I realize that this blog is called “Two Traveling Teachers” and that the topic of this particular entry doesn’t really relate to Jeff… or to traveling for that matter. But, it’s onmy mind a lot lately (as I’m sure you can imagine) so I figured I would write a post about it anyway.
So, a few weeks ago I posted a rant on facebook about how insensitive people can be when it comes to how pregnant women look, and the ridiculous comments people feel free to make about
a woman’s size when she is expecting. I usually don’t post rants, but itwas really cathartic to be able to vent for a moment, and then read all of the supportive comments that came flooding in from women who have clearly been in the same situation at some point in life.
Now, I must confess, that as vain as this will sound, part of the reason I hate these comments is because I am an individual who enjoys shopping and wearing nice clothes. I am sure many of you can relate. And the reality is, in Saskatoon, pregnant women just DO NOT have a lot of options when it comes to maternity wear. Soooo, not only are people commenting on our growing bellies (which are never just our bellies, I don’t care what anyone says…. everything gets a little bigger…) but we are also faced with the daily reality that in general our wardrobes basically suck. So, that “are you sure it’s not twins” belly has the added bonus of being covered in some monstrosity of a t-shirt that cost double what a shirt should because the tag says “maternity”, not to mention the oh-so-attractive all-access booby-panels for easy feeding after baby is born. Add to that the fact that the only comfortable pants available at this point literally go up to my boobs. It’s not difficult to understand why comments about large bellies combined with crappy wardrobes do not make for happy pregnant ladies.
Alright – so this is the reality of life in Sasaktoon as a prego. However, at the onset of my second pregnancy I got to thinking that surely there must be a way to dress trendy while also remaining comfortable and not spending a fortune. I made a vow that I would avoid “maternity” clothes as much as possible and try to find items that would work in my favourite stores. In addition, given that we are moving to China and I will still not be back at my pre-baby weight by time we move, I need to be making smart choices in my wardrobe and buying things that can play double duty even after baby is born… without looking like a shlump.
So far, I have been fairly successful, and have narrowed it down to a few key items of clothing that I believe every pregnant woman should have, which are not actually “maternity” and can be worn comfortably after baby is born as well.
1. Maxi-dresses and skirts, preferably made out of jersey. I have purchased several of these flowing gowns from local retailers such as Old Navy and the Gap. Not only are they crazy comfortable, but the added material in the front allows room for a growing belly. Just make sure the dress is either high waisted or allows you to tie your own belt around it to give you some shape.
2. Cardigans – both long and short. DO NOT buy “maternity” cardigans!!! They are a scam! I mean seriously, how often do you actually completely button up a cardigan anyway? If you are anything like me, cardigans get thrown overtop of tanks, shirts, dresses, etc… and left open. Even if you DO like to fully button up your cardis, as your belly gets bigger at least you have the option of leaving it open… and if it’s a longer cardi, find a cute rope belt and belt it above your belly. My favourite place to shop for cardis is the Gap. Great colours, great material, great fit. Cute blazers and jean jackets also fit into this category for the same reasons.
3. Long, stretchy tank-tops. These are an absolute MUST in any pregnant woman’s wardrobe and they certainly don’t have to be purchased at a maternity store. The biggest issue as your belly grows is always the length, but there are so many great places where tanks like this can be purchased, and cheap! One of my best finds? This might surprise you because this isn’t a store I normally shop at, but Garage Clothing has awesome tanks for summer because they are so long and stretchy. I also like to find fun patterned tanks that can be worn tight when pregnant, but will look great loose and baggy after baby comes. H & M, Forever 21, The Bay, and Dynamite are great places to shop for tanks like this.
4. Leggings. I believe it is acceptable for pregnant women to wear leggings everyday. I purchased a great pair from Lululemon that actually have a super-supportive drop-waist that fits perfectly under my belly. I lived in them for my first pregnancy, and they are my favourite pair of pants now in my second pregnancy as well. The best part is, they work when I’m not pregnant too.
5. Tunics/blouses. Buy these a size or two larger than you normally are to wear while pregnant, but wear them belted after baby arrives to give you some shape. This is a good choice if you want to stay current and trendy, and since tunics are so in-style right now, you can buy them almost anywhere. A great chambray top that you can wear open is also a must-have. The Gap and Old Navy have lots of nice options!
6. Sports Bras – I don’t know about the rest of you, but my chest hurts constantly when I’m pregnant. To put things in perspective, last spring, before I was pregnant with baby #2 and after I had finished nursing Isla, I was measured for a new bra and told my size was 36-A. I don’t think I’ve been an “A-cup” since puberty. Now in pregnancy, I am more like a 36-C… so basically, the ladies have gotten a lot bigger! And I hate bra shopping. So, if you are like me, do yourself a favour – head on down to Lululemon, fork over the extra cash, and get yourself a supportive sports bra that will grow and stretch with you. The added bonus, if you are a tank-top lover like myself, is that sports bras are often racer-back in style, and are easily hidden under tanks of the same style.
Now, I must confess that I do still buy maternity pants, but I also have a belly-band which I continue to wear with my favourite stretchy jeans, and plan to for as long as possible. True, my pants are wide open underneath that belly-band, but I usually cover it up with a long tank anyway and things seem to work out ok.
Oh! And a shameless plug, I’ll admit it… I do a lot of accessorizing with fun jewelry (ie: Stella & Dot!) Buy yourself a great black dress that you feel comfortable in, and then purchase a bunch of fun statement necklaces, bracelets, and earrings to change your look for fancy events. I recommend the Victoria’s Secret convertible dress for a great LBD- feels and looks fabulous during pregnancy, and after as well.
Alright – I think this post is long enough for now… but if any of you have tips or tricks for looking great during pregnancy, or buying clothes that can do double-duty after baby is born, I’d love to hear about them!
Top Left Photo: Maxi Dress – Gap ($74), Orange Cardigan – Gap ($25), Rope Belt – H&M ($6)
Top Right Photo: Floral Tank – Dynamite ($24), Peach Sweater – Le Chateau ($30)
Bottom Center #1: Black & White tunic – H&M ($24), Lululemon Capris ($84)
Bottom Center #2: Victoria’s Secret Convertible Dress