My favorite things.

As you may recall, I’ve been having some trouble with pregnancy wear.

As general practice, I don’t wear women’s clothing.  This isn’t a hard and fast rule, and certainly not one that stems from any value judgement: it’s just that the clothes that both fit and feel right tend to come from the men’s section.  Having worn large hoodies, loose jeans and polo shirts for well over a decade, there’s a great deal of dissonance involved in having to shift what I wear.  Unfortunately, as the hoodies have gotten smaller, the jeans have gotten tighter, and the polo shirts have ridden further and further up my belly, this shift has become neccessary.  It also isn’t just a shift from men’s clothes to women’s clothes, it’s a shift from men’s clothes to maternity clothes.

My forays into shopping for maternity clothes have not gone well.  There seems to be a silent agreement among the manufacturers that every shirt must be adorned with both frills and a floral pattern, while every pair of pants must hug tightly to the skin and boast decorative stitching.  From the pants I’ve tried on, I’ve learned that most of the pockets aren’t even real: they’re just decorative.  What kind of clothing has fake pockets?!  I need those pockets!  They’re where I keep my change and awkwardly shove my hands during hallway conversations with coworkers.

These shopping struggles have discouraged me, turning me into a petulant child every time Sea suggests I try something on, and have also resulted in a very limited wardrobe.  As of last week, I had bought three pairs of maternity pants and no maternity shirts.  I had supplemented my wardrobe with larger polos, but in general was just attempting to pull my regular shirts down and my regular pants up as much as humanly possible while stubbornly insisting that it all still fit.

One day after work last week, Sea and I met up near our house.  She took one look at the particularly small sweater I was wearing, and insisted that we were going shopping.  We went into the nearby thrift store and began a shopping expedition much like many of our others: I tried on maternity jeans and hated them, grumpily rejected half a dozen sweaters Sea had pulled off the rack, and began to wander towards the exit.  Then we found the t-shirts:

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Note, this is not my pregnant body.  If my pregnant body looked anything like the body above, I wouldn’t be worrying about finding maternity wear.  But these are the shirts that we found.  American Apparel, brand new, in a variety of colours and sizes, all being sold for a fraction of their retail price.  I tried them on, and they fit perfectly.  Obviously, my pregnant body is not every pregnant body.  And my queerly gendered pregnant body isn’t every queerly gendered pregnant body.  But if you ever find yourself on this blog having searched “butch pregnancy wear” or “oh god, why the frills?”, give these shirts a try.  The shoulders are narrow, so trying on a size large won’t result in seams hanging around your elbows.  The fabric is stretchy, so there’s room for substantial belly.  And most importantly, these shirts are LONG.  While most t-shirts currently give up somewhere around my belly button, these shirts come to rest somewhere firmly below my hips.  I bought six or seven in every colour available (except orange, because no) and may never wear anything else.

I can now go out into the world dressed decently again!  I’ve avoided floral prints!  I can continue to hold my jeans up with an elastic band under the cover of the cotton shirt!  Strangers need not avert their eyes!  And these shirts are now my favorite things.

(Please also note: my humble little queer gayby making blog isn’t infamous enough for sponsored posts.  I haven’t been bribed to write this post by any individual or company.  I also know of many perfectly good reasons why American Apparel might not be your friend.  I just really love these shirts for providing me with comfortable pregnancy wear minus gender dysphoria.  Unlike Oprah, I’m also not nearly rich enough to give away my favorite things.  But if you find yourself in a pregnancy wardrobe crisis after November, 2013 send me a message and I might pass them along.)

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9 thoughts on “My favorite things.

  1. Big, comfy t-shirts were my “go-to” maternity wear, too. I HATED the maternity clothes for similar reasons to you. I’m not a frilly, floral kind of girl, and I was so disheartened by the lack of options. Hey – maybe someone needs to design maternity clothes for queer/lesbian/gender queer folks! Niche market that isn’t yet being served! There’s an idea…:)

    Glad you found something that works for you, by the way!

  2. Excellent post! My partner and I had a similar moment when her clothes just couldn’t take it anymore. Shopping for feminine clothing in what feels like the most female centered store in the world was extremely difficult for her (and me for watching her go through it). I’m so glad to hear you found something that isn’t ruffled and flowery. Seriously though, from someone who does wear more traditionally feminine clothing – why the hell can’t we have pockets?

  3. I at least have maternity pants with pockets. Target, if you should get desperate. I have also found some non-frilly, non-flowery shirts there, although they are mostly of fairly feminine cuts. I’m not super-girly in my general clothes habits, but I’ve mostly rolled my eyes at the floral prints before wearing them anyway, and drew the line at frills. I got the majority of my maternity clothes at a giant consignment sale, so there was a certain amount of “for $2, I can suck it up and wear this to work” involved. And I don’t generally wear dresses very often, but I’ve got a few that I’ve been wearing a lot lately, because they’re super-comfortable. I feel like I’m being pushed farther into “femininity” than I’d really like, but… super-duper-comfortable. Seriously. (Not that I’m implying in any way that you should change your aesthetic, just explaining how my own has temporarily drifted a little.)

    What I don’t understand is why all the tops are so low cut. I mean, seriously. I am supposed to enjoy showing off my (presumably) expanded bosom (although mine is still pretty much the same)? Do they think that cleavage is going to distract people away from the massive belly? (It’s not, thanks.) I drew a line there, too, but to be honest, that line is a little lower than it usually is for me, particularly for work clothes. (See above, re: “for $2…”.)

  4. DW and I, who are both non-fem in our style, wear these shirts on the regular (ie. in non- prego state). They are great under sweater vests, cardigans, and on their own. Glad you feel like “you” again.

  5. I didn’t have this problem, but I can see why you would have this problem. I still wear my maternity clothes – but of course, the traditional maternity clothes are just ‘my style’. Goodness, I never thought about how hard it would be to find maternity clothes that are frills and girly. Good on you, for finally finding something, I know it sucks to find ANY clothes when you are pregnant that make you feel like you can go out in public and look decent.

  6. Glad you found something that works! I agree that it’s weird how ultra-feminine so many maternity clothes are. It sounds like I’m comfortable with a little more femininity in clothes than you are, but have still had a hard time finding maternity clothes that weren’t too frilly, bow-covered, etc. And my partner has similarly informed me when I really needed to give up on a particularly short t-shirt. I found some nice stretchy long t-shirts at Tar.get that have been fabulous (should you decide the A.A. shirts don’t come in enough colors!). And they also had some dressy maternity pants that are actually a little butchy (with pinstripes, even!).

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