As a teenager, I loved clothes. It was an expression of my individuality… and my financial savvy. I would go to outlet malls and buy dozens of the latest t-shirts, jeans, and accessories at a fraction of the price of the mall. I could probably go a month and a half without doing laundry. I sometimes did. Fast forward to life as an adult and $3 t-shirts do not a wardrobe make. I had to spend a little more on things like business apparel and flexible pieces that could go from day to night. I had more trousers and cardigans than anything else, and I prided myself in looking sharp and presentable when I went to work.
Once you’re pregnant, you really start to realize how little clothes you can live on. Most of your everyday wardrobe doesn't fit, but you don’t want to drop a fortune on clothes you’ll really only wear for 6-12 months (at a time). You’ll need a little extra room around the 4th month, and you won’t be back to your previous weight and shape – possibly ever! Since your budget is getting smaller, and no woman loves the fitting room, here are some tips for shopping for your pregnancy, maternity leave, and back to work wardrobes!
- Budget for at least $100-$200 unless you shop very smart, or are able to borrow some pieces from someone recently pregnant (which would be fantastic). You are buying practically a new wardrobe!
- Make a list of what you need for casual (jeans, t-shirts), work (black pants, blouses), and any events you have to attend (one dress or skirt isn't a bad idea), and ensure you can mix and match.
- Consider shopping at second-hand, consignment, or through mom-swaps for some pieces. They will be in great shape from limited use!
- Only buy pieces that make you feel comfortable, and preferably pretty! You’ll end up wearing some things a lot.
- Keep season in mind - you may need to bite the bullet and buy a maternity jacket if you're pregnant in the winter. Heavy sweaters don't always do the job.
- Budget around $50 just to bridge the gap as your figure and responsibilities change.
- Your body has changed and will change a great deal, don’t invest a lot of money or in a large number of items (as eager as you may be for something new)!
- Consider shopping at outlet malls or big box stores just for a few casual pieces that will see a lot of laundry.
- Only buy pieces that will make the work of motherhood easier for you. For me, that was a few cheap t-shirts and some hooded sweaters. You might need yoga pants, nursing tops, or light, flowing dresses.
Back to work:
- Budget around $100 to buy some items to make you feel good about what you’re wearing.
- You may not be 100% happy with how you look right now, but be honest and try on all of your clothes. This is a good time to get rid of pieces that are worn out, that you don’t like, or that are out of fashion.
- Put away clothes that are in great shape if they don’t quite fit (if you can’t bring yourself to donate them), and store away your maternity wear.
- Only buy pieces that will add to your current wardrobe and will continue to flatter as your shape changes (ie, belted dresses, flowing tops, and well-fitting pants).
You may have heard jokes about “mom-jeans” or feel down about some extra weight you may be carrying. You made a person! That’s not like vacation weight from hitting the buffet! I earned every ounce and stretch mark! The way I see it, clothing is not really optional either. You have to dress to leave the house, and you might as well look good! Dress for the shape you have, and own it.