If you've ever had to shop for an evening gown or cocktail dress while you're pregnant, you'll know it's a special sort of hell. Not only is it darned near impossible to find something cute, the idea of shelling out that kind of dough for something you'll very likely never wear again is frustrating. Enter Rent The Runway. The popular online clothing rental site recently began offering maternity sizes, much to the delight of moms-to-be everywhere. But, does Rent The Runway have maternity plus sizes? Because some of us are curvier than others.
The maternity offerings of Rent The Runway work exactly the same way as the standard size dresses. You can rent their garments starting at $30 for a four to eight-day rental, or do one of the unlimited monthly packages that allow you to build a monthly wardrobe of four pieces and keep them as long as you like. These packages are between $89 and $159 dollars per month with a discount on your first shipment. The great thing about the "Expecting Unlimited" program for moms-to-be, is that not only is the first month's fee reduced, you also get a free gift. At this time, the sizes listed go up to a size 22, but they only have dresses available up to size 16.
Finding maternity clothes at any size can be really frustrating, and sometimes, it feels like there just aren't a lot of options. When you're plus size, those choices tend to dwindle even further, especially because the pieces available do not mirror the sizes of the average American woman. According to a study in the International Journal of Fashion, Design, Technology, and Education, the average size of a woman today is a size 16, not the 12 or 14 as previously believed.
However, finding maternity clothing in a size 16 or above is a challenge. Many stores simply don't carry those sizes, and if they do, there's not a lot in the way of variety. Unfortunately, Rent The Runway seems to go along with this trend. To their credit, it's likely not something they have a lot of control over at this point. Because they don't manufacture the clothing, they simply re-package it for rental. Rent The Runway has to go with not only what is available, but also what they can buy in bulk in a short period of time. Given that this is a new service offered by the company, and that the size options extend up to size 22, it's likely they do want to provide more choices and that they intend to do so in the future.
Rent The Runway isn't the only maternity clothing rental service that has a rather anemic selection of plus-sized clothing. I searched all of the services I could find online and some of them offered nothing over an extra large, and only one of them had any items above a size 16. The real standout in this area is Motherhood Closet, which, unlike the other services, is an online consignment shop and rental service which is perhaps why it's a more realistic reflection of the consumer. In this case, the consumer is also providing the product.
Hopefully this will change soon as these companies become more popular. As demand increases, so should the variety of options available, as is the case in any retail situation. As for now, you might want to consider joining up with your friends and having a maternity clothing swap club, which is not only fun, but a great way to save money and time. And let's be honest, we could all use more of both of those things.