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Form-fitting is fine for the thin and trim, but not good choice for moms-in-waiting

November 25, 2013

Lynda Hollenbeck
lyndahol@yahoo.com

It's been a long, long time since I've worn maternity apparel ― and obviously I won't be doing a repeat of this style in my future ― but I do remember those days.
Yet as a woman who likes fashion and loves babies, I have taken an interest in recent trends in clothing styles for expectant mothers.
In the fashion world, like everywhere else, changes are inevitable. Some are good; some are not.
Clothing, more than most things, tends to be cyclical. I have stuff hanging in my closet that I considered getting rid of a long time ago but didn't, and now some of it is back in style. In years past I tossed a number of outfits that I would have loved to have had later on, but, alas, it was too late.
However, when you find one of these should-have-gotten-rid-of-but-didn't garments and it's what people are wearing today, it's the equivalent of a free shopping trip.
I didn't have to invest my time or my money or my energy, yet I have what amounts to a brand new outfit. Most people I'm around now won't have ever seen my "find" from the first-time around, so it's a serendipitous moment.
With regard to maternity wear, I'm confident I won't be discovering such in my closet. (I did get rid of those garments permanently long ago.) But when I was in the market for this type of clothing, the style was soft, flowing, never confining and as flattering as possible for someone with an abdomen that looked like the Goodyear blimp.
On a short body like mine, I never would have considered a fitted silhouette no matter what was in vogue. If I had been so foolish, I would have looked like a cross between Lucifer the Disney cat and Mammy in "Gone With the Wind."
During my lady-in-waiting experiences, I didn't spread out hip-wise like some women do. In fact, an incident occurred when I was expecting my third child that someone seeing me from a distance and had only a backside view yelled at me and asked when I had had my baby. When I turned to the left to respond, she quickly corrected her faux pas.
The view from that angle was revealing, to put it mildly.
For the life of me, I don't know why any woman would want to wear something clingy or confining during such a time, because there are few spots, if any, on the distended body that are comfortable. The last thing I wanted was to wear something that was constricting in any way.
I don't know when a drastic change in maternity wear occurred, but within the past few years the fashion options for the mommy-to-be have become decidedly different. WAY different from what used to be available.
I recently saw an expectant mom ― who looked like she should have been on a gurney en route to the delivery room ― in something as tight as a dancer's leotard. Only this was no dancer's form. The woman herself could have been considered beautiful on some level because of what her shape represented, but her tight-as-second-skin clothing belied the state.
I am hoping that new mother Kate Middleton will turn the tide in the maternity fashion world. Her pre-baby wardrobe featured styles that once were the norm among expectant mothers. Of course her stunning, classic beauty would enhance anything she might wear, but it was refreshing to see the loosely fitting, stylish attire that didn't accentuate a distended abdomen that can't be hidden even if you were to wear an awning.
I read somewhere that Vanity Fair had named the Duchess of Cambridge as the best-dressed pregnant woman. It's easy to see why.
The classic, figure-flattering garments she wore before the birth of the little prince would look terrific on any woman ― pregnant ones as well as those not in that condition.
Kate didn't choose apparel to emphasize her "bump" as the Hollywood stars ― and now others ― are wont to do. She was classy-looking no matter whether she was at a royal banquet or a soccer match.
Hopefully, Kate has made those in the pregnant set rethink their wardrobe.
Form-fitting may be fine for later on down the road, but before baby arrives, I say bigger really is better.
I perused an Internet "discussion" on the fitted vs. loose for expectant moms and the jury is still out on whether others favor "huggy-snuggy," "loosey-goosey" or somewhere in between.
But I've said my piece, as my mother used to say, and now it's time for me to hush.

Lynda Hollenbeck is senior editor of The Saline Courier.
lyndahol@yahoo.com

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