Dressing the Belly

Gah, why are maternity clothes so goddamned DORKY? I'm at the stage Gap Maternity calls "barely showing", but I had to abandon all but my yoga pants last month. I've still been wearing my pre-pregnancy shirts, but those are starting to look just plain weird on me. They're not short enough to show bare belly; they're only short enough to make me look fat. Ditto all of my dresses, which, because I have a thing for stretchy fabric, still fit—though I look like I'm harboring an extra 12-pack of Bud rather than a gestating child.

Normally this wouldn't matter much; I have a couple pairs of Gap and Old Navy maternity jeans and pants, and those, along with the yoga pants, can be worn with various t-shirts that show anywhere from 0 to 40% belly. The problem is that we're going on our first-ever cruise in two weeks as a Last Hurrah (see Wall Street Journal article from a couple weeks ago, which describes the phenomenon). We specifically picked one that had no mandatory Formal Nights, but the dress code for most public spaces (including restaurants) is still "resort casual." Read: Maternity jeans and belly-baring cropped Ts won't cut it.

I've been trying to find a sundress or two that will fit the belly and be easy to move around in, but so far I've had no luck. Everything at Gap Maternity and Old Navy has frills and flounces and—gak—paisley on it, and all of the styles seem to be built only for the "truly showing" figure. Meanwhile, at Motherhood Maternity, the dresses seem to be constructed for Junior Leaguers with no taste for luxury fabrics (I swear, all the "stretch" cotton feels like a stiff K-Mart polyester blend). Is there *anything* out there without satin ribbons, floral prints, ill-placed chest darts that look like nipples, or bows? I refuse to change my Gap Girl style to fit someone else's idea of what a pregnant woman should look like.

Posted by Lori in pregnancy at 4:43 PM on July 19, 2004


Hi Lori,

Found your web site awhile back when I was looking for the order to put on hockey gear. I'm a tech writer in the Valley who skates at Ice Oasis. My first league game is this Saturday (insert big smile here). I've enjoyed your web site, especially the kitchen remodel section, having had a fair amount of work done to my house. Congrats on your pregnancy. Perhaps Lane Bryant would have some clothes that would work for you in the smallest size.

Posted by: Sally at July 19, 2004 10:44 PM

Congratulations on the baby, Lori! I've been a regular reader of "The Ice Hockey Escapades" for a while (I guess that will be on an extended hiatus now, huh?). My wife and I are also expecting our first child in February, so we can share your excitement because of the baby/frustration because of maternity clothes. My wife is an attorney and her suits are starting to get a little snug, so we ventured to the mall this past weekend to try to find something appropriate for her to wear in court. She couldn't find anything suitable, so if you have the inside scoop on where to find maternity clothes for professionals, we'd love to hear about it.

Congratulations again, and I never thought I'd say this (but I'm sure Al will agree): Pregnant women are hot. :)

Posted by: Kevin at July 20, 2004 9:42 AM

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