Tips for Wearing Non-Maternity Pieces During Pregnancy

DSC_0274.JPG

Relying on non-maternity-wear during pregnancy, a season when your body changes drastically, seems a bit crazy. Depending on your existing closet, dressing your bump can either be a nightmare or a dream. This is my third baby (and baby bump) and naturally, I’ve learned a few things about what pieces work for my body while pregnant and which ones don’t.

One of the questions I’ve been ask most often throughout this pregnancy, especially as I approach the third trimester, is how I manage to keep my actual maternity pieces to the bare minimum and rely heavily on my pre-existing wardrobe. (Check back with me in a few weeks, when this bump gets huge, but for now, I’m trying to make do with what I have). Dressing with a baby-bump feels completely foreign, especially during your first pregnancy, and even though Pinterest makes pregnancy style seem effortless, it can oftentimes feel uncomfortable, bulky, and unflattering.

Everyone’s body is different and everyone carries their baby in a unique way, so naturally, there’s no one-size-fits all approach to pregnancy fashion, but I’m hoping that through sharing a bit of what I’m focusing on this time around you might be inspired to make do with your current closet and style your pieces in ways you haven’t before.

I’ll share a few of my “rules of thumb” for myself and then share a few brands I’ve found to be versatile and comfy enough for maternity wear:

Stretching your wardrobe:

  1. Rely on longer, over-sized silhouettes

    Obviously, as your stomach grows, your shirts won’t fit the way they used to. I’m in the phase of pregnancy where most of my normal t-shirts have made their way into crop top territory. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that several of the tees and tops I already owned will still work for my bump simply because they’re cut longer and have more room in them. Look for “tunic” style tees or any tee that falls below your hips naturally, because it will fit you much longer than your other tees.

  2. Two words: Elastic. Waist

    Pants are where things get trickier. If you have pants with low, elastic waistbands, they will fit you throughout your pregnancy, most likely. Joggers, jeggings, low leggings, and even low-cut boyfriend jeans have worked well for me.

  3. Get creative with layers

    Layering, at least in the colder months of the year, will be your best friend. Don’t be afraid to experiment with layering a tunic under a shorter sweater, or tying a tee that’s too short to wear normally over a dress. Getting creative will extend your wardrobe in amazing ways.

  4. Don’t fear the “rubber band trick”

    I know, I know, it’s not glamorous. And at a certain point, it can become impossible or too uncomfortable (and never feel guilty about needing to buy a few pairs of cozy maternity pants at that point…) but thus far, I’ve been able to get away with “rubber banding” my jeans. It makes them easier to get on and off and is hard to see as long as your shirts are long enough to cover the rubber band.

  5. When you buy new pieces…

    1. Think about longevity

      If you do buy new pieces during your pregnancy, try to find ones that don’t necessarily look overly “maternity-y” so that you can get away with keeping them after baby arrives too.

    2. Shop secondhand for maternity-specific items

      There’s no need to spend money on a brand new pair of maternity pants that you’ll only wear for 6 months or less, when you can find the same options for a lower price when you buy secondhand. Poshmark and ThredUP have been amazing resources for me so far. Also consider borrowing from a fellow mama friend who may have kept her maternity pieces.

    3. Size up

      I’ve gotten several new pieces (non-maternity) from collaborations and as a general rule of thumb, I’ve been sizing up from my normal size to give myself a little extra length and room for growth. This will help me feel less pressure to “fit” into my old clothes right away after baby comes too.

6. Create a new natural waistline

Your natural waistline during pregnancy goes from your mid-torso to right under your breasts and above your belly. You’ll probably notice that most maternity tops and dresses have built-in definition around this area to help pieces become more flattering and comfortable. You can create these same definitions with pieces you already have too. Use a belt to create definition over a dress or top. Tie up a button up or tee shirt over a tighter dress to create a new waistline and flatter that baby bump. It’s not an exact science, but it’s fun to experiment with what works for your body.

DSC_0255.JPG
DSC_0264.JPG

Brands to Love (pregnant or not):

The Natural Edition

This newly launched brand creates dreamy and soft basics that have worked like a charm for me. Their pieces are made with organic and natural textiles like tencel (my favorite) and organic cotton. Their Organic Cotton Breton Dress and Tencel Long Sleeve Pocket Top are both comfortable and stretchy enough to accommodate my bump without worrying that I’ll stretch it out too much.

