A few re-occurring themes you will see throughout this post: high waisted denim, stretch, Madewell, Levi’s. If I had to sum up the post in four words, those would probably be them. But if you want a few more details and some verbs in there, read on. If not, scroll past these paragraphs and see my recommendations with photos below. If you like long-winded bloggers like me, then…hello there. Have a seat, let me get you a coffee and let’s talk denim.

For me, I could not wait to get back into a pair of real jeans. It was a dream I had at 41 million weeks pregnant. I was convinced that I’d never see real pants again. I was so sick of maternity anything and I just wanted to see my waist again. I didn’t even care what size they were; I wanted to wear real jeans with a zipper and a button. Who knew I could miss such small details in life? I missed tucking, I missed belts. BELTS, of all the things. I didn’t even wear belts much before but here I was wax-poetically about them to my husband. Of course, I knew that I couldn’t fit into my pre-pregnancy size jeans for a while because that first baby weight gain is REAL so after about 6 weeks straight of wearing post-partum leggings, I was ready for some denim.

Here is the thing about a post-partum body: you have to give it time to put itself back together. If there is one thing pregnancy taught me, it’s patience. Bones and muscles have been stretched, organs have been moved in order to bring that baby into the world. And in time, they will all go back to their respective places. In reality, it’s incredible how fast this all happens. From conception to birth it’s less than a year and then within a year (from most accounts of my friends) your body goes back to its regularly scheduled program. I actually don’t feel like my body is that different than before. I think I was imagining a huge change, but honestly, I was surprised by how my shape is still my shape. It took a while for things to redistribute and I still have some baby weight to lose, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it looks pretty darn familiar.

So let’s back up to wanting to get back into denim, and I’m going to say let’s start at 6 weeks, which if I may, your body is still healing. Now you may be one of those women that bounce back fast and for that, I applaud you–you go, girl! But if you are like me, post-partum healing and weight loss just take a while. I didn’t lose anything while nursing and even after I stopped it took a while to get the weight loss started. When I wanted to wear denim, I knew that I needed a) a bigger size and b) something that if I lost weight I wouldn’t feel like I was throwing away thousands of dollars of denim. Not that I’ve ever done that. That would be terrible. So I, ever your internet guinea pig, decided to try all the denim out there that is best for post-partum bodies and new moms in general. If you are in between weight loss, as well. Or heck anyone because denim knows no stranger. This is what I’ve found.

My advice for buying post-partum denim:

  • It’s OK to ignore your pre-baby body denim for a while or forever. I have mine tucked in a corner waiting for me but not taunting me. I went through them the other day and told them I’d see them soon. We talked about our good times together, looked at photos on the ‘Gram and hugged each other some more. See you guys in a few months. Maybe.
  • Size up to whatever size you need and never look back. Post-partum I was 2 sizes up from where I was pre-baby. For some reason, it came as a shock to me that all the weight didn’t fall off of me in the delivery room. Ha! but sadly it did not. For the first few months pp, my weight was still all in my tummy and thighs which isn’t really my body shape. But I thought —  I could either be sad at the number on the scale or realize that my body did what it needed to do to make a healthy baby and just take the next size up or the next. I decided on the latter.  And you know what? I found denim that fit great and putting that denim on for the first time felt amazing. Is a ‘denim high’ a thing? Becuase I think I felt it.
  • Branch out on brands. I am a huge AG denim fan but I don’t really want to drop $225 on a pair of denim that may not fit in 6 months. Once I started trying other brands like Madewell, Levi’s, Everlane, LOFT, I realized I could find high-quality denim for well under $100.
  • Look for high waist denim. I am talking a rise of at least 9 to 10 inches. (The rise of denim is the measurement from the waistband to the middle of the crotch seam. Sorry to use the ‘c’ word, but it is for your own good.) The reason for this is because this rise is a lot more forgiving to post-partum tummies than a mid-rise or God forbid a low rise. Friends don’t let friends wear low rise jeans. Plus if you look at it this way, high waisted denim gives you a lot of support to your tummy area which is still trying to figure itself out. I liked having something to kind of hold me in those first few months.
  • Stretch is a big player here, look for denim with at least 2% spandex. If you find any with more than 2%, call me. I need to know.
  • Be kind to yourself. You just gave birth, (even if you are 12 months to 12 years postpartum, this sentence still applies) you created human life, so give yourself a hand and a break. You look great. Remind yourself that as often as you can. It may be a new body but look at what it did. Amazing!

