Feb 12, 2017

Petite Maternity Clothing 101

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Finding clothes that I love when I don't have a little baby growing inside of me is hard enough, in fact, it's pure torture. I'm 4 feet, 11 inches tall and like most women who enjoy eating, I have hips and a butt. Let's add in a cute little baby bump and you have the perfect recipe for clothes shopping hell.

So in case there is anyone else out there who fits the description above: 1. I'm sorry. 2. I hope you get some helpful information here. If you are taller than me (like 99% of you are), then I also have some maternity store shopping takeaways that apply to everyone sporting a bump.

While this is a clothing post, this is not to be confused with a fashion post. I have very little fashion sense and the older I get, the more I become okay with that. I like basics. I like comfort, cotton, machine-washable. I tend to stick to gray, white, black, and navy, but now that I'm pregnant and it's almost spring, I will throw in a little floral and pastel because I'm feeling extra girly (that is not a hint at the baby's sex, we still don't know). I also hate shopping in stores. Hate it. I go to the mall maybe once every three years and I swear I'll never go back.

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Some Sizing Info
  • I'm 4'11" tall
  • Pre pregnancy I weighed 116 pounds, which was about 5 pounds more than I normally weigh, but I was trying anything to get pregnant and figured a few pounds would help. They did :)
  • At 18 weeks, I weigh 125 (+9 pounds)
  • Pre-pregnancy I wore size small or extra small shirts/sweaters, size 27 jeans in most brands, size extra small or small dresses and 32B bra. 
  • I'll include the maternity sizes I ordered below. 
  • The general rule of buying maternity clothes in your pre-pregnancy size is only sometimes true. Some brands (Target) run huge and other brands (Pea in the Pod, designer) run really small. Others are juuuust right (Old Navy, GAP) and some are all across the board (ASOS). This will probably change as my body does. Still have 22 weeks to go and who knows what will happen. 

Maternity Underwear
The first thing I needed to change in the first trimester were my undergarments. It was a splurge, but I ordered some new underwear from Third Love. I've tried their bras and wasn't a fan (not enough padding), but I do love their underwear. So seamless and comfy. They were too big at first, but I grew into them, so I'd say they are true to size. I went to a medium, a size up from my normal small. There is nothing worse than ill fitting underwear. Nothing. I should also mention that for under dresses, I love this maternity shapewear. Way cheaper than Spanx and much more comfortable. Size small is perfect. Definitely worth having to make you feel secure and covered under there.

Bras - I have a lot of opinions. I've always worn wireless bras, but nursing bras take you to a whole new level of comfort. Pre-pregnancy I'm a 32B, so I don't need much support, though I do like a bit of padding for modesty's sake and to give things a boost. I prefer a natural looking cup (no push ups). I believe I'm now around a 34C.

The first bra I purchased, based on the amazing reviews, was the Bravado! Silk Seamless Nursing Bra (middle photo above). The price was pretty steep, but I felt like it is worth it quality-wise and fit-wise. I ordered a small and while it was too big at first, I quickly grew into it at about 14 weeks. It's now my favorite. You can sleep in it, workout in it, and wear it under (most) regular shirts. My only beef is that it has a lot of fabric, so this is not the kind of bra you can wear under a cami or tank top as it comes up really high in the front and on the sides. Which is why I then ordered these...

The Hofish Wireless Deep V Push Up Nursing Bras (size medium) come in a pack of three and are so cheap ($8 each) compared to the Bravado ones! I'd give them a 3.5 out of 5 stars. They are soft, have good padding, and a decent shape, but aren't quite as comfy as the Bravado bra. I spend a lot of time adjusting them and the band tends to ride up when I adjust the straps. Maybe medium is too small for me? Unlike the Bravado, they don't show when wearing tanks, which is the one thing I love about them. Side note: now that I have a bigger chest, I don't feel as comfortable in tanks as I used to. I just feel more exposed and I haven't really adjusted to having cleavage, even though it's a small amount. So there's that. Would I buy again? Maybe. Nice bra for the money, but I think my go-to is the Bravado.