Encircled

I’ve shared about Encircled lots of times (and don’t plan to stop anytime soon) because their pieces are the definition of versatility — especially as your body fluctuates through cycles or even pregnancy. Their Essential Long Sleeve Top is longer than most tops, and it is perfect for a baby bump. Similarly, their Chrysalis Cardi and Evolve Top (pieces I own and love) are adjustable and able to be worn multiples ways.

THOM KELLY

I partnered with THOM KELLY last year for the launch of their first collection and am so excited to share that their second collection (which includes the Sawyer Shirt from last year!) has just launched and is in the preorder phase. Their shirts are made from organic cotton and tencel and I’ve found that mine (ordered true to pre-pregnancy size) has more than enough room for my bump with length to spare, at least for now.

ABLE

Another brand that creates easy, versatile pieces is ABLE. I own several of their pieces and, even though I’ve had to put my jeans from them on “hold” until I can wear high-waisted pants again, I’m excited to wear my maxi dress from them once the weather warms up. Most of their pieces are stretchy and versatile enough to accommodate a bump.

Sotela

If you’ve followed me for almost any length of time, you know about Sotela. I’ve had the honor of following along with Hanna’s brand from the beginning, partnering with her several times, and this Fall, designing a dress with her and my friend Emily for Dressember. Her pieces are designed with the fluctuation of womanhood in mind, including pregnancy and breastfeeding. The Avery Dress and the Stella Jumpsuit are two of my favorite pregnancy friendly pieces.


How have you experimented with wearing non-maternity pieces during pregnancy? Have any other tips? Leave them in the comments!


*This post is partially sponsored by several of the brands mentioned above as part of a long term collaboration. Of course, all opinions, tips, and photos are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!*

#InspiringZeroWaste || February Goal

DSC_0270.JPG

(For the first explanatory post on #InspiringZeroWaste, click here!)

Month 2 of 2019 is upon us and I’m welcoming it with open arms. January always seems to last twice as long as other months and February brings with it a sweetness and anticipation for Spring (hopefully) that I’m excited to embrace.

If you followed along last month, you’ll know that my first #InspiringZeroWaste goal was to make my shower routine as zero waste as possible. First, I’ll share an update on how that went, and then I’ll dive into my goal for month #2.

January Update

I purposefully eased myself into the challenge with this goal because I knew I was running low on most of my shower essentials and have been wanting to make the switch to zero-waste options for a while.

What I tried:

  • I started using products from Natural Vegan Club in late December. I love their flexible subscription style service that allows you change your products each month and get things only as you need them. I’ve been using their shampoo bar for a month and, although my hair has had an up and down response, I’m happy with it so far. Shampoo bars are an adjustment - I’ve found I have to take my time and make sure I’m getting every bit of my roots saturated or my hair looks greasy the same day I wash it. But I’m not giving up yet and will keep researching on the best ways to use them. (To order free samples from Natural Vegan Club, click here!)

  • I ordered a Rose Gold safety razor and blade disposer from Leaf Shave a few weeks ago. Although it still hasn’t arrived, I’m making do with the razor I have now until it gets here.

What I learned:

  • A shower routine is fairly easy to do low-waste/zero-waste. If you’re not ready to commit to shampoo bars, Plaine Products is an AMAZING brand that is just as zero waste as package free options. And if that idea is too much, just be sure you’re recycling/composting your packaging according to the labels to reduce as much waste as possible.

  • Bar soaps are SO cheap and last SO much longer.

  • Using body oil instead of packaged lotion is even better for your skin and oftentimes a more eco-friendly option since they usually come in glass bottles that can be reused in your home instead of plastic, and they’re made with plant-derived ingredients.

IMG_2942.JPG

February Goal:

For the second challenge of the year, I’ve decided to dive into researching textile recycling, both locally and on a bigger scale to see what’s truly sustainable and what isn’t. Although I’ve paired down my wardrobe drastically in the past few years, occasionally I discover a piece I haven’t worn enough to justify keeping or something starts to deteriorate that I’m not sure what to do with. I’m hoping that by educating myself on the best options for recycling old clothing (and what to do with the pieces that aren’t recyclable) I’ll be better equipped to make sustainable future purchases and hopefully help you do the same!

I’ll share everything I’ve learned in a big blog post at the end of the month, so feel free to send any questions or resources my way as I begin my research.

