How to avoid spending $$$ on maternity items you’ll only wear once

For my first pregnancy, I avoided buying maternity clothes.

It was a personal challenge — I survived on loose clothing I already owned for as long as possible, and when I had to, I invested in a few maternity basics that I rotated through for the rest of the pregnancy.

Basically, I wore a lot of grey and black outfits. They helped me appear slimmer and also made it slightly less obvious to the casual observer that I was wearing the same outfits every week. (Luckily I was working at a tech startup where I could wear whatever I wanted.)

My reluctance to buy maternity clothes was as much about practicality as it was about frugality; I didn’t want to spend money on clothes I would only wear for a few months–but I also just didn’t have room in my already overflowing NYC closet to store a whole new wardrobe.

For my second pregnancy, however, I faced a problem: I had two special occasion events around the 6 month mark: a business school reunion and my brother’s wedding.

I knew that I couldn’t wear my trusty black maternity hoodie or my maternity leggings to either of these events. I also knew that both celebrations involved multiple days of events where I would likely be photographed and appear on social media.

Basically, unless I wanted to commit a social faux pas and wear the same maternity dress multiple times, I had to invest in several nice maternity outfits. Ugh.

Reluctantly, I started browsing maternity dresses online, and ordered a few from Macy’s and Nordstrom to try on. I didn’t like any of them — certainly not enough to pay $100-$200 for any of them. I returned all of them.

At that point, I decided to look into Le Tote Maternity. For $69/month, I could get a box of 3 maternity garments and two accessories at a time and keep and wear everything for as long as I wanted. Almost as soon as I returned my box, another would be on its way. The best part? I could hand-select what I received in my box based on their real-time inventory. I decided to try it out.

The result? I got a bunch of great outfits to wear for those two occasions for less than the cost of one maternity dress (since both occasions were luckily in the same month). In two boxes (one for each weekend), I received 5 dresses, a cardigan, a purse, a bracelet, and two necklaces. I wore everything at least once except for a red dress that didn’t fit quite right.

If you find yourself in the same position of having special occasions you need to dress up for while pregnant, I highly recommend giving Le Tote a try for these reasons:

  • Renting just makes a lot of sense for something you’ll likely only wear once.

  • Unlike other clothing subscription services, Le Tote lets you choose what you get in your box. And they have a lot of options.

  • If you only need a nice outfit for just one event, you can subscribe for just one month and still spend less than you would to buy that one outfit. The bonus? Since their turnaround is so fast, you can get up to 4 boxes in that one month if you return a box as soon as you’re done with it — meaning a dozen maternity items to enjoy over the course of a month for $69.

My plan was to unsubscribe after that one month where I needed nice dresses. My confession? I somehow convinced myself to stay on for a second month. I’m afraid that I may just continue subscribing through the end of my pregnancy.

After all, as I told my husband, when you’re starting to get really big in your third trimester — looking and feeling great can go a long way.

**Note: I am not affiliated with Le Tote at all! I just found their service to be a great pregnancy hack and wanted to share it with other pregnant mamas who have special occasions to attend during their pregnancy.

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