Maternity Legging Showdown

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My saviors — from left: Maternal America; ASOS in Charcoal and Black.

Okay, if you’re one of those snobs who is going to tell me leggings are over, go ahead and skip out on this post. Then get back to me when you’re six months pregnant and hate everything in your closet, bound by maternity jeans with belly bands that are too big on your bump and sag down around your waist. And sick of the three maxi dresses that actually feel comfortable — despite how un-cute they are. At that point you’ll start doing your own legging research, because these stretchy wonders, when well-made, are the only thing that will keep you going. Trust me!

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This style from UK maternity shop Seraphine is on my to-buy list; they get editor raves and have a worldwide cult following. At only $25/pair, I’d say they’re worth it. Will report as soon as mine arrive!

A few weeks ago I put the social media feelers out there for some maternity legging advice and hit the stores. My first experience at H&M yielded shitty results — $17 a pair for cropped (I prefer full-length, but I’m on a budget and it’s 90s degrees outside). They were completely sheer across the ass. Here’s a question, H&M quality control team: on what planet were y’all located when you sat around a boardroom table and agreed that it was a good idea to make women who are carrying 20 or more extra pounds on them wear see-through pants? Get back to me on that when you can.

In the meantime, I trolled the Web, reading reviews on every single pair I came across. Ingrid & Isabel, though a solid reco from some friends, got pretty bad reviews on their currently available styles, including one gal stating they were “more like tights.” Ditto A Pea in the Pod. Again, people, what the hell? And those were all much pricier than the cheap H&M ones. Another problem, and this might just be me, but I want my leggings up over my bump. I don’t know if it’s a mama-in-training thing or what, but I’m protective of my belly. I like to feel secure in there. So under-the-bump options aren’t really my fave, but I did select a few.

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I’ll call a truce with H&M as soon as they restock these — the cotton ones suck, but this leather-look pair is everything. $25, Not currently available. (Grr)

Here’s the latest from the trenches. I hope this little guide helps you on your quest.

Best for working out:
I work out every day. Whenever my schedule clashes with yoga class offerings, I make sure to take Harry for at least a one-mile walk, then come home and do free weights in our apartment. I even surprised myself with a 20-minute treadmill run on Sunday, which felt great. Most of my normal workout gear is getting awkward to wear, but I actually like these pre-preggo Old Navy slim boot-cut yoga pants a lot. I can pull the waist up over the bump, or comfortably fold it below, depending on the fit of my top. $15-20, OldNavy.

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Everyday style made easy:
Joshy took pity on my soul and ordered me a two-pack of ASOS over-the-bump leggings. I was surprised, especially for the price, at how great they are. No extra panel means a seamless look; the super-stretchy, thick cotton pulls right up over your bump for full and comfy coverage. I have a black and a charcoal, and I couldn’t love them more. Throw these on with a fun maternity message tee (and in a couple months, a leather bomber worn open) and you’ll be simply the cutest. I have repeated the bend-over technique in these on multiple occasions, just to make sure the material doesn’t show through if pulled — it doesn’t. This is a full-confidence option at an awesome price. $43 for two pairs, ASOS.

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I love that these charcoal leggings (and the same ones I have in black) work just like pants. Paired here with a pre-preggo Marc by Marc Jacobs tee and Missoni flats for looking chic about town.

Gettin’ fancy:
I’ve cultivated a nice little selection of both maternity and regular tunics that look super-cute for dates, but anything very short is best worn with leggings at this juncture, even though this mama loves to show off the gams. The shiny American Apparel selections in your regular size or one size up work wonders. I also scored this luxe pair from Maternal America on GILT a couple weeks ago for $20. I love the feel of these, and the panel is a soft and super-stretchy material that I know will keep my bump protected even as it gets bigger. While they’re no longer on sale, I’d recommend fetching yourself a pair at full price anyway, they’re just that good. Maternal America Over Belly Maternal Support Leggings, $58, DueMaternity.

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Please excuse Harry who can’t help but follow me around haplessly. This floral-print silk top from Urban Outfitters is very comfy; it was a great style when I was a skinny-mini and now looks awesome with the bump. Cole Haan peep-toe patent heels for a (minimal walking involved) date!

Other items of note:
-Target’s leggings are decent but you’ll need to size down. And if your pre-maternity size is a 4 or smaller, you might have trouble there, as they don’t go lower than XS. I bought a pair anyway and will hold onto them for months 8 and 9 when I’m sure they’ll come in handy! $17, Target.

-If you don’t mind under-bump, I like Old Navy’s cross-front panel yoga pants (non-maternity) — also great for running. As long as you pair with a tight cotton tee, you’ll feel plenty secure, and these won’t stretch out so you can enjoy them throughout your pregnancy.

-On my list remain the Seraphine style in the first photo here, a leather-look pair from SOMEWHERE (maybe ASOS?), and a colorful pair to mix things up. Stay tuned — and happy shopping, preggo comrades!