Ah pregnancy, so many exciting decisions to make! What color should you paint the nursery? Which breast pump should you buy? Do you really need a spatula to put cream on your baby’s bottom? And will any of these books actually work to get your baby to be a good sleeper? But before all of those decisions about the baby, you must make a crucial decision about yourself: to maternity jean or not to maternity jean. During my own pregnancies I tried my hardest to be the sort of person who “didn’t buy maternity clothes”—and while that worked for dresses, it most definitely did not apply to jeans.
In my non-pregnant life I tend to go for rigid, high-rise jeans—if there are two words you want to avoid when it comes to pregnancy denim, it’s “rigid” and “high-rise”—needless to say, I didn’t fit into any of my denim from very early on in my pregnancies. I did try the “rubber band trick” for a few weeks and then finally accepted defeat and purchased a pair of actual maternity jeans. It’s impossible to name the best maternity jeans out there because it is a very personal preference based on how you want your bump to feel, however, there are styles that worked for me, and might for you as well. From over the bump to under it, these are the current best maternity jeans on the market.
Vogue’s Guide to the Best Maternity Jeans
- Best Over-the-Bump: H&M mama super skinny jeans, $35
- Best Under-the-Bump: 1822 Denim butter slim straight-leg maternity jeans, $64
- Best Non-Maternity: Zara high-waisted paperbag jeans, $50
- Best Non-Jeans: Mango maternity denim dungarees, $100
Over-the-bump jeans have a rather large amount of cotton or elastic fabric attached to the top of them that can feel very intimidating in the earlier stages of pregnancy but will feel very necessary by the end. This style can be very divisive: Some women prefer it as it feels protective over the bump and also seems to stay up better, while others feel suffocated by so much coverage and uncomfortable as the fabric often stretches all the way up to the bra line. I seem to recall describing the first pair of over-the-bump jeans I tried on as “claustrophobic” but by the end of my pregnancy they were the only ones I could wear. I’d recommend getting one pair with over the bump coverage if you plan to wear pants of any kind in the third trimester.
maternity over-the-belly crop jeans
Citizens of Humanity
Emmanuel maternity jeans
mama super skinny jeans
maternity over-the-belly straight jean
Under-the-bump jeans are really just jeans with side elastic bits sewn in above the pockets or in lieu of pockets. These are ideal in the early and middle stages of pregnancy when you want to wear cute tops or sweaters and don’t want an extra layer of fabric underneath. The only caveat here is that depending how big your bump gets, these can slide down or not feel supportive enough towards the end of pregnancy. Many options in this category are strictly “skinny” jeans but I prefer the ones with a straight-leg or a slightly wider leg as they are definitely more flattering the closer you get to bowling ball status.
Noella straight maternity jeans
butter slim straight-leg maternity jeans
the icon bootcut
maternity wide-leg cargo jeans
There are some pregnant women among us who don’t even venture into the “maternity jean” category. I was definitely not one of these women but they are out there. Rihanna, for example, lived in her Agolde low-slung baggy jeans throughout her very glamorous and bump-baring pregnancy. There are plenty of non-maternity options on the market that could work around a bump: Any of the looser silhouettes or anything with an elastic or tie waistband could easily go below a bump and continue to inch further down as the months go on. These styles are also great for post-baby when you aren’t quite back into the rigid styles yet but can’t possibly face your elastic ones again.
high-wasted paperbag jeans
In addition to the abundance of maternity specific denim on the market, there are also a few great options in non-denim areas that provide the same service. If you are already a legging devotee then don’t miss Bumpsuit’s maternity legging, Kylie Jenner wore these in her pregnancy and paired them with just about everything. Leather maternity leggings are a great way to look a bit more polished or even a good choice for a “going out” look. Pregnancy overalls are also making a comeback—Sofia Richie sported a chic pair most recently—just be sure to find one that’s easy to take on and off for those frequent trips to the bathroom!
faux leather maternity legging
the denim maternity overall
maternity denim dungarees