not your mom's maternity jeans

25 February 2015

Oooo, what a FUN post idea, Grace.

So fun.

I know. I do! I just can't help myself when it comes to heady topics like this. In the five years since I bought my first pair of maternity denim ... the selection has come a LONG way and who am I to deny you-who-might-care (all .08 of you) access to my detailed research and findings? No one. Access AWAY.

When I was pregnant with Julia I couldn't WAIT to dive right into maternity clothes like a new and predictable mom-to-be. Since the bulk of my second and third trimesters were in the late spring, heat of the summer, and then early fall I stuck to mostly wearing skirts and dresses but wanted a pair of jeans because I'm an American woman and I just did. After several order/try-on/hate/return misses I finally settled on these full panel flares and borrowed a pair of these  from a good friend and felt set. I loved them both but wore them a lot less than I thought I would but was happy to have them for when I wanted to feel pulled together in overly air conditioned settings {like my classroom}. Same story/weather situation minus the borrowed pair with Sebastian's pregnancy.



I got a little to a lot leggings + tunic+ bootsed out with Theo and Phoebe's winter pregnancies but discovered the beauty of the side panels (HUGE thanks to Britt's generosity when she gave me the first pair of jeans listed here) which brings me to lucky number five and my all important quest to find a couple pairs of jeans that I could wear daily. It was important that they held their shape so that I didn't have to wash them after every wear and that they were thick enough to look like jeans and not leggings or jeggings. And it was important that they were comfortable enough that I didn't want to tear them off and jump into my beloved leggings after two hours of wear.

So here's what we're working with/what I kept/what I returned etc ....

{hey! if there can be a 'Not Your Daughter's Jeans' line then I can hit right back with a 'not your mom's' jab ... although the irony of maternity denim wanting to steer clear of looking mom-ish is NOT lost on me, I promise}

1. J Brand Mama J Maternity with side panels - as mentioned above, Britt gave these to me and they are nothing short of magical. They do thee best job of holding their shape, haven't faded, and stay UP. Obviously they are kind of a huge investment if you go the brand new route but I've seen quite a few pairs pop up on eBay. They fit a little on the small side but I would say they fit mostly true to size and to stick with your standard pre-pregnancy size. These were a little too snug to wear for the last weeks of Phoebe's pregnancy because I tend to carry girl babies in my thighs and face but they were perfect for the majority of my second trimester and most of the third.

2. ASOS Ankle Grazer Under the Bump Ridley - {worn here} I had read good things about ASOS maternity section and took advantage of a Christmas sale they were having and ordered these. And I love them. They don't have to side panels but the soft elastic 'under the bump' or 'demi' panel but they still don't feel like maternity jeans and I appreciate the ankle length (not capris - like the 5'11'' makes them look). They aren't quite as thick as the J Bran denim but they most definitely aren't thin enough to be considered traditional jeggings. The back pockets are nice and big which means they aren't going to make our rapidly growing seats look bigger than they actually are. ASOS makes returns SUPER easy and convenient {free! included return shipping label!} so I decided to try my luck with a few different pairs ... for the sake of thorough research. Or so I told Simon. Which brings me to .....

3. ASOS Maternity Distressed Jeans - Loved these. Loved the fit. Loved that they had the bigger back pockets. Wanted to keep them BUT ... the photo is totally deceiving and the destroyed spots do show some skin and the two top holes are just a little too daring and um, cold for me. I could lie and tell myself that I'd take the time to sew patches underneath but I wouldn't get around to it until the baby was born and maybe even walking so ... pass. But! They fit true to size and really would be so perfect minus the scando factor.

4. ASOS Maternity Whitby Skinny Jeans with destroyed knees - a consolation prize for the 3's not working out. Although the kids cannot get over how funny they find the holes. These fit a little more generously which gives me hope that they'll work all the way up until d-day.

5. Old Navy distressed denim - I ordered these with VERY low expectations because Old Navy maternity bottoms have never done much for me but after reading tons of great reviews {order a size down from your pre-pregnancy size! you gotta} ... I couldn't resist because they were on sale and then 40% off that price and you know how Old Navy lures you in LIKE THAT. Anyway - they exceeded all expectations (the photo above is a terrible representation - you can get a better idea here and here) and while they can't go several wears without stretching out a bit, they'll definitely be going the distance to the very end of the third trimester. They are pretty long {I'm 5' 7''} but I don't mind the rolled up look and I plan to wear them for 18 months postpartum ... maybe more.

