By Lisa Spinney-Hutton
When it comes to “dressing for the bump”, I had no idea that I would find the entire experience so stressful. Which I should have, since I don’t generally have an easy time choosing and purchasing clothes.
My clothes shopping hangups:
- I really like well made, high quality materials (re: expensive)
- I really hate buying cheap clothes that don’t fit super well.
- I have a hard time buying clothes made from non sustainable materials and that are made in countries where they were likely made in sweat shops or very poor working conditions.
- I’m really really picky about colours and styles (ie I hate shirts with buttons. Weird, I know).
- I really hate single function, or single situation function clothing.
- I am not a fan of online clothes shopping.
This means that even though there is a sale, or a sweater that is “ok” and cheap, I likely won’t buy it. I usually end up spending a bit more money for something that will last a long time and that I feel good about my purchase. For example, right now I’m wearing a Karma top that I must have bought four years ago at Bhavana. It was expensive, but it’s made with sustainable materials in North America and has lasted beautifully.
So you can imagine that shopping for clothes that I may only wear for 6-9 months in a market that is mostly filled with crappily made, unsustainable clothing that is still ridiculously expensive, would be stressful.
Then I discovered Hazelnut & Rose. It’s a local (Dartmouth) maternity wear boutique that carries gorgeous maternity and nursing wear that often has an environmental aspect or responsibly made ethics bent to the companies on display.
Compared to other local (big chain) maternity wear boutiques, Hazelnut & Rose offers clothing that is supremely above in quality, sustainability and multifunctionality (that is now a word!) far surpassing in what you get for the 10-15% extra you’re actually paying.
For example: I currently have two pairs of maternity jeans. One I got from a big chain boutique (the nicer one at that) and that I paid 80$ for and the other I got from Hazelnut & Rose and paid 100$. Big chain jeans are MUCH less comfortable, made from the crappiest denim-like material that stains my hands and legs every single time I wear them, has the worse baggy bum (since they constantly are sliding down, even they’re stretch and tight fit AND I have to say I have a pretty decent, non flat bum!), and the belly cover is made from the crappiest nylon material that itches. Plus they’re made in China.
The Hazelnut & Rose jeans (discontinued Boob Design jeans) are made with a pretty, comfortable denim material, fit beautifully and are dressy enough that they easily dress up or down depending on what I’m wear. They have little belt hoops to help protect and prolong the life of the jeans for pulling up (as opposed to pulling at the material). The company itself uses sustainable materials and Boob has some pretty excellent policies around European made or ethical factory work conditions. Finally, the belly panel is made with a higher percentage of natural fibres which means it’s super comfy on my belly. I love them and they were worth the extra 20$ and some.
What I also love about the products Genny, owner of Hazelnut & Rose, chooses for her store, is that they often have several functions beyond maternity wear and can often transition into nursing wear and look great with or without a bump. For example, Boob Design tops (which I own three shirts AND a dress) looked great when I had a teeny tiny bump, and also now that I’ve grown. They have a panel that allows for easy boob access for nursing as well which I will definitely appreciate in the year post-delivery. Plus - they’re made from sustainable high quality materials and the fit are super flattering.
(Coincidentally, I wore this Boob top exactly one month apart for my “Bumpie” pics. You can see the flap a bit more in the first photo, but honestly the shirt looked great with a little and bigger bump! Four weeks later and it looks even better! Also- that giant box in the background is our eco-friendly crib mattress! Now all set up in the Bean’s room!)
One of my favourite purchases, though, has been an amazingly cute and versatile rain coat. Living in Halifax, a port sea-side city, means LOTS of rain and drizzly weather. I have gone two years without a raincoat since I’m just so fussy about what I wanted. It was an awful two years.
All ready for a quick trip out for an IceCapp - weirdly the one thing that helps with my nausea. The girl at Tim’s totally complimented me on the coat too!
Hazelnut & Rose recently starting carrying a raincoat made by a Montreal company, Modern Eternity. What I love about this coat is:
- The fit. I love that it looks amazing even without an insert, so that in the years to come I’ll be able to wear it like a regular raincoat, no prob.
- The versatility for baby wearing. The insert for when my belly gets even bigger can also flip to accommodate baby wearing! It has a little head cover option meant to keep baby dry and covered while I have her in a wrap or weave!
- The price: the cost for this raincoat is essentially the same as any other, brand name raincoat.
- Of course, it being spring in Halifax, I’ve had the opportunity to wear my new raincoat several times. It’s roomy and warm enough for those colder spring days and works beautifully. Every single time I wear this raincoat I’ve gotten compliments - and nothing to do with my pregnancy!
On top of all this, every time I go in Genny has been super helpful, down to earth, empathetic and supportive (another blog post to come about a recent bra shopping experience there!).
So. What I’ve learned so far (at week 24!) of a very stressful and high risk pregnancy is that spending a bit more money for a few key items that can go with my existing wardrobe and will last beyond pregnancy is worth it. Sometimes sustainability isn’t just about fabric, but also about versatility and how long the garment will last (i.e. “reduce” in the 3Rs).
If you’re in the HRM area, checking out Hazelnut & Rose is a must, and if not I suggest finding a local, sustainable maternity-nursing wear boutique nearest you (or if you’re an online diva, check out some of the brands that are out there!).
Feeling fabulous when your body is changing so drastically, and often you feel terrible, is important! The Planet will thank you too. :)
- Lisa Spinney-Hutton (aka EcoYogini)