Alright mamas — are we pepped up to talk denim? I think so! Here are my favorites below!

Madewell Roadtripper Jeans – $75

This was my first pair I bought from Madewell in years and it was instant love. (As you can tell in the following list.) They are super soft, the perfect high rise and they wash out and fit exactly the same as before. Size down one size in these.

You can find them at Nordstrom here or at Madewell here.


Madewell 10″ High Waist Skinny Jean – $128

I just recently picked these up because I was in need of a DARK denim option. My previous dark denim option, Levi’s Mile High Skinny Jeans, have become too big so I went with my tried and true — Madewell. These fit just absolutely fabulously; they are a stiffer denim than the Roadtripper jeans but still have stretch. It’s a structured stretch if you will. Size down one in these.

Levi’s Mile High Skinny Jeans – $98

A) the color of this pair is called ‘Shut the Front Door’ — I mean that’s an instant yes. B) I love this fit from Levi’s. It’s my all-time favorite fit (maybe over Madewell?? Tough call.) I originally bought this fit in a dark denim but since losing a little bit of weight I’ve ended up in the next size down. I would stay true to your size with this pair as they have stretch but are stiffer. They keep their shape and kind of mold to your body as you wear them. The best! This is a true light blue denim, perfect for spring. The same fit is below in Faded Ink, a vintage black rinse.

Levi’s Mile High Skinny Jeans – $98

Stay true to size in this denim! You can find it here.

Everlane High Rise Denim – $68

Hold up — white denim for new moms? You crazy, Kendi? Look I can explain. Am I suggesting you buy brand new white denim for your baby to {droll, spit up, throw pureed sweet potatoes} on them? No, of course not.  Am I wearing them despite the constant threat of stains? Yes. Do I regret it most days? Yes.

This pair is here to serve as the representative for Everlane high rise denim. If you want a well under $75 pair of GOOD denim, Everlane is your place. I needed a pair of white jeans, or else I would have bought another hue. As you can see I’m well stocked with jeans 🙂

Stay true to size with Everlane. They fit a bit snug at first and then once you wiggle around in them, they are a great fit. If you’re dangerous, you can find the white denim here. If you’re responsible, you can find the other hues of the high rise denim and more here. Choose your own adventure.


LOFT Modern Skinny Crop Jeans – $79

Full disclosure: Bryan had to pull these down before we shot them so they gave the effect that they almost hit my ankles. You see these are ankle length and they like to inch up my calves into capris. But I still love them because they are kind of a looser skinny fit and I’m loving this ankle trend lately. LOFT is another great place for post-partum denim because it’s great quality for the price and they are stretchy. I stayed true to size in these! You can find this fit here and all of LOFT denim here.

PS: $25 off jeans this weekend at LOFT!

Honorable Mention:

Wit & Wisdom Ab-Solution Skinny Jeans

This was actually one of the first pairs that I bought from Nordstrom post-baby. (This and the Levi’s Mile High in dark denim.) This pair is more of a mid-rise and the waistband is a thick elastic band, which sounds weird but it holds you in and really gives you support. I sized up when I first bought them, but if I were to get them now I’d stay true to size. (They aren’t pictured since they no longer fit!) These are a great option for under $100 if you need an in-between sizes pair. You can find them here.

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19 Responses

  1. You’re a hero to this 16 week post partum mama. My beloved pre pregnancy pants are all neatly stacked in my closet… hopefully we’ll be reunited some day, haha.

