As this pregnancy journey is coming to a close, I wanted to share some tips on navigating the maternity fashion space. Not only from a sustainable/ethical viewpoint, but also with regards to cost savings. I’ve stated several times that quality maternity wear is lacking in general – layer the responsible piece on top of that, and it’s relatively non-existent. Hopefully these tips will provide you with a framework of how to build a maternity wardrobe that is fashionable, socially responsible, and budget conscious.
One: Take inventory of your current wardrobe
Every woman will gain weight at a different rate, but I recommend wearing your own clothes as long as possible comfortable. Jeans were the first item in my closet to go as they quickly became too tight across my stomach; however, I am still wearing a few flowy dresses and tops that were in my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Pro-tip: organize your closet in a way that allows you to access all of the items that fit. I created a maternity capsule wardrobe and stored all items that I knew I wouldn’t be wearing anytime in the near future.
Two: Source maternity clothing from friends and family
Unfortunately, this was not an option for me; however, I have several good friends who received their entire pregnancy wardrobe from close friends and family members. This is one way in which I realized maternity fashion is highly sustainable. Women are more than willing to share or sell their pre-owned maternity clothing.
Three: Shop secondhand
This one should come as no surprise as I talk often about the benefits of shopping secondhand. Roughly 90% of my maternity clothes were bought secondhand. Often times with the tags still attached! My main resources were Poshmark and my local consignment store, Clover. You can also search maternity swap/sell groups on Facebook, but I found this process too overwhelming. Too many items, too many people commenting, etc.
This dress was bought secondhand on Poshmark
Four: Invest in basics
As with our everyday wardrobe, there are things that we wear over and over again. This is emphasized even more during pregnancy. You will gravitate to certain items because they’re comfortable and easy to wear. Your pregnancy wardrobe needs may vary depending on work status, but here are a few things that I wore over and over again.
- Basic black dress that I could dress up and down
- Layering tanks in white, black, and grey
- Stretchy black pants (NEVER thought I’d say that, but when you’re pregnant, comfort trumps everything)
- Maternity denim – I was fortunate to find a pair of designer jeans secondhand and they were worth every penny
- Comfortable pair of shoes – My feet started swelling around Week 23 and stayed swollen throughout the duration of my pregnancy
Five: Maternity subscription services
I didn’t use any of these, but have friends that swear by them for their maternity wardrobe. I especially think this option is useful for special events that you need to attend while pregnant. Rent the Runway has a great selection of maternity occasion dresses. A few more subscription services include:
Six: Support ethical/sustainable brands when possible
I understand not wanting to sink lots of money into a temporary wardrobe; however, I think it is worth investing in a few basic pieces that will carry you throughout the duration on your pregnancy. Below are a list of brands that I found during my months of searching. I’ve highlighted a few of my favorites.
- Boob Design | Made ethically in Turkey and Portugal
- Envie de Fraise | Made in France
- HATCH | Made in the USA (high end, but the designs are meant to be worn during pregnancy and postpartum)
- Jojo Maman Bebe | Based out of the UK and Certified B-Corp
- Mitera | Made in the USA
- Storq | Most items are made in the USA (great for basics)
- Thought Clothing | Based out of the UK (not a maternity brand, but offer many loose fitting options)
- Tiffany Rose | Made in the UK (great for special occasion dresses)