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:
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.)