Friday, September 5, 2008

What Were You Thinking, Anne Shirley?

As I hung up some clean laundry the other day, my eye was drawn to the section of our closet filled with cold-weather clothes and my heart was filled with longing to wear them.  It wasn't even my normal winter clothes, just the collection of cold-weather maternity clothes I have leftover from being pregnant with Grace.  She was born in February in Connecticut, so almost my entire maternity wardrobe was made up of long sleeves, sweaters, and the like.  Alas, it will still be probably 6-8 weeks before I can wear them again, as it is still all 95 degrees and ozone action days and whatnot here.  At Grace's preschool, they don't let the kids play outside when it's an ozone action day and they told me that last year the kids didn't make it to the playground until October.  Take THAT, Mother Earth!

So anyway, I have grown weary of my warm-weather clothes.  This is an annual occurrence for me when I live in Texas, hitting me right around Labor Day, when the calendar claims that summer is winding its way down but it's still too hot to wear anything other than the same stale, tired attire I've been wearing for months.  It's not quite as bad this year since I didn't arrive until June or so and since then I've been slowly getting my warm-weather maternity wardrobe into good working order; buying or sewing a new garment every few weeks does help one to not feel so sick of one's clothes.

Now I, like so many gestating women before me, shall bemoan the state of ready-to-wear maternity wear.  To be honest, I understand.  There just aren't enough pregnant women buying clothes at any given time to make it possible to have the wild, varying selection of clothes available to the non-pregnant among us.  Thus we pregnant types stand at the store or sit in front of our computers, pondering the limited options available to us.  My pet peeve right now is that maternity wear seems inundated with puffed sleeves.  You can hardly buy a T-shirt the right shape to cover a growing belly without a puffed sleeve on it.  The puffed sleeve is a trend I am definitely ready to have finished.  I was a bit slow to warm up to the puffed sleeves when they first re-appeared on the scene (when? a few years ago?) but I eventually succumbed and had my Anne of Green Gables moment.  I have recovered now, though, and I am tired of them on garments for grown women; I think they are particularly unflattering and puerile on my burgeoning form.

(Oh, and while I'm decrying fashion trends I don't like, why so much animal print?  Maybe this is not so accurately described as a trend, as it seems here to stay, but whatever-- I don't like it.  One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at A Dress A Day recently explained very articulately what I don't like about animal print; it either says I'm an over-the-top provocative voluptuary or I'm trying to make some kind of esoteric sartorial joke about being sexy.  Either way, animal print is not for me.)

But again with the maternity wear, another reason buying ready-to-wear is problematic is that there isn't really that much of it out there, especially at the lower price ranges.  All the non-designer-buying mamas are pretty much shopping at Old Navy, Target, the Gap, etc. and buying the same stuff.  I was at the mall with Grace the other day and saw another pregnant lady walking the opposite direction wearing the exact same striped Liz Lange T-shirt from Target that I was.  I immediately felt like a chillingly unoriginal automaton who mindlessly buys whatever mass-produced garment presents itself on the way to the crayons and shampoo. Note to self: Reduce the percentage of my clothing that comes from Target; sew more.

Sewing for yourself is, of course, a great way to get around these problems.  And it's fun to boot, so that's good.  The time and energy I have to devote to sewing aren't quite extensive enough to allow me to tell the whole garment industry to go jump in a lake, however.  About half the clothes in my closet are things I sewed myself.  Last month, I did a little 4-piece set of coordinates for a contest on Pattern Review, but what did I do?  I went and sewed a top with puffed sleeves.


amydove said...

As a never-been-pregnant woman I have a totally different idea of maternity wear. It seems great! It is comfy, shows off your boobs, and you could care less about how your stomach looks. I wouldn't mind dressing like that every day. But I do understand that there must be limited choices. Have you checked out Ann Taylor Loft Maternity? I love Loft anyway, and the maternity stuff is always cute. A little expensive, but there's lots of sale stuff and they are generous with coupons.

Julia said...

Hmmm, I do see your point there. I will admit to being oh-so-happy about the comfy elastic waistbands both times when I got to the stage of being pregnant enough for maternity pants. I love me some elastic waistbands.

astropixie said...

love the anne-of-green-gables-moment! i admit to having a small love affair with puffy sleeves myself these days. they're *everywhere* around the UK right now, and as i'm shopping for no-longer-a-grad-student work clothes, i couldnt be happier ;)