Pregnant people everywhere generally know that maternity clothing doesn’t have the best reputation. The shapeless shift dresses, cheesy “bun in the oven” tees, and impossibly stretchy pants we’ve come to associate with maternity clothes don’t exactly scream “fashion.” And while there are cute maternity clothes out there—if you know where to look, of course— shopping for it can be challenging. When you’re pregnant, your size is constantly fluctuating, sometimes even from morning to night. Plus, you’re exhausted, so spending your precious energy shopping for clothes may not be very high on your list. But unfortunately, you can’t just skip shopping for maternity stuff entirely— you need clothes, after all!
As a mom of two, I’ve been through this saga twice now. Yes, twice. I didn’t get to reuse much of my maternity wear from my first pregnancy (since my first was born in March) so I needed mostly fall and winter clothes. On the other hand, my second was born in October, so I had to buy summer stuff too. But like any good mom, I’m here to pass on my hard-earned wisdom (read: so many returns) to you. Here are my picks for the best places to buy cheap maternity clothes, no matter what kind of styles you’re looking for.
Best Maternity Basics: The Gap
Building a maternity wardrobe from scratch? I would start at The Gap. They have a big selection of well-made, comfy basics, and its large collection of classic staples means you theoretically could place one large Gap order and live off it your entire pregnancy—the brand carries leggings, tees, jeans, dresses, pajamas, jackets, fitness gear, and basically anything else you could want. Sizing is generally XS-XL for tees, tops, and dresses, and 0-18 for bottoms. And be on the lookout for sales— it has a lot of them!
Our pick: Maternity Pure Body Tank Top ($25; gap.com)
Best Maternity Workwear: Of Mercer
If you work in an office environment that expects you to be in business or conservative attire, the already-tough task of maternity shopping gets even harder. Of Mercer, a female-founded brand, knew this when it added its line of maternity dresses, which are simple, chic, and workplace-friendly. Sizing is XS-XL, and many of the dresses are nursing-friendly for after your baby is born, too.
Our pick: Bennet Dress ($185; ofmercer.com)
Best Maternity Jeans: Madewell
Shopping for jeans is hard even when you aren’t pregnant, but Madewell denim comes through on the toughest criteria: stretchy and comfortable over your bump, but fitted properly through the legs (I can’t tell you how many pairs of pregnancy jeans I tried on that fit in the waist and were pathetically saggy in the legs, leaving me looking more sloppy and harried than I already felt). For what it’s worth, I recommend over-the-bump styles rather than side-stretch styles for denim— but Madewell carries both, in sizes 23-33.
Our pick: Maternity Over-the-Belly Skinny Jeans ($138; madewell.com)
Best Plus Size Maternity Clothes: Universal Standard
I spoke with a friend of mine, plus-size mom and influencer @MiaOMalley, and she told me that often the best bet for plus-size pregnant people is to simply size up in the brands you already know work for you. But among her favorite maternity lines during her own pregnancy was Universal Standard, which offers an inclusive, extended range of sizes, from 4XS to 4XL.
Our pick: Iconic Geneva Dress Mom ($120; universalstandard.com)
Best Maternity Activewear: Beyond Yoga
This is, without a doubt, the softest yoga stuff ever—and soft and cozy is a must during pregnancy. I highly recommend Beyond Yoga’s tops and pants even if you’re not a workout fanatic—this is the stuff pregnancy work-from-home dreams are made of. Sizing is XS-XL.
Our pick: Spacedye Love The Bump Capri Maternity Leggings ($99; beyondyoga.com)
Best Maternity Dresses for Special Occasions: Rent the Runway
This might be considered cheating, since renting is not the same as shopping, but if you’re in a constantly-changing body and you have some big-ticket stuff coming up on your social calendar, I can’t recommend Rent the Runway enough. RTR has a big stock of formal maternity gowns, and believe me, the last thing you want to see hanging in your closet after you give birth is a $200 dress you spent to wear to your cousin’s wedding when you were 7 months along and will definitely never wear again. RTR’s actually has a ton of maternity stuff beyond dressier things, too. If it’s in your budget, I recommend becoming a member while you’re pregnant and renting everyday clothes from its stock of maternity wear— it’s a really great, more affordable way to try out some higher-end maternity gear without investing. If it doesn’t work for your body, just send it back and try something else!
Our pick: Seraphine Mariella Maternity Dress (from $30 for a four-day rental; renttherunway.com)
Best Maternity Bathing Suits: Target
Summertime pregnancies need bump-friendly swimwear! Personally, I was paranoid about getting a sunburn on my bump, so I preferred one-piece styles that offered UPF protection (but if you’re prepared to slather up, two-pieces usually don’t need to be bought in maternity styles). Target had a great selection of swimwear in sizes S to XXL that worked for me in some really fun, summer-y prints.
Our pick: Maternity Floral Print Bandeau Twist One Piece Swimsuit ($35; target.com)
Best Trendy Maternity Clothes: ASOS
While you’re pregnant, it’s pretty easy to feel left out of fashion trends—the TikTok-beloved high-waisted mom jeans and crop tops don’t really work for pregnant bodies! But if you’re missing that feeling of being part of the in-crowd, check out the maternity offerings from ASOS. It’s got biker shorts, mom jeans, babydoll dresses—basically all the stuff the cool kids are wearing, built with bumps in mind. ASOS sizing varies wildly, but it does carry some extended sizing, up to size 6XL.
Our pick: ASOS Maternity Bunny Tie Shoulder Mini Smock Dress ($22; asos.com)
Best Maternity Clothes for Photo Shoots: Yumi Kim
Planning a tropical getaway before the baby comes? Shooting some special pre-baby photos? Grab one of these flowy, ethereal flower dresses from prints-queen Yumi Kim. Her maternity dresses are pretty, timeless, and comfortable— she’s a mom herself, so she gets it. Dresses are sized XXS-XL.
Our pick: Rosa Maternity Dress ($248; yumikim.com)
Best Maternity Underwear: SKIMS
Lastly, before you shop for clothes, don’t forget what goes underneath them! Rather than looking for belly-support and underwear separately, lots of moms like SKIMS’ “sculpting” briefs. Don’t worry, this isn’t maternity shapewear—the light compression can actually provide pelvic and back support and feel way more comfortable than going with regular underwear. SKIMS also carries a super-comfy looking maternity/nursing bra. Sizing runs XXS-5X.
Our pick: Maternity Sculpting High-Waist Brief ($34; skims.com)