I wrote last month about how to responsibly “kon mari” your life and, when it comes to clothes in particular, most of us are prone to dumping trash bags of old college tees and torn up pants off at our local Goodwill or secondhand shop without a second thought. And although supporting thrift shops is incredibly important, the reality is that many of these clothes never find a second home and many of them just end up in a land fill anyway.

So, stay tuned for more on this topic and, if you’re up for it, join me in stock piling a little collection of unused clothes to donate responsibly and recycle at the end of this month. I’ll be going through my husband’s, my kid’s, and my own closets to make sure we’re eliminating our clothes in the most ethical and sustainable way possible.

A foreshadowing…

If you’re curious about what you can do NOW, while I’m doing my research, I’d suggest checking out Marine Layer’s new recycling program ReSpun. I had a call with a member of their team early last week to discuss a future collaboration and learn more about their recycling process and, luckily, I’m super impressed with what I learned from them.

In an effort to lessen their own textile waste and provide a solution for brands and consumers alike, ReSpun works with Recovertex, a recycling facility in Spain that has been recycling textiles since World War II. Marine Layer collects unwanted tees, of any shape, size, condition, and material (except spandex) and ships them off by the thousands to Recovertex where they’re broken down, sorted, and respun into new tees. Any non-recyclable parts like labels and tags are added to fabric that is recycled into things like bedding and home insulation. (Click here to request your own recycling kit from Marine Layer to start the process with me!)

This is a “closed loop” process which, ideally the fashion industry as a whole will move towards one day. And as an added positive, Marine Layer offsets their carbon footprint from shipping the tees overseas by donating to organizations that offset their emissions. It’s called a carbon neutral process and it’s fascinating.

Stay Tuned…

I’ll be sharing more at the end of the month, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, feel free to join me in gathering up your old clothes that are un-sellable that you think would be a good fit for recycling (and one more time, you can get a free recycling kit here).

What’s your #InspiringZeroWaste goal for this month? I’d love to hear how it’s going thus far!

Where to Find Ethically Made Maternity/Nursing Bras

IMG_2691.JPG

Nursing bras and I have a love/hate relationship.

After breastfeeding two kids for a nearly combined 4 years of my life and, of course, adding a third baby soon to my boob journey, I’ve tried just about everything. There was the phase with my first when I stubbornly refused to buy nursing bras, because ew and because I was 20 and barely had time to discover normal lingerie before being thrust into a world of ultra supportive, ultra covering, ultra “mom-ish” undergarments. There was the phase with my second where just I gave up and bought cheap nursing bras at Target that wore out from literal days and days (and nights and nights) of wear at a time.

I’m not sure what “phase” I’ll go through with baby #3 yet, but I’m hoping it’s the “finds a few really high quality, ethically made nursing bras that also work post-nursing and never looks back” phase.

If you’ve breastfed a baby before, you’ll know that breastfeeding in typical underwire bras just doesn’t work (sorry, 20-year-old me). And most bralettes and sports bras are, simply put, unprepared for the amount of leaking, spraying, spiting up, and mess making that takes place in their vicinity. So, buying at least a few nursing bras will really, really, really make your life a lot easier.

But.

Finding ethically made ones is like finding a mythical creature that most people assume doesn’t exist.

I’m hoping this post will convince you otherwise.


What to look for:

A few notes before we dive into the bras I’ve found thus far about nursing bras in general:

  • In my opinion, maternity bras that are incompatible with breastfeeding (if you plan to breastfeed, of course) are pointless. When you shop, look for ones that will fit you during pregnancy (much easier to swing) that are also breastfeeding friendly.

  • You’re going to spend A LOT of time in these bras, so don’t be afraid to shop around, spend a little more, and keep looking/exchanging till you find the perfect fit.

  • I recommend getting mostly “comfy bras” and maybe 1 or 2 “big girl bras” with underwire for when you want to feel more like a human and less like a farm animal. I love breastfeeding, but I never said it was glamorous.


The Ethics of Lingerie:

Like with all ethical shopping, there are certain things people will prioritize when shopping. Aside from fit and compatibility with breastfeeding, the qualifications I’m hoping to meet for my nursing bras are:

  • Made from a sustainable (ideally organic) material

  • Made in responsible, traceable, ethical conditions

  • Fits a wide ranges of body types (so I can more honestly recommend them to you all!)

  • Is a practical bra that transitions well from pregnancy to postpartum and beyond.


My picks, this time around:


First up: Aside from the obvious conclusion that it’s really hard for me to take a photo without touching my hair, my next conclusion is about this sexy (yes, take heart, 20 year old me, I finally found a sexy nursing bra) bra from Azura Bay.