    I’ve come to terms with needing 1-2 sizes up (quite frankly, the feeling of relief that comes from wearing denim that doesn’t feel like a vice around my stomach is enough to make me ignore the size on the tag). However, I really needed some suggestions on what to buy! I don’t have tons of time to go shopping in person and there aren’t a lot of internet product reviews specifically mentioning the fit on a mom bod!

    Thank you, thank you!

  2. I had a different experience. I quickly dropped weight from breastfeeding. My belly was a little bit more jiggly but I felt and looked better than I had in years because pre baby I was at a size 12… 4 mos post partum I was down to a size 6!

    I got pregnant with Baby #2 when baby #1 was 1. Post partum baby #2 I also lost weight, not as much, but my body shape was completely different!! My belly took on a permanent round shape, my hips wider, and once I stopped breastfeeding baby #2 when she was 14 mos my breast were sad little droopy balloons.

    I also started gaining weight again once she was 8 mos old and went up to my size 12 again. I’ve now lost 15 lbs and I’m in between and 8 and a 10. My girls are 5 and 3.5. It took a lot of work and starting some wellbutrin for my mood to stabilized enough that I didn’t look at myself and think horrible things about myself. I expected to completely bounce back after baby #2 like I did with baby #1.

    This postpartum business is different everytime and the more babies you have the harder it is to bounce back. If I focused on weights instead of cardio I’m sure things would tone up significantly. But for now I’m enjoying them, working full time, and overall really busy that heart and mind health is more important than a 6 pack.

  3. This is exactly what I need today. I don’t know if I can stomach $100 jeans right now but I’m fed up with my current jean situation. I’ve been losing steadily since my 17 month old really started reading solids last summer and now I’m ten pounds under my pre pregnancy weight. (I’m also one of those people that doesn’t lose weight when breastfeeding). I’m worried that I might gain it again and my body is so different now. I wear jeans almost daily and I wish I could find a jean consultant like someone who fits you for a bra.

    1. Also try Loft leggings! I had a ton of people recommend them on instagram and if you catch when Loft is having a promo, like every two weeks it seems, you can get them $25 off or 50% off if you time it right! Also GOALS for being 10 lbs under pre-pregnancy weight! That sounds like a dream right now to me!

  4. Honestly, I’ve fallen in love with Target’s Universal Thread line. They are so stretchy and comfy but hold their shape. They come in a mid-rise and a high-rise and several washes. For cheap, in between sizes denim, they can’t be beat!

  5. First of all, congratulations to you and your husband on your bundle of joy: Gemma! I just love your use of words and humor on your blog. Last Mother’s Day(2017) while visiting friends in Plano (I live in L.A.), I asked them to drive me through McKinney because of you! Lol! Take care of yourself and God bless.

    1. Oh my gosh, if our store would have still been open you could have come say hi! I would have been big pregnant and definitely grumpy lol. 🙂

  6. Question.. on the madewell road tripper.. you say “size down 1 size”. Do u mean size down 1 size based on pregnancy size? Or based on what we establish as reasonable post pregnancy size.. take that size and go down 1???

    1. One size down from where you are now! I’m in 30s right now in denim and I went with a 29 in these. Does that make sense?! So NO not pregnancy size, just whatever size you are now. 🙂

      1. I am 34 weeks prego…and day dreaming of zippers. Soooo technically nothing fits me. But soon, the end is near. So post baby instead of sizing up like I would with jeans…you are saying just get my regular size pre baby and they should fit. This is my third…i get the post body situation.

        1. YES! exactly. I honestly thought I’d fit right back into my jeans right after. LOL.But yes ma’am, pre-baby size! Especially if you are with your 3rd! You know the routine!!

  7. Any tips on where I could find post-pregnancy friendly jeans that aren’t skinny? I am missing my bootcut and flare denim choices…

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