Ethical and Sustainable Maternity Wear: My Garment Suggestions
If you are looking to buy ethical and sustainable maternity wear, you need to be a little creative with your shopping. Last week I covered my key tips for creating a sustainable maternity wardrobe, which can be used to guide your shopping. This week I bring you some recommendations for each garment type- some garments you can shop primarily non-maternity, whilst others require maternity specific shopping. These recommendations should give you some good inspiration for how to create your sustainable maternity wardrobe.
Coats, Jackets & Cardigans
This is one type of garment that you can probably avoid buying in maternity styles. If you live somewhere cold enough to need big coats, you will already own them, so just wear them unbuttoned. Instead of buying maternity jumpers/sweaters, choose warm cardigans that you can partially button, try wearing a maternity singlet under your dress or top, and cover your bump with a warm scarf for extra layering. Cardigans and open jackets (rather than jumpers/sweaters) will also come in handy when you are breastfeeding. Here are some great cardigans to accommodate your bump to from sustainable labels that I have used:
1,2 & 3: Fairtrade sustainable knitwear by People Tree* (enter GREY10 at the check out for a reader discount of 10%)
4, 5 & 6: US-manufactured cardigans and blazer, made with deadstock fabric by Seamly*
I have chosen to live in mainly dresses throughout my pregnancy, layering up or down as the weather requires. This allows my maternity wardrobe to be used through most of the seasons. I have managed this with a mix of non-maternity and maternity dresses. Here are some sustainable options (both maternity and roomy non-maternity), all from brands that I have shopped with:
1, 2 & 3: These dresses are made by the only maternity wear brand that I have found which lives up to the ethical and sustainable standards of tortoise & lady grey, Boob Maternity Wear. This Swedish company is committed to ethical and sustainable manufacture. Their products are ethically manufactured in Portugal, and the great majority of their range is manufactured using sustainable textiles. Their online store delivers to most countries globally, but if your country is not covered (as Australia is not) then look up their stockists on their store locator. I was able to buy one of their dresses from an Australian-based stockist. The dresses featured here are made with organic cotton, and each dress is suitable for both maternity and nursing, which means you will get at least two years wear from the dresses for each pregnancy.
4 & 5: These are both non-maternity garments by Seamly*. The first is the multi-functional Seasonless Skirt, which I purchased to wear during this pregnancy. The skirt is very roomy and wearable high-waisted sitting just below your bust and above your bump. It is also wearable as a dress, with plenty of room for a big baby bump. I haven’t worn the Maxi Dress, but it looks to be a similar cut to the skirt and I believe it should have enough room to wear at least until 6-7 months pregnant, if not right until the end.
6, 7 & 8: Fairtrade label Kowtow produce an enormous range of billowy organic cotton dresses that have plenty of room for a bump. The styles that have belts don’t usually have belt loops, so you can simply wear the belt a little higher, or not wear it at all. I have one past-season summer dress from Kowtow that I am currently wearing in the final stages of my pregnancy with plenty of room to spare.
Tops & Shirts
This is one type of garment which really requires you to specifically shop from maternity brands. Most maternity tops also double as nursing wear, so I would make sure this is the case to get the maximum wear out of each top you buy. I recommend having a few good maternity singlets/chemises, and a few good tops. My office dress code isn’t too formal, so I haven’t a need for buttoned shirts, but if your office requires it, I’d invest in 2 or 3.
1,2 & 3: Are organic cotton maternity & nursing tops by Boob Maternity Wear.
4 & 5: Are maternity shirts made by altering thirfted men’s shirts. Full tutorials available on DIY Maternity.
Trousers & Leggings
When it comes to trousers, you really need to invest in some maternity styles. I personally preferred the comfort of dresses and stretchy leggings, so I didn’t bother with maternity trousers. But if you want to keep wearing trousers, or your work dress code requires it, you will need to invest in at least 2 pairs. Along with more tailored trousers, you will also want some stretchy trousers and shorts for walking, cycling, or yoga. If you own these with a fold down ‘yoga’ band at the waist (rather than elastic) they should fit you all the way through your pregnancy, just folded down a little lower. As for leggings, you may need to buy maternity specific, but some low-rise hipster-style leggings may fit your all the way through, as long as they don’t have a tight elastic waist band.
1 & 2: Leggings by PACT Apparel*. Although these are non-maternity leggings, and the waist is quite high, I have found that my organic cotton sweat-shop free PACT leggings were wearable for 5 months of my pregnancy, because the waist band was simply pushed down by growing bump and didn’t dig in too much. If I buy a size up, I think I could continue wearing PACT leggings to the end of my pregnancy.
3, 4, & 5: Are maternity specific organic cotton trousers, jeans and leggings by Boob Maternity Wear.
6 & 7: Are ethically-produced sustainable merino yoga wear by Icebreaker*. The two styles pictured- the Dart Shorts and the Villa Pants- have the type of waist band that is usually comfortable for accommodating a baby bump, simply pull the waist band a little lower. I would suggest purchasing a size bigger than your usual size- you can put quite a bit of bulk on to your thighs and hips towards the end of your pregnancy, and if it takes you a while to lose your baby weight, you will be glad to have some clothes that fit you well after your bubs is born.
Bras & Underwear
When it comes to underwear, I have found the need to buy maternity underwear. I have simply worn my low rise/ hipster briefs and they have done the job. I have found that for the last few months I’ve needed to buy a few pairs in a size larger than usual, but I am still wearing most of my regular underwear as well.
When it comes to bras, the major difference you will notice with your pregnancy is that under-wire in your bras becomes incredibly uncomfortable. Whilst you a pregnant, you can probably get away with wearing some non-maternity soft bras (underwire-free), but your size will certainly go up. Maternity bras are designed to be worn during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as they have clips or design features that allow easy access to feed your baby. I would recommend buying a few maternity/nursing bras as essential, even if this means buying non-sustainable styles. There are a few brands that do organic cotton bras that are suitable for wearing under t-shirts or high necklines. However, to wear under lower cut and strappy tops and dresses, you will most likely need to buy styles made with unsustainable fabrics, as I haven’t been able to find any sustainable options that are suitable for this.
1: Organic Comfort Bra by Majamas. Ethically-made in the US using organic cotton. Suitable for maternity and breastfeeding. Refer to website for a list of global stockists.
2: Moulin Rouche underpants by UK-based Pants to Poverty. Made with organic cotton and Fairtrade certified. I have found these particularly comfortable during pregnancy, but because they are quite a skimpy style I have preferred to go two sizes up for the last few months of my pregnancy. Australian shoppers can purchase these at The Fair Trade Shop*, and UK customers can buy them online from Frank and Faith* or the Ethical Superstore*.
3: Organic cotton bikini briefs made by US-based PACT Apparel*, whose whole range is sweatshop free, and and increasing number of styles have been Fairtrade certified. Free postage to the US for orders over $50, and reasonable postage rates globally.
Shop ethical and sustainable maternity (and maternity friendly) fashion:
I hope these suggestions help you to create your most sustainable maternity wardrobe possible. Do you know any sustainable maternity brands?
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