4 sustainable and affordable ways to build your maternity wardrobe


When it comes to being pregnant, one of the biggest stretches on your wallet can be buying clothes to accommodate your changing body. Lots of companies cash in on this by offering overpriced maternity clothing, and you can end up spending a small fortune if you’re not careful. But it doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive. By getting a bit creative with your purchases, you can make things go further and still feel wonderful throughout your pregnancy. Here are some of my favourite tips.

(By the way, I’ve labelled this a maternity post, but really these tips are useful to save money with any kind of clothes shopping!)

maternity clothes hanging on rail

1. Buy ‘preloved’

The wonderful thing about maternity clothes is that people will only wear them a handful of times, so preloved (secondhand!) pieces are plentiful! There’s a whole host of places you can shop, from the classics like eBay and charity shops, through to newer resale sites like Depop and Vinted. If you’re shopping online, set up search alerts for your favourite maternity brands so you’re ready to pounce when something good comes up. It’s also worth checking out this post which has some of my top eBay tips (although it’s about a different topic, lots of the ideas still apply!).

In addition to those options, you may also find maternity clothes at sales run by local mums and toddlers groups, NCT and similar organisations. You can check the NCT website or ask around at local events to find out what’s available near you.

2. Buy things that work both during and after pregnancy

After we had Clem, I was pretty sure we were going to have another baby at some point, so I tried to choose things that would work as and when I got pregnant again (and, let’s face it, for a couple of months after the baby is born!) For me, this meant a lot of loose fitting dresses that I could choose to wear a belt over or not, stretch fabrics like jersey and even some elasticated waists. Oh, and don’t forget that it won’t just be your bump that grows. It’s totally normal to gain a bit of weight in the thighs and arms and, oh yes, the boobs grow too! Small changes like looking for longer t-shirts or buying jumpers one size up can add a little bit of longevity even if they don’t end up lasting you to week 40. 

Another thing to bear in mind is that you’ll probably feel quite a bit warmer when you’re pregnant than not. If you’re pregnant in summer, try dresses that will keep you cool but can also be worn with tights in the winter. 

Of course, there’s no need to be militant about this! After you’ve had a baby, one way to start feeling like yourself again is to wear something you couldn’t possibly have worn when you were pregnant, and that’s wonderful! But if you’re on a budget, make most things work whether you’re bumpy or not.

And finally, don’t forget about breastfeeding too. While it doesn’t work out for everyone, if you end up feeding your baby you’ll want things with easy boob access. Some brands sell things designed specifically for nursing, but you can also think about things like button-down shirts and dresses.


buy things that will work in pregnancy and after the baby is born

3. ‘Hack’ clothes you already have

There are some easy little DIYs that can make ordinary clothing work when you’re pregnant. 

Maternity jeans DIY

You may find it difficult to hunt down secondhand maternity jeans that you love, in which case you could buy a pair of normal jeans and do a little DIY action to turn them into maternity jeans. A Beautiful Mess has an excellent tutorial on how to do this.

Maternity top DIYs

Sometimes you have a top you love that you just want to keep wearing. If so, this one’s for you. You can easily adapt pretty much any top to accommodate a growing bump by adding a little bit of fabric here or there. For oversized t-shirts, you could try sewing elastics into the side seams to form ruching. For tops that are just a bit too short, you can add a section of fabric to the hem, or even buy a little belly band to wear underneath them. And for collared shirts that are too tight, cut along the side seams or centre back and add in a triangle of fabric to create more room.

4. Share with a friend

If you’re at an age where lots of your friends and family are having babies, it’s not uncommon to find that one or two are essentially alternating being pregnant with you. By which I mean, they get pregnant close to when you give birth and vice versa. If that’s the case, buddy up with that friend and share a maternity wardrobe. You’ll essentially get your wardrobe for half the price, and it will feel like going on a shopping spree when you get that lovely big bag of clothes back!

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