For sleeping, I love love love the Kalon Nylon Spandex Comfort Bras. Note that they aren't nursing bras, but I still feel that they should be apart of your maternity wardrobe for lounging, sleeping, walks, etc. They are so cheap ($5 each) and so comfortable. If you are a bigger than a C cup though, these probably aren't for you. They are one size, but I doubt they'd work if you need more support. For me, they are perfect and I have them in almost every crazy color. I actually started wearing them last year and am so happy they are working out now too. Word of warning: the padding is removable and tends to wear out quickly in the washer and dryer. I remove the pads and wash them in a mesh lingerie bag and air dry. It's annoying to have to re-stuff them, but I love them so much that it's a small price to pay.

For sports bras, I stuck with good old Target and their C9 Champion Seamless Ombre Cami Sports Bra. I bought these in a size up (medium) and they fit well. Great padding, comfortable, and good support. Also, the colors are fun. The straps aren't adjustable though, so they are little long on me, but for the price (I buy them on sale), I cannot complain.

Word on the street is that you shouldn't buy nursing bras until you are like 36 weeks or something because things tend to keep growing once your milk comes in, but my old bras were killing me and to me, comfort is king. I could have ordered regular wireless bras, but then I'd still have to buy nursing bras anyway, but I figured I'd take the chance on these and if I'm lucky, I won't have to order more. The Bravado has four adjustment settings on the back and ample cup space, so I really hope I'll be okay there.

Old Navy / GAP
Old Navy Gap Maternity

I thought I'd start with talking about where I've had the most success in maternity shopping. Almost everything I've bought from ON and GAP have been winners and even better, everything is always on sale, shipping is free if you spend over $50 and returns are easy and free (key!). I haven't paid full price for anything. The absolute best place for basics.

My hands down favorite purchase: Full Panel Jersey Leggings, in size small. If I have to pick a favorite maternity item, these would win, hands down. The best part is that they do not need hemmed! For you taller folk, they actually may even be too short, but they are perfect for me. I think I got them on sale for $9. The fabric is fine for now, but I can see where they'll probably get worn out with use, which is why I have two in my rotation. For the price, a third pair probably isn't a terrible idea. I've been washing mine on gentle and drying inside out or air drying. So far, so good. Old Navy also offers a thicker pair of leggings but with spring around the corner and my success with these, I decided to pass. These are cheaper than the thick ones too. Also, these planted me firmly in the full-panel fan club. I have a short torso, so the full panel goes all the way up and is so so comfy. I've tried some pants with the side panels, but they were all too big...at least at this stage.

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Similar to the jersey leggings, the Roll Panel Yoga Capris (size small, pictured above) are another favorite). They are cropped and unlike the jersey leggings, have a bit thicker material, so they won't be see-through in the future. They have a great stretch and even though they aren't my beloved full-panel, you can roll up the top to make a half panel. I prefer to wear them that way even though they are a little big. I'm sure I'll grow into them. They are the perfect workout pant, but I also think they'd look great with a tunic and some ballet flats or sandals.

I found these stores to be the best place for basic tees and tanks (all size smalls). I love ON's Shirred V-Neck Tee Tunics. The ruching on the sides is really flattering and the material feels high end (you'd never guess from feeling them that they are from Old Navy). I found the fit to be a little generous, but I know that I'll grow into them and I don't like my shirts super fitted anyways. I have them in white, gray, and I think I need a black one too. Yes, it's a tunic, but even though I'm short, I love my shirts on the long side for wearing with leggings. I don't find it to be too long though (see photo below). I also love the ON shirred tanks and you cannot go wrong with the GAP Pure Body tank. It's cut a big looser than the shirred tanks, but it's very soft and I love the misty rose color I bought. As for long sleeved shirts, I only bought one, this cute striped one (pictured above) from GAP. I prefer to layer tanks and short sleeved shirts with long sleeved cardigans that I can buy in my normal size, non-maternity size.