Azura Bay is a Canada-based lingerie shop collecting the best of sustainable and ethically made bras and undies from around the world in one convenient place. I’m wearing their Nikki Black Lace Nursing Bralette from Mayana Geneviere. The bra is great for pregnancy (soft, elastic waistband) but is actually designed for breastfeeding with pull-away nursing access.

The shop also has another beautiful and similar nursing bra, the Alexander Black Lace Nursing Bralette, that’s essentially the same bra without the longer lace trim.

I haven’t gotten any other nursing bras yet, but the following list are a few on my radar that I’m planning to add to my repertoire in the coming months:

  • 24/7 Bra by Boob Design: ($55)

    • This bra is made to be worn all day and night and has medium support, which is ideal for comfort. Really, I can’t recommend Boob more highly - I’ll be sharing more about them in the coming months, but if you’re pregnant or nursing, it’s a great resource.

  • Padded Daily Bra by Majamas ($39)

    • I’ve worked with Majamas before and, although they don’t have many bra styles to choose from, their mission is admirable and they’re empowering moms all over the world through their products.

  • None So Pretty Lace Nursing Bra by Mothers En Vogue ($36)

    • This is a Singapore-based brand that I learned about via Eco Warrior Princess. They’re transparent about their production and strive to use natural fibers but what most excited me was that their bras look like NORMAL bras.

  • Marvella Classic Nursing Bra by Kindred Bravely ($49.99)

    • Although not marketed as an ethical brand, I did some digging and spoke to their Customer Care team who informed me that KB only works with supplier and factories who meet strict ethical requirements (they visit their factories often and even told me their largest factories comet to visit their team headquarters as well). There is obviously room for improvement, but I would prefer to shop from a brand who knows where their clothes are made instead of a bigger “box store”. They utilize organic cotton in several of their products as well.

  • Jane’s Bra Top by Blue Canoe ($49)

    • Similar to the 24/7 Bra from Boob, this bra is meant to be comfortable and is made with organic cotton.

Shopping for sustainable lingerie in general is difficult, but finding options that are nursing friendly AND ethically made is almost impossible. I've rounded up a few of the best sustainably made nursing bras on the market - save for later or buy your favorite now!

Have you found any other places selling sustainably made nursing bra? Let me know and I’ll add them to this little list!


*This post was sponsored by Azura Bay as part of a long term partnership - all opinions and photos are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this world a better place*

My Babymoon Heroes || Azura Bay + A Few Other Brands to Love

IMG_1840.JPG

A “babymoon” might seem like the cheesiest thing a pregnant couple can do but, after two non-baby-moon pregnancies, taking a vacation during this one was one of my top priorities. The transition from two kids to three is daunting (less than one to two, but, any change is nervewracking) and I knew that AJ and I likely wouldn’t have the time to get away together for a long while after this pregnancy.

So, I saved up my money from this little job here and booked us a trip to Cancun.

And let me tell you right now, all of the cheesiness is gone from the term “babymoon” now. It’s necessary. It’s healthy. It’s smart to get away.

This was by far my favorite vacation we’ve taken together — we had no agenda, nowhere to be, no one to see or please. Just each other and the beach and lots (and lots) of food and virgin drinks. We didn’t take nearly as many photos as I planned; the sign of a trip well-taken, I assume, but it was a beautiful escape that I’d 100% recommend to any mom-to-be, whether this is your first or fifth babe.

I packed fairly light for our four day excursion, but one area I went a bit overboard on (intentionally) was with swimwear. I rarely get to wear my swimsuits, so when given the chance, I decided to bring three along, even though one was really all that was necessary.

Of all the pieces (all from ethical brands either new or secondhand), my Azura Bay pieces proved to be some of the best for the occasion.

What I wore:

Black & Gold Maria Bikini Set

Lemona Romper

Neither of these pieces are “maternity” but I love the extra room in the romper for a bump and, of course, all you need to wear a bikini is a body to put it on ;)

Azura Bay stocks ethical brands from all over the world, simplifying one of the most tricky aspects of ethical shopping: finding ethically made, affordable, and beautiful undergarments.

Other Trip Heroes:

Encircled Chrysalis Cardi: although I didn’t get any photos in this piece, I wore it on both plane rides as a scarf/pillow, and wore it as a wrap dress at the resort.

