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Shopping for Stylish, Yet Affordable, Maternity Clothes

Shopping for maternity clothes is lots of fun – unless, like most of us, you’re stuck on a tiny a budget. If you're on a budget, shopping for maternity clothes can be a bit more challenging, but you can still find plenty of stylish options with just a little know how.

The first thing to do when you find out you’re pregnant is to consider what kinds of clothing you’ll need. If you work outside the home, you’ll need clothing appropriate for work, as well as some casual clothing for weekends and evenings. If you work from home, then you’ll probably need more casual clothing, and less business clothing. If you’ll be attending any formal events, you’ll need at least one outfit of formal wear, and if you’ll be swimming, you may want a maternity swimsuit.

And don’t forget to consider the seasons. If the weather is warm while you’re at your biggest, your casual outfits should include some shorts and short-sleeved or sleeveless tops. If you’ll be hitting your third trimester when the weather is cold, you’ll need sweaters, long-sleeved tops and possibly a coat. When you’re considering your needs, remember that you’ll also need new underwear – both panties and bras. Your feet will also gain about a size, so plan on buying at least one new pair of shoes, preferably slip-ons that you can get on when you can no longer see your feet.

If the amount of new clothing you need has you overwhelmed, don’t worry. By planning ahead and making a budget, you won’t need to worry about buying all of your maternity clothing at once. You’ll enjoy having new outfits from time to time, so spread out your purchases over several months. Plan your outfits around a particular color palette for maximum versatility, and introduce other colors through accessories or inexpensive additions, like t-shirts.

Look at your own wardrobe. Chances are you have many items that will work for your first trimester and into your second. You might also consider buying a “Tummy Tube,” which is a tube of stretchy fabric designed to gently hug your tummy. It can go over your regular blue jeans and hold them up even if they’re unfastened. Not only will this come in handy now, but also after the baby is born, since it will take you a while to get back into your regular clothes.

Next, talk to any friends who have been pregnant recently. They may have maternity clothes that they’ll be happy to lend you. However, when you’re trying on maternity clothing – whether in the store or at your friend’s house – remember that it isn’t just your tummy that will grow; you’ll also have increased fullness in your breasts and bottom. Clothing that seems a bit loose will probably be just fine.

Your next stop should be consignment stores and sales. Many stores that sell children's clothing on consignment have maternity clothing as well. Also, look for thrift stores, especially in upscale neighborhoods. You can often find stylish and expensive clothing at very reasonable prices in these stores. Remember to visit these stores on a regular basis; their inventory changes frequently. A quick Internet search can turn up lists of consignment sales in your area or lead you to great maternity clothes online. In addition, many large churches hold consignment sales as fund raisers.

Finally, remember to check eBay online, which is, in many ways, like a large consignment sale. Look for clothing that’s from smoke- and pet-free environments, and remember to figure in shipping costs and find out if an item is returnable if it doesn’t fit. The last thing you want is to blow your budget on clothing you can’t return that doesn’t fit!

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