Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Maternity Clothes Cheaply

Fold over skirt, perfect for maternity wear.
One of the more expensive parts of pregnancy, in addition to food aversions and cravings, is needing to stock your closets with a whole new wardrobe suitable for pregnancy. For someone like myself who likes to keep things as cheap as possible, the thought of spending hundreds and hundreds on clothing that I'd only wear for 6 months (or less) at a time and only every few years, was just too much to handle.
Fortunately, there are ways to get a closet full of maternity wear without needing to spend too much money.

Maternity Clothes Cheaply
Maternity Clothes For Free

Free is always cheapest of all, so here's some tips on how to get pregnancy clothing without paying a cent.
  • Freecycle is an online network of various local email groups based throughout the globe whose goal is to reduce waste, by donating things that they no longer want or need to others who would like those things. On Freecycle, people post what they have to give away, and those interested contact them, or they post what they're looking for, and those who have that item available will contact them to arrange a pickup. Go to Freecycle.org, search for a group that is close to where you live, join the group and search to see if anyone has posted that they have maternity clothes to give away. If there hasn't been such a posting recently, post an ISO requesting maternity clothes, and hopefully you'll strike it rich!
  • Email Groups. If there is an online email group for the city where you live, post on there that you're looking for maternity clothes and if anyone has stuff that they no longer want, you'd gladly take donations
  • Social Networking Sites. If you're active on twitter or Facebook or any other social networking website, post that you're looking for maternity clothes and watch the responses pour in. I think I got a good chunk of my maternity wardrobe exactly this way!
  • Forums. If you're on any internet forums and there are at least some posters there who live in your vicinity, consider posting there, saying that you're looking for maternity clothes if anyone has stuff they'd like to pass on. (So long as this doesn't go against the site rules.)
  • Friends. Let your friends know that you're looking for maternity clothes. Word of mouth alone can be enough to get yourself a nice stock of maternity wear. Friends that have finished having children, or are taking a long break are often most willing to pass on their clothes once they no longer have any use for it.
    Alternatively, if your friends are taking a break between kids, they may be willing to loan you their maternity clothes so long as you try to keep them in good condition. If someone does this for you, repay the favor to other friends when you get a chance. Start a maternity clothes lending library even, so people don't need to have whole closets full of clothing they aren't wearing while their friend needs to spend a lot of money to purchase the same type of clothing.
Buying Clothing Cheaply
Please, whatever you do, don't hit up the maternity clothes stores unless they're having amazing sales. Maternity clothing on sale is often more expensive than the standard prices for regular clothing; shopping in maternity stores often leaves you with a huge hole in your wallet and not much clothing to show for it. Here's some alternatives to purchasing from some rip off maternity stores which I shall not name.
  • Thrift Stores. As with all clothes shopping, thrift stores are usually the cheapest places to get clothes.  Check out to see if your local thrift store has a maternity section. I struck lucky and found a thrift store that carried exclusively maternity clothes and struck rich there!
  • Yard Sales. If you are searching for maternity during yard sale season, you can easily find maternity clothes at such sales, provided the sales you're at are in child friendly neighborhood. 
  • Ebay. People sell maternity clothing on Ebay, often unworn clothing, that can be purchased very cheaply, and typically a few pieces at a time. 
  • Non Maternity Specific Clothes. Form fitting and non stretchy everyday wear probably won't end up fitting during pregnancy, but many times you can find clothing not meant to be maternity wear that works well even through the 9th month of pregnancy. This is especially beneficial because its much easier to find cheap non maternity wear than maternity clothing. Try looking in discount clothing stores, thrift stores, clearance racks, etc. I got some really terrific maternity fold over skirts for 1/3 the price of the cheapest skirt I could find in a maternity store, and half the price that those skirts usually cost, by checking out a discount store.
  • Non maternity empire waist tops.
    • Extra large shirts and sweaters. This works especially well if the clothing is made of a stretchy fabric, so that it doesn't drape too much.
    • Hip hugging skirts and pants, especially really low riders. If the skirt or pants are low enough that they aren't touching your belly, they don't need to do anything special to accommodate a pregnant belly
    • Empire waisted shirts and dresses. Lucky us that they're in style now, so they can be found everywhere! You might not be able to wear these through the ninth month of pregnancy if they're non stretchy or you carry really large, but you probably will be able to wear them at least until your 7th or 8th month.
    • Fold over yoga pants.
    • Fold over skirts and pants. Again, how cool is it that these maternity friendly non maternity clothes are in vogue now, making the search for cheap maternity so much easier! Fold over skirts and fold over pants are exactly the same as maternity skirts and pants- they have a low waist and a section above it generally made of a stretchy tee-shirt type fabric that is meant to be folded over, but if you want to wear it as maternity wear, just don't fold it down and have the tee-shirt fabric go over your belly.

Make Your Own
Have sewing skills that you want to put to use? You can make your own maternity clothes all by yourself.
  • Sew your own maternity skirt. Fold over skirts seem really easy to make- just two trapezoid pieces of tee shirt material sewn together, and a rectangle of material sewn along the top. I'm planning on making one myself, and if it works out well, I'll share the instructions.
  • Convert your clothes to maternity wear. By adding a stretchy panel of fabric to the top of your pants or skirt, you can easily make these into maternity wear. This video shows you how to do it, step by step.
No, you don't need to break the bank when stocking your closets with maternity wear. Hopefully these tips will help save you much money!

Just in case you thought I always knew everything, I didn't. I spent way too much my first pregnancy on official maternity clothes, which, two pregnancies later, are complete trash. Overpriced junk is what they were. Last pregnancy I got a wardrobe on loan from a friend, but she needed it back, and this pregnancy I was pretty much building a maternity wardrobe from scratch. One friend taught me the trick about the fold over skirts. Another showed me the hip hugger trick. And another pointed me in the direction of the maternity clothing thrift store. I really appreciate their help, because otherwise, I don't know what I would have done. 
Using the above tricks, I stocked an entire maternity closet for myself for only 75 dollars, with a good chunk of those clothes being brand new, not used. I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself, because my first pregnancy, I think I spent close to 75 dollars on two skirts alone.

What do you do about stocking your closet with maternity wear? Where do you go shopping for maternity wear? What are your tricks to make it cheaper? How much do you think you've spent on maternity clothing for yourself?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share This