Friday, May 4, 2007

Saying goodbye to zippers and buttons

Because of my expanding waistline and stagnant wallet, my mother generously volunteered to visit for a few days and take me shopping for maternity clothes.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I do know that my regular clothes are getting uncomfortable. My pants dig into my belly, sometimes forcing me to unbutton them in public for a little much-needed relief. And because of my bigger belly, my form-fitting tops no longer look quite so streamlined. Not to mention how my button-down tops pucker at the chest now, eliminating much of my closet.

I had asked friends with kids where they had shopped for clothes and was given quite a few suggestions.

The first stop was a department store in a nearby strip mall. I quickly discovered that, when in doubt, look for the maternity clothing next to the baby stuff. Makes sense, I suppose.

At first I was horrified. Everything is elastic and synthetic. EVERYTHING.

"Oh, I am SO not wearing any of this," I said, holding up a pair of pants that would've stretched to fit a rhinoceros. "Absolutely not."

My mother just laughed, grabbed the pants for me to try on and whispered, "Oh yes you will."

The tops were hideous. Nothing that said, "I'd actually want to buy and wear this on a regular basis if I wasn't metamorphosing into a bloated manatee."

I am of the less-is-more line of thought when it comes to clothes. I don't need ties and straps and buckles and brass studs and frayed edges and seizure-inducing patterns. I want simple and classic, perhaps with a little subtle detail.

After a quick browse around the racks, I was convinced that no such thing exists in maternity land. And I hands-down refused to shimmy into a T-shirt with sparkly pink lettering that says "Princess is having a princess." If someone forced me, I would puke on it, preferring instead to wear my regurgitated stomach bile. Because a vomit stain would be better than that logo.

Putting up much resistance, I eventually headed into a dressing room with a few capris and two tops that actually came in black and white. Nothing that doubled as a doily and screamed, "Now that I'm going to be a mom, I vow to give up all sense of style. ... Please pass me those tapered-leg jeans."

Somewhere in between unbuttoning my tight pants and stepping into the maternity wear, a miraculous thing happened: I felt comfortable for the first time in a week.

Granted, they were hideous. There was a fake zipper flap and button for looks, but the entire top was a solid band of stretchy cotton-ish material that went up to my bra line.


"Oh, I am SO never taking these off!" I said, trying not to notice what I looked like and instead enjoying the pure bliss of not having a restrictive waistline digging temporary marks into my flesh.

And oh joy! When you pair it with the synthetic flowy tops, you'd never know there was 45 yards of stretchy fabric underneath! The fake zipper flap and button say, "I'm totally normal. See? The button? Normal."

After reluctantly putting my jeans back on, we settled on a few pieces. I had officially started my elastic collection.

The next stop was an actual maternity clothing store and the selection was vast. Much to my delight, it had more fashionable offerings and even a professional and formalwear section. I quickly claimed a dressing room and one of the clerks devoted herself to bringing me the entire store, one piece at a time.

Then I saw it.

The faux belly.

As if on cue, the clerk explained through the door that I was to Velcro that hideous thing around my waist and it would add about three months to my belly, taking me to six months, so I could see what the fit would be like on everything.

After taking a deep breath, I mentally committed to it. As I wrapped the Velcro around my back, time sort of slowed down. When I looked up, my spirit was instantly crushed.

Oh. My. God.

Would I really look like this? Like a 20-pound bowling ball took up residence in my abdomen? Like the chick on "Alien" right before that slimy creature thing erupts out of her chest cavity? Like something that looks like it shouldn't be able to walk upright?

I grabbed the stuffing-filled monstrosity with both hands, forcibly ripped it off and threw it to the ground. No. Nope. I don't need to see that. I'm fine expanding gradually. I don't need a fast-forward button. Too graphic. Too scary. The clothes will expand to fit. I get it.

After seven stores and much trial and error, I now have an elastic collection that should take me well into my third trimester. Although its early to be wearing any of these things, they're so damn comfortable that I don't care.

It's hard to imagine that even my new clothes will be tight eventually.

And when that happens? I'll just safety pin some bedsheets around my huge ass and talk about the good ol' days when pants had actual zippers and buttons that functioned.


Rachel said...

Elastic is wonderful. Some of the pants are adjustable at the sides, so they sit where you want them to sit, and you can expand them as needed. Expand the elastic, that is. I found a lot of great basics at Old Navy and, like camisoles, empire waist tops, khakis, jeans, plain tees.

aahcoffee said...

The belly is not accurate. I never looked like what it said I would. So don't worry about it. And the above commenter is does have some great stuff.

Julie said...

You.Are.Fucking.Awesome! Everytime I read your posts, I can picture the entire encounter like I'm a fly on the wall of that maternity store. I love it.

