As a fashion-conscious pregnant woman with a very limited shopping budget, creating cute, affordable, and sensible maternity outfits has been one of my biggest challenges during this 9-month journey. If you’re lucky, it’s not something you have to think about until you’re well into your second trimester. But if you’re like me, when pants/any clothing for that matter stopped fitting 2 months into my pregnancy, you’ve probably been looking for a solution like I have.
“Just Hit the Maternity Section of Shops!”
It’s easy to think that as soon as your body starts swelling up, you just hit the maternity section of all stores and start stocking up on all things maternity. That might sound like a simple solution, but when you have a limited shopping budget, it’s not a very reasonable one. Not to mention the pile of maternity clothing you have to worry about putting away/donating/storing for next pregnancy once the 9-month journey is over. Life gets even more hectic after the baby arrives. Nobody’s got time for messing with unused maternity clothing hanging around!
After some trial and errors, I’ve derived a few principles that I stick to when I put together pregnancy outfits and thinking about purchasing new items.
Five Principles to Stick with When Putting Together Maternity Outfits using Non-Maternity Clothing
1. Bite the bullet and buy a size (or two) larger
This principle involves conquering a purely psychological issue. If like me, you’ve experienced body image struggles, you know how difficult it is to allow yourself to buy one size larger. It’s like you are giving yourself room to NOT be your ideal self. But having accepted, over time, that my body is changing and changing for good, I let that part of my ego go. I simply opt for a larger size and it’s worked wonders! Like this buttoned henley T-shirt from Hollister, I opted for a size large, and it covers my 36-week belly completely. I paired it with a size small (my regular size) leopard print cardigan also from Hollister, and some loose-fitting joggers from a local boutique in San Diego called Liv3 (see my intro at the bottom of the post; it’s one of my favorite spots to hit up now in North County of San Diego!).
2. Length is everything
To make non-maternity tops work for a pregnant belly, the key is to find tops that are long enough. Rarely would tops not fit in the arms/chest area (if that’s your concern, sizing up solves that problem too), it’s the belly that will be exposed if your top isn’t long enough. For example, this super soft Chicwish sweater is my usual size small/medium (only 5 left in stock as of 10/18!), but because it’s long enough, it completely covers my belly! I paired it with some jeans and it’s a perfect outfit for any Fall-day outing.
3. Mixing up loose and tight fitting items
If you’re wearing a loose top to cover/hide your belly, make sure your jeans/leggings/bottoms are tight-fitting enough. Similarly, a tight t-shirt on the inside of an outfit featuring the loose-fitting cardigan creates the same effect. The point is, don’t overdo it on the loose fitting times, otherwise, sometimes you end up adding unnecessary bulk to your body.
4. Accessorize creatively
I’ve come to LOVE all sorts of statement earrings during pregnancy because this is the one area of my body that hasn’t changed much. LOL. But also, earrings are perfectly fine post-baby so I feel less bad investing in new ones. But another way to accessorize is to incorporate bare shoulders, as in wearing off-the-shoulder tops like this off-the-shoulder sweater from Hollister (size small). Now, we talked about finding a top that’s long enough to cover up your belly. In this case, this sweater wasn’t going to do that very well. So, I found a pair of nice and soft culottes from Liv3, my local boutique store, that goes perfectly well with this top. You can find similar culottes here, and here.
The secret to these culottes fitting perfectly though lies in the waistband. If you are earlier in your pregnancy, I think any culottes with a flexible waistline will work. But as your belly bulges further, you may need a whole panel of flexible cloth like this one in particular.
5. (For third-trimester preggers) Learn to love buttons
Why? Simple. It’s all about boob access after the baby comes! So yes, start looking for pieces with buttons (that actually work) so when you continue to wear them into your 4th trimester (yes, it’s a thing!) it’s already conducive to breastfeeding. This maroon piece of beauty came from, again, my local boutique Liv3 in size medium. You can find similar ones here, here, and here.
A little bit about Liv3 Boutique
This is not a sponsored post! I chanced upon this little gem in North County of San Diego in San Marcos very serendipitously. If you live around the area, you have to visit them! They sell the cutest clothes at very affordable prices (I’d say between $15-$50 a piece depending on what it is) and the cutest interior design/decors (think trendy plants and vases). For expecting mamas and mamas out there, you’d also find their selection of baby/kid products very irresistible. I personally have to restrict myself on how many times I visit them per month because as it stands, I’ve never walked out of their shop empty-handed… kind of dangerous for my budget/wallet.