Having a baby soon? Start motherhood sustainably with some chic, ethical maternity clothes!
By Lora O’Brien
Why is that, you ask? Well, as with cosmetics, some conventional clothing can be seriously bad for your health. And when you’re pregnant, you want to ensure what you’re wearing has no chemical dyes or finishes that could seep into your bloodstream. After all, whatever goes into your body at this point, eventually makes it down to your baby!
Additionally, it’s inevitable you’ll have those days where you feel like (and possibly look like) a beached whale. You just want to wear something pretty, that actually fits!
After a fairly long search, I’ve finally found some chic, ethical maternity clothes that will not only protect the health of wee babies-to-be, but will also make their mamas look pretty hot!
What to look for in sustainable maternity wear
If you’re wondering how I picked these ethical maternity clothes, here’s a bit of info about my criteria. I sought out brands that use:
- non toxic dyes
- soft, natural fabrics
- ethical working practices that pay the workers who make their clothing fairly
- designs that are comfortable for your growing body and that can be worn even after the baby is born
a) Non toxic dyes
Toxic dyes can easily rub off on your skin and get into your bloodstream. Many dyes are on The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen List, and are considered a health risk.
But there’s good news! Certifications like OEKO-TEX® 100 test for azo dyes, formaldehyde, nickel, and other harmful chemicals in clothing. Other similar certifications include Bluesign and the EU Ecolabel. Buying from a brand that uses any of these certifications means your clothes are safe.
b) Materials and fabrics
Look for garments made of natural and organic materials wherever possible. These could include anything from organic hemp, organic cotton, jute, or linen.
When it comes to organic fibers, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the leading textile processing standard. They factor in ecological and social criteria for every step of the supply chain. Similar certifications include the Fair Trade certification, the Organic Content Standard (OCS), and the USDA-Certified Organic certification.
For semi-synthetics like modal and lyocell, look for the TENCEL brand where possible. TENCEL is trusted and only uses the best production methods, where these synthetic fibers still require harsh chemicals that must be carefully handled to avoid harm to workers and to the environment.
c) Ethical working practices
We here at Eluxe look for brands that source their materials from certified manufacturers and pay workers fairly. Employees from the brands we choose must also enjoy safe and healthy working conditions.
d) Clever design
Sustainable maternity wear is more than just clothing made from healthy fabrics and dyes. By definition, sustainable means the opposite of fast fashion. It means you’ll be able to wear the garment for years to come – even after you’ve given birth. For that reason, look for versatile, clever designs that can be adjusted to your changing body size.
Ready to shop ethical maternity clothes? Read on! (And if you’re looking for organic clothing for babies, we have an article on that, too).
Ethical Maternity Clothes For Stylish Moms-To-Be
In all honesty, the best thing to do when preggos is rent your wardrobe. Especially if you’re planning on having zero more kids! I mean, you probably won’t wear most of your pregnancy wardrobe again after the baby is born. (Unless you choose some of the flexible styles I’ve found, below).
No one does better rental maternity wear than Rent the Runway. Sign up for the rental subscription that best suits your needs. There are plenty of organic options available, and of course, renting clothing instead of buying it is generally much more sustainable.
My pick: It hardly matters here, because their stock changes frequently with the seasons. And whatever you get is temporary, anyway. But this navy dress with ruffled sleeves is just gorge, right?
The team at Storq wants to reduce clothing waste in landfill. That’s why they create maternity basics and essentials you’ll wear for years to come. Storq uses OEKO-TEX certified safe fabrics, ethical production methods, and of course, clever designs for their ethical maternity wear.
My pick: Their Floral MVP Jumpsuit, below, is so pretty and summery! But to be honest, I’d rather have this in two pieces: the button down top and matching bottoms. Why? Toilet reasons, my friends! (Pantsuits can be a pain, am I right?).
Price: From $88
Based: USA but delivers internationally
Hatch’s ethical maternity clothes are designed to look and feel great for expectant moms on the go. The New York label’s collections are defined by chic, billowy silhouettes that will remain everyday favorites, even after the baby is born.
My pick: If you’re having a summer baby, this breezy dress is a must have! The elasticated bust and knotted shoulder strap perfectly accommodate a blossoming baby bump. Oh, and ever-expanding boobs! And that colour…sweet!
