tips for dressing the bump (on the cheap!)

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When I found out I was pregnant back in January, I was excited to start looking for maternity clothes, even though I wouldn’t really need them for several months. I quickly realized that the majority of maternity clothing options out there just aren’t that cute, flattering, or affordable (considering the short amount of time they’ll be worn). So I set out to make the most of my current wardrobe and filled in the gaps with some easy, cheap maternity finds that would last me the entire 10 months (and yes — it really is 10 months!). For any other mamas-to-be out there, hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful!

1. Take stock of your current closet.
For the first few months, I took advantage of my regular button-downs, looser sweaters, vests, and jackets due to it being winter and early spring. I also made good use of the “rubber band” trick that so many had told me about (using a hair tie or rubber band to fasten my regular jeans and give them a little more wear time before making the leap to maternity jeans). Once warmer weather began to roll in, I took stock of what maxi dresses and skirts I already had, as well as both flowy and fitted tank tops that would work with the maternity jeans I’d bought. It turned out that many of my regular tops would fit over my growing bump for several more months, helping to stretch my closet a bit further.

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2. Shop for wardrobe staples.
Once I knew what I could use from my current closet, I needed to fill in the gaps with some maternity wear. I chose to stick to affordable options like Old Navy and Target for 90% of my clothing purchases, knowing that while I’d wear them a lot during my pregnancy, that amount of time was quite small in the grand scheme of things. Additionally, Old Navy ALWAYS has sales, so I almost never paid full price for anything. I fell in love with their maxi tank dresses and bought them in 3 different colors. They’re incredibly comfy, they have accommodated both a smaller and larger bump, and I still feel cute in them at over 39 weeks along. Another staple were the Old Navy rib knit jersey tank tops, which I bought in several colors and have worn with jeans, shorts, and maxi skirts. I also got a pair of cuffed jean shorts from Target, which I have worn every weekend this summer.
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3. Borrow from friends.
A few of my girlfriends had babies earlier this year and were thus done with their maternity clothes for the time being, so they kindly offered to lend me some of theirs. If your friends offer, take them up on it! I added several dresses and a few tops to my wardrobe this way without having to spend a dime, and I plan to offer up my maternity clothes to other friends down the road in return. I particularly loved this Pink Blush Maternity maxi (no longer on the website) that my friend Shannon lent me — the colors are so pretty, it’s super soft and comfy, and it was perfect for some of our maternity portraits, too.

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4. Belt it!
Accentuate that bump with a belt! I have just about worn the gold glitter off my Target belt this year because I’ve worn it so often. I love belting loose tops and dresses as well as the more form-fitting dresses to emphasize where the baby bump begins – and add some interest to the outfit.
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5. Change up the same outfits with jewelry and scarves.
As the months have gone by and my belly has gotten exponentially bigger, my wardrobe has gotten exponentially smaller… funny how that works, huh? So instead of constantly buying more maternity clothes, I made do with the staples I purchased and just changed up the look with different jewelry and scarf options. Being a Stella & Dot Stylist certainly has its perks when it comes to this, and it’s made my bump styling so much more fun. Here are some of my favorite ways to style the same outfit with different accessories, including a short necklace and gold belt combo, a doubled-up scarf, and a pendant necklace with chandelier earrings. For the office or cooler weather, you could easily add a cardigan or a button-up (not buttoned, of course) over the dress for even more versatility.
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