Since the majority of my pregnancy is during the Fall, Winter and Spring months I needed some leggings to keep me warm under dresses (I’m just not a fan of maternity pants/jeans, though I did purchase a pair of overalls that act as go-to my jeans). I’ve just been on a waistband ban since pretty much the beginning of the pregnancy and have been wearing dresses as long as I could get away with them. But with the cold weather I need some leggings and so I tried a bunch out, both maternity and not. And here’s a comprehensive review of them all:
First of all there are two kinds of maternity leggings: over the belly and under the belly types. Over the belly is great when you want a bit of extra warmth and support around your mid-section. But for me personally, I like the under-belly types since I’m just not a fan of anything putting pressure on the belly. Also some leggings can technically be worn alone as pants, but the ones I wanted were more like opaque tights that I could wear under dresses. So without further ado…
For a full review of them, go here. But a quick summary: these are great over the belly leggings if you’re tall (at least 5’6” and above). Otherwise the legs are way too long and the torso portion comes up to right under my bra (and there’s a seam that goes up that irritated my belly every time I wore them). However if you are tall and are looking for a pair of super soft, stretchy, fully opaque and ethically-made over the belly leggings these are probably your best bet.
These are under the belly leggings that are thick enough to wear alone as pants if you choose to do so. They run a tad small and the size 2 (medium) was a bit tight for me though I’m normally a medium. I also found that the waistband folds and bends, which is a pet peeve of mine. At $128 these are the most expensive of the bunch, and I think the worst value. They weren’t the softest and I found they had a bit of a scratchiness to them. They are however made in New York and so if we assume they are following all US laws (and why not), then they are ethically made and workers are paid a fair wage. This is also presumably why they are the most expensive.
PACT Leggings ($30) made of 92% organic cotton and 8% elastane
These are not maternity specific leggings but since I knew I was looking for some under the belly leggings, I thought these might work. So I purchased them in a large (I’m regularly a medium) and I think they work fine. Since they are on the thicker side, you can wear them as stand alone pants and they are fully opaque. I did find the large were a bit too big in the leg area for me and they bagged a bit, but they weren’t too long (I’m 5’4”) so they’re probably too short for those who are a bit taller and want to keep their ankles covered. As for me, I found them to be the perfect length and they hit right at the ankles. The seams are a bit more noticeable than the Storq leggings and the PACT leggings aren’t as soft as the Storq ones, but for half the price I found them to be of pretty good value. So far these have held up great though I’ve heard mixed reviews about these leggings and some people have found that they don’t last very long (I personally don’t wear leggings all that often, maybe about once a week max and these aren’t my favorite so I’m probably not wearing them more than once a month right now).
I decided to try these undoubtedly unethical line of leggings because after doing some research on the internet, a couple of mommy forums were raving about how great these leggings were. And as much as I wanted to stick to ethical clothing during my pregnancy, I wanted to keep an open mind about what’s out there (who knows, maybe the cheapest option really is the most comfortable). Well even though these leggings promised to be seamless they weren’t. I definitely felt the large seams running up and down my leg and that made it uncomfortable. Also I tried both the over the belly and under the belly versions of these and both were too long in the legs for me. The material for these were the most athletic and had a sheen to them, which is not what I was looking for in my leggings. In the end I returned them and at least I know I wasn’t missing out.
Uniqlo Heat Tech Leggings ($14.90) made of 38% polyester, 32% acrylic, 21% rayon and 9% spandex
So these were my go-to pair of leggings I was wearing under dresses and skirts pre-pregnancy and are several years old. I don’t know why I just didn’t try these out first since I already had them, but for some reason I had it in my head that maternity leggings had to be over the belly. Only after trying out the various leggings up top did I realize that I, one, dislike over the belly leggings and that, two, these heat tech leggings worked just as well during pregnancy (I just have to roll over the waistband a couple times to make them fit under the belly). And this was the most ethical and cost-effective solution since I’ve already had these for several years. Too bad I only discovered this after already going through all the ones above facepalm.
Ah well so lesson learned: try what you have first (the first lesson in ethical closets, right?). So that’s what I recommend: if you already have a favorite pair of leggings, see if they work for you by rolling the waistband to make them under the belly leggings (especially if you’re only briefly pregnant in the winter/spring months). If not, then depending on your height and what you may need I recommend either the Storq ones or the PACT ones.
P.S. I’ve just recently tried these faux leather leggings from Ingrid and Isabel (through Rent the Runway Unlimited and these are not the Target line but their own branded leggings) and I have to say I love these under the belly leggings. They’re very thick and warm and if you’re wearing a maternity tunic, it’s sort of like wearing pants. The medium size is very true to size and fit me perfectly. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit more than your regular ‘ole leggings I highly recommend these!