Wednesday, January 9, 2019

maternity style: how I’m sticking to my style, avoiding traditional maternity wear, and trying to be sustainable + ethical in the process.

I’ll be honest, finding attractive maternity clothes that don’t cost a million dollars is truly like finding a unicorn within the clothing industry. It’s been difficult - and thus I’ve tried to avoid buying ‘maternity’ clothes as much as I can (pants are hard to avoid though!). Beyond finding attractive clothes to wear during this season of life, its even harder to source a lot of sustainable and ethical companies that make maternity clothes (that also don’t cost a million dollars).

During this time, it’s hard to justify spending a lot of money on an item of clothing that you know you’ll only be able to wear for a short season life, and harder than that is not giving in to fast-fashion because you’ll only wear it for a season (which in some ways is part of the fast-fashion cycle, but this time its sort of unavoidable).

I started looking into what was available pretty early on just to see what I was up against and I didn’t like my odds. There’s a lot of rouching, stretchy bands, patterns, things that clip in weird spots or have openings to nurse from, and mainly just a lack of things that I felt still fit my style. I knew that just because I was pregnant and my body was changing, didn’t mean I was going to give up my style. 
So I let that go for a little bit since I knew I wouldn’t have to buy strictly maternity things for a while, if at all.

If you’ve been following along for any amount of time at all, you’ll know organic and natural fabrics are super important to me when it comes to my clothes (and in general when it comes to our home and beyond). In addition to fabric content and ethical companies - maintaining my personal uniform has always been important to me and I wasn’t going to let a ‘less-than’ maternity market get in my way. 

Now that I am in my final trimester and finally have a consistent bump to work with (or around), I’m rounding up my tips and experience on how to handle maternity style in a way that doesn’t compromise ethics or your style. 

(** I didn’t start really showing until about 21+ weeks, I wore my regular clothes until then, which helped a lot in maintaining style and avoiding purchases! **) 

wearing Mamalicious Black Midi Body Dress in XS
check the fit:

In stead of going for items specifically targeted toward growing bumps, I went with oversized and longer cuts to help cover the bump which helped not limit myself to only maternity brands. I’ve been wearing a lot of the oversized pieces I already owned and only invested in a few new pieces that I would still wear post-bump (i.e. things that buttoned down the front that could transition into easy access nursing clothes, one piece outfits like jumpsuits etc). 

adjusting the uniform:

This has probably been the hardest for me since my outfit formula usually goes something like: vintage high waisted denim + seasonally appropriate top (tee, button down, or sweater). I realized the high waisted denim was going to be a problem and I was in denial. All of my jeans are cut higher — so once even the slightest bump started coming in, that top button (or two) became an issue. And I’ll be honest, I miss my jeans. 

To solve this, I sought out cotton trouser type pants with elastic waist bands (NOT the stretchy ‘maternity’ waistbands. I vowed to not own anything with that awful band) so that I could still style shirts the way I would with my highwasited denim. Besides looking for stretchier cotton trousers, I’ve switched up my go to outfit and have been wearing simple midi dresses paired with sweaters and coats as the temperatures are dropping (as well as leggings with sweaters. because, comfort).

So far I’ve purchased a couple pairs of stretchier pants (I scanned places like Crossroad Trading Co. and local thrift store for trousers with elastic waist bands rather than buying brand new. The elastic waist means these can quite literally stretch with me as we grow and I can wear them after), and I purchased one pair of maternity jeans (scored a brand new pair of Current/Elliot for Hatch maternity jeans on Poshmark). I’ve been mixing and matching between my maternity jeans, elastic waist trousers, and dresses + jumpsuits over the last months and have gotten into a new groove + maternity uniform. 

buy only what you need:

This is the main take away. There’s a lot of excitement swirling around being pregnant and a lot of “new” things you need. All sorts of new things for the baby, and there will come a time when you do need to purchase a few new things for yourself as well. Its super easy to let that excitement be an excuse for buying way more than you need and way earlier than you need. Stores aren’t going anywhere — my goal has been to go slow and see what I need as needed. You’d be surprised how much of your current wardrobe you can wear and adjust during pregnancy! (Think stretchy cotton, oversized fits, sweaters, cardigans, leggings, dresses) Wear the clothes you have as long as you can and adjust accordingly - fill in the gaps as your body changes and be thoughtful about each piece you buy, making sure it will last longer than whatever week of your pregnancy you are on. Think ahead. 
Continue to look for natural fabrics! These will be the most comfortable for you (hello temperature regulation) and the most healthy on your skin now and once the baby arrives. 

(Asos and H&M might be fast fashion leaning brands, but they also offer a few lines of conscious clothing made out of organic fabrics at affordable prices - look for things that can transition into the next season once baby gets here to get the most out of these purchases! And if you’re looking to splurge, brands like Hatch are strictly maternity and made of high quality fabrics + ethics. )

quality over quantity still:

Just because this is a new/different season for you and clothes does not mean that you have to give up on the mindset of quality over quantity. In fact - I would say stick to it even more so. Because this change in your closet has a definitive end date, you do not need to go crazy and buy a million pieces of cheap maternity wear. If you buy few, but quality items, you can save them for your next pregnancy if you plan to have more kids, pass them along to the next friend in your group who is pregnant, or re-sell them and continue the circular system of recycling!

During this time I have basically been living with a capsule wardrobe with the few new pieces I’ve purchased and the pieces from my regular closet that can transition with me. It’s been tricky at times when I want to reach for my pre-pregnancy uniform outfit out of habit (looking at you high-waisted pants), but having the few staple go to pieces to mix and match has made getting dressed a lot easier! At 7 months pregnant (currently!), I have only acquired a handful of actual ‘maternity’ items, half of which my mom bought me — everything else I’ve added are regular (size) pieces who’s silhouette better fit the little bump I’ve got until he comes! 

Maternity items:
1 Maternity Sweater (gift from mom)
1 white + 1 black maternity t-shirt (no rouching) for layering under my regular sweaters that might be a little short with the bump. (gift from mom)

Everything else I’ve purchased has been minimal and second hand! I’ve mostly shopped our local Crossroads if/when I needed something and took my regular size (XS - S) but chose pieces that were either stretchier or loose silhouettes - that way I can and will wear them once the bump is gone and the babe is here! 

Brands I like for ethical maternity options (whether marketed maternity or not!):

Everlane : I find most Everyone pieces fit on the relaxed side which is perfect for this time and beyond. 

Pact + People Tree: While not maternity in nature, all of their pieces can be worn while pregnant (you can also size up one if needed which will be comfy post-baby!)

Dwell + Slumber: they offer one piece, but it’s a piece that keeps on giving. It’s bump, nursing, and post baby friendly! 

Storq and Hatch: on the pricier side, this is when quality comes into play. If you’re only buying about 5 days worth of maternity clothes over the course your pregnancy (which I recommend! buy pieces you can mix and match with your regular wardrobe so you don’t get sick of wearing the same thing!) - splurging on a staple every day piece from one of these brands will hold up over the months and for the next one! 

Next up in my mama + baby posts will be on baby brands and items we're loving + our registry breakdown because I've gotten a lot of questions on what we're buying for babe! Stay tuned! 

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