Thursday, June 07, 2012

Dressing for Succ--Pregnancy

I’ve officially given up on my wardrobe. Today, I looked at my floor (yes, my floor, go ahead and judge me) and decided that a pair of black yoga capris would pass as “business casual” when paired with a longer top.

But do they actually work? Here’s how many fucks I give about the answer to that question: 0.

I still have some time left on this pregnancy journey—seven weeks and three days, if you’re counting—which means I still have some growing to do, but I figured with the entrance of workout gear into the work wardrobe, it was time to put down some thoughts about I have worn during pregnancy.

Buying Maternity Clothes
Sometimes my mom asks questions that are more like statements I’m supposed to agree with based on things she heard somewhere once, but have now been filed away as facts about what the young people do nowadays. Early on in my pregnancy my mom said to me, “No one buys maternity clothes anymore, do they?” First of all, who are they? Second of all, I’m not sure how I would make it through pregnancy without maternity clothes. And third, I’m pretty sure I’m not an anomaly. The individual who told my mom that “no one wears maternity clothes” is.

I recommend investing in maternity clothes. If you know someone who can loan you items even better, but I didn’t, so I took the plunge and bought a few key pieces—and then I bought a few more pieces. Here’s the number one reason to buy maternity clothes: As your regular clothes get tighter, you start feel less like a human being and more like an exhausted sausage who barely looks presentable in front of other people. Have you ever worn pants that are a wee bit too tight and throughout the day, instead of stretching, they felt more constricting, especially after that burrito you had for lunch? It’s like that, only the burrito is a baby… and a burrito. Spending the day being all-too-aware of your clothes means you don’t feel comfortable or good about yourself. Maternity clothing made me feel more comfortable, yes, but also like I could pull together a semi-cute outfit that I wasn’t tugging at or walking funny in. It made me feel better.

What I Bought
I purchased two pairs of jeans, a pair of dress pants, a pair of dressier capris, leggings, two pairs of shorts, two wrap dresses, and several tops, most “tunic” length so they could be paired with all bottoms. This seems like a lot, and to be honest, it’s more than I wanted to buy, but I didn’t really factor in that I would need to dress for both the middle of winter and the middle of summer. Oh, and for the record, my favorite piece of clothing are the leggings. They may not be the most flattering thing I own, but they are comfy.

Demi or Full
Here’s the most important decision you’ll make regarding your maternity bottoms: full panel or demi panel, meaning, do you want that stretchy band for your growing belly to stop around your hips or do you want it go up to your boobs? My advice (and everyone feels differently about this) is to go full panel. It is much more comfortable for me. The demi-panel bottoms feel constricting around my hips (especially now) and have a tendency to roll down, which is annoying. I even tried a size larger with the demi panel (it seems to be a popular option) and they are still uncomfortable and awkward. So there’s that.

Where to Shop
I had my best luck at Gap. I hit a few sales, got some stuff on the cheap, and Gap jeans are always a solid choice. I tried Pea in a Pod and never really found anything I liked, but those maternity specialty stores are good for bras and undergarments. Old Navy’s maternity clothing felt frumpy and shapeless. The biggest surprise was H&M. My favorite maternity tops came from there, though I wasn’t thrilled with their bottoms. The key is to not dress too differently than how you would dress normally. Normally, I would buy clothes at Gap.

Under Things
You will need new bras. Do yourself a favor and get the most comfortable bras you can find—screw trying to lift those puppies up. Go up a cup size or two and maybe even go up in the band size. No joke. I bought three new bras. One I rarely wear because it’s underwire, and it takes about three hours before I feel like I can no longer breath while wearing it. The other two are better, but as the realities of breastfeeding become more clear, I know I made a mistake by not going even bigger than I did. And you might as well buy nursing bras. You’re going to need them anyway.

And what about maternity underwear? Is that even a thing? Everything is a thing these days. I actually bought maternity underwear. I needed some underwear anyway, so I bought some. I am more happy with that decision than I thought I would be. They are the most comfortable underwear I own. I also bought maternity Spanx. No joke. I don’t LOVE them because I don’t love wearing Spanx, but they do the job and it’s nice to feel not lumpy under the wrap dresses I wear for special occasions.

The Bellaband
Do yourself a favor and get a Bellaband. For $30 this continues to extend my wardrobe options. I actually didn’t think it would help much beyond the first and early- to mid-second trimester, and I put it away for a month or so. But in a pinch, I tried with some work pants early in the third trimester and realized, I can still use this. This makes it possible for me to still wear my pre-pregnancy jeans, and I am H-U-G-E. Some people aren’t super fans of these bands, but mine has served me well.

Workout Gear
Call me crazy and go ahead and assume that fancy, schmancy expensive workout clothes aren’t worth it, but my lululemon yoga pants, capris and tops continue to fit me. I still wear all of it, and I even supplement my non-workout wardrobe with lululemon tops. And, they do not stretch out, and they will fit me post-pregnancy. If working out if a part of your life like it is mine, I wouldn’t recommend buying any maternity-specific workout clothing, instead I would invest in a few lululemon items (or for slightly cheaper options Athleta or Lucy) that can be worn always.

That said, I'm kind of getting down to desperate. Even though I feel like I've bought too much, I rotate the same three pairs of pants for five days of work. The thing is, at this point, I barely want to put on pants in the morning, much less pants that are not stretchy. Hence, black yoga capris for work today, and I know I'll be bringing these back (frankly, I'm a little annoyed I didn't use these for work sooner). You got to do what you got to do, and let's face it, no one is going to question the pregnant lady. I might as well take advantage while I still can. 

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