If you are a mum-to-be, changing your wardrobe all over is something you won’t be able to escape from. But it can be beautiful, affordable and ethical. Discover some tips and ideas for sustainable maternity fashion alternatives that will make your life much easier!
Congratulations, you are bringing a new bundle of joy into the world! This may be your first or fifth child however sustainability might be a recently important value you would like to withhold in this new chapter of your life. As passionate ethical advocates, navigating a more sustainable lifestyle has required us all to educate ourselves more, as well as change our behaviour. We might have altered our diets, how we treat food waste or where we buy our clothes from. Now there is a baby in the mix, you might be thinking, can I still prioritise sustainability? One obvious change during pregnancy is your body and you may have already changed the brands you purchase from, especially when it comes to fashion.
So lets dive into sustainable maternity solutions! During pregnancy you will begin to stretch out your existing wardrobe, as your bump blossoms. Every few weeks you change size and every few months the seasons will change too. It’s a tough journey on its own as a mother during pregnancy especially if its your first. Your body, health and priorities change and with all that you might put a little pressure on yourself to be as sustainable as you can.
You may still fit into your regular clothes up until your second trimester, but soon you will reach the stage of needing some new inspiration and clothes for your gloriously ever growing bump. The options in the fast fashion market are plentiful. But for an ethical fashion warrior, you may feel like you have a challenge on your hands to dress your temporary body and not spend an arm and a leg as the cost of a newborn quickly adds up too.
Below are a selection of options you may want to consider as you contemplate where to buy your clothes during pregnancy.
1. Enhance your own wardrobe
Dig deep enough into your wardrobe and you may be surprised at what you already have! Look for items with an elastic band, big jumpers, long cardigans, floating dresses, leggings or stretchy t-shirts. When bump is growing in the earlier days and you want to show her off a little, you may have some clothes that still have a little stretch like t-shirt dresses and flowy skirts that can be styled to show off bump.
Store away anything that doesn’t fit you anymore so it doesn’t take up your accessible space or make getting dressed each morning more stressful.
If you’re on the creative side or handy with a sewing machine, why not expand some of your clothes you already own!
- Unhook a dress or jumpsuit zip/buttons and extend the material to add a couple of inches
- Clip in a jeans/pants elastic extender to extend the buttons further. Or you can simply thread a hairband through your jeans button hole and wrap it around the button
- Add a belt to your floaty dresses
- Create your own maternity leggings by sewing a tank top above the waist line of your pre-maternity leggings (via cotton and curls)
2. Borrow from a friend or your partner
If you are lucky enough to have friends who are hoarders and have kept their maternity clothes which may fit you, kindly ask if they have anything going spare for you. Many women will be more than happy to share the clothes they found most practical to help you out, or point you in the direction of what might be better than what they wore. You may even be able to swap out your existing wardrobe to repay the favour! That little black dress doesn’t fit you right now and is sitting around waiting to be worn. Share the love!
You could also dive into your partners side of the wardrobe and borrow some of their clothes, like a baggy t-shirt tied over a dress or an oversized jumper with leggings. Get creative and embrace the ‘what’s yours is mine’ rule!
3. Buy second hand
Charity shops, Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, Gumtree (UK & Aus), TradeMe (NZ) are bursting with women selling on their maternity clothes. Online you can find bundles of clothes that come for one price, or some real gems at half the original price tag. Depending on what season you are in, there are some items that will only ever fit you during in maternity, such as a winter coat or summer skirt. Buying these at the cost of second hand is cheaper and the process is more economical. You can always sell them on yourself or give them to a charity shop when you’re finished with it/them, to continue their life cycle.
4. Rent clothes
Many countries having maternity rental companies (as well as baby item rentals) which are becoming more and more popular. They mostly specialise in occasion clothes and workwear, rather than comfortable casual wear. But if you do have a wedding, party or want some smart clothes for work for a short period of time, renting items can be an easier solution than buying something you will only wear once.
A selection of maternity rental services include:
Circo – Europe
Le Tote – USA
Girl meets dress – UK
Glam Corner – Australia
Dress Collective – New Zealand
5. Buy from ethical maternity fashion brands
As well as trying to look like yourself on the outside just as before pregnancy, you might want to feel positive you’re buying from the brand, who do good. More and more brands are popping up over the world whether they be a small local startup or large distributer to supply us with well made maternity fashion, produced ethically and sourced responsibly. Although the price tag may be high, you can be savvy and pick items that will see you through pregnancy and after. Plus you can always go on to sell them and make some money back in return.
A selection of ethical brands include:
Sprout Maternity – Australian only online maternity brand sourcing ethically produced maternity wear
Bamboo Body – Australian brand (shipping worldwide) with the philosophy of ‘look good, feel good, do good’ means every piece from Bamboo Body is ethically produced from the bamboo sourced to the welfare of the men and women helping to produce their garments
Isabella Oliver – UK brand (shipping to EU & USA) which is very transparent on their way to producing ethically sourced and made garments, also offering pre-loved items to promote a circular economy
Boob Design – Swedish brand (shipping worldwide) with a GOTS-certified and Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX certified; is also transparent about its supply chain
There you have it, 5 helpful ways to sustainably shop during pregnancy. Remember none of us are perfect and we can only try our best – that’s one step in the right direction to do good. Enjoy your maternity and if you have any questions or your own tips, make sure to leave a comment below!