Le Tote Review: Maternity Clothes Edition

Friday, January 6, 2017

I've reviewed the Le Tote subscription services before (here, and here), but wanted to revisit it to discuss their new "maternity membership" options. Because getting dressed is hard enough without your body changing every day, so hopefully this helps demystify some things for some mamas-to-be.

A quick run down for anyone unfamiliar with what Le Tote is. It is a subscription service where, for a monthly fee, you become a member. In exchange, you are sent boxes of clothing and accessory items that you are essentially renting. You can keep the items for as long (or as little) of a time as you like. When you send a box of items back, a new one is sent to you. There is no limit on how many or few boxes you can get in a month. It is up to you.  Unlike other women's clothing subscription services, you are doing most of the picking of items, not a stylist. There are three ways this happens: by filling out a style profile for stylists to reference; by adding items to a virtual closet; and- mostly-  by "customizing your Tote." This last option is what really sets Le Tote apart, in my opinion. You get an email before a Tote is sent to you, allowing you up to 48 hours to "customize" your tote. Basically, if you don't like an item, you can swap it out for something else! There are some limitations to this- namely, you must choose from what they currently have in stock which may or may not be your style or size. One helpful tip is to remember is if you don't like any items they have in stock at the moment, just come back in a few hours. There are often different items in demand.

There are two different types of memberships, Maternity and "Classic." These are exactly what they sound like. The "Classic" membership is regular, non-maternity clothing. And  the Maternity membership is, well.... three guesses and first two don't count I've gotten three Totes during my pregnancy and one thing I've noticed is that just since September, they've made improvements on how you can navigate these membership options. For my first box, if you chose maternity, you could only pick maternity items (or you had to get very creative with your account, switching back and forth!) My last two boxes I got in December and I've noticed that a Maternity membership gives you access to BOTH "classic"  items and maternity items. Now that I'm 8 months pregnant, I can't take advantage of that as much as I'd like, but its perfect for those just starting their second trimester.

For each one of these membership options, there are also box- or rather "Tote"- size options. You can choose to get  either 4 clothing items OR 3 clothing items along with two accessories ($69.00 for a maternity membership and $59.00 a month for a classic membership). Alternatively, you could get a smaller Tote with only two clothing items and one accessory ($49.00 for a maternity membership and $39.00 for a classic membership). You also always have the option of adding on both clothing and accessory items to your Tote for an additional fee per item.  Compared to where they started, I'm so impressed by all the options to make your Tote fit both your needs and your budget!

summer and sage maternity, le tote,
My September Le Tote had a lot of ill-
classic clothing items, le tote, As I stated earlier, I have gotten a total of three Totes with Maternity membership option. I'll admit, I had actually sort of planned to just use a Le Tote membership from September (start of my second trimester) on through the arrival of Baby Boy to pad out an otherwise pretty minimal collection of maternity basics. It didn't happen that way though.

Le Tote emphatically states that it is never too early to switch to a Maternity membership, if you are pregnant. While this may be true now that you can have access to both maternity and classic items at the same time, back in September, that wasn't an option yet. So, I had a bit of a baby bump; work clothes weren't fitting, but my body wasn't going to hold up some of the clothing items designed for ladies
further along in their pregnancy.

Sizing was also an issue. Because Le Tote has items from multiple brands, it is always important to look at the sizing of each item. Even then, this isn't a guarantee things will fit. Some maternity brands want you to pick your sizes based on your pregnancy measurements. Some want you to measure where you are today. Some want you to guesstimate what size you think you will be growing into. Unfortunately, even though the sizing guides are there, what the company wants you to use- your past, present or future size- is unclear. This meant both my first and second maternity Le Tote boxes had some weird sizing issues on certain items.

 Lastly- and, yes, I sound a bit of a snob here, sorry- their maternity items are just very.... maternity. A lot of the patterns looked mumsy and too loud. And I don't care how big my belly gets, I'm just not going to dig bodycon dresses or empire waisted shirts. Your milage on such styles may vary, but these just aren't my cup of team and wasn't work the membership fee, I thought.

velvet leggings, maternity clothing, pregnancy, le tote, So what happened between September and December that made me give Le Tote another go? All cards on the table here: It wasn't anything magical that Le Tote had done. Fact of the matter was, I got bigger and more desperate for items that fit and that I liked. Stylistically, Le Tote still mostly carries styles that did not appeal to me. But I found that using the virtual closet and the customizing features really helped. I could hunt for the items that DID appeal. Plus, I now have a few more months' worth of experience to tell how a piece is supposed to fit a pregnant belly and how comfortable it would be (this is the most important factor of all!)

I have really loved my last two maternity tote; they have done magic in that they make me feel pretty and like I have more than two outfits I actually can wear. So, here is what set my December Totes apart. Unintentionally, my choices reflect a certain pattern that tried to walk the line of getting basics I could remix with items I already owned, and things that had an interesting detail (otherwise, I might as well just get another tee from Motherhood beyond comfortable. Score!  I also chose a sweater with an interesting detail each time (a low-cut back and a zippered back respectively), as well as a more basic/casual shirt and two accessories. Accessories have become a bit more tricky with a huge belly, but I still love 'em. And who knows? I might even get one more maternity Tote before my own little guy arrives.
maternity for ten bucks). For both boxes I got a pair leggings. Most maternity pants are jeans- because apparently pregnant ladies don't work or something- and if they aren't jeans, they are black. Admittedly the leggings I picked are also black, but for one box, an interesting detail at the knees kept them from being too basic, and for the second box, the leggings were velvet. Now, I'm not normally a velvet person, but these make me feel So Fancy and they are

One thing that always impresses me about Le Tote is how much they change and adapt, adding new features to make things easier for their costumers. The different Tote sizes would be one example of this. Another would be the way they added access to the classic items and maternity ones when you have a maternity membership. There are still some places for improvement. Mainly, while you can leave feedback on items, it is all prescribed; you click the issues from a predetermined list. Except, if there is an issue with an item, the pre-determined choices don't always cover the issue. I hope they have a comment box in the future. But then, they are so good about adapting, it wouldn't surprising me in the least if they get that changed soon.

Part of me does wish now that I'd given the Maternity Le Tote a second chance earlier, but I'm enjoying it now. Like a lot of other mamas-to-be counting down the weeks and then days,  there are times I feel huge and un-pretty- and pretty much all of the time I feel uncomfortable. Slipping on something pretty and new can really help combat those feelings, especially since most women's maternity wardrobes are small because we all know we won't be using the clothing more than a few months. Le Tote really does solve the issues of getting a new infusion into your wardrobe. It isn't free, but, honestly, the membership price is the cost of one or two items of clothing, so you get much more than what you pay for. Plus, you can send it back when you're done, so you don't end up with a ton of maternity items in your closet and no idea of what to do with them once that bundle of joy arrives (though, for both the classic and maternity memberships, if you really love an item you can purchase it, usually for less than retail value).

Have you tried Le Tote for either the "classic" or "maternity" options? What did you think?


  1. Glad you found a way to make Le Tote work for maternity clothes. The velvet leggings sound nice :)

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  2. The pieces look super stylish yet comfortable, love it!

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  3. You're killin' the maternity style!

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