Maternity clothes are a necessary evil. They only work for a few months at most and they’re expensive to boot. Of course, if you plan on getting pregnant multiple times, you don’t feel as bad about having to buy $30 jeans that you can only wear for maybe five months, if you are one of those women who pops early in pregnancy.
I had a pretty extensive maternity clothes collection. I’d been pregnant in both winter and summer, so I basically had everything a pregnant woman might need, clothes-wise. I had so many maternity clothes, I’m pretty sure my husband felt I had plenty of clothes, because my side of the closet was so stuffed. That led to no end of frustration for me, so as my then-youngest son neared 2 years old, I put all my maternity clothes up for sale at a garage sale. When they didn’t sell, I donated all of them with relish. Then, two months later, I found out I was pregnant again. *facepalm*
So, what to do? Well, I think I was able to keep wearing regular clothes up until about November/December, when I was about five months pregnant. At that point, I had to start wearing maternity pants. I was able to get back a few maternity pieces from friends, and I also got super lucky and found the brand and size of maternity jeans that I’d donated (*facepalm*) at a nearby thrift store for $5. Of course I needed more. So I had to get creative.
First, let me say that I had a few dresses that could still cover a pregnant belly.
To the left is a black knit summer dress with sheer shoulders. Seeing as how we were in winter at the time, I paired the dress with gray leggings (which I discovered this pregnancy) and black calf-high boots with a wedge heel. I was very proud of myself for this little ensemble; I usually like to simply throw on a dress and go out the door and do very little thinking about accessories or the overall look of an outfit. The leggings served two purposes — 1) they kept my legs warm and 2) the front of this dress usually hit my knees, so with the belly, it rode higher. So the leggings helped me not flash my coworkers.
I put together this ensemble after one particularly bad meltdown over the lack of clothes I needed to get through this LAST, I SWEAR ITS THE LAST pregnancy. I took a black A-line skirt that usually fits me pretty loosely and let it hike up and over my belly. I topped it with a blue men’s shirt, buttoned only the first three buttons, and tied a black scarf over my belly/under my chest. It’s not an outfit you’d ever see on a maternity mannequin, but it got me through the day at work.
(I would also like to add a few friends really came through on the maternity clothes. One of my oldest friends, Iliki, immediately gave me a bunch of maternity shirts and dresses. Another good friend, Jinah, gave back several dresses and added several shirts and tops. And another friend, Olivia, who I haven’t seen in at least 10 years, sent three new-with-tags maternity tops from Target. When I opened that package, I was brought to tears. I have incredible friends.)
Then, I had to find something to wear to a wedding. I had really been dreading this exercise for months — who wants to buy a formal maternity dress? So, I resolved to find a normal dress that would work for a pregnant belly and that generally means empire waist. And I didn’t want to pay a lot for it. I visited T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory (and took several pictures to get opinions from my coworkers and an apprentice) but finally found a $20 winner at Ross.
I’d tried on a purple and green variation of this dress, but my favorite color is blue, so there was really no contest. I also liked that the collar was a little more elaborate, but not totally ostentatious. I also liked the cut out — for some reason, it didn’t seem to make my chest so obvious, whereas the other dresses without cutouts really emphasized my breasts. There are some women who like that, but I don’t. Anyway, here’s what it looked like at the wedding.
I know, I know, you can hardly see it in this picture, but I think you get the gist of it. I didn’t have the proper type of bra for this dress, but I improvised by tying together the front straps of my bra with a blue shoelace. I found a white scarf for $10 at Burlington Coat Factory to wear with the dress, and I’m so glad I did because it was a chilly spring night and the reception was outdoors. Wearing a long dress also allowed me to wear flat sandals, which was really fortunate because the wedding was a garden ceremony and reception and every other woman was sinking her heels into the grass.
So, there you have it. A few tips for dressing up a pregnancy on the cheap. And one last tip — don’t sell/give/donate your maternity clothes until you get your tubes tied or your husband gets the snip snip.