Not all Pregnant Women Are Created Equal

When ordering maternity clothes, a basic rule of thumb is to order your pre-maternity size. This doesn’t always work – I am ordering items in Medium (though I haven’t worn a medium item since freshman year of college) and though I was a 12 petite pre-baby, I am ordering 10s, 12s and 14s and finding all sorts of fits. That’s fine, just as I found which retailers fit my body best pre-pregnancy, so I am having that journey with maternity!

One thing that is really irritating me though are inseams on maternity jeans and pants. Whether I am in my first or third trimester, I am still going to be 5’3”. Yes, as the belly (and bum and hips and thighs) grow with each month, fabric from the legs will be used up to accommodate this change. However, that doesn’t mean I need an extra 6” on my hems.

I have shopped at The Gap since I was 14. When I was thinner, I got away with the regular length of trousers and jeans. As I have gotten older and curvier, I flip flop between regular length (with heels) and ankle length or petite (which is too short for anything but sneakers and flats). The bigger my tummy gets, the less I feel like wearing heels (the less balanced I am feeling and the less strain my tootsies are willing to take) so I know petite or ankle-length bottoms is the way to go for maternity.

Gap and Old Navy both recently had major clearances so I ordered a bunch of stuff off their Web sites (gotta love free shipping with my BR card and free returns for all maternity wear). As that my job is changing their dress code to a more professional look (jeans only acceptable on Fridays) I was in search of short-length trousers, preferably in black. I found a pair of twill trousers from Gap for around $30 that were 12 Ankle, and a pair for about $20 from Old Navy, also 12 Ankle.

Here are the Gap trousers. IN 12 ANKLE:

Picture 013Picture 011I am not four feet tall. Usually I can purchase from a store off the rack. Ann Taylor, Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew, all the major retailers I can usually get away with a regular length in a pinch, but always find the petite or ankle lengths appropriate and ready for me to wear.
And here are the Old Navy trousers in 12 ankle:

Picture 016Same retailer, essentially. Rise the same (though different type of maternity waistband), same sort of fit in the bum and hips. Everything the same except the length (and that the Gap trousers are a crisper, darker black which would look more professional and probably wash better).

WHAT THE HECK PEOPLE? When women get pregnant they don’t grow a foot in height! Who in the WORRLD would think this is an ankle length on anyone under 6’ tall?

I would think this is an error in labeling or from the factory, but this is only one of SIX different petite or ankle-length maternity pants I have tried on from FOUR different retailers that would require several inches hacked off at the tailor. This is what grates my nerves and makes me wonder why retailers just hate all pregnant, short, tall and overweight women. I now have to decide if they are worth it to take to the tailor to make wearable, or if I just return them. The Old Navy pants are not something I would usually wear (not too chic of a cut) but they are cheap and don’t require the annoyance and cost of extra alterations. Argh.

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13 Comments

  1. hicktowndiva
    July 22, 2008 / 12:28 pm

    Welcome to maternity clothing! It is mostly complete and total crap.

  2. July 21, 2008 / 12:18 pm

    Thats why i don’t own a lot of pants or I buy some what cropped pants because I have to deal with the pant legs being too long. Old Navy “short” fits me okay. I have to pay full retail so I can pick the short length if there is none on the clearance rack. If I buy regular its too long. Absolutely hate to hem pants. I do it myself so I save money, but it still time consuming.

  3. July 16, 2008 / 4:36 am

    I have to agree with Deanna on the pants length issue (although 6 inches is very strange). I tend to roll up the waist (yes I am really fashionable) and then eventually I grow into them.

    The joys of pregnancy! You look fabulous.

  4. July 16, 2008 / 2:39 am

    I found that a just-below-the-knee length black stretchy skirt and a knee length denim skirt were my go-to lifesavers during my last 2 pregnancies.

    The great thing about skirts is that you can wear them higher on your tummy at the awkward ‘I don’t look pg, just fat’ stage, and then push them under your belly about 5-6 months gestation.

    If you get the kind w/out panels (panels are gross, IMHO) then they are also great for the ‘4th trimester’ no one tells you about. Also known as the post-partum stage, you’re sick of maternity clothes but you still have a tummy. (And if you choose to breastfeed, then skirts/pants and tops are the way to go, because feeding in a dress is just.way.to.much.work).

    Also, I just wanted to say that you certainly have the pregnancy glow! You just look radiant these days.

    Congratulations on the bump!

  5. Anonymous
    July 16, 2008 / 2:21 am

    Those 6 inches may disappear during pregnancy due to shrinkage. (Maybe not all, but most.) I found that many retailers “cheap out” their maternity lines and many of the outfits I own have shrunk terribly during my pregnancies. There are some lines that haven’t done this as much (Gap dress slacks/trousers seems to be the best for me), but with most of my maternity clothes everything seems to shrink up.

  6. TaraIncognita
    July 16, 2008 / 1:58 am

    THANK YOU FOR THIS. I wish maternity clothing makers would listen. One interesting tidbit: I bought some pants on sale from the Gap in maternity sizes and had to return them to the store. Both were a 12 ankle and one was way too large and another was way, way too small. The man told me they’d be getting rid of all maternity soon because everyone is complaining about the sizing. I told him I’d rather they keep the maternity wear and just perfect the system! Anyway, I completely empathize and want you to know you’re not alone.

  7. Anonymous
    July 16, 2008 / 1:06 am

    Go with the old navy

  8. July 15, 2008 / 10:38 pm

    Old Navy maternity jeans are GARBAGE. I found a great pair at Kohls, of all places. Gap fit me well, but I’m average height. My sister in law is very petite and has the worst time finding maternity pants that fit her.

  9. July 15, 2008 / 7:46 pm

    You will be surprised at how much of that extra length will get taken up by the end of your pregnancy, although I’m not sure about 6 inches worth. Still, my suggestion would be hem them as long as you possible can wear them. I remember a pair of maternity slacks that a friend gave me toward the end of my pregnancy which fit perfectly in length. This was the pair I brought to wear home from the hospital (only movie stars and Princess Diana can wear their pre-pregnancy clothes that soon) and couldn’t believe how much the legs had “grown”. I’d say it was at least three inches, maybe more.

  10. July 15, 2008 / 6:54 pm

    This is why I lived in skirts during my pregnancy. I also worked from home at the time, so thankfully didn’t need to acquire a “work wardrobe” and just got by on lots of skirts and shorts (I delivered in Aug.). I also found that my regular size in maternity wear was too big during the second trimester, but by the end of the third was too small. You might not want to invest in too many pieces at this point and wait to see what happens at 28+ weeks.

    Best of luck to you! I hope the morning (evening/all day) sickness is passing and you can enjoy the next few months.

  11. July 15, 2008 / 6:27 pm

    Oh dear do I feel you on that. I’m 5ft2. Last pregnancy I ordered a pair of ON “short” jeans, and they were literally 6 inches too long. SIX. You’d think there would be a huge niche here to exploit.

  12. Amy
    July 15, 2008 / 5:32 pm

    I’m 6′ tall, and have had three babies. I found that Gap pants in a regular, non-tall length were amazingly long. Like, needing to be hemmed long, which NEVER happens for me. Old Navy maternity pants were often too short – which makes sense, because their regular line is also always too short for me. And Motherhood was out of the question for pants. Cute, cheap tops though, especially on the sale racks. I also had good luck with tops at Target. Enjoy your pregnancy!

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