Sotela Stella Jumpsuit: this piece is a forever favorite for so many reasons. You all know my love for Sotela, and this jumpsuit is a true staple in my wardrobe. It’s bump and breastfeeding-friendly too!

Bikyni Set: One of my other favorite swimwear brands, I purchased the top a few years ago and they so sweetly sent me over a pair of bottoms for our babymoon.

QuiQuattro Turkish Towel: I’ll be sharing a full post on this brand in the coming months, but when I decided we were going to Mexico, this towel was the first thing I packed. I love using it at home too — so beautiful and functional.

Sseko Crossover Slides: The only pair of shoes I brought for the trip, other than the sneakers I wore on the plane were my trusty Sseko slides. I love this brand and everything they stand for.

We had such a relaxing, beautiful time and decided that we want to make it a yearly thing — likely with all three kiddos in tow next time ;)

Have you ever taken a babymoon? Tell me where you went!


*This post wasn’t sponsored by anyone, but some of the items mentioned were gifted as part of a long term ambassador partnership with the brands. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!*

Line + Tow || Upcycled, Body-Positive Pieces Made to Last

DSC_0196.JPG

Remember the conversations happening around textile waste lately, especially after everyone has KonMari-d their wardrobe and are left with bags upon bags of clothes that don’t spark joy? The shirt I’m featuring today brings new meaning to the phrase “one (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure”.

It’s from Line + Tow, a brand so sustainable and intentional that I honestly didn’t know where to begin when I started writing about them.

Recycled Denim

What happens to the clothes we toss in the trash or the ones that are donated to thrift stores but never make it to a new home? Unfortunately, they end up in landfills where they take decades or more to biodegrade. When in a landfill, decomposing releases methane, an incredibly harmful greenhouse gas, regardless of the material or fabric. Synthetics like polyester, lycra and nylon take hundreds (HUNDREDS) of years to biodegrade.

This is why it’s so vital to not only decrease your consumption overall, but to be mindful of where and how you dispose of items you no longer want or need.

Line + Tow has taken matters into their own hands when it comes to ensuring they’re not creating a product that will be wasteful in the long run — and to sweeten the deal, they’re actually saving excess fabric from landfills at the same time.

All of Line + Tow’s pieces are made with fabric sourced from The New Denim Project, a factory based in Guatemala City. The New Denim Project upcycles textile waste from old jeans and other natural fibers, strips them down, and spins them into new thread for new materials. They use a closed loop system, meaning all of their “discarded materials” are reused in their process. Their manufacturing process is dye-free, chemical free, and saves massive amounts of water and energy compared to traditional manufacturing.

They utilize only natural fibers in their production so that, in turn, all of the pieces made with their fabrics will biodegrade on their own. Any waste generated from their process is then donated to local coffee farmers to act as composted fertilizer.

There are a handful of incredible factories in the world that prioritize reducing waste, but The New Denim Project is one of the most incredible that I’ve ever read about.

Intentional Design

Line + Tow designs their pieces to reduce waste and increase wear from the get-go. They utilize right angles and minimize elastics, zippers, and other less environmentally friendly additions to ensure they reduce fabric waste. Their designs are meant to be durable and able to withstand the wear of everyday life.

Body Inclusive

I’m amazed at how inclusive Line + Tow’s designs are. Their sizing is meant to fit women of all shapes and sizes. Each piece is either meant to be loose and over-sized, or is adjustable to fit your body during its inevitable fluctuations. I’m wearing their Utility Button Down, because I knew it would fit me throughout pregnancy and beyond AND I could wear it to breastfeed in too. It’s easy to layer, but also is chic and cozy all on it’s own, unbuttoned over another top or buttoned up.

The denim is structured but soft. It could easily be tied up, tucked in, and layered under or over without feeling stuffy or bunched. I especially love the extra length it adds to my sweaters and other tops at the moment.

DSC_0181.JPG
IMG_2178.JPG

Line + Tow is still in their first year of production — a critical time for many brands to establish themselves and create a customer base that shares their values and admires their product. I get the chance to work with lots of amazing brands, but this collaboration with Line+Tow has been in the works for months and it’s rare to find a brand that encompasses eco-friendly production, body-inclusive design, AND timelessness so well. If you’re in the market for wardrobe staples that will last you years to come you can shop their Denim Collection here (I especially love their Homesteader Skirt and, of course, the Utility Button Down).


*This post is in partnership with Line + Tow. As always, all opinions and photos are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make the world a little better.*