On Wednesday night, I went out to dinner dressed in my first purposely-made maternity skirt. I paired it with one of my favorite tops, a belt, nice shoes… you know, the usual. And I felt like the bomb–like I looked like ME again.
Never mind that I was wearing a skirt style I’d never even thought of wearing before.
At the restaurant, which we go to ALL the time, the owner greeted us as usual and we chatted for a bit. As I turned sideways, I saw her catch sight of my belly, open her mouth as if to say something, and then quickly close it–you know, that “is she or isn’t she?” look. I put her out of her doubt and told her the news, she looked a million percent relieved that she wasn’t caught checking out a potential coconut bake gut, I got all kinds of sweetness and congrats as a reward, and all was good with the world.
When we were leaving, I told Mr. Man how surprised I was that she both noticed and doubted that I was pregnant. I mean, I was wearing a MATERNITY skirt, and as someone who is already having trouble bending down to get things off the floor, wasn’t it a million percent obvious that I am ginormously pregnant, duh? He did not confirm my ginormity (which I understand is all in my head) and instead noted that it’s hard to tell because I’ve “been dressing it well.” (Obviously, he didn’t see me the day I wore the mismatched purple tank top and unbuttoned shorts at home).
And whatever did that mean? It stopped at that–he just said whatever I was doing “worked.” I kept badgering: was I hiding it? Because I didn’t mean to hide it! Was I showing it off? I thought I was… but only a little. I still didn’t get it. Clearly, I just couldn’t take the compliment–and he probably wished he hadn’t given it, because as crazily as I reacted, that’s what it was.
It took me getting dressed the next day to realize what he meant and couldn’t quite put his finger on. As I rolled up the cuffs of one of my favorite of his shirts, threw a belt on, and left the house wearing (well-covered, I swear) leggings as pants, it made sense:
The things that work best are things that look deliberate.
(Of course, anyone could have told me that. But when you’re caught up in trying to make yourself presentable to the world with an ever-shrinking closet and a body that look and acts differently every day, you are in no position to grasp even the most obvious, forehead-slapping concepts).
What I found with the skirt and the shirt over leggings (neither of which I’d ever worn before) was that they felt like deliberate choices, not default options for respecting national laws of public decency. It didnt’ matter if these options felt, to me, like crazy looks; they felt like intentionally crazy looks… and that made them not so crazy, after all. And isn’t the thing about dressing a body–whatever its shape, type, size–that intentional looks always look best?
So I can wear a tight dress–as long as it’s evident that the dress is meant to be tight. Or a T-shirt that is a bit tight, too, as long as it looks like it’s meant to be that way (and by that, I mean no belly-button show). and not like I stole it off an eleven-year-old. I can even wear my husband’s shirts over leggings, if I ensure my behind is covered and I wear accessories that make it clear that I’m going out, not heading to bed. And if my skirt’s elastic is chilling right at my ribcage, that’s OK, too, as long as it looks like I mean it to be there and not like I’m trying to wriggle my upper body down into my skirt to play a jersey-draped ghost.
My goodness, the revelation of it all! It’s a wonderful thing. In fact, it’s so wonderful of a thing that it’s exactly the way I (and most of us) approach getting dressed in normal, non-preggo circumstances anyway. It turns out, I just needed to be reminded of that…. even if it was in the most roundabout way possible.
And, just so you don’t call my bluff, here’s the high-waisted skirt+top in question, in a terrible and ridiculous test shot (gawping at the last of the ten pounds of watermelon I ate last week–no joke) that was never meant to see the light of day–see how much I love you all??
Go on, laugh away. I still love my skirt.