Pregnancy can leave us feeling shall we say, sartorially challenged, at the best of times. There’s only so long those pre-pregnancy jeans will hold up with the old hair bobble waistband expanding trick, but with distinct lack of opportunity to wear lovely clothes right now (or anything without an elasticated waist for that matter), investing in maternity wear feels a bit redundant.
Even without the limitations of lockdown, you’re only ever going to get a few months wear out of maternity clothes, which isn’t great from a sustainability POV. Or the economic one; while you can pick up high street maternity options from as little as £10, some brands sell pieces that top the £200 mark. Obviously, if you go on to have more children they’ll get a second lease of life, and you can always lend them to friends – Gemma’s currently back in favourites from her first pregnancy that have served not one but three pregnant pals in between. If you’re reading this thinking, there’s a business idea in that, you’re not alone.
Already common in the US, maternitywear rental is taking off on our side of the pond, catering to women who want a stylish pregnancy wardrobe without the commitment. Thanks to sites like HURR, On Loan and By Rotation, rental fashion is big news right now, and pregnancy is the perfect time to test it out. So, whether you need a dress for your Zoom baby shower or a smart (and ever-expanding breast accomidating) top for those endless work Teams calls, here’s where to rent when you’re expecting…
Katherine Ormerod in her Isabella Oliver Grayson dress
Committed to reducing the environmental impact of clothing and developing a circular textile economy, high-end maternity label Isabella Oliver has both rental and pre-loved sections online, meaning you can get your hands on a £90 dress for as little as £20. Author, influencer and new mama Katherine Ormerod is a big IO fan, raving about the brand’s Grayson dress on her Insta, “I have without a doubt worn it 100 times over three pregnancies and it’s such good quality that it looks just a great now as it did back in 2017. It also makes me feel really good, which at seven months along is quite the feat and that’s because it’s just cut so well.” As a fellow Grayson-owner, Gemma agrees. Along with IO’s signature flattering dresses, you’ll find everything from leggings and hoodies to nursing-friendly Breton tops to buy second-hand or rent.
From dresses to coats, Bundle’n Joy has all your maternity needs covered
Isabella Oliver, Seraphine, JoJo Maman Bebe, Mamalicious – subscription service Bundle ‘n Joy offers big names alongside boutique brands like Pietro Brunelli and Yumi Kim. Rent two items for £35 per month, three items for £45 or four items for £55. There’s also a genius option to rent a coat – arguably the most annoying thing to have to buy when you’re pregnant – for 3 months for £50. Not into commitment? You can cancel your membership at any time or road-test a trial bundle of four items for just £20. Bundle n’Joy also donates one per cent of profits to Dress for Change, a women’s empowerment charity.
Cook, author and wellness expert Jasmine Hemsley in a Seraphine dress from Belles & Babes
In founder Emma’s words, “when you are pregnant or have a young baby, clothes will only fit for a short amount of time, and that’s why it makes perfect sense to hire them, so that you can look your best whilst saving precious resources of all kinds.” Belles & Babes is another maternity subscription site offering a bespoke capsule wardrobe tailored to your size and style. For £20 per month including delivery, you’ll get six items from the likes of Seraphine, Isabella Oliver, JoJo Maman Bébé and Mamalicious delivered to your door. There’s also a nursing capsule wardrobe and a organic baby clothing subscription option for a stylish, sustainable start to motherhood.
Clary & Peg dungarees to rent from For the Creators
Had your eye on Clary & Peg’s maternity dungas but can’t justify the £145 price tag? It’s For the Creators to the rescue. Created by new nums for new mums, the carefully curated edit combines high-end and high street pieces to see you through the pre and postnatal period. Along with Clary & Peg, you’ll find Mamalicious, Isabella Oliver and Seraphine in the maternity section, while the postnatal edit has go-to brands like Arket, Whistles, & Other Stories and more. Perfect if, like Gemma, you decide to breastfeed then realise that nothing from your maternity wardrobe is remotely easy access or, like founder Lyndsay, you feel frustrated when your “old” clothes (unsurprisingly and completely understandably) don’t quite fit how they used to. Styles are available to rent for seven, ten, twenty-one or thirty days and you can also buy a gift card for an expectant friend – guaranteed to go down better than another pack of muslins.