I can remember being SO anxious to wear maternity clothes when I was pregnant with Ezra, my first. I coached my belly daily with exhortations like, “SHOW, darn it!” and, “C’mon now, little fella. Grow, grooooooooowwwww!”
Of course, a half a dozen-ish babies later, and I sing a slightly different tune. Mostly because of the discovery that maternity clothes are no friend to women. At least in the self-esteem department. Or the wallet department (seriously? $80 for an ugly pair of jeans just because they have a lovely flesh-colored stretchy thingy attached to them??). And while they’re definitely kind to the comfort of your front side (belly), their entire goal in life seems to be to make a mockery of your backside (hello, pancake rear).
Plus, I have yet to find a pair of truly great maternity jeans that doesn’t do the sliiiiiiiiiiiide, all while giving me pancake rear. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to spend half my time hitching up my pants with one hand, I’d really rather do it knowing that I’m not giving anyone a sudden craving for breakfast food just because they’re standing behind me.
So, what’s the solution?
(MuuMuus for life!)
No, but really, my solution is to size up.
See that ridiculously pregnant woman up there? That would be me, 36-weeks-pregnant. With twins, no less. But you know what? I’m not wearing a stitch of maternity wear. Instead, I’m wearing “regular” clothes in a couple sizes up from what I would normally need.
And the best part of all? My hindquarters, while considerably wider and more substantial than pre-pregnancy status are still reasonable facsimiles of their normal selves.
Which brings us to this pregnancy. As a rule, I tend to measure small (in the belly-department). I’m long-waisted and can “hide” my babies down in the lower part of my torso. My belly doesn’t “pop” so much as “slope” (pretty sure some of my BODYPUMP participants are still just scratching their heads wondering why I won’t slow down on the cookies because, depending on what I wear, I look less pregnant and more, um, thick).
(This was taken last week at 21 weeks pregnant)
I had my husband take this picture because I haven’t weighed myself once this pregnancy (or before that for a good six months) and being in a room full of mirrors (the gym) messes with my head, and sometimes I just need the camera’s eye to give me a dose of reality (be it good or bad). Anyway, I had no intention of showing it to anyone (what with my schlumpy posture and messy living room, which are both oh-so-NOT-blog-worthy), but I thought it illustrated the “belly slope” thing I was talking about fairly accurately (and, well, this is me and my living room after we get home from the gym and my kids haven’t picked up yet before bed. Tada!)
ANYHOO, I haven’t been wearing much other than exercise clothes and old painting clothes all summer, but I do like to get a little gussied up on Sunday mornings. And, while I’m still wearing most of my pre-preggo clothes so far, I have been using either the size-up rule or a little creative adjustments to avoid entering the world of maternity wear for as long as possible.
I bought that bird shirt on sale for $9 at a local boutique in my normal size because it ran big and had a blousy fit. (I will say that this whole “size-up” business would have been a moot point in the 90’s when every shirt seemed designed to make you look like a cardboard box. Which makes me very grateful that we live in an era where long, loose-fitting tops are in style).
(Of course, it could be argued that I should worry less about the fit of my clothes and more about ironing them every now and then).
That Old Navy skirt certainly doesn’t seem like it would be pregnancy-friendly, what with it’s fitted waist that zips up to my belly button, but because of my long shirt, I was able to wear it partially unzipped. It still “fit,” my belly wasn’t squished, and no one was the wiser (you know, until I wrote all about it on my blog).
And this next dress was a $10 Clothes Mentor find. It’s made of stretchy jersey material, and is technically 2 sizes bigger (although I would say it runs small, if that’s confusing enough for you) than I would normally wear–which translates to a fair bit more roominess in the chest than I need (right now, anyway) but overall a comfy, flowy fit.
I’ve done the same with most of my other clothes, scoring cute elastic-waisted skirts (not to mention those fabulous green size-or-two-bigger-than-usual shorts) at Goodwill for next to nothing so that I can still have a reasonably current, comfortable look without having to pay maternity clothes prices (because while, yes, I do re-wear clothes from past pregnancies, I also find that they get a lot of wear and need to be replaced, or I’ve loaned them out to a friend, or I just have a grudge against something and never want to see/wear it again).
Of course, there are exceptions.
I splurged on these Pea in a Pod denim shorts (I think they were $40 on major sale?) during the twins’ pregnancy and wore the mess out of them, loaned them to a friend who also wore them like crazy, then got them back and have been wearing them for a few weeks during this pregnancy and loving them just as much as last time.
They’re a good length, they’re crazy comfy/stretchy without losing their shape, they have the belly panel without sliding down. And, and, AND! NO pancake butt!
If I could clone these shorts into multiple washes and lengths, I would totally splurge on a few more pair.
SO! Now, you know my thoughts on maternity clothes.
But I’d love to hear yours!
Have you found THE maternity jeans? If so, please share! I’m not above spending a little more on something like those shorts if it really is worth the money.
Do you size up too? I still have jeans from past pregnancies that, fingers crossed, I should be able to wear til the end. We’ll see how it goes. And I will say that, while the rise in vanity sizing usually annoys me (if a normal-sized, 5’7″ish girl is wearing an x-small in shirts sometimes, what are the truly tiny people wearing???), it definitely works in my favor with pregnancy since it’s easy to find shirts that fit.