Since becoming pregnant, I struggled with the idea of buying clothes that were, by definition, meant to be used for a few months only. Part of caring about sustainable fashion and making more conscious buying choices entails reconciling the purpose of the purchase with its environmental impact. If we all bought clothes to wear for 9 months and replaced them with new clothes after that period, there would be a lot more clothes in landfills around the world.
I had to make the choice, though, of choosing my battles and caving into the pregnancy shopping spirit, since there is a very high probability this is my one and only baby. Clothes also help you feel like yourself and when your high-waisted pants don’t fit anymore, it gets harder to create cute outfit combinations. I’ve also bought shoes, activewear, and underwear because those are also super important to stay comfortable and healthy throughout this insane life episode.
The other reason I wasn’t crazy about buying pregnant clothes was that I find most brands ugly and unflattering. There are options, though if you want a more slow fashion maternity wardrobe that doesn’t involve floral dresses.
Below are some of the resources I’ve found to shop for maternity wear in a more sustainable way and stores that offer non-ugly alternatives.
Just buy regular clothes in a larger size
This is what I did at first when my belly wasn’t very visible but it started pressing against my skinny jeans. I bought a polka dot maxi dress from Old Navy that isn’t even categorized as pregnancy clothing. It is loose and cute and I knew it would fit until the end of the 40 weeks, it was a nice basic to have during our trip to Europe when we were walking a lot and not having to deal with pants was a great advantage. I also bout a pair of basic black leggings in a size Medium (I’m usually a Small) and a black jumpsuit to keep the one-piece outfit streak going. Don’t get me wrong, I know Old Navy is cheap fashion at its worst, but for basics to wear while traveling and pick up near my house on short notice, it was a very convenient option.
Rent The Runway lets you rent designer clothes eliminating the need for constant shopping to wear all the trends and styles you want. This benefit extends to maternity clothing, which will make it a lot easier to keep your high-end business look unchanged as you go through your pregnancy.
asos is one of my go-to online shopping destinations for shoes, clothing and even some accessories. Their maternity selection is very complete and they have all your essentials like maternity yoga pants, maternity summer dresses and clothes to feel like you are still a woman and not just a bab factory. There isn’t such a thing as “pregnancy shoes”, but if, like me, you need a bigger size due to swelling, they have awesome wide-fit stilettos that you may be able to wear after your pregnancy. These shoes are probably my most precious purchase so far, feeling girly is worth every penny.
I also applied the rule of just buying regular dresses that are flowy so I can wear them after I’m no longer pregnant. I found swing dresses to be the best way to do this since they are inherently loose and girly. I got this one in a size Medium and I love it.
I also got new heels because by regular cute shows don’t fit anymore. Some people experience feet swelling during pregnancy and, let me tell you, the struggle is real. Nothing is as essential to me in order to feel feminine like a good per of heels, I don’t even own flats, so I’ve been living in my Stan Smiths for a while, but that had to change.
You already know eBay is one of my favorite places to shop. I love getting vintage handbags and shoes, along with random finds like coffee table books and now, baby stuff. Given the nature of pregnancy clothes, there is an ample offer of used maternitywear in great condition. Look for some of the brands mentioned here and get a seriously discounted pregnancy wardrobe. When you are done with the clothes, sell them back on eBay. A win-win.
PRO tip: when shopping on eBay, set the “Pre-owned” and “New without tags” filters for the Condition field. There are lots of cheap clothes being sold on eBay nowadays, but the way to shop for vintage only is to select used items and make sure you check the measurements before buying so you don’t have to return any items.
Something I didn’t think about until my boobs were too big was that I would need to transition to nursing bras. A friend gave me the tip of starting to buy nursing bras, instead of just larger sizes since you will likely need bras anywhere from 1 to 3 sizes bigger.
Pea in the Pod is one of the better-known maternity brands with a selection large enough to ensure you find the styles you want.
Mamalicious feels like the Everlane of maternity clothes. Simple, relaxed basics that remind you life goes on as usual.
My favorite part of this brand is the availability of clothes that you can wear after pregnancy. My top pick: maternity biker shorts. Boob is made is organic cotton observing high sustainability standards.
Organic cotton maternity basics.
HATCH is dreamy. I’ll call it the Sezanne of maternity clothing. It can hurt to spend more on clothes that you’ll only wear for a few weeks, BUT this is seriously photoshoot-worthy stuff. You can always sell it on eBay of choosing styles to wear after pregnancy, like the top below to wear when you go get all-you-can-eat sushi or something.
Because you are going to spend thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars in the next few months on diapers, baby clothes, nursery basics, medical bills, health supplements and all sorts of pedicures, it’s nice to have the option of buying some clothes to make you feel better in your new, transitional body. The durability of quality doesn’t matter much since you are going to wear these clothes for a few weeks only, in some cases, but I don’t see anything wrong with doing some quick and dirty online shopping for pregnancy clothes that help you get through this crazy phase. Some of the places where I’ve found good basics and not basics are Amazon, H&M, Zara and aliExpress.
Here is where I would shop maternity party dresses and cute clothes for work and special events.