One of the quirks about being pregnant is that most of your clothes become redundant for several months, if not forever, simply because they won’t fit around a pregnant belly. The most annoying thing is, the closer you get to the end of your pregnancy, the fewer things fit and any additions to your wardrobe will only be needed for a few weeks so it’s harder to justify spending much on those larger clothes.
Shopping for second hand clothes to fit your pregnant body is the perfect solution. It doesn’t cost as much as new clothes so it doesn’t matter if you only end up wearing it a few times. And you have a much greater selection of different styles of larger clothing that you might never come across in your usual skinny girl clothing haunts.
Here’s a few tips for shopping for second hand clothes when you’re pregnant:
Stretchy fabrics work really well for obvious reasons. Try to avoid completely synthetic fibres because they don’t breath very well. A pregnant body is more likely to overheat at the best of times, the last thing you need is more reason to sweat and smell. Cotton knit fabrics and cotton blends are best. Viscose, rayon and wool are also natural fibres that breath well and have less negative impact on the environment than synthetic fibres. A small proportion of polyester will give the fabric more stretch.
Don’t buy white – As well as having a protruding belly to collect all your food crumbs and slops, pregnant women also become more clumsy due to the hormone that slowly relaxes all your ligaments. White clothes just show off the stains way sooner than anything coloured or patterned. Patterns are also good for disguising breastmilk leaks later on when you’re feeding your newborn.
Plus size dresses are great but not all plus sizes are created equal. A size 22 dress will have lots of room for your belly but it also has extra room for wide shoulders and larger arm holes. Simply wearing a huge dress may mean exposing some side boob through the armhole and the whole dress feels like it’s too breeze or constantly falling off your shoulder. The other major flaw I found with some of my oversize tops was the neck hole gapped terribly when I bend forward so the world can see a tunnel right down to my toes. So whatever dress you find on the racks, it pays to try it on and check how it fits on your body, not just your belly.
Luckily the current trend is oversized dresses so you can continue to wear oversized dresses and jerseys when you’re not pregnant.
Looking for pants at a second hand shop can be challenging at the best of times. You’re looking for stretchy and soft waist bands or jeans with clever gussets designed for pregnant bellies but they’re a rarer find. Save yourself the energy flicking through every hanger in the pants section, just scan along the top of the rack and pick out the ones with the right kind of fabric. Efficiency.
Getting changed in a cubical without a seat might become more difficult the more heavily pregnant you are, so my suggestion is to buy in advance. Don’t wait until you’re a walking whale. This point is even more relevant for shoes. Have you tried on shoes in a shop with a pregnant belly in the way? The last time I tried on shoes in a second hand shop I was 6months pregnant, I felt I owed an explanation to a lady standing nearby because I was making some embarrassing “ooff” noises as I tried to reach my heel. I said “whew, it’s a bit tricky getting past this belly these days” She replied sympathetically “oh darling, you’re not fat” I sat up in surprise and said “I’m not fat, I’m pregnant!” with a laugh. To which she laughed too and said “ oh, you are too, I jus thought you had gas” I didn’t know how to respond to that!
After you give birth, things take a while to return to your original shape. For me it took much longer than expected and I gave up on being able to fit into my old jeans again. I boxed up some of my smallest clothes, gave them away and went on a second hand shopping spree to buy new jeans and pants that actually fitted what I thought was my new forever-Mum-body. Only a few weeks later, those jeans were falling off my hips! I didn’t know I was still loosing my pregnant belly and loosing weight from breastfeeding.
When my baby was eight months old and still breastfeeding more than eating solids, I was skinnier than I have ever been in my adult life! I was eating like farm worker and constantly hungry keeping up with the calorie intake for the two of us. For other Mums the story can be completely the opposite. The point is, it pays to keep a range of different size clothes in your cupboards for a few years so you’ll always have something to wear no matter what size you become throughout the early years of motherhood.
At the same time, don’t hang on to old clothes forever “just in case” forward them on to someone else that can wear them now. You can sell the expensive items via a second hand shop that sells on behalf – explore the tag called sells on behalf here on treasurehunting to find these types of clothing shops in your region. Or you can donate clothes to a charity second hand shop. Make sure they’re in wearable, buyable condition. If something is only good for gardening or painting you’ll be better off turning them into rags or putting them into the clothing bins that you find in the back of old carparks – most of these go to rag factories.
You don’t need custom designed clothing for breastfeeding. Just a top with a singlet with stretch straps underneath. For dresses, it helps if they have buttons down the front or a stretchy cross-over design that can be pulled aside as required. Simple. Don’t over complicate it.
Keep an eye out for basic foundation pieces of clothing that are in good condition. The basic plain clothes in plain colours that go with everything and anything. Like the humble singlet and stretchy waisted pants mentioned in this blog. These are the items that are less likely to end up in second hand shops, so they are a rarer find than the dramatic colourful items with loads of personality. Your foundation pieces will pay dividends for many years to come.
Whenever you’re shopping for second hand clothes remember it takes a little bit more time and energy than shopping in a new shop because there is so much more to scan through. New shops simply have multiple copies of the same thing in different sizes.
Always buy second hand first.