4. Christy Dawn
Christy Dawn has curated a collection of loose and flowing fit dresses with baby bumps and nursing. Adorned with convenient details like wrap tops and adjustable waists, these maternity-friendly styles make dressing easy for new mamas to be.
The brand uses mainly deadstock fabrics and new organic cotton in its creations. The latter comes from a farm in India that’s focused on regenerative farming practices.
My pick: It’s really hard to pick just one style! But I adore the Bodie dress, below. Its stretchy bust and waist will grow (and shrink!) with you. And the maxi style means you can hide swollen ankles if you wish.
Price: From around $200
Based: USA, but delivers internationally
Monica + Andy not only make really comfy, organic maternity wear, but clothing for babies and children, too.
This super-soft organic cotton robes will be some of your favourite ethical maternity clothes for years to come! It can be worn before, during, and after pregnancy. I love how thick the fabric is, and its cozy shawl collar. These robes come in around a dozen colours and patterns. There’s something for everyone!
My pick: I’d choose a robe in grey or white. But what I love the most is the possibility of personalising these garments with embroidery. For example, you can see ‘Mama’ written on this one, below. Why not get yours monogrammed?
Price: From $65
Looking for affordable ethical maternity clothes? Look no further than Pact! Their maternity wear is priced from $20, and comes from certified Fair Trade factories. Pact makes most of their leggings, tees and dresses with organic cotton, and their styles can be worn through pregnancy and beyond.
My pick: This organic cotton maternity cross front dress is so comfy! The wrap style means you can adjust it during and after your pregnancy. Plus, you can choose from 5 different colours!
Price: From $20
Your breasts will be going through a lot of changes, and one of the first pieces of ethical maternity wear you’ll need to buy is a new bra.
Kindred Bravely is one of the most trusted organic nursing bra brands around. But they make so much more, besides! Think: bamboo and organic cotton loungewear, sweats, tees and undies.
My pick: Their Nursing Sleep bra is the perfect choice for sensitive skin. It features sustainably sourced fabric, and a pull-aside nursing access that’s perfect for late-night feedings. But of course, it’s great to wear all day, too.
Price: From $35
Frugi is one of the best known ethical maternity clothing brands around. They not only make organic maternity clothes, but organic baby wear, too! Perfect for all your future needs.
My pick: Designed to take you all the way from bump to breastfeeding, this comfy blouse grows with you. It’s made of 95% organic cotton jersey, and can be moved to each side to reveal the cleverly integrated vest underneath with low armholes. Ideal for easier feedings!
Price: From $20
Based: UK but delivers internationally
This premium Australian label crafts relaxed yet refined styles for contemporary women. They use meticulously sourced fabrics, including organic cottons, luxurious linens, merino wool and cashmere, all in trans-seasonal tones. LEGOE thinks carefully and consciously about their designs, ensuring they can be worn at all stages of pregnancy and beyond. No wonder these ethical maternity clothes are favoured by celebrities and influencers globally!
My pick: The Valance Tee isn’t your typical shirt. If you look carefully, you’ll see that it has 2 layers. You can tuck the longer one into your jeans or tights for a more fitted look after you give birth, or let it hang loose over your bump. After your babe is born, you can slip your child under the shorter layer for a quick, discreet feed.
Price: From $50
Based: Australia, but delivers globally
Boob Design was a brand born way back in 1999, when one woman noted the lack of stylish and functional clothing for nursing mums. Every item in Boob Design’s collections has to adhere to strict criteria: it must be ethically made from sustainable materials; be functional, and of high quality.
And did I mention all their ethical maternity clothes are certified OEKO-Tex, too? That means each garment is free from substances known to be harmful to your health.
My pick: Inspired by the first pilot to fly across the Atlantic, the Amelia jumpsuit is the ultimate piece of ethical maternity wear. It’s perfect whether you’re pregnant or nursing. Designed for comfort and style, this certified organic cotton jersey jumpsuit will grow along with your bump.
Price: $179 for the jumpsuit, below
Based: USA, but delivers globally
Did we miss any ethical maternity clothing brands? Let us know in the comments, below!
Main image: LEGOE