Monday, 26 May 2014

Back With A Bump! Bargain Maternity Tips...

Hi everyone, yeah I'm back. Been away from blogging and pretty much everything as it's been a bit of a whirlwind. As regular readers may know, we had a bit of a scary situation last year with losses and a scary trip to oncology... the knock on effect being the last few months have been a bit of an anxious kerfuffle of hospital appointment and worry.

Well so far so good. I'm 24 weeks pregnant now, and thanks to my diagnosis and medication all seems normal at the moment. Fingers crossed.

Anyway enough of the House episode. I'm going to get right back into my usual bargain shopping type thing now. One thing I've realised over the last couple of months is that maternity wear is both expensive and incredibly boring if you're into vintage or alternative fashion. No, in fact it's pretty darn boring if you're into mainstream fashion too. Unless you really, really like navy blue and cream stripes with everything - oh, and spending £30+ on a jersey top you're only getting 4 months wear out of.

Here are some of my tips for saving money and looking unique...

Check What You Have

Bloody terrible picture of me in a hospital corridor @16 weeks.
When you start to expand like a balloon get a little bump, spend a couple of hours going through your regular wardrobe. Put aside anything with no stretch, high on the waist, tight on the bust or with pictures/patterns that might distort for a few months time! Bring to the front:

  • Loose, wide t-shirts, tunics or dresses;
  • Low waisted skirts, jeans and trousers (use a hair elastic to 'expand' the fly button a few inches);
  • Leggings, generously sized tights and hold ups;
  • Jersey 'fitted' tops or dresses, such as you'd find on Everything £5;
  • Loose jumpers and twinset-style cardigans you can fasten at the neck, leaving open at the waist.
  • Belts. Fasten them under the boobs. If you've ever had the "is she pregnant or constipated" stare from a stranger, you'll know why an above-bump-belt is wonderful for feelgood factor.
I'm still wearing a lot of this kind of thing at 24 weeks, with a proper bump. Having spoken to friends with children, these adaptations can save you money and preserve your style up to 30 weeks!
Some investments I would recommend would be: a bump band (a band which masks extended trousers or the dreaded builder's bum!) and a couple of pairs of maternity leggings. Oh, and some comfy bras. The only pretty maternity ones I found were in Debenhams, but Primark and M&S standard nonwired bras are just as good and cost much less: the boxed ones from M&S are a favourite of mine.

Adapt Your Shopping

We're going to need a bigger dress.
OK, so after a while you'll want to add to your wardrobe. Many of your saved items will still fit, except that all the belts in the world won't hide the fact you're in Tescos in your knickers with your jeans round your ankles because the hair elastic holding your trews up just busted loose. My moment was 23 weeks. I had some eye watering ligament pain and my waist vanished in 24 hours flat. You'll go into Mamas & Papas do a little bit of sick in your mouth and walk directly out again. Here are some ideas for when you actually need to buy clothes...

  • By now, you will probably have the leggings and tights and bump bands. If not, invest. They're perfect bases for everything. I promise you they'll be on you or in the washing machine 90% of the time;
  • In charity shops...
  • Maternity jeans. Choose them for the right season - ask mates who have kids, they may well give, sell or swap an old pair. Ditto black or grey trousers;
  • Second hand maxi dresses - just normal ones - often they're very flared with plenty of space for bump growth. Look for adjustable straps and be open to trying various sizes. These can be picked up at any charity shop, EBay and of course those cheap, slightly dodgy shops on the high street that spring up where there used to be a Woolworths or Jessops. In cooler weather, a loose t-shirt or blouse over the top makes them do double duty as a skirt;
  • Band t-shirts (or any oversized T). Again, charity shops and even Primark stock these cheaply. They're a perennial favourite and can be worn all year round. Plus, they're meant to be baggy, so will be fine when you hopefully  spring back into shape afterwards.
  • Look out for longer, tunic style jersey tops. Bought in a larger size, these are an easy way to mix n match in colours you actually like.
  • New...
  • The most stylish reasonably priced maternity shops I have come across are all online. Topshop, ASOS, New Look and George (Asda). Unfortunately with the exception of Toppers, few high street shops keep their range on the shop floor these days, so P&P it is.
  • EBay is great for basics. I have made several purchases from Purpless - great value basics in a range of colours. Happy Mama Boutique also does some great jersey bits, and their cropped jeans are excellent.
  • With all this 90s stuff in the shops, harem pants and maxis with elastic waists are everywhere. They're cheap and cheerful - I buy a size up and pair with a long top (worn 'under bump') with ballet pumps for work. Again, as well as the high street keep an eye out at markets - the cheap and cheerful 'one size' versions have a LOT of stretch!
Happy Mama dress, Purpless Leggings.

For Best...

Blue Maxi Dress £129

If you have a wedding or event to attend, you will need to invest in a better quality, specially designed item. Check out Isabella Oliver - a known brand for classic chic which can be adapted to a sophisticated vintage style if that is your taste.
Yes. Yes it is a bit expensive and posh for me isn't it? Just as well they have an OUTLET then isn't it?

ASOS Maternity Lace Bodycon Dress £40

Asos also have some slightly edgier and more fashion-forward formal wear, as does Rock-A-Bye-Rosie at Debenhams. These are rather more affordable than Isabella Oliver.

A nice thing about maternity evening wear is that it holds its value, so you can always EBay it afterwards. And of course, for a cheaper option (which avoids the turning-up-in-the-same-outfit situation too) it's a great idea to pop these brand names into a second hand EBay search. I have two weddings and a prom (to chaperone) this year - all three dresses purchased for under £30. I used my usual Ebay rules (low top bid, try unusual end times, blurry photos ... ) and it paid off: all three have clearly only been worn once and will be re-saleable after I've used them.

Well there you go ... my tips. Have you got any?


  1. How wonderful, I'm so happy for you both.

    One of my colleagues is 7 months pregnant and money is very tight, she has found Peacocks good for maternity clothes though of course they are not as prevalent on the high street as they were.

  2. Congratulations and great tips! Wish I could add a few, but I looked like a flump with no style whatsoever when I was preggers. Think I'd have worn maxi dresses though, if they'd been popular then - plenty of them in charity shops at the moment.

  3. I'm so happy for you!! You wear that baby bump so well!!!

  4. Congratulations! I really am so happy for you.

    Let me know if you want any vintage baby knits for the bump!

  5. Some loose and comfortable clothes are best for maternity. Legging with t-shirts are comfortable clothes and also these are money saving method......


Let me know what you think!