Where does George Washington keep his armies?*

Yesterday was the last day I could wear my beloved blue non-maternity sweater.  Every time I went to the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in profile, it was a little horrific.  There’s just not enough fabric, folks, to cover what’s happening down there in bellyland.  See ya in the fall, blue sweater.

With March just around the corner, I’ve made the executive decision that the next batch of maternity clothes will be to get me through Spring and early Summer.  Oh sure, fine, periwinkle can come… but I’m buying him some friends.  So here I am – shopping online first to get an idea of what’s out there.  Plus, I need new boxers, so why not kill two birds with the same shipping stone?

If 3/4 sleeves is the answer to maternity winter-wear, I suppose that it shouldn’t surprise me at all that spring-wear merits the lack of sleeves at all.  Or, worse, some awful invention called “Flutter-Sleeves” which aren’t really sleeves, folks – it’s like they’ve assumed your arm is so fat, it wouldn’t even fit in a sleeve, so they’ll just make a cut in the fabric where a sleeve would traditionally begin, and you can take it from there.  Or, that your arm is so slim, the flutters themselves contain enough fabric to dangle and give the illusion of proper sleeves.  Other “sleeves” are just inch-long pieces of fabric attached at the shoulder.

Call me crazy, but I need coverage, people.  I need a sleeve that’s going to hit just above my elbow.  You’re talking to someone who has a tattoo (see the symbol on this picture? paint it blue) on the upper part of her left arm, plus an aversion to religious armpit-shaving.  When the alternative to tank-tops is a some kind of a “Peasant Top” with fluffy medieval sleeves, I might as well admit to being screwed.  While the “Peasant Top” is a look I absolutely ADORE on my wife, I simply can’t rock that look with any dignity.  My curiously broad shoulders and thick arms don’t make this process any easier, since anything that doesn’t have any give or flexibility will encase my upper half like a pair of bratwurst.  You can see why I have dozens of men’s polo shirts, right?  On top of all of that, the sheer number of ties-in-the-back, bows, strategic bunching, bedazzled collars, and use of the adjective “babydoll” have increased significantly now that we’ve moved seasons.  God help me.

I recognize that many of the things I find unflattering about my options isn’t purely a maternity clothes problem, as it is a women’s wear problem, and most certainly a plus sized women’s wear problem.  Regardless of size or pregnancy, I think everyone deserves the reasonable option of covering one’s upper arms without the mandate of a cardigan.

Since Old Navy has left me dissatisfied, it looks like we’ll be forced to go to the “mall” again (if you knew our mall, you would know why it is in quotes) and spend some more quality time at the Motherhood Maternity, where I can at least try on the ill-fitting options without dishing out the cash first.  I can only hope that the pregnant lady needing extra-small sizes of everything will be in the dressing room next door again.  She was a true delight to share that experience with the first time.

*In his sleevies!  (You know… if he had enough fabric.)

Posted on February 17, 2010, in clothing. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. pardon me if this sounds bougie and ridiculous, but maybe a tailor could help get you through this . . . ?

    • A tailor… or bourbon, but I hear that’s not recommended. Not ridiculous at all, and it might very well come down to something like that eventually here, unless some butch maternity shop steps up in the meantime. 🙂

  2. I’m hoping in the next couple of years to be butch and pregnant myself, and this is my biggest fear. I’m thinking my only hope is to steal my husband’s old clothes once I’m showing – mercifully he’s got a very nice belly himself, so this plan could potentially get me through several months of expansion. So long as I’m okay with wearing shirts whose shoulder seams come halfway down to my elbows. Normally I am strongly against that, but I think that “flutter sleeves” or the dreaded (on me) peasant look would drive me round the bend.

    I hope you can find a tailor to help you – maybe you could resell your creations afterwards on a butch and pregnant merchandise exchange. I actually found this site prompted by a friend who is pregnant and starting to show and he is worrying about what he’ll do when it comes time to move beyond “no belt” and on to stretch panels. Sounds like he’s out of luck for now.

    • Clothing options were (are?) definitely my biggest fear so far throughout the pregnancy, but I figured I could deal with nine (and less than that, actually, since I’m showing later than some folks) months of butch style inconvenience. I think bigger men’s clothes work great for lounging around the house, running errands on the weekend, and so on, so it’s mainly the work clothes that I’m finding such a huge problem.

      The maternity clothes I’ve found that I don’t really mind (gasp) are the more casual things I can’t really wear to work, but might test out here in these latter months, when I get desperate. Eventually, the belly area pouch fabric provided by maternity clothes is unrivaled by any non-maternity clothes and are surprisingly comfortable and provide nice coverage. So it’s not all awfulness, just.. mostly awfulness if you’re butch, pregnant, and trying to look appropriately dressed at work. I’m also fortunate that a lot of my friends live out of town, so I’ve been able to avoid a lot of (friendly) ridicule. I’ll keep you posted on any tailoring adventures!

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