I resisted maternity clothes for as long as I comfortably could. Why? They're so darn expensive! (Also, I think I was in denial for a while that I might gain 25+ pounds with this pregnancy.) Fortunately, I found a few ways to get around the maternity clothing market prices.
First, I decided early on that I could make do with a few of my regular draw string skirts and cardigans, if I only had camisoles or t-shirts to wear under them. This has been a great strategy so far and wearing layers means I can stay comfortable throughout the day at work or at home on the weekends.
I bought a few things on the clearance racks at the Gap Outlet that were just one size larger than I might normally buy, or were cut so that they could work as early maternity wear. I purchased these with gift card money, so they were not out of pocket expenses. Then, I found the local semi-annual children's consignment sale where they also sell maternity clothes. Here I picked up a few items that I thought could be staples throughout the year: brown pants (that of course needed to be hemmed), a grey dress shirt that doesn't need ironing, and a white collared sleeveless shirt I can wear alone or under a jacket/cardigan. I made it my mantra to try to purchase the fewest items possible and have them be the most versatile.
Then, my cousin and college roommate came through big time. My cousin sent me a few nursing camisoles that have been great for early maternity wear and worked well under cardigans, etc. for school. My college roommate brought me three bags full of maternity clothes, some from her sister who is just about my size. Her sister is an optometrist, so there were lots of nice professional clothes in those bags that worked well for teaching and are really comfortable. There were also several nicer t-shirts that I could wear under my regular cardigans and jackets (if I wear them open, of course), so these rounded out my wardrobe.
Occasionally, I'll have a friend bring me some random thing they found, which has also been nice. For instance, I have a wonderful friend who works at the local women's shelter and she brought me some maternity clothes that were donated to them (they don't take clothing donations; it's just too much for them to have to weed through, so they always take them to GoodWill anyway). In that bag was a wonderful blue cardigan I can wear, and a super cute plum colored dress that has become Benny's favorite "hot mama" dress when I wear it with boots.
Do I still look longingly at some of my favorite outfits I can no longer wear right now (like my absolute favorite camel colored cable knit sweater)? Of course. Is it fun to pull out something new from those bags or hangers and feel good about how I look for the day? Absolutely. Do I love that I've spent less than $20 on maternity clothes? Totally, because it means that it frees up our budget to do more for the baby.
But we haven't had to spend anything on baby clothes, thanks to the generosity of several friends. My college roommate also brought me tons of clothes from her son (they don't plan to have more kids, and it seems her sister just keeps having girls) and has promised more to come when we're ready. Another fabulous friend has two boys who are four and two. She's brought me tubs and tubs full of clothes. These have been really fun to go through because I remember her boys wearing many of the outfits. Because her boys were born in November and May, we've got most of the seasons and sizes covered, so it looks like we'll be able to survive on hand-me-down clothes for this little one for quite a while. Which, of course, allows us to both live green and save green.
I'm sure that people won't be able to resist some cute little thing they see in a store for this boy to wear. But we really hope that by introducing him to the idea of second hand clothing from birth, and knowing that we do the same, he won't feel out of place as he gets older and will recognize that we're able to do more for others when we spend less on clothes.
How have you saved on maternity or baby clothes? Or have you pinched other areas of your wallet in order to buy what you love? Here's to living green and saving green on the family wardrobe!