How to thrift for maternity and postpartum: Four tips for your next trip
Author: Arren from www.minimalmills.com
This article will cover how to thrift, particularly for a new season in life — the season of motherhood.
I have been practicing my minimal closet for over a year now and thrifting has been my initial replacement for fast fashion. Although, thrifting can really be helpful for the environment, sometimes it turns into a fun sport — I tend to brag when I find good designer pieces for under $10. If I am not careful, I end up buying more than I intend to wear which is the opposite of my minimal goal of #30wears in a single piece.
In light of that, I want to share a couple of quick tips I use when I go thrifting. Additionally, I want to share how I get the most versatility out of my finds by sharing how to shop for the season of maternity and postpartum season.
TIP #1 Make a list
I have an ongoing list on my phone of the clothes I *think* I need. I usually keep an item on the list for a month before I start actively looking for it; this helps me determine if it is an absolute need or an indulgent want.
With this list I can stand my ground. I can go to the thrift store and pick up things freely and then at the end, when I reevaluate my finds, I can refer to my list as confirmation. If there is an item that is not on my list, I weigh the options and usually ask myself, “Can I see myself wearing it every day for a week?” If I cannot see myself doing that, I put the item back.
TIP #2 Schedule a date and set a timer
When I go to the thrift store, I try to schedule it. Weird right. **Makes appointment with therapist lol**
If I schedule the thrift trip, it helps me avoid spontaneity, which ultimately diverts impulse buys. Once my thrift trip is scheduled, I stick to my date. I have been trying to only thrift a handful of times a year to reduce my consumer intake. This past year I have been twice. I had two big hauls and thanks to my list, it will last me until next year. You should know that any number of visits you set for you, will be good for you! #notaboutthenumbers
I also set a timer once I start looking. The max time I allow myself to have in a thrift store is 1.5 hours (mostly because of my kids and having to get back to them). I feel like it is a good amount of time for me. It is enough to not feel rushed but also just long enough to not linger and overthink my finds. And I have found that this time allows me to get through each section strategically and try on items without impulse buying.
TIP #3 Don’t Limit Yourself to Sections
Maternity and postpartum clothes aren’t necessarily labeled or sectioned off in thrift stores. Well, some stores might have sections dedicated to mothers (thank the fashion gods for them), but most likely they will not have a section. So, be open to trying items on that have
(1) a looser fit
(2) have stretchy fabric for maternity wear
Depending on your style, these same items could look good on you without a baby in your belly, thus extending its time in your closet. #extrapoints I lean towards stretchy, cotton maxi dresses and skirts, pants with elastic bands, t-shirts in the next size up.
For postpartum wear, if you are breastfeeding or pumping, you do not need nursing tops (although they make life easy, the price tag makes it a low priority on anyone’s list). Therefore consider
(1) stretchy tank tops to wear under
(2) low-cut, stretchy shirts
The combination gives you coverage and access; simply lift the top layer and pull down the tank top. Or if you have smaller breasts like me, bring down the neckline of the shirt beneath your breast creating access but little coverage.
I have found my best maternity/postpartum clothes in the men’s section or by overlooking the “size” on the tag and heading straight to the fitting rooms. I also had some personal wins; a couple of times I found dresses suitable for maternity AND postpartum by looking in the ENTIRE dress section, not just limiting myself to my designated “size!”
So, ignore those labels and those “single-wear” dress styles and look everywhere in the store for versatility.
TIP #4 Think Lifestyle
I hate generalizing the life of motherhood, but typically it is messy. When I look for items, I tend to lean toward neutrals, soft items that are easy to care for.
I [try to] avoid picking up clothing with:
(1) lighter colors (white, cream, pastels)
(2) fabrics that can be difficult to clean
(3) fabrics that will be feel heavy on my skin (I tend to be more hot-natured in this season).
So, I look for:
(1) darker colors (blacks, browns, greys, navy blues)
(2) colorful, yet tasteful patterns (like florals)
(3) fabrics which are light or soft to touch (like linen or cotton)
The next time you absolutely NEED to shop for something new, especially in your new season of life, consider thrifting and taking these four tips with you. Although motherhood comes quickly, and feels like it passes quickly, you should be prepared to tackle the season with clothes you like and feel comfortable in while reducing your carbon footprint by shopping secondhand!
Arren is a mother of two and a photographer (momtog) with a minimal closet. After she became a mother, she created this blog to share the best sustainable and fair-trade products and services for mothers and their families. She also shares tips on how to minimize items to maximize self-confidence and joy through a “motherhood lens.” For mother minimalist motherhood tricks and styles, check out her IG at @minimalmills or her blog at www.minimalmills.com