Lady Spent: Ethical Maternity Wear

Hello, Lady Spent readers! Apologies for my prolonged absence, but I have a pretty good excuse: this past March I had a baby! And now that I’m back to work, I figured what better way to re-start the series than by talking ethical maternity wear.

If you’re reading Well Spent, then I assume planned obsolescence goes against your apparel ideals too – I know I’ve always been able to justify spending more on ethically made goods knowing they’ll lost longer. But then I got pregnant, and never does planned obsolescence seem more logical than when you start looking for clothes that may not fit you the next week, or even the next day!

Though there are numerous fast-fashion maternity options, that route didn’t make sense to me. I was doing everything I could to promote the health of my unborn child – why would I don cheap, toxic synthetics (that were made in deplorable conditions)? So, as I’m prone to do, I got on the internet, researched like mad, and ordered a little bit of everything. And even though I wound up subjecting myself to an exorbitant amount of return shipping, I was ultimately able to put together a comfortable – and ethical – maternity wardrobe.

The first lesson of building a maternity wardrobe is that there is no need to buy clothes right away. Buy them as you need them! My loose fitting non-maternity wardrobe staples (especially the elastic waistband pants from St. Paul–based Hackwith Design House), paired with long cardigans and oversized blazers, worked for the majority of my pregnancy.

Eventually though, the time will come when true maternity apparel is needed. And let me tell you, it’s scary out there – terrible stretchy fabrics, high prices, poor quality, and seemingly indiscriminate countries of production. But, after a lot of trying on (and mailing back), there were two brands that really stood out: Storq & Hatch.

Storq became my go-to for basics. I wore their leggings and tank tops nearly every day of my pregnancy. The pieces held up, didn’t stretch or pill, and continued to fit me well, no matter how huge my belly became. Storq products are ethically made in the U.S. and China, and the brand places a premium on quality, compliance with worker safety, fair wages, and commitment to minimizing environmental impact. They also recently launched a recycling and donation program to offset the temporary aspects of maternity-wear.

Hatch makes clothing for before, during, and after pregnancy, and they became my favorite source for my “regular” wardrobe staples – jeans, cotton tops and t-shirts, and the perfect white button down. Hatch produces primarily in New York City, and the company sources their raw materials from ethical and environmentally conscious manufacturers.

Pregnancy is definitely a time for quality over quantity – I wore the same pieces, day after day, and they held up, looked good, and perhaps most importantly, allowed me to feel good about myself despite the constant changes. And, though many of the pieces I bought (thankfully) don’t fit me anymore, I feel good knowing that they will continue to be a staple through other pregnancies.

Rita Mehta shops for a living and talks a lot. She launched her website, The American Edit, and podcast, Why Do We Have Things? so she’d have a place to talk about some of the things she’s most passionate about: American made design, responsible manufacturing, and conscious consumption. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter.