Category Archives: clothing

Butch and Swimwear

Well, at least I was never butch, pregnant, AND looking for swimwear, right?  Swimwear for plus-sized butches is hard enough!

Back in January, we start swimming lessons with RR.  While my wife sported her perfect-fitting black swimsuit, I wore a spare swimsuit we had tucked away: a two piece tank top brown/teal item.  Even though the thought now of occasionally wearing women’s panties doesn’t give me hives anymore, wearing the swim-panty felt downright ridiculous.  Cause it’s like, public panties, right?  Anyhow, now more than ever, it seems time for serious swimwear change.

Not even melanoma can keep us away from the beach when we go in a few weeks, so now’s the time to reassess my swimwear.  After much debate and a lot of online browsing, I’ve managed to piece together what will hopefully be a successful swimsuit.

Starting at the bottom and working our way up, is the standard men’s swim trunk:

These came from Target and if I can stop wearing them as regular shorts, they will be even more perfect.  Seriously comfortable, and a nice drawstring to make sure they stay around my hips.  They’re also affordable and available in-store, which is great since you can try them on first.  On a side note, built-in mesh underpants in men’s swim trunks always make me laugh.

Working our way up to the top, we have this swim tank-top (no, I won’t say “tankini, and you can’t make me) from Land’s End.  In an attempt to be stylish, I’m working with the red stripe in the shorts to inspire the red top.  As much as I’d love a red muscle swim shirt, I’ve abandoned the search since I have too much boob for men’s shirts, and too much everything else for standard sized women’s swim shirts.  A little pricy,  but currently on sale, and free shipping if you Google around for a working promo code.  It doesn’t hurt that the top model is hot, either.

Thankfully, I have some flip flops leftover from the great-hot-weather-pregnancy, in which they were the only footwear item I could fit on my ginormous feet during those last couple of months.

This sure as hell beats the public panty or any other plus-sized option, which usually involve brightly-colored flowery patterns, the color black, or faux-skirts.  I’m happy to see, though, that the women’s boy trunks are gaining momentum, and the invention of the rash guard and other, more full-coverage separates are a huge leap in the right direction for those of us looking for a less gaudy alternative to swimwear.

Wardrobe Change

I start back to work on Tuesday of next week, which means I have to take between then and now and do a serious wardrobe assessment.  Or, shall I say, reassessment.  Seeing how I’ve now just been able to wear pants that have a button (thanks, C-Section scar!), I’m about to dive into a five-day workweek, which will insist that I wear pants with a button, I’m sure.  Hell, pants, period!  Thanks to having a summer baby, I spend most of my days in gym shorts.  Hot stuff, I know.  I’m not sure how my wife keeps her hands off me.

I have a love/hate relationship with my maternity clothes.  Well, “love” might be a strong word.  Weeks after RR was born, I gleefully stood at my closet doors, throwing my maternity pants, shorts, sweaters, shirts over alternating shoulders while laughing maniacally.  When I realized my C-Section scar was going to fully heal sometime around when RR starts driving, I pulled out my maternity shorts in defeat.  At least they’re kind of stylish?  OK, who am I kidding.  They can sort of pass off as a cargo short, though.  You know, as long as you don’t wear them with heels.

Long gone are the sweaters, though.  No more bright colors, thank god.  No, really.  Thank. God.  There at the end, I hardly recognized myself in the mirror – between the huge belly, sausage fingers, swollen nose/eyes/face, and brightly colored shirts, it’s a good thing I was preoccupied being so uncomfortable, otherwise, I would have just continued posting about my hatred of all things magenta.

In preparation of being an actual contributing, dressed, member of the working world, I bought a few new polo shirts to take the edge off of showering before 5pm every day.  I will say that I’m one of the few percentage of people who actually used being pregnant as a method of losing weight.  RR, the ultimate parasite.  I weigh ten pounds less right now than I did when we got pregnant.  Of course, even though there’s less of it, it’s all relocated in different places now, which makes things even more exciting.  And by exciting, I mean challenging.  And by challenging, I mean awkward, and sometimes hateful.

I’m still the same polo shirt and jeans size, but I have yet to tackle my khakis or work shoes, which have remarkably less leeway.  I can’t wear jeans and sandals all the time, I suppose.  So this weekend will be one of wardrobe reassessment, and boxing up the maternity clothes to keep (you know, in case we get a crazy idea to do this again), to consign (periwinkle, magenta, I’m looking at you), and give away (huge man-sweaters and poorly made 3/4″ sleeve shirts).