6. J.Crew Maternity Toothpick denim - I found a black pair of these on eBay for a steal and almost expected them to be fakes or something but they are in mint condition. I'm mostly in the 'no denim to church' camp (I don't know why - I don't mind or notice if/when others do) but these look so nice that I've been wearing them with heels to Mass on occasion. They are the thickest denim of the bunch but definitely the lowest rise which might bug some people. They don't stretch out at all. If I had found these at the beginning of Julia's pregnancy I wouldn't have minded paying full price because the quality is outstanding and I know they would've widdled their price per wear down to very little even after three or four gestational periods. I sized down from my regular Jcrew pant size and the pair I found happened to be ankle length which I love.

I know some people might prefer the full panel so maybe I should've tried a few to report my findings {round two! here I come!} but I'm a big (lit and fig) fan of side panels or the under-the-bump panel because they fit earlier and can be worn longer during the postpartum period, in my experience. AND I know some people might be able to just get away with wearing their regular jeans doing the rubberband trick or using a BellaBand for a lot of their pregnancy but I am not those people and start wearing maternity pants earlier and earlier every pregnancy. No shame here. Maternity jeans are most definitely not a must-have or a necessity during pregnancy but if you wear a lot of denim and you're pregnant during the colder months .... they are definitely nice to have.

What else? I was tempted to try some of Loft's selection but didn't want to have to break this post into chapters and I've heard good things about H&M's maternity denim too!

I know I'm missing some - hit me with them if you don't mind. I don't want to steer other innocent readers in all the wrong directions here. 


  1. So oddly, I am a full panel gal and I love the very pricey but last for ever and feel like sweatpants, AG maternity jeans in a dark wash. I justify this buy, with a coupon and also with the fact that I try to get away with buying very little maternity clothes.. They are always over priced. I have an H&M stretchy skirt that I got for 5 bucks that I've worn for two pregnancies and I often just go to TJmaxx and get sweaters or shirts in a size or two bigger. So yeah, that is how I justify my crazy expensive maternity jeans that I wear almost every day.. :)

    1. haha you dont have to justify them to me! I've never heard of AG though! Off to Google just because I'm curious :)

    2. Here to give another nod to trying AG. I seriously never want to take them off. But the price tag- yes, ouch!

    3. Im pregnant with my 4th kiddo in 5 years... between "popping" earlier every pregnancy and the postpartumphase, I totally wish I would have purchased one super nice high quality pair of jeans with my first baby! Can't justify it now because this is our last. But I say if you have in your budget and hope for more than one baby, get a great pair of leggings, a great pair of jeans a few tees at target and fudge the rest. I've probably spent the same amount on crappy jeans suffering thru months of uncomfortable maternity jeans as I would have just buying one pair of good ones :)

  2. Oh gosh I would definitely call maternity demin a must have. I have two pairs I'm loving this time around (so far) both full panel, both from Destination Maternity's "designer" line, whatev that means because they were less than half the $ of their 7's, so...whatev. One skinny, one boot cut, both super dark wash. I'm too nervous to even try to squeeze my rapidly expanding ass into a side panel or under belly model. Like literally I've never tried. Maybe I need to muster up.

  3. I love maternity clothes! I dig mine out as soon as I get a positive test! Haha!! I'm definitely not a full panel girl either. They feel like granny panties to me. ;)

  4. H&M makes the best. The soft panel (but not quite a full panel maybe?) made my belly not itchy. And every other type made it so so itchy. Also my bum looked hawt. I actually kind of miss them.

  5. Old Navy is my tried and true! Maybe it is because I grew up on cheap jeans, but I'm never happy with the way "nicer" jeans fit on me. I am in my first pregnancy and just starting to buy maternity clothes. I have one pair of full panel jeans from GAP and the side panel Old Navy jeans and when I got the side panels I thought they were a breath of fresh air. I definitely think they will be my go-to!

  6. Love Gap full, Demi, skinny, bootcut, all of them! Also found a pair of Old Navy jeans at a thrift store and they were Demi panel and they rocked. Pea in the Pod full panel was super cozy for winter months. I converted some True Religion brand jeans into maternity jeans and that was a hilarious mistake because they fit for 5 weeks and then I realized they had no stretch at all! Haha. At least I knew how to convert them back.

