How to Get the Maternity Wardrobe You Want Without Spending a Fortune

Tips and tricks on how to build a capsule maternity wardrobe on a budget.
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By Martina Garvey, E-Commerce Editor
Updated August 16, 2023
Image: kryzhov | Shutterstock
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We all know cute pregnancy clothing exists, but shelling out top dollar for something that you’ll only wear for 9 months may feel a little extravagant. After all, new parents have a long list of things to buy for baby—including a stroller, crib, layette set and all the other essentials—so purchasing an entirely new maternity wardrobe may be out of the question. If this financial pressure is striking a cord with you, don’t worry! The Bump team is here to help with a few workarounds for making a few select pieces of maternity clothing—and your existing wardrobe—work for your style and budget. Keep reading to find out more.

Invest in Basics

It may seem counterintuitive, but investing in good quality basics can actually save you money in the long run. Why? By purchasing a few pregnancy-appropriate staples you can create a capsule maternity wardrobe that reduces the need to shop for new outfits on the regular. Our advice is to pick up a pair of pregnancy jeans and leggings plus a couple of everyday tees and tops with built-in nursing access. Depending on the time of year, it may also be wise to buy some seasonal essentials, such as good quality knits for winter or a maternity dress for summer. As you’ll be wearing these items on repeat, pay careful attention to the fabric choices, fit and overall quality of the garments. And, while we love a pop of color, remember that neutral shades—like black, white and beige—are easier to mix and match. Below find three foundational items to add to your pregnancy wardrobe.

Dark-wash denim

Gap Maternity True Waistband Full Panel Vintage Slim Jeans with Washwell
Image: Gap
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Trends come and go, but a pair of dark-wash denim jeans never go out of style. This pair has a slim-fit straight leg design that feels fresh and modern but still goes with everything. Plus, the stretchy over-belly band will support your blossoming bump through all three trimesters and beyond.

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Basic white top

Modern Eternity Charlotte Long Sleeve Nursing Top
Image: Motherhood Maternity

Designed to be worn before, during and after pregnancy, this top is a true investment piece. It’s made from cotton with a touch of spandex for added stretch and features a clever double layer fabric design over the bust for easy nursing access.

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Tailored black trousers

H&M MAMA Jersey Dress Pants
Image: H&M
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No maternity wardrobe is complete without a pair of smart black pants. This pair can be dressed up for work or down for everyday errands—either way they’ll look incredibly chic.

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Utilize Non-Maternity Clothes for Pregnancy

These days many folks—celebrities included—wear non-maternity clothes for pregnancy. So before you go out and buy anything new, take a closer look at what’s already in your closet. Oversized button-down shirts, empire-waist dresses, waterfall cardigans and stretchy pants or skirts with a smock waist can all be incorporated into a capsule maternity wardrobe. Remember comfort is key for pregnant moms, so pack away items with scratchy sequins, annoying tags or stiff structured material until after baby is born. To give you an idea of the type of styles that work well, we’ve listed some of the best non-maternity clothes for pregnancy below.

Oversized shirt

Weekday Relaxed oversized poplin shirt in light blue
Image: ASOS
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Chances are you already have a button-down shirt in your wardrobe. The good news? Shirts or blouses with an oversized fit and a longer length can be won until your belly really starts to pop. Another benefit is that a button-down top gives new moms easy nursing or pumping access once baby’s on the scene. Talk about a versatile garment!

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Open-front cardigan

Quince Mongolian Cashmere Open Cardigan Sweater
Image: Quince
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During pregnancy you may experience drastic temperature changes, from hot to cold and back again. That’s why a cardigan like this one will come in clutch. Not only does the open-front design leave plenty of room for your belly, but as there’s no fiddly buttons or zips it’s easy to slip on when you feel a chill or off when a hot flash takes hold.

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Babydoll dress

Kiyonna Issy Leaf Print Tiered Tunic Babydoll Dress
Image: Nordstrom
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A babydoll dress has a high waistline that rests just below the bust and a short swing skirt that leaves plenty of space for a growing bump. You may already have a similar style in your wardrobe, but if not this one by plus-size brand Kiyonna is a great option for curvy moms.

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Shop Affordable Brands for Statement Pieces

Yes, there really are brands out there selling wow-worthy maternity clothes at ultra-affordable prices. Take full advantage! Not sure where to head? Some of our favorite places to tap for statement pieces that won’t break the bank include ASOS, PinkBlush and Missguided. Shop a few statement pieces for $30 or less below.

Floral blouse

New Look Maternity Long Sleeve Wrap Blouse in Black Floral
Image: ASOS
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Jeans and a nice top are a classic combination, so it helps to have one or two pretty blouses in your maternity wardrobe. This floral top has a wrap style front and an affordable price tag to boot.

