Maternity fashion is not what it used to be. Today’s mothers-to-be have many garments to choose from when it comes to clothing that new bump. However, as you navigate the world of baby gear—all that is needed—and become aware of all the money that will be needed, your fashion sense may have to take a back seat to crib and car seat necessity. Never fear, there are plenty of ways to dress your newly pregnant form both stylishly and economically. The following article discusses alternative places to shop for maternity clothing and advises what items you’ll actually need.

More likely than not, the first thing you will need are a few good maternity bras. Even if your breasts do not swell early on in the pregnancy, chances are, they will still feel sore and the extra support will give you more comfort. Traditional department stores sell them, but they are often expensive. If you are looking for something more economical, try a discount store like Target.

Depending on the style, you may also need to purchase maternity underwear for the pregnancy. Some women get away with regular underwear that sits below the enlarged belly, but for women who experience that widening of the hips, maternity underwear may be the only comfortable way to go. Generally, this underwear fits above the belly for more support but there are many new styles available today.

As far as the rest of your pregnancy wardrobe—focus on comfort. Loose-fitting garments may be preferable, but you probably want to choose some supportive clothing as well—pants with wide elastic bands that fit over or slightly under your belly. Depending on whether you work or stay at home will also impact your clothing styles. There are lots of pretty colors and flowery blouses, but if you base the core of your maternity wardrobe on neutral colors like white, black and beige you will be able to interchange them.

When it comes to wear to shop, there are more possibilities than ever depending on where you live. City dwellers always seem to have more shopping choices, but with online stores, you can have access to the same wares no matter how remote your locale.

Scouring the clearance racks at maternity wear chains and even independent stores often leads to good buys. While maternity-wear for the career mom is usually high-priced, casual wear can be relatively inexpensive and provide a nice comfortable feel and look for the mom to be.

If you don’t mind used, shopping at consignment stores and thrift stores will lead to some of the best clothing bargains for the pregnant woman. Many times the clothes only show slight wear—especially those needed for the end of the pregnancy which really don’t get the opportunity to be worn out. On this note, you may ask your friends with children if they’ve hung on to any maternity clothes and whether you could borrow some.

Department stores are usually high priced and offer poor selections when it comes to maternity wear. Bargain stores like Target and Wal-Mart also offer rather a poor selection—that is, not much to choose from, but at least their prices are reasonable.

If morning sickness doesn’t have you down, making a trip to an outlet mall may be a great way to shop for bargain-rate maternity wear. For the trip, perhaps raiding your husband’s closet—a time honored tradition—might get you something large and comfy to wear.

Your best bet is to buy only what you need. If you plant to nurse, its best to wait until the eighth month when your breasts will be roughly the same size after the baby’s birth. It’s a good idea to get fitted by a helpful salesperson when buying the maternity bra; the right fit is essential.