For maternity wear, my tastes weren’t any different, I purchased a few Isabella Oliver and Liz Lange select signature pieces, but usually would complement my wardrobe with the basics from good quality brands known for more reasonable prices for the average woman on the street, like Old Navy, Gap & Motherhood Maternity. So I was especially geeked when I was offered a chance to check out the brand new soon to be released (tomorrow April 6) GAP 1969 Maternity Jeans.
Actually, the 1969 line has been around since last July. Named for the year Gap opened its doors, the line is of premium jeans featuring the stylings, look and feel of high end designer jeans but at a more realistic price for normal folks of modest means. And in this recession I know most people can appreciate not spending an arm and a leg for maternity jeans and certainly not ones they will wear for less than 9 months. The point though, was to return to its root as one of the original premium jeans makers. Since 1969, the number and levels of jeans makers have definitely grown and with that came varying standards in quality. The designer ones command a higher price of $100 or more. Though for maternity jeans, there are not THAT many brands that have ventured into this arena to offer a variety of styles and sillouettes for fashionable women. I suppose, most jean makers assumed you lost your shape and would be frousing around a muu muu for 9 months and didn’t bother to cater to women who wanted to remain stylish while pregnant. If my memory serves me well, Japanese Weekend offered maternity jeans early on while Old Navy and Gap came shortly thereafter.
Anyway, I was sent a pair of size 8s in white and noticed immediately that the jeans had good strong stitching and had an elasticity about them. They were the long & lean variety, mid rise and designed to fit in the hip and thigh area, but flare at the leg opening. The demi panel was made to sit low on the belly which would be super because I recall when pregnant feeling all itchy from having elastic cut into my round tummy.
I was going to recruit a pregnant friend to try them on for me, but couldn’t coordinate schedules. So, I said, what the heck though I’m not pregnant but I’ll try them on to see if they would fit well on my curvy body. As we all know, many more women have curves than not. Often times, the long, straight and lean styles of jeans can have our legs looking like a stuffed sausage casings or a freshly popped Pillsbury biscuit can. EEK! So not a good look. Also, if you have a rounder and larger bottom, the straight jeans can have the effect of flattening out the derriere, giving it a bizarre pancake look. Not good! Unfortunately, that is what a lot of women of color with ample bottoms dislike about GAP jeans of the past.
The brand doesn’t meet the needs of the woman with the thin waist but large bottom and thicker thighs (that apple bottom shape) and in the sizes that do fit the waist, the leg and hip area is usually too small. That being said, I was anxious to see if these jeans, while certainly trendy and fashionable looking, would have the same flaws as other non-maternity jeans the brand has made in the past. I was hopeful for redemption because in my circle of friends which includes women of diverse races, ethnicities and body types, they struggle to find jeans that can accommodate their bodies. Certainly, maternity jeans are no exception.
Style: Surprisingly, in the mirror, the jeans looked really good and I loved the silhouette. Check out my “ass”ets from the side view (photo above). My bottom has retained its lift, however minimal. That’s a great start. Granted I was sent a pair called “Long & Lean”, if all of the line run long, you’d need to either hem them or wear them with wedges since heels aren’t recommended much for pregnant women. I am only 5 foot 3 and I am seen in 3 inch heels in the pair I am wearing. Definitely do NOT cuff them and have me have to take away your Pregnant Diva card. If I get a chance to talk with the designer I would ask about a petite version and if there are plans to offer it at all, even online.
Comfort: Off the bat, I could tell you that the stretch style I was sent had lots of elasticity and much give to it. Such forgiving nature of the material is great for a couple reasons: 1. they would work wonderfully with a variety of shapes and sizes of women’s bodies; and 2. they would allow for some give and pull as you grow, with the reality being weight gain is inevitable.
Fabric: Even while infused with the elastic material, it still felt soft against my skin, so that was a plus. The fabric had the look of more expensive designer styles I’ve purchased in the past that run more than $100.00.
Downsides: On the flip side, the large pockets sewn on the back of the pair I was sent sat below my butt cheeks (see photo). They created an unnatural gap (pardon the pun) in the seat which I could feel as I walked. Not cool. Also, as a curvier woman with hips, I usually prefer flat front or no pockets in the front as pockets there give off the illusion of even wider hips. Not good (see photo) and that was the case here as well. I would think you could take care of both problems if you wore a maternity shirt that covered the hip and bottom, but then again, you shouldn’t have to hide your jeans if they are supposed to show off your fashionable side.
I’ve read that in another style of the 1969 non-maternity version of the line, the Real Straight variety doesn’t have such large pockets. (all variety of the non-maternity styles include:
- Bootcut (Perfect and Sexy)
- Real Straight
- Always Skinny
- Long and Lean)
I am of the school of thought that being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your sense of style. If I have an opportunity to speak with the designer, I would inquire about the fit and other options in the line.
Construction: The structure of the jeans is sturdy and would last through several washes and wear. I think they’d be able to be handed down as well. I plan to donate my “review” pair to a nonprofit that supports pregnant teenagers that have elected not to abort their babies. The nonprofit in particular I have my eye on encourages the girls to hand down their gently used maternity wear to the center for recycle so these jeans would definitely last the test of time there.
Overall though, despite the shortcomings of the large back pocket and the front pockets in the long & lean variety for “hippier” women, I still think these jeans are a great investment for getting that sophisticated trendy designer look but for a more reasonable price ($79 retail).
GAP Maternity is letting 5 Lucky Bellyitch Readers walk away with their very own pair of 1969 Maternity jeans in their size, style and length!
Simply, enter below in the form AND return to the blog to LEAVE A COMMENT below this post letting me and other readers know you have entered and your entry method(s) Contest is open to US residents only.
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