As far as workout tanks go, the GAP breathe spacedye racerback tank is hands down my favorite of all of those I've tried. Yes, it's probably the most expensive maternity item I've purchased (aside from jeans), but I did get it 40% off and feel that its worth every penny. I have been making to the gym on the regular these days, so having comfortable workout clothes is my treat for that. This tank isn't super fitted, but it is flattering and the material is thin, breathable, and soft. I own both colors.

Stitch Fix

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As a treat, I ordered a Stitch Fix box (if you've been living under a rock and don't know how Stitch Fix works, check out my post from way back). They have a maternity line and I heard they offered petites too, so I was excited. I ended up keeping two items; a pair of jeans and this non-maternity cardigan (size small, above), which I requested. The jeans are nice (no photos of them). They are petite size 4 and fit really well, if not a tad bit big, so I do have to pull them up from time to time. They are full panel and very comfy. Do I look the greatest in them? Nah. But out of all the jeans I've tried from Old Navy, Target, and the fancy maternity stores, these are winners. I may get one more box to see what options they have for baby shower dresses. Overall, always a fan of Stitch Fix and getting a new box makes me so happy.


Ah, I wish Target could have come through for me, but, no. I found all of their maternity clothes to be sized really large and nothing fit right. The smalls were huge and the extra smalls were too snug. Also, the stores don't really carry more than the basics - my local Target has two racks. I did find two cute dresses on clearance for $5, so those were a steal, but I got lucky. I tried on numerous pairs of jeans from there and no dice. The only thing I've found that I've liked were these incredibly soft Liz Lange tanks that I wear to bed. They really aren't that flattering though since they don't have ruching, so they are firmly stuck in the loungewear category for me. Speaking of which, I did pick up some pajamas from Target. Most of my PJs still fit me fine, but I knew that wouldn't always be the case. I went up a size in pants and shorts (mediums) that I feel will get me through the next five months. I prefer the Gilligan and O'Malley brand because the fabric is amazing and if you don't dry them, they don't pill, at all. Pilling is my nemesis. 

Motherhood Maternity / Destination Maternity / A Pea in the Pod

No. Just no. 

Let me explain. They have a lot of nice stuff and tons of online reviews, which is great. But, their stores are far and few in between, so trying things on in person requires five hours on a Saturday and fighting for mall parking. That's not how I like to spend my Saturdays. So, I did the next best thing: I ordered some of their jeans online: a pair of Jessica Simpson petite jeans and a pair of expensive AG jeans. Both were huge misses. The JS jeans looked ridiculously cheap and so much like mom jeans that I was embarrassed to let Brandon even see me in them. The AG jeans were a "I am pregnant and I should splurge on myself" purchase, but I ended up hating them too. I ordered my regular size 27 and they could barely be pulled over my thighs. Ugh.

So the worst part about these online stores...no free returns, even if you bought them through Amazon. I paid nearly $20 to ship both of these ridiculous jeans back. I could have bought two more pairs of ON leggings for that price. I'm officially saying no to these stores. That $20 still irks me.


My baby shower is coming up in April and I really want a cute dress to wear. I spent a whole afternoon browsing the gorgeous gowns at Pink Blush, but with their prices and no free returns, I never bit the bullet. Then I remembered ASOS. And to my complete surprise, they carry PETITE maternity clothes. Hallelujah.

Better yet, free shipping and free returns. I was in heaven. I added a ton of stuff to my cart and ended up keeping only two dresses: Kimono Maxi Dress in size 4 (a bit big, but I didn't care for $22) and the Midi Flutter Sleeve Dress in size 4 for $15 (perfect fit, though a little long). I also have the Midi Flutter Sleeve Dress in pink on order, (also $15) which might be the perfect shower dress. We'll see.

As for the rest of the items I ordered from ASOS, the sizing was all kinds of madness. Some size 4's were super tight on me and size 8 jeans fit well...too well, as in, I might grow out of them as I get bigger. But, I appreciate the fact that they have petite maternity clothing and the prices are great.

ASOS, I give you 4 out of 5 stars.


