Dads, this may be your excuse to tune out (but if you decide to read on, bless your heart! Your wife is a lucky gal!). We ladies have something important to discuss…maternity clothes.

Moms, I could use some advice on what to do for maternity wear. I’m 23 weeks along and “the bump” has finally started to distinguish itself, and not a moment too soon. I’ve finally surpassed that awkward “is she or isn’t she?” stage, and onlookers now give kindly, knowing smiles, instead of quickly averting their eyes from my midsection.

Normally, I rarely shop for clothes. I am embarrassingly frugal about my apparel choices, now that we live on one income. And maternity clothes are definitely something I consider to be a debatable expense. They’re overpriced (Why? There’s not THAT much more material!). They’re temporary. And then you donate them or sell them on Craigslist for a pathetic fraction of what you paid.

But for some reason, this time around, I felt like treating myself to something other than sweats and hand-me-down shirts from my husband. I just couldn’t stomach (sorry…) the thought of paying through the nose for clothes I’d wear for only a few months, but I did invest in a couple of bargain-priced elastic pants and some long stretchy blouses. Much to my dismay, however, the pants have already shrunk after only after a couple of washings. I’m barely six months along and my maternity pants already are already feeling tight! What in the world am I going to wear for the next four months??

Pre-pregnancy clothes

I just discovered one potential lifesaver: the rubber band/belly band trick. Tools required? A rubber band or ponytail holder and a maternity belly band similar to the Bella Band. I had mine leftover from our nursing days, and I think it will prove to be a godsend during pregnancy, as well.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1:  Put on pants/shorts. Leave unbuttoned/unzipped.
Step 2:  Insert rubber band through buttonhole, slip one end of rubber band through loop on other end of rubber band, pull taut, and hook onto button.
Step 3:  Put on belly band, scrunching it around rubber band to hide any evidence of an open fly.

Holy waistlines, Batman! I can still wear my pre-pregnancy jeans! No pricey maternity denim for me! Speaking of denim, while searching online for maternity wear, I came across “skinny maternity jeans.” A more unlikely pairing of words I could not conceive. Jumbo shrimp, anyone?

Extra-long blouses

These are actually trendy now, thanks to the revival of 80s wear. No need to shell out the extra dough for shirts labeled “maternity,” just shop in the regular women’s section for those extra-long styles, and then buy a size or two up.

Muumuus? Really?

Really. I think muumuus (or mumus) are experiencing some sort of hip comeback. With warmer weather around the corner, I do plan to take advantage of some type of empire-waist tunic (caftan? sun dress?)―a big leap for me since I currently own NO dresses. I’m no fashionista so I’m probably getting the terminology wrong, but you know what I’m talking about…. light and flowy, and could be used as a beach coverup.

But that’s where my bright ideas for maternity wear fizzle out. Moms, which maternity clothes could you not live without? Which ones did you regret purchasing? Where did you shop for maternity clothes on a budget? And how can I get through pregnancy without looking like a victim on TLC’s “What Not to Wear”??

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