The Search for Petite Maternity Jeans
I’m pretty sure my search for petite maternity jeans will go down in history as one of the defining battles of my life.
It’s the kind of tale that people, years from now, will tell around camp fires. Or, OK, around their iPhone 494s, or whatever the hell people are using years from now. Phone implants, maybe. When this baby is old enough, we’ll reminisce about The Olden Days, and it’ll be all, “Tell us again about the petite maternity jeans, mum! Is it true that they really didn’t make them back them back then?!” and I will nod my head sorrowfully, and say, “You young uns don’t know how lucky you are!”
Well, OK, maybe not. I mean, I guess it’s possible that the search for petite maternity jeans, while a Very Big Thing in my recent life, is probably NOT that important to anyone else, and I say this because of the COMPLETE LACK of petite maternity jeans on the UK market. (I also say this knowing that this post is probably going to generate lots of comments about the availability of petite maternity jeans in places like the USA and Australia, but I prefer not to shop internationally for this kind of thing, because the shipping costs and import duties can almost double the price of the item, plus returns are a complete PITA if it doesn’t work out…) Seriously, it’s like clothing manufacturers assume you get taller as well as wider when you get pregnant, and if that was the case, I’d have tried this years ago, no joke.
My own problem in the maternity jeans department is threefold:
01. I am very, very fussy about jeans. They have to be EXACTLY the right colour, with EXACTLY the right amount of distressing, and EXACTLY the right length, or I don’t want to know.
02. I am short in the leg: which means I need either a petite leg, or a regular length cropped or ankle jean, which will be full-length on me. These things can be hard to find even in regular sizes (especially when combined with the “fusspot” scenario above…): add in maternity sizing, and it’s like trying to find the Holy Grail, only harder. No, that’s not an exaggeration.
03. Most maternity lines seem to start at a UK size 8 AND to run large. I normally wear a UK size 6, so I’m sized out of the market before I even start.
(Quick caveat to that last point: I once got flamed on Twitter for being deemed to be “complaining” about lack of choice in my size. I actually wasn’t complaining at all, and what I said was totally taken out of context, so I’m a bit worried about mentioning this now. I’m not trying to act like my life is OMGSOHARD or whatever – this has just been the reality of shopping for maternity clothes for me, and I know women of ALL sizes have similar issues finding clothes that fit properly: it’s just that my particular experience is with shopping for shorties, so that’s what I can talk about!)
So, with those three points in mind, I begun my search.
My first pair of petite maternity jeans…
(This photo is from a few weeks ago, hence the changing bump size!)
… were these ones from Topshop, only mine are the “under the bump” version, which are currently sold out on the website. Topshop do sell a range of petite maternity jeans, but the selection is really small, and although their normal petite range goes down to a UK4, the maternity range starts from a UK 8… which was totally sold out in every available colour. Or in BOTH available colours, I should say. Not to worry, though: the regular maternity range includes the ‘Leigh’ maternity jeans in a 28″ leg, and, at first, I thought I had struck gold with them, and that this whole maternity wardrobe thing was going to be super-duper easy. Oh, the innocence of… a few weeks ago.
On the plus side, the length of these jeans is perfect, as is the colour, so major Brownie points there. I’ve always kind of ignored Topshop jeans, because I assumed they were mostly super-skinny styles, designed for teenagers, but I’ve made a mental note that, as soon as this baby is out (Or, you know, a few months later, when I’m starting to think about “normal” clothes again…) I’m going to check out some more pairs in this style, because I love almost everything about them… except the fit. Yup, I allowed myself to get so excited by them being the right colour and length (and also a really soft, stretchy denim) that I de-tagged them before testing them out properly, and it was only when I tried wearing them for the first time that I realised these jeans were going to fall down every few steps. GAH.
That, as I said, was a few weeks ago. I’ve been hoping I’d grow into them as the bump got bigger, but I’m 18 weeks now, and, if anything, the jeans are even looser on me – which makes them really uncomfortable to wear, as I’m having to stop and pull them up every few minutes. I’m now wondering if the ‘over the bump’ style would’ve been a better choice: I’m not very keen on OTB jeans, because I hate having fabric up to my boobs, but they DO seem less prone to falling down, so… someone talk me out of ordering them, pretty please?
Next up, I tried Gap…
There are no photos from this particular experiment, because I ordered FIVE different pairs of maternity jeans from Gap (Annoyingly, their maternity clothes are only available online, so you can’t go to the store and try them on…), and ended up returning all of them: GOD. Now, I normally swear by Gap for jeans: I like their ‘True Skinny’ cut, which isn’t too skintight, and comes in three different leg lengths, with the ‘Short’ (obviously) being perfect for petites.
Now, Gap has a really good range of maternity jeans, so I was pretty optimistic about finding something that would suit me… until I realised that absolutely NONE of them were available in the short leg option. Which made me want to throw myself on the floor and beat the ground in frustration.
I took a chance, and ordered several pairs of jeans in the ‘regular’ option (Word to the wise here: SIZE DOWN, these jeans run large…), but the only ones that weren’t too long were a pair described as “cropped” (also no longer on the website, apparently: the world of petite maternity jeans is obviously fiercely competitive!) which – wait for it – were too SHORT. I know, I’m absolutely impossible, aren’t I? Trust me when I say, it’s not often you’ll hear me describe a pair of jeans as “too short” but these ones were designed to be cropped on someone of regular height, which means that, on me, they were too long to look “cropped” but too short to look “regular”. So, back they all went. Which brings me to…
ASOS Petite Maternity Jeans
I’d had quite a few people recommend ASOS for petite maternity jeans, but I was a bit dubious, really, because these jeans, although sold as ‘petite’ looked way too long even on the model, and seemed to rely on being rolled at the ankle to actually fit. Hmmm. Still, they were available in my size, and weren’t too expensive, so I took a chance, and they’ve turned out to be my favourites so far – in terms of comfort, at least. Sadly, as you can see, I was right about the leg length, and they do have to be cuffed at the ankle to fit my short legs, which I find a bit odd in what are supposed to be ‘petite’ maternity jeans. Still, I’m not having to pull them up every few steps, so they beat the Topshop versions, and so far they’ve also beaten….
NEW LOOK… whose petite maternity jeans were almost exclusively available in heavily-distressed styles, for some reason. Call me old fashioned, but while I can live with a little bit of distressing, I’m really not into the whole, “Look, here are both my knees!” style that’s so popular right now.
H&M… who didn’t have any ankle-length jeans (They don’t have a dedicated petite range, but do sometimes have ‘shorter length’ styles… not at the moment, though!)
DOROTHY PERKINS... who have no petite maternity jeans at all right now, but who do have some regular styles in a UK 6.
SERAPHINE… who have a couple of promising-looking cropped styles in pastel colours, but no petite maternity jeans in blue.
NEXT… who do have a ‘short’ leg option in their maternity jeans, but it starts from a UK8, and I’m not keen on the colours currently available.