Eh, another miss. Nothing caught my eye, prices were steep and selections weren't casual enough for me. I have an office job, but we don't wear anything close to business casual.


Zulily scares the crap out of me. Forget paying for returns, with Zulily, you cannot return anything. I am just not that kind of risk taker. I see Pink Blush stuff on there from time to time and I get tempted, but no. Cannot do it.


Nordys is my old standby, but I found their maternity section to be lacking. Nothing for short girls and the prices were a little nutty. They also carried a lot of items that weren't fitted, but more for tall skinny pregnant ladies who gain weight only in their little watermelon belly...a lot of loose tent-looking dresses and tops. Free shipping and free returns is a plus though if I wanted to give a few things a shot.

Other Tips / Takeaways
  • Once you start buying pieces, go ahead and clean out a drawer or two to make room for them. I boxed up all of the jeans and pants that weren't comfy anymore and replaced them with all of my maternity pants. Same with shirts and tanks. I did the same for all of the hanging clothes in my closet. It makes it 10x easy to get dressed in the morning when everything is one convenient place. I cannot stress this enough. You know that whole capsule wardrobe thing that everyone talks about? That's basically what I've done with maternity clothes (without realizing it) and it truly does make a difference in your happiness. I don't mind getting dressed at all in the morning. 
  • Make sure the store you are ordering from offers free shipping and returns. Maternity clothes are expensive enough as it is. Old Navy and GAP are free shipping if you spend over $50, so sit down and load up that cart. You can always returns things that didn't work!
  • Buy things in various sizes, especially from ASOS. You never know what will and won't work. 
  • Figure out a style that makes you feel and look your best and make a maternity uniform. I love the leggings + long tee or tank + cardigan look (see above). It's not too frumpy, comfortable, and there are a million variations if you add in different shoes and jewelry. 
  • Even if you manage to snag petite dresses, if you are my height, you'll probably still need a visit to the tailor. Things run LONG. 
  • Maternity jeans are overrated - leggings make me look and feel better. 
  • Go up a size for lounge/sleepwear instead of buying maternity, which is way overpriced. I expect to use those items postpartum when I don't quite fit back into my original stuff right away.  
  • New bras and underwear should be your biggest investment for comfort reasons alone.

Anything to add? Maternity leggings or jeans? What were your maternity shopping woes?


  1. It sounds like quite the challenge, but it seems like you’ve got it figured out so far! I always love your style so I’m sure you’ll look great!
    Please feel free to include me in the process of finding a cute dress for the shower! And any other shopping for that matter, I love shopping haha!

  2. I totally feel your pain! I'm 5'3'' and this is my second pregnancy but a totally different season. When I was pregnant with my daughter I lived in DC and I didn't have to wear maternity clothes until spring so I only bought one pair of pants and mostly wore non-maternity dresses/skirts with elastic and it was awesome! This time I'm just a few weeks ahead of you (due mid-June) and now also live in the Bay Area. I spent FOREVER trying on maternity jeans at stores and at home from online and they all suck! And are too long! I can't wait until it's warm enough to wear dresses again! Huge congrats on your pregnancy....

    1. Thank you and glad someone else out there can relate! Yes, jeans are the worst! I am trying one more pair for ON (the rockstar ones) and then I'm considering it a complete loss and not trying anymore. I need to venture into the non-maternity dresses - the maternity ones are HUGE and tent-like. Great idea!

      And oh yeah, I grew up near DC and now live in the Bay Area :)

  3. You are too cute! I didn't realize you were so short... I'm 5'8" so that would be good to know before we ever met in person. Ha! I can't be of much help because I seem to be fundamentally opposed to buying maternity clothes and basically just get a few staples and wear the crap out of them. I LOVE the Liz L tanks. I have 4 in different colors and wear them pretty consistently every day even when I'm not pregnant. I think they are so soft and long and I think they fit me well and are cute (although maybe they don't and I just don't know it????). I also had success with cute things at Old Navy (online) but otherwise I haven't really tried any other maternity places!


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