Despite this week’s unusually hot weather, I’ve been wearing my jeans when I leave the house.  It’s really the first time since I started to show when I was pregnant that I feel more like myself.  I’m still trying to reconcile looking like someone in between a scary dyke (you know, cammo shorts, backwards hat, unshaven legs, permanent scowl), and someone’s mom.  I think the in between is actually me, and I’m just waiting for the pendulum to stop swinging from both extremes long enough to get my bearings and go shopping.

Clothing Success? Could It Be?

Fine, I know I said I was going to stop talking about clothes, but maybe I’ll break the code of silence long enough to talk about some tiny butch maternity wear triumphs.  Yes!  Triumphs!  No – not about shirts.  The shirts still suck, but I will address two successful clothes purchases: 1) undershirts (which are different than shirts), and2) pants and shorts.

OK, I wear a shirt under most every shirt I wear.  Sometimes, in the cold-weather months, this includes an absurd amount of shirts tallied-up at the end of the day.  It reminds me a little of that Friends episode: “Could I be wearing anymore clothes?”  For instance, it starts with a bra (duh), then an undershirt (usually white and cotton), then a button-up shirt (white? striped? checkered?), then a sweater (or sweater vest) to top it all off.  In the warm-weather months, this will include an undershirt, then a polo shirt on top.  I’ve even been known to wear an undershirt under a t-shirt.  Sue me.  Now, given that pregnant ladies are apparently allergic to collared shirts, my normal undershirts are needing of replacement by something that will ultimately be visible (as opposed to undershirts, which hide under everything), due to the plague-of-the-large-necks I’m forced to wear.

Success has come in a bittersweet reward of finding some undershirts at Target which are fitting the bill perfectly.  It’s sweet, because they are completely awesome.  It’s bitter because it was the only pack in stock (two shirts per pack), and they are completely elusive in the online shopping world.  The awesomeness comes in the form of a muscle shirt – so it’s sleeveless, which is great for the form-fittingness of ladies’ shirts (especially in the upper arm area), yet it has a tight neck, which makes me feel less NAKED when I’m wearing a non-collared shirt.  It also is cut very long, so it stays tucked in with no problems.  They’re made by a company that makes men’s underwear called 2(x)ist, and the ones I’ve purchased are comparable to these, these, and these.  The “collection” available at Target is called “Evolve,” and if I find that they’re not back in stock soon, I may very well buy one of the other collection’s version and test it out.  Other “muscle shirts” may work, but I find they’re built thicker and bulkier, for times like going to the gym or gay pride parades.  It’s not that easy to find an undershirt that is a muscle shirt – most undershirts are v-neck, tank top, or just regular shirts.  So, score!

Like I said to the nice lady at the Motherhood Maternity – “Listen, I’m plus sized (size 22, when I’m not pregnant), have short legs and a low waist, and am pregnant.  Please, no capris.  Absolutely no dresses or skirts.  Also, nothing black – since I only have brown hiking shoes to wear with anything.  What else is left?”  Who knew that my little-store-that-could actually had reasonable options?  The maternity plus-sized area is located in the back of the store, tucked in a tiny alcove.  Nothing plus-sized is ever on sale, and I’m not really a buy-online-then-return sort of shopper, so I understood that my bank account was going to take a hit.  Also, as I was just looking online for the links to the things I bought, some are actually not even listed in the plus-sized area of their website.  So bonus points for sulking into the store.

Although I’m still wearing non-maternity pants here at 23 weeks (I told you, I have a low waist), it really is only a matter of time before one day I wake up and nothing fits.  I also know, being large and in-charge, that buying (often full price) at the beginning of the season is the best way to make sure the things I like, and in my size are in-stock.

So… pants!  I usually balk at capris, but I will concede if they are “convertible” capris – meaning, they don’t HAVE to be capris.    They can be actual pants, with a roll-up capri option – you know, for when your ankles get SO SO HOT.  Here’s where these make their case to come home with me, in brown and in “stone.”  They’re lightweight, so they will be nice once the sweltering weather of The South comes to visit.  The stone color is a little see-throughy for me, but will mean that I’ll have to buy a pair of plain white boxers underneath, instead of the dark green skull & crossbones.  Sigh.  Fine.  There was another khaki pair that was reasonable, but their version of khaki is what I like to call “flesh-colored.”  And really, if I’m going to wear skin-colored pants, I just won’t wear pants, deal?  It’s much cheaper that way.

And… shorts!  Now, I didn’t go in thinking about buying shorts.  Mostly, because who can wear shorts to work?  Other than gym teachers?  And really – work clothes are my real motivation here.  But I’ve soon realized that some friends and family are traveling from far and wide to witness the pregnant me.  While this is flattering, it’s also a little strange to know people are making a three-hour drive (to and from) just to see me in a maternity shirt.  Oh sure, they probably want to chit-chat as well, but mostly it is because I refuse to change my Facebook profile picture to something more pregnant-looking.  Since the warmer weather will be here soon (oh sure, there’s a chance of snow tonight, but that only means we’ll be in the lower 80’s in two weeks), I determined the need for some (one pair) of shorts to get me through until June.  Who was the lucky winner?  This guy here.  Who knew “Bermuda shorts” was a keyword for MAN SHORTS. OK OK – imagine her without HEELS ON.  Yes, they are not what I would normally buy, but they’re actually not hideous.  Throw in some “hardware detail” and those are pregnant man-shorts, my friends.

So four million dollars later and with the app blowing a fuse, I have some lower-half options in my life.  Granted, I haven’t worn any to work yet (remember that chance of snow?), but I feel pretty good about my choices.  And yeah, I know I could buy some clothes used from a variety of sources, and I’m not too far against that when it comes to shirts, but I really feel strongly about not sharing crotch-space with other people.  So there you go – it’s not all hopelessness yet, folks.

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.)


Well today I broke in my first maternity shirt.  Gasp.  It’s a periwinkle sweater with a white button-up collar.  Let me tell you, folks, nothing says hotsexybutchlovin’ like a periwinkle sweater with a pouch for your belly.  I don’t know how I can keep my wife’s hands off me.  And you people Googling “butch maternity clothes” and looking for help here at butch and pregnant, there are no such items.  You would think I had answers, huh?  Sorry, man.  My initial answer, at least for the top half, was in the form of larger men’s sweaters, which indeed help, but only to a point – that point being, do you want to look like a pregnant lady, or a fattening man?  After two weeks of team fattening man, I changed sides.  And as a result, I am a dead ringer for a pregnant lady.  Why?  It could be that the fattening man look was simply unflattering, despite the preferred earth-tone color schemes and familiar baggy fit.  The pregnant lady look, although reluctantly periwinkle and almost uncomfortably clingy, actually makes me look presentable at work, and surprisingly thinner (than perhaps pre-pregnancy).

As much as I’d like to wander around in baggy shirts and sweaters, those things are swallowing me whole.  This is not to say that I’ve made this maternity-shirt jump without hesitation, fear, and utter embarrassment.  I have a reputation, folks.  I do not wear sweater sets, turtlenecks, scoop-neck-anything, v-neck anything, cable-knit anything, form-fitting-anything, and if it’s not brown or green and from the men’s section, I usually don’t wear it.  I have five brown or green sweaters, for Fall/Winter.  I have five brown or green (sometimes dark blue) polo shirts, for Spring/Summer.  I look like this guy and this guy, with a ponytail.  Each season, I buy one new sweater/polo to replace one that’s faded its way into the Goodwill pile.  I sat in my office this morning and dreaded my first visitor.  And as I suspected, the co-worker one office over stormed in after seeing a glimpse of the periwinkle from the tiny crack in my door.   Holy shit – is that periwinkle?!  Someone call 9-1-1!

I’m fortunate enough that two sweater vests and two regular rotation non-pregnancy sweaters are still making the cut… for now.  So my transition into periwinkle’s relatives should be a slow integration as the need progresses.  Although, it doesn’t make it any less painful and humiliating to wear a 3/4 length sleeve.  I know.  I KNOW.  I don’t want to talk about it.

I can also count my pants blessings, since all of those (sans belt) are still fitting like champs, because there’s nothing about pregnancy jeans that doesn’t scream mom jeans, no matter what Old Navy and the Gap try to say about it.  Oh sure, they’re comfortable, but as a former-fat-kid who had to wear elastic waistband jeans with no back pockets all through junior high, they come close in being as traumatizing.  So I have this arsenal of pregnancy clothes that I have deemed acceptable enough for work-wear, and plan on working one new shirt in as needed, as to not show up one week in all-new-clothes, as they might not recognize me and security in my building is tight.