Going to Rochester this weekend. Want me to pick up a Zweigle's and ship it to you? ;-)

rachel elizabeth said...

this post gives me so much to look foreword to when i decide to have a baby... endless oceans of elastic! great post though, love it! hope you are doing well!! <3

Teme said...

What Julie said -- ditto for me (except the part about going to Rochester)!

Anonymous said...

The fake belly doesn't work at all. I've bought a majority of my maternity stuff online. Oldnavy and Gap seem to suit my lifestyle but there are tons of options. You don't have to live in the muu muus of yesteryear!

betsy said...

OMG, I know I am not suposed to be laughing this hard, but you are too funny! I love reading how you are progressing, and your neurotic thoughts, which aren't really neurotic at all, as you are finding out!

Tiffany said...

No pictures?? :-)

Jennifer said...

Ha-Ha! You are TOO funny! You had me cracking up because I think all us woman who have kids know exactly how that feels!! It is so hard to find nice maternity clothes. The best places I found were Motherhood and surprisingly, Target. And gosh darn... they are pricey aren't they?

I hope you've been taking belly pictures. Try and take one every month! Then you can do one of these Belly morphs! It was tough having to get my expanding waist line captured in film at the time... but looking back, I'm really glad I did. I'd love to see your little baby bump, I'm sure you are ADORABLE, elastic pants and all. ;-)

Tiger Babble said...

Hunny, I totally hear you on the woes of ugly maternity clothes. When I grew out of my pre-pregnancy pants, I was horrified at the thought of wearing those ugly fat-lady maternity jeans.


Motherhood Maternity store and Gap Maternity (both in the mall) are lifesavers. Motherhood has a big variety and you can get anything from the regular relaxed fit ugly jeans to slim fitting, trendy skinny jeans. They have tons of tops, most of which don't even look like maternity as well as pretty dresses too.

Gap has awesome basics like pants and jeans that are stylish and don't look hideous at all.

Old Navy has maternity too, but I found that the jeans don't fit that great... The tops are good for second trimester though.

If you want to get high-end, designer maternity clothing, check out places like NOM and Pea In The Pod.

Now... on another note: Belly Pics. You need to take pictures of your belly every week! You will treasure them and love watching it get bigger.

AND I know your readers (including me) would DEFINITELY enjoy seeing your baby bump expand! I know you may not like the idea, but really... you have to give the people what they want!

Chelsea said...

Hahaha! I never knew about the faux belly! I actually walked past a maternity store in the mall the other day and thought they had some cute stuff!

Pauline said...

You and my sister would get along great. She was horrified into silence when she saw the clothes she would have to wear for the next 9 months. I suggest Old Navy for more "normal" attire if there is such a thing. And the full panel jeans your swearing off? Buy them. If there is one thing she regretted, it was the 1/4 panel jeans. By month 8, they wouldn't stay up and had this horrible fit. Go for full panel ;-)

Randall said...

Glad you found some things that work. One of my old bosses was the best dressed pregnant woman I've seen... at least in my opinion. She would where the maternity capris, classic style, in khaki, black or white. Then a different large button up oxford each day. She didn't look sloppy, but comfy, classic and good looking.

Well, at least now you can get back to shopping for the baby!

Ray said...

HA! I loved this post. You're so real I just love it. It's great to have a pregnant Kelly so we can see a different side of you.

As for clothing, I've never been pregnant BUT--- "Motherhood Maternity" looks like they have nice clothes. AND, if you check out the site:
you might see the pregnant lady with a black polka dot dress! Which of course you probably wouldn't wear, but it reminded me of your polka dot shoes!

Well, take care Kelly. ;o)

Anonymous said...

I am loving this new journey you're on. I never miss a column, love the way you write, you're awesome. For some reason I can't comment as a blogger so in order not to be rude and commentless any longer, I'll just go with anonymous.
Have a great weekend! Relish elastic!

Marina said...

Damn. And I thought I hated shopping. That sounds fucking horrifying.

Sheryl said...

Hooray for generous Moms! At least you don't have to find formal wear. I went shopping with my sister-in-law when she was 7 months pregnant and had to find something to wear to an evening wedding at the 4 Seasons Beverly Hills. Not an easy task!

the plainsman said...

Am way out of my element here, but occasionally see stuff on the AM shows saying something like pregnant women don't have to live in "elastic and tents anymore." Apparantly real jeans and stuff in natural fibers are made now; then too, in some malls here are the those Pea Pod stores which look like thay have real clothes as well for office and more formal wear and just looking pretty for yourself!

Hang said...

You should try this website:

I bought 4-5 t-shirts and tanks there when I was preggo. Also, since you're an ebay vet, search under maternity for Gap. Really great deals!

Hang said...

you should try or look at ebay for gap maternity clothes. Really great deals!