I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget the first time somebody asked me if I was pregnant. I was all of about five weeks along. It didn’t help that the person who asked me was my ex boyfriend.
Maybe it was the glow, or some kind of telepathy. Or maybe it was less the fruit of my love with my husband and more the fruit of our delayed honeymoon in Italy. Two months of primi AND secondi AND dolci had left me a bit on the grande side. But my belly did begin expanding almost immediately after I got pregnant.
What could I say? I was indeed pregnant, but the last thing I wanted to do was tell anybody about it less than a month in. I knee-jerked “NO!!”My poor ex scuttled away, shamed and horrified. I felt guilty, yucky and afraid I’d jinxed it all with my flat out lie. I resolved not to go out again until I was out of the secret first trimester, for fear I’d be called out again. Who knows how many ex boyfriends I might run into before I was able to comfortably spill the beans? Morning sickness kicked in soon thereafter, which made my resolution that much easier. But I always wondered if there was something I could have done to prevent that awkward moment for both of us.
The first trimester can be an uncomfortable phase for fashion. Even if you haven’t eaten enough gelato to sink a gondola, you may find your waistline looking considerably larger considerably quicker than you expect it to. It’s hard to know how to dress the growing belly without calling attention to it. No one may be so bold as to flat out ask, but there can still be weirdness when people wonder “Is she or isn’t she?”
After an embarrassing encounter on a public bus, one fed-up woman wrote some fashion rules for those who want to avoid being seen as pregnant…whether or not they are. Her recommendations are perfect for early pregnancy discretion, as well as general gut-friendly dressing. Check them out after the jump.
The fashion advice comes from Brooke Moreland, who isn’t pregnant and hopes not to be mistaken for pregnant anytime in the near future, or probably, ever again. See her full piece, including the hilarious story of how she came to see the need for these Do’s and Don’ts, at thegloss.com.
1. Just Say No to Low rise
This is tricky. Low waisted jeans can cause a tummy to pooch out. If your favorite jeans just happen to be low waisted, then do not wear a tight or short shirt with them. If you like how the jeans fit everywhere else but the stomach, wear a longer, looser shirt that covers the waistband. To test the length, try raising your arms above your head. If the tum-tum is still covered, you’re good.
2. Beware of the Mom Jeans, or the Jessica Simpson effect
High waisted pants are very chic and very hot right now- but be careful. If the waistline is too high, say above the belly button, then that will draw attention to the gut as well, as you will be highlighting the belly curve. Ideally, the pants should hit about one inch below the belly button, thus cutting the belly in half, and preventing the ballooning look.
3. RIYF (Ruching is your friend)
Ruching is a technique where fabric is gathered and bunched. When a dress is rouched in the right places, it can obscure the belly and draw attention to the dress, and away from your abdomen. If the ruching is done well, it can also create an optical illusion that your waist is smaller.
I think shirts with bands on the bottom are a bad idea. Always. I don’t even know what these shirts are called. I saw a woman wearing a loose, flowy shirt that had a tight band on the bottom. I don’t know what would possess a person to wear a shirt like that. Anything with a band around the middle screams with child.’
5. Save the Empire Waist for when you really are pregnant
I say this a lot, but for women with bellies, empire waist is just not flattering. I know you want to just hide your belly sometimes, but empire waist dresses and tops will make you look pregnant. I know they can make your rack look great, but hello, this just adds to the problem (hello nursing?). I have said it before, but it is best just to stick to your natural waist. A-line skirts that hit on the waist are flattering. Anything that can help give the appearance of an hourglass shape is good. You want to highlight your bust and hip curves, and take the eyes off of that other curve.
A few more ideas If you’re looking to avoid confrontation (or even suspicion):
Take advantage of the drapey trend. A fashionable muumuu could be just what you need to completely obscure your thickening middle until the coming out party.
Another trick is the tailored look- a straight up and down shift made of a thicker fabric can conceal a lot without giving a sense that you’re trying to hide something.
A boxy jacket can conceal even more.
Keep your midsection as basic and boring as possible, and use the accessories-as-distraction technique.
Keep in mind how your look fits into your general sense of style. A spandex lover who suddenly switches to yards of gauze might make people wonder.So this may not be a good time for a major stylistic shift unless you want to call attention to yourself.
Or unless you, like me, find yourself unable to fit into a single pair of your pants by the second month of pregnancy. In that case, by all means, shift away. But don’t feel compelled to follow my lead into hiding until the second trimester. Once I came out with my pregnancy, I just felt that much dumber for denying it in the first place.
If you’re one of those women who gets thicker in the early days, you’ve basically got two choices: look like you might just have gained a few pounds, or let your pregnant flag fly. Either way, you’re going to have to accept that this is probably not going to be your finest fashion hour.