25 September 2014

What I wore: anything that still covers my belly

it’s been approximately forever since I posted a photo of my ongoing effort to dress like a grownup. A grownup with style, if I’m being ambitious (and charitable). As I explained in that last post, it’s not because I failed at that project – it’s because I succeeded. I’m managing to dress like a grownup almost every day! Which, because I have absolutely zero desire to be a fashion blogger, really doesn’t need to be documented.

However. I now have an entire other-person taking up space in my midsection (over two pounds! more than a foot long! kicks like a rabbit trapped in a sack!). With that going on, dressing myself has suddenly become SO HARD all over again. You guys, I'd been approximately the same size for almost a decade. I knew this body and what would fit and what would look flattering. And all those rules are out the window now with the rabbit-sack belly! I admit, it’s frustrating... especially after succeeding in the habit of trying to dress myself well.

In case you forgot, yes, I do have maternity pants. I also bought several light, cotton maternity dresses to take to Italy, which you’ve already seen (even if you didn’t know it) here, here, and here. And my sister-in-law even passed along a few maternity tops. But that’s, like... eight days worth of outfits, if that. I don’t want to buy an entirely new wardrobe for just three months, so I’ve been working with what I’ve got as much as possible.

Surprisingly, I’ve been able to wear a lot of my usual non-maternity clothes. Like this dress I’ve had since my early twenties:

(My fancy camera remote’s batteries are dead, FYI. iPhone selfies in a dirty mirror it is!)

It helps that I already own dresses that work with my pear-shaped figure, usually fitted at the top but flare past my (very high) waist. I’m also a fan of stretchy material, which is obviously helpful for literally stretching my wardrobe. That doesn’t mean all my dresses still fit – many have already been retired for the year – but they’ve lasted a surprisingly long time, even into this third trimester!

I’ve also been fortunate that some of my skirts still work if I hitch them up over the bump, along with all those tank tops I bought a few years ago.

That photo also shows one of my more frequent sartorial choices: the button-up shirt layered over a tank top. I mean, there’s no pretending that I could actually button it up – the belly is out and proud now – but it just feels a bit more polished and interesting compared to a cardigan.

I’m fortunate to be expanding only in one place instead of all over, so I usually try to do something to accentuate the fact that currently my waist is not entirely MIA. Sometimes I button it up just in the middle, as above, but I’ve also become an even bigger fan of belts. (Bigger. Ha.)

I’ve decided that belts can transform any shirt that still fits into a maternity shirt. The shirt above isn’t maternity, but it sure does work as one with a belt slapped on it!

Belts even help out when I do bust out the actual maternity clothes. (Hello $13 clearance Old Navy maternity maxi dress! You’re gonna be making a lot of appearances.)

That dress above is a classic example of what I should buy when I get maternity clothes. At first I bought patterned dresses that “didn’t look too maternity” so I could wear them post-partum. But in retrospect, it might have been better to only purchase super-basic items like that maxi dress, which can be dressed up in a gazillion different ways. I may not wear those other dresses much once the baby’s here – but I’ll miss that maxi when I don’t have a belly to fill it out.

So, yes. Finding something to wear takes longer than it used to, and more and more of my wardrobe goes out of commission each week. But! I’m realizing that a lot of my clothes can make it through this entire pregnancy, just by layering all sorts of items that don’t care how big my belly gets – button-up tops, cardigans, blazers, belts, scarves. And heck, interesting jewelry. And shoes!

Just as I learned that I needed maternity pants much sooner than expected, I’m learning how much of my wardrobe can be used longer than expected. Only a few more months of restricted wardrobe to go! Let’s see how long I hold out before it’s Mr. P’s sweaters and $3 leggings ALL THE TIME.