I am a frugal gal. And by frugal, I mean cheap as fuck. I hate spending money on temporary things. I’m that asshole at the shoe store who tries on the same pair of shoes 15 times and really hems and haws about what I think the life of the soles will be. So, it was no big surprise that when I became pregnant, the idea of having to buy maternity clothes chapped my cheap hide.
To get around having to shell out big bucks on clothes that I’d have to give away in a few short months I used these five wardrobe hacks to cover my girth.
1. MacGyver Your Pants With a Rubber Band or Hair Elastic
OK, ladies, when your pants start to get snug because your belly is beginning to expand, you can use this ninja trick to get you through at least most of your first trimester before moving on to No. 2 below. Take a rubber band and loop it around your pants button two or three times leaving a long loop tail. Take that looped tail and draw it through the buttonhole then back around to the button where you wrap it one last time. Boom. Pants closed. When you can no longer zip then move on to the next trick. If you don’t have a rubber band in the right size, you can always use a hair elastic.
2. Faux Belly Bands
I just could not bring myself to throw down $25 for a sheath of stretchy fabric that no one would see. When the hair elastic on your button finally snaps—because it will—then you are ready to move up to the faux belly band. Take any too-small-for-you T-shirt and cut off the belly portion of the shirt. You should have a giant loop about 8 to 10 inches high that when slipped on over your pants should cover your zipper to hide that your pants won’t even close. And really, that’s all a fancy belly band does too. You can buy cheap T-shirts at Goodwill or any thrift store and cut the fat stripes of fabric to your desired size. The best material is natural cotton as it is breathable and stretchy enough to do the job.
3. Maxi Dresses Are for Everyone
You know what a maxi dress is right? I’ll wait here while you run to Google. Essentially, a maxi dress is a floor-length tube dress. They come in a wide variety of colors and prints and are generally flowy enough to cover your less than comfortable pregnant parts. There is no hefty price tag like those attached to the word “maternity”; in fact, these dresses are usually around $15 to $20 at any Target or Kohl’s type store. They can be dressed up or down depending on what you wear with them, and the best part? When you are no longer pregnant, you can still wear your maxi dress!
4. Yoga Pants, Jeggings, and Other Glorified Tights
Like the maxi dress, these suckers can be found cheap, in a variety of colors and patterns, and also cover your lower half without feeling horribly uncomfortable. When you have to dress up for a holiday or event, you decorate your top half with a fun shirt or cardigan or giant blinking arrow pointing at your protruding belly to distract from your plain as Jane leggings.
5. But What About The Boobs?!
Growing bellies means growing boobs too. Your top shelf will swell to cup sizes you did not think possible, and that will happen before your milk comes in and your boobs double in size one more time.
A good bra costs money; it’s just how it goes. Make sure to get yourself fitted properly at a boutique (this is usually a free service) and ask about bras that can adjust up or down by a cup size or two with ease. I wore something that looked like it was between a sports bra and bikini top that I slid down over my head like a shirt. It had no wires, was stretchy, and came in sexy colors and patterns. I invested in three of these at $25 a pop and was able to keep wearing them throughout my pregnancy and then through nursing! Having a lingerie consultant to help you find the most affordable and comfortable option can mean the world when your nipples are raw, your back hurts, and you just want to put ice packs on your boobs.
Maternity clothes do not need to be expensive—or ugly. With a few quick tricks up your sleeve, you can utilize your current wardrobe much longer than you probably thought you could!