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White maxi dress

Boohoo Maternity Linen Shirred Tiered Midi Dress
Image: Boohoo
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This beautiful white maxi dress would be perfect for a baby shower, maternity photoshoot or a last-minute getaway with your partner. It’s reasonably priced and we reckon you’ll get plenty of wear out of it during pregnancy.

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Colorful midi dress

Missguided Rib Belted Cold Shoulder Maternity Midi Dress
Image: Missguided
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From the electric blue color to the cold-shoulder detail, this midi dress really has the wow factor. And if you weren’t impressed with the style get a load of that $9 price tag!

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Give Renting a Go

Still not into the idea of buying new maternity clothes? You can forgo shopping altogether in favor of renting pregnancy clothes. Renting clothes is better for the environment and your wallet, as you can try the latest styles with no commitment. The best part? Maternity clothing subscription services have been popping up left and right, which is great news for expectant parents. Keep scrolling to discover two of our favorite rental sites for pregnancy clothing.

Designer maternity fashion rental

Rent the Runway
Image: Rent the Runway

Choose from thousands of top designer styles for every stage of pregnancy with a Rent the Runway subscription. Enter your due date and take a look at styles that are perfect for your bump size. There’s a few different packages available including an unlimited monthly rental option and single item rentals for a special occasion.

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Curated maternity fashion rental

Le Tote
Image: Le Tote
Buying Options
Le Tote|From $79

Le Tote is another excellent option for those looking to avoid buying maternity clothes. Answer a bunch of style questions, click on the personalized wardrobe selections you’d like to borrow and wait for your package to arrive. Hang onto the items as long as you'd like before selecting your next round of rentals.

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Shop Secondhand Clothes

Pre-loved pregnancy clothes are another great option for moms in the making. Secondhand clothing is super-affordable and is far better for the environment than shopping new. The fashion industry uses tons of resources, but by recycling clothing you can extend the lifespan of individual garments thus reducing your carbon footprint. Plus, vintage clothing tends to be higher quality, not to mention more unique, than items you’ll find in fast-fashion stores. Below find two great places to shop for secondhand clothing online.

Maternity consignment store

Motherhood Closet
Image: Motherhood Closet

Thrift high-quality maternity clothes at Motherhood Closet. The site has plenty of items from beloved brands—like Isabella Oliver, HATCH Collection and Seraphine—at up to 90 percent off the original retail price. You can rent or buy items from Motherhood Closet, and once you’re ready to offload any pregnancy clothing you can submit it for consignment sale on the site. Talk about a circular economy!

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Best online marketplace for vintage finds

Image: eBay
Buying Options
eBay|From $1

Seasoned secondhand shoppers may prefer eBay—the original online marketplace loved by bargain hunters and thrifters alike. Search for maternity clothes on the site and filter the results by size, condition, price and style. It may take a little digging but you’re sure to find some gems eventually.

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Buy a Pregnancy Pant Extender

Want to continue to wear your favorite jeans and pants for as long as possible? Try a pregnancy pant extender out for size. Not to be confused with a belly band, which offers support to your pregnant belly, a pant extender is for practical and aesthetic purposes only. These clever pieces of material are worn over your regular pants when you can’t button them up, making your non-maternity clothes last longer. Yes really!

Top-rated pant extender

Bellaband The Original Pregnancy Belly Band
Image: Ingrid & Isabel

While there are a couple of pregnancy pant extenders on the market, the Bellaband is the real OG. The super-stretchy fabric band holds up your pants through every stage of pregnancy. Fold it over and place the stay-put silicone strip on your pants to conceal unbuttoned pants, or unfold it to support a bigger belly.

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Spend Wisely on Nursing Bras

Your breasts will start to feel like boulders as they prepare for milk production. Because your bra size will probably change within the first few weeks of breastfeeding, you might not want to commit to a whole new set of maternity bras that won’t last you past pregnancy. With that said, you’ll definitely need one to three maternity bras to start with. Trust us, good underwear is worth the investment.

Multi-pack of nursing bras

iloveSIA 3PACK Womens Full Bust Nursing Bra Seamless Maternity Bra
Image: Amazon
Buying Options

The best deal around? A three pack from iLoveSIA for under $30. They're underwire-free, seamless and leave enough room for you to add a cup or nursing pad when strapped up.

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Buy Gift Cards—for Yourself

You know those special offers where you get a $20 store credit if you purchase a $50 gift card? Do it and use those savings for yourself—it’s not selfish! It’s a gift to your baby in utero. (They’d want you to look cute, we promise.)

Sharing: Not Just for Toddlers Anymore

Chances are, you have friends who’ve been pregnant who are the same or close to the same size as you. Or maybe you have a friend who’s pregnant at the same time as you, but in a different stage. Consider the savings if you go in on a wardrobe together!

Rock Whatever You Buy or Borrow

Keep in mind that it’s sometimes not how much you spend on your clothes but how you wear them. Be confident, stay comfortable and accessorize.

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