No, I didn’t somehow stay the same size.

By Brigitt Earley
JGI/Daniel Grill/Getty Images

As I enter the last four weeks of pregnancy, my hips have widened, my rib cage has expanded, and I have grown a big round belly. But I’ve spent less than $100 on three essentials for my maternity wardrobe: jeans, tank tops, and leggings.

And no, I don’t go to work in jeans or leggings every day. I go to work in designer dresses and tops—clothing I could never normally afford, pregnant or not.

In the early days of my pregnancy another expectant coworker tipped me off to Rent the Runway, saying it had been an invaluable maternity resource for her. The company, which started as a way to rent special occasion pieces a la carte, also has an unlimited service. For $159 per month, renters can choose four pieces of clothing at once. Once you wear something, you simply send it back for something else.

On an average month, I get upwards of 15 pieces of clothing. On a good month, I cycle through about 20 outfits—plenty to get me through the workweek (and, don’t judge, do a repeat on the weekend). I currently have a top from Chloe (that’s where those jeans come in handy!), a dress from Joie, a dress from Opening Ceremony, and a dress from Boutique Moschino in my closet. Combined, these pieces retail for $1,903. That’s more than 13 times the price I’m paying for the full month of rentals.

Being a pregnant renter does present a unique set of challenges. Does Rent the Runway have maternity clothes? The short answer is no. There are no ruched sides, no stretch panels, and no extra fabric to glide over that ever-growing bump. But I carefully read the reviews from others (they are invaluable, complete with photos and notes about fit), and I read the stylist’s notes about the fabric and the cut of the item. Does it have an empire waist? Or maybe it’s a stretchy knit? In my cart it goes.

In the eight months I’ve been renting, I’ve only had four to five pieces that I had to send back without wearing because they simply didn’t fit at all. (This includes the one unfortunate time my husband had to help me out of a dress I was particularly determined to make fit.)

In the end, I can’t say I haven’t spent any money on a maternity wardrobe. I’ve spent just over $1,000 on Rent the Runway this year. But I am excited to get dressed every day. I feel confident and polished when I walk into the office or head off to a wedding. It’s almost as if nothing’s changed—except, oh yeah, that giant bump.

It’s a beautiful challenge to see a body you’re so familiar with change so much in such a short time, and having a service that helped me feel good and simplified the process of choosing a new wardrobe during such a transitional time in my life has been pretty priceless. And, bonus, come my due date, I won't have a surplus of maternity clothes to stash in the attic.

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