How to dress when you’re horribly pregnant

For anyone hopefully stumbling across this blog thinking it might have suggestions about how to dress when you’re pregnant, I can only apologise for drawing you here under false pretenses.  This post is about precisely the opposite – that is, the fact that I have no idea how to dress when pregnant.

I’ll have to honest with myself here: I don’t really know how to dress when not pregnant either.  One would have thought by the vitrified age of 33, I would have figured out my “look”.  Sadly my “look” remains somewhat schizophrenic.  I simply can’t commit.  I like laid-back 70s clothing and fantasise about emulating Katharine Ross c. Stepford Wives, but then some days I wake up feeling more the uptight librarian.  Other days are different again where I feel like I’m channelling Charlotte Grey or an adolescent from the 1920s.  Other days I pine for a modicum of sophistication.  These are inspirations you understand; the realities that manifest on my person far from resemble such characters.  These days, my “look” – forgive me for having the temerity to use that phrase in relation to myself – is generic mum.  Ergh.

Part of the problem of course is money.  Money after all, is a great enabler, as the Doctor once told me.  But then, plenty of people look brilliant on a shoestring.  Such people however are creative (I am not), have an eye (I do not), possibly have a greater tolerance threshold for synthetic (I do not) and have both the time and the inclination to search (I most certainly do not).  When the appearance of a gargantuan belly, a fat arse and inordinately large breasts are then added to the dynamic, shopping becomes such a repugnant prospect that the idea of a sort of medieval confinement to one’s bed chamber seems rather appealing.

It’s not all bad however, and I am probably being a tad disingenuous.  My research has uncovered the odd positive happenstance.  For example, I have discovered, by virtue of my very dear friend, the wondrous button extender device, breathing an extended life into most of my denim.  I got these in a back of three varied sizes (for all your extending needs) from Liberty for about £4.  A handy device indeed.

photo(96)

Before you get excited though, after one day’s wear, I realised that, though nifty, this device was not up to the task of bridging the gap of my rapidly inflating girth…

photo(97)Sadly the strain was too great (as I write, I can sense the wiry spring of my back-up button extender beginning to falter).  So back to open fly and strategic tucking we go.

But aside from attempting to augment one’s current wardrobe, what are the options?  Dedicated maternity clothes?  No thanks, those things are ugly as shit.  And, given they’ll be obsolete in four months’ time, a complete waste of money.  Lots of cheap cotton jersey?  This is indeed one possibility, but recent events in Bangladesh have made me even more wary of fast fashion sources such as H&M and ASOS.

One marginally effective practice I’ve implemented is systematically co-opting all of the Doc’s T-shirts.  These are nice T-shirts.  One’s fashioned out of nice cottons with attractive washes.  He hates this of course, but we all must make our sacrifices for the greater good.

But a pregnant woman cannot survive on T-shirts alone.  A good suit jacket helps smarten up the most casual of sartorial combinations, so having one of those to hand is a good idea (I am now back in the market for one after completely cacking up my treasured Vanessa Bruno blazer.  Note to self, stop trying to do your own dry-cleaning by putting everything on a handwash).

But this still leaves great gaping holes.  On the suggestions of the rather cool Lauren Lavergne, I looked at a number of more mumsy-though-not-completely-awful websites such as Me and Em, Toast and Eileen Fisher but it’s hard to get excited about spending £150 on a conservative basic.  That being said, I quite like Toast.

My ultimate solution, after much faffing and frustrated deliberation, is to make a few things myself (well, the Doc’s mum has offered to make – I’ll direct.  I’m a terrible seamstress).  After cutting some basic patterns, I intend to purchase a tonne of black cotton jersey and put it to good use.  No issues of sweatshop or questionable ethics here (except the total and utter exploitation of my mother-in-law’s generously offered free labour); no contorting into strange conservative ‘mummy’ styles; no extraneous expense; no items that won’t translate to a non-pregnant wardrobe; most importantly, no colour – darkness is the tone for pregnancy, I’ve decided.

At the end of the day, one wears pregnancy as best as one can.  Some do it far better than others.  I am not one of those people and have resigned myself to spending as much time as possible out of the public eye and when needs must, gracing the world with a modest collection of loose fitting blacks.

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