petite maternity jeans with Breton stripe top and pink shoes

The Search for Petite Maternity Jeans

petite maternity jeans with Breton stripe top and pink shoes
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…

Topshop 'Leigh' 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

ASOS 'Ridley' petite maternity jeans with blue and white stripe maternity top and pink high heels

ASOS ‘Ridley’ maternity jeans // H&M ‘Mama’ top // Cambridge Satchel Co. Cloud Bag* // Office ‘On to Point’ heels

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.

Any more? Anyone got a secret source of petite maternity jeans (in the UK) they’d like to share?

[My Maternity Essentials]

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

books by Amber Eve
  • Hollie


    I feel your pain. Finding nice fitting short maternity jeans is near on impossible. I ended up turning up regular lengths ones and getting the nicest pair shortened (thanks Nan).

    Give Envie De Frais a try, they start at a size 6 and are really nice quality but they don’t do them in different lengths so will be a turn up job

    August 4, 2017
  • It might be worth asking your mum to alter some jeans you already like to make them maternity-friendly – there are loads of tutorials online for doing this that involve removing the waistband and sewing stretchy panels into the sides. It does mean losing those jeans from the rotation after you’ve had your baby – but by that stage, when you’re back into regular jeans anyway, you won’t have the same shopping problem.

    August 4, 2017
      • That makes total sense! I sound totally committed here to signing your mum up to do your alterations but she might also be able to tweak the maternity pairs you’ve bought. If I lived closer, I’d volunteer myself!

        August 4, 2017
  • This could be my future nightmare, as my legs only ever fit happily into petite lengths (well, I AM petite length all over so that makes sense) and I hate 99% of regular jeans I ever try. ASOS seem to be the only brand I ever notice putting out a range of petite maternity clothes, so I reckon should the day come I’d be on that website quicker than you could blink, cos what else can a short pregnant person do…

    August 4, 2017
  • The Other Emma


    Just a note on the over the bump jeans, alot of them won’t be fully over your bump especially as you get bigger. I have a long torso and I found all of my OTB jeans including ones from American brands finished high ON my bumps (2 pregnancies) and could be quite uncomfortable.

    August 4, 2017
      • The Other Emma


        Yep, had the same problem with under the bump ones, either they fell down or dug in where the seams were.

        It might be worth trying the OTB ones to see how they work on you but I ended up resigning myself to the fact I was going to be unhappy with jeans for all my pregnancies.

        August 4, 2017
  • Hey Amber, I feel your pain! I had two pairs of Topshop petite maternity jeans which I wore loads. By the time of my second pregnancy they were too loose round the waist. I gave up and lived in the ASOS maternity leggings with tunics/dresses.
    Do Red Herring at Debenhams still have a maternity section? Might be worth a look. Not somewhere I’d normally shop but I did get some of my best maternity wear from there. Katie

    August 4, 2017
  • Other Amber


    Next tends to run a little small in sizing (where skinnies are concerned) so you may want to try an 8, if you havent already that is 🙂 Also I’d recommend taking a look on ‘Whatsupmoms’ on youtube, they have a really good video on ‘Ternity jeans 😉 You are absolutely glowing by the way! xx

    August 4, 2017
  • This is the most unhelpful thing to say but…. Here’s my experience with maternity jeans. I was exactly like you needing/wanting to get into maternity pants/jeans because normal stuff didn’t really quite fit at around 18 weeks or so. But, frankly, maternity jeans didn’t really fit right then either. Most maternity clothing does grow with you, but it tends to start really fitting right week 22 or so. That may be the case for you too….

    But, that same brand Isabella Oliver that you loved their dresses- they do maternity jeans too. Do they have any? Or Try Pea in the Pod. They have a lot of different brands and at least one UK brick and mortar store.

    Good luck!!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2017
  • Tiffany


    I hated maternity jeans, and I didn’t even have to worry about the length. The only ones that didn’t fall down on me were a size too small and felt like sausage casings on my legs. I did love all my OTB pants, though. The ones I had had a skin-colored stretchy fabric that was really comfy and didn’t show through my tops.

    August 4, 2017
  • Alison


    I had the exact same issues. The first time I got a great Dorothy Perkins Petite UTB pair and but every thing else fell down. I found OTB ones worse for falling down but cosy in the winter.

    The second time I got some in ASOS and GAP but they were just not that comfortable when I went past 24 weeks and I gave up for leggings and long tops.

    Some advice, never buy M&S maternity tights. You’d need to be two years pregnant with twin baby elephants to make them stay up.

    To be fair to M&S though, they do have some nice maternity stuff online.

    August 4, 2017
  • Rhiann


    Don’t bother with Next either! I’m 5ft tall and a uk size 8, currently 26 weeks pregnant. I have two pairs from next that I kept because I was desperate (and, well, I needed something to wear on my bottom half!) but they’re still too long and loosen up massively as they wear throughout the day. I’ve no suggestions for better options unfortunately, though I have found that the over the bump styles stay up better than under bump ones.

    August 5, 2017
  • Kasia


    Isabella Oliver was my go to when pregnant. She doesn’t have petite range however her cloths fitted well despit my small size. (I’m 5,3 and was size 8 pre-pregnancy)

    August 5, 2017
  • J.


    Could try taking some to a tailor? Wouldn’t be too expensive and could potentially be re-worn if they are the under bump kind

    August 7, 2017
  • OK, top tip – if you have a retail park nearby that has a Mamas and Papas (or Mothercare, I would guess it works the same) chances are the clothing stores on that retail park will stock their maternity ranges in store. We used to have a Gap on my local retail park and it was one of the few branches to have maternity in store… because it was two doors down from Mamas and Papas. The Next and RI on there also have maternity in store, as does the Dorothy Perkins. So find your nearest Mamas and Papas and at least you’ll be able to try on in store. (I found all this out when my sister was pregnant the first time round. She has longer legs than you though, so I can’t help with petites I’m afraid.)

    August 8, 2017
  • Emma Roberts


    I have the Asos Ridley maternity jeans, also in petite also in size 6 – so ecactly the same. I found them a little long too around your time, but now I’m 27 weeks they seem to fit better! I find them so comfy.

    August 9, 2017
  • Fiona


    I’m the same… It’s always awful finding jeans, but maternity? Aah!
    I just found the brand Mama licious, I’m not sure if they’re sold in the UK though? I love all their clothes, just because they’re really soft and comfortable. I found a pair of jeans in a thrift shop and they fit me perfectly, so lucky! So I’m living in those right now. I remember not fitting into any jeans anymore when I got bigger last time. I’m 22 weeks now, so we’ll see…

    August 9, 2017
  • I love your fashion style. This outfit is casual but feminine elegant!

    August 30, 2017
  • Nancy


    Arghhh – the struggle is REAL ladies! I’m gonna try the ASOS Ridley ones again – first time I tried the fly/button bit poked out so much that you couldn’t wear a top over it? Thank you stopping me wasting more time down the petite jean wormhole… What a pain in the butt.

    September 13, 2017
  • I found a pair of jeans in a thrift shop and they fit me perfectly. I love all their clothes, just because they’re really soft and comfortable.Thanks for the sharing this over here.

    July 7, 2018
  • Your hair color is stunning. Is that the natural shade of your hair? Do you have any publication about showering during pregnancy?

    July 7, 2018
  • Thanks so much for this post. I’m 22 weeks pregnant and thought I’d go looking for a pair of maternity jeans today but was faced with exactly the same problem — no maternity jeans for people 5ft3 with short legs! Will probably go with the ASOS ones.

    August 18, 2018