Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Wonderful World of Maternity: Part 2

Ok, this is it. The main fashion perk of being pregnant...

Part 2: Stretch, plus how to minimize spending and a little philosophizing

Stretchy Waistbands

Ahhh, the golden savior of all pregnant women. When retailers figured out that they could put a stretchy band on top of pants and skirts or whatever and pregnant women could wear normal looking bottoms, the angels sang. The stretchy waist comes in two varieties, as one friend puts it, you must first decide if you are going "Texas or Florida" with your pants.

In this case, "Texas" is a lower, usually thicker stretchy band that rests below your belly as it grows, as opposed to the "Florida" which is a large, thinner, panel which goes over the belly, generally resting somewhere near your bra strap. I've found that many of the Florida is popular on dress pants and generally anything made by Pea in the Pod, whereas Texas is the media of choice for Target and Topshop. I have pants in both, and like both for different reasons. Sometimes the Texas variety can be a little binding, especially on days when I feel like my entire body has grown exponentially overnight (oh, yeah, that happens), but wearing a stretchy panel that comes to your armpits can be a little sausage-esque.

Repurposing, Plus a Little Personal Philosophy

This gets a little tricky. Part of this will depend on what you already have in your closet. If you are like me and wholeheartedly/bothfistedly embraced tent dresses, you are kind of set. However, I recognize that most people did not think this was the greatest fashion revolution since the zipper and therefore do not have an archive of poofy dresses at your disposal.

Throughout the first and most of the second trimester, I was able to get away with very little actual maternity clothes, thanks to an empire waisted J. Crew shirt, my Bella Band and thin long layering tees. I am also a big fan of cardigans, so I wore those over t-shirts and just tried to accessorize the crap out of everything so people wouldn't notice that I'd worn the same pants three days in a row.

My philosophy on maternity fashion was mostly: buy things that will last me throughout the entire 40 weeks and after, and buy as little as possible that is maternity specific. For me, this meant buying one pair of maternity dress pants for work, two pencil skirts, two t-shirts, one long sleeved shirt, and five sleeveless shirts (three of which are white tank tops). This isn't to say that I won't buy a few more things before this whole thing is over and I was lucky enough to be pregnant over the summer and to work from home during most of the third trimester when things might get freaky big over here.

Also, cotton jersey is pretty much God's gift to pregnant women.

I had a dress from Banana Republic that was at least five seasons old that looks better now that I'm packing a belly. I also picked up a J. Crew jersey dress and a maxi-dress from Ginger in Bethesda. Seriously, I wear these dresses non-stop in a constant looping rotation. I'm like the playlist on a Ryan Seacrest radio show.

So, before you run out to the maternity store in a panic (because I did) at the first sign of a bump, really go through your closet and try everything on and keep doing this throughout the pregnancy.

Coming soon! Store recommendations!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Wonderful World of Maternity: Part 1

I've been pregnant now for 28 weeks.

I spent at least 5 of those weeks in total ignorance of this whole situation; about 1 in total denial; 10 waiting for something, hell ANYTHING, to feel different; and the past 7 trying to figure out how to clothe myself while not getting fired for wearing sweatpants to a PAC event. Then I moved and have just been wearing the same cotton dress for like three weeks.

Yup, ever since I went from the post-Thanksgiving bulge to full on baby belly, things in my closet got a little sad. First of all, a lot of maternity stuff on the market really doesn't look good unless you have a nice round belly that you are proudly showing off, which doesn't happen until you are at least a solid 20 weeks along. Second, nothing else in your closet will still fit you. So...right.

Miracle, my ass.

Despite only recently being able to look decent in maternity clothes, I've surveyed the interwebs and the maternity floors and the drapey sections of regular clothes in order to give you all a field guide to maternity clothes.

Part 1: The basic species of clothing you will find in maternity stores, plus some ways to still shop at normal stores.

Things that Are Ruched

The first thing I noticed when I started to shop for maternity clothes was how many of the shirts had ruching along the sides. At the first shop I visited with legitimate intentions of buying something, Belly Dance Maternity, the salesgirl explained that this was to allow the shirt room to grow with your belly. When you are early in the pregnancy, it looks a little drapey and soft around the midsection, then fills out as you grow. This is especially fun if you get a shirt that has a design like polka dots or stripes which change shape as you get bigger. Pregnancy! Fun shape shifting for everyone!

Things that Drape

This is one of the categories you are most likely going to able to find in the regular sections of clothing stores. With the resurgence (well...surgence, I guess) of open draped cardigans, it's like everyone is wearing maternity! No seriously, check out Anthropologie and Forever 21 and it's cotton knit open front sweaters as far as the eye can see. Also in this category are oversized sweaters meant to be worn over leggings, etc. These items are nice because they will last through multiple seasons and can be worn post-pregnancy.

Things that are Tent-Like

About two summers ago, every dress in the stores was either empire waisted or just plain tent like. Seriously, like everyone was wearing a bell made of fabric. And I loved it. On someone who is a little shorter (like me!) whose best assets are arms, bust and lower legs (like me!) this was a dream come true. Except that one dress I wore unbelted to work sparked some serious controversy about whether my wedding was of the shotgun variety. But, the trend passed and I put my beloved tent dresses away, vowing to exhume them when I was legitimately with child. And I DID! They look awesome. Moral of the story, if someone tells you you look pregnant in a outfit, don't burn it. Save it until you are pregnant.

Tomorrow! Part 2 where I explore stretchy waistbands, or, why you will be the envy of all your non-preggo friends.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Coming Clean

So...a lot has happened over the past 12 weeks or so. Stuff I haven't shared publicly on the interwebs.

You see, my husband has one of these jobs whereby people are occasionally forced to relocate for training purposes. So, after eight blissful (well....whatever) years of calling the District of Columbia my home, I've moved.

To Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Now, we can spare me the jokes about becoming Squirrel Hill Barbie (my family came up with that gem early on) and I'll try to forget that DC gave me a send off in 100-plus degree heat that caused me to fall up a flight of stairs (yes, up) that landed me on a monitor in the labor and delivery ward of Sibley Hospital for four hours.

(Sounds like fun, right? Not always.)

The bottom line is that I'm here for at least a year and a half and I'm planning on making the most of it. Basically, I will be consulting for my old job until El Bebe arrives which may even leave me more time to blog, which should make you all pleased! Right? Right?

So, while I've found a few solid fashion blogs based here in Pittsburgh like Looking Sharp! and Stylish White Female, I'm always looking for more! So...if you know about Pittsburgh, let me know!

And I promise to keep my hand in the DC scene...lord knows I'm a CSPAN junkie and the local news here is just not cutting it. PS, If Real Housewives of DC doesn't turn out to be totally unbearable, I'm considering recapping....what do we think?