  7. I've heard good things about Paige maternity, but haven't tried. On my future wish list though :)

  8. Thanks again for the shout out! I'm remembering this for the future - the ASOS ones for sure :) Hope you're feeling great! These are good too if you can find them cheaper:

  9. Gap jeans were my favorite for maternity while pregnant with my boys. I had a lot of Old Navy ones, but either the bands ended up tearing or they shrunk (or I got huge...but I prefer to think the first, especially since they started looking like high-waters). ;-)

  10. You are the ultimate pregnancy guru! Here you are helping gestating moms everywhere by laying out the good paternity jeans, while I sit and make a list of all the jeans I want to where without a belly. haha! But as far as maternity jeans, asos and gap have been my go-to's this time around.

  11. Old Navy slim bootcut low panels are great for early - mid pregnancy! The fit is cute and they stay up well. I can't stand the low panel squeezing me anymore, but for those earlier weeks they were amazing. If you don't mind being squeezed when you sit down, they'd be great for longer; I just get super uncomfortable that way. My full panels are all kind of mom-jean-ish, unfortunately, (but sooooo comfy!!) so maybe I'll have to try some ASOS pairs...they look good in the pictures at least!

  12. So good to read this, and thank you, Grace. The other night I ordered the white side paneled jeans from Old Navy but I didn't size down so I'm hoping it's not awful ... or that it'll be an easy swap out. Anyway glad to hear your good review on the OLd Navy denims bc I'm not a confident ebay shopper and I love knowing I can return these. Also once again the price point is way more up my alley. But anyway I love these articles so never hesitate to throw more info out there.

  13. I've been living in my 2 pairs of GAP maternity (clearance!) and two pairs of H&M. Or rather I was till I dropped even loooower a couple of weeks ago (pretty sure at any second he's going to just shove an arm out of me) so now it's leggings and yoga pants because I obviously refuse to buy more maternity wear with 2 weeks or less to go!

  14. I have a pair of Liz Lange x Target maternity jeans that I quite like. They were super cheap and they have a great dark wash and slim bootcut leg.

    Confession: I am not and have never been pregnant. But I still love these maternity jeans! Sometimes I'm a little between sizes and I don't like having to decide to between the baggy too-big size or a muffin top situation in the smaller size. The maternity jeans are perfect -- perfect fit everywhere, no muffin top. They are also great for Thanksgiving dinner or a trip to the Chinese buffet :)

  15. Don't bother with LOFT maternity anything. I just ordered a few pairs of pants and tops and the fir was awful - pants too small and shirts were enormous!

  16. I like that Old Navy does side panels. Amen! Why does the panel on most have to be full belly? It's so itchy. With Evie I indulged in a pair of Heidi Klum maternity jeans. They were an amazing fit. Years later I still get asked by ladies that want to borrow those jeans. Hoping to pull them out for me sometime soon ;)

  17. My absolute FAVORITE jeans from my last pregnancy (third, baby is now somehow 3 months old....sob!) were my full-panel skinny jeans from Old Navy. I went to ON to buy some bootcut jeans, saw these on the rack and purchased them a la impulse. Ended up wearing them literally almost every single day once the days cooled down, and wore the bootcuts I'd also purchased almost never (weird crotchal situation going on there, would have returned them but I'd already hemmed them). I love the skinnies so much that I am desperately trying to figure out how to make them non-maternity so I can keep them and wear them forever and ever amen.

    I think these are them, but I have them in a more traditional darker denim wash:

  18. I freaking HATE full panels, but I had to wear them during pregnancy because I guess I carried low. My favorite pair, that I still wear to this day because uh, comfortable, is my Old Navy low panel distressed jeans. But I absolutely hated their full panel. The legging of the full panel was super comfortable, but the panel was itchy and squeezed me at the very top in a way that I hated.

    I couldn't get the LOFT full panel skinnies, but I have full panel shorts from there and the panel is SO comfortable! It's suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper soft and does not squeeze at all...but somehow stays up.

    I had one hell of a time trying to find skinny maternity jeans, and I'm STILL looking even though I'm not currently pregnant. But when I was pregnant jeans were constantly sold out so I never found a pair past the low panel that I wore in the 1st and 2nd tri.

    I've heard great things about the J Brand and Gap skinnies.

  19. I cannot do under bump panels because my butt is too big and I deal with the "sit and show crack" problem, plus they just tend to fall down anyway. Which makes me sad, because it's harder to hide the fact that full-panel are maternity jeans. I wore my full-panel maternity jeans all through postpartum and up to this second pregnancy (and now IN this second pregnancy...). I'll have to try side panel, though, and see if those work any better. When I'm not pregnant, I need high rise jeans due to the whole butt problem, so... oh well. I'll just rock the mom jean look.



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