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Friday, April 22, 2011

Dressing for How You Look RIGHT NOW

I found an article a couple weeks ago from Woman's Day about self-love, and I guess I was just waiting for the right burst of inspiration to post it. Well, as the seams on my clothes are bursting with pregnancy expansion (okay, they're not literally bursting, but you know I love wordplay!), the right burst of inspiration came. :)

Something that I keep running across in scads of places that talk about self-love is: 


So what I'm presenting isn't actually anything new, or maybe for some of you, it is...but I thought I'd share my own experience with it. (And please forgive me if it seems like I'm not crediting the wonderful writers who've discussed some of this stuff before; I should've taken notes on what I read and where, but instead, I have to just regurgitate the main points that stuck out to me as I read various articles. If you've blogged about this before, I encourage you to say so in a comment!) While pregnancy weight isn't the same as "regular weight," the fact remains that your body gets bigger, and it's not always just your belly - for me, it definitely isn't! These changes can sometimes require a mental adjustment, especially when you're in the in-between stage when you don't look pregnant so much as just having gained weight. 

For weeks now, the only clothes that felt comfortable on my bloated body were T-shirts and cotton knit pants. And as time went on, most of my T-shirts MUST have been shrinking in the dryer ;) because suddenly they seemed shorter and too tight across the chest and upper arms. All the books say you won't need maternity clothes til your first trimester is over - well, books are just a guide. They can be very helpful, but truthfully, I wish I had gotten maternity clothes much earlier instead of waiting it out in the name of expectations. Pregnancy affects every woman differently, so what holds true for one woman from a book may not hold true for another. While I struggled through in my cotton pants, getting more and more tired of them every day and feeling like I looked huger than I actually did from the baggy pants and tees that didn't really fit well, I could've been wearing clothes that were much more flattering to my changing body shape and that were just as comfy. Clothes aren’t the most important thing in life, but they sure do have the power sometimes to transform how you look and, consequently, how you feel.

Last Sunday night, I felt just good enough to ask my husband if he'd take me to Old Navy to look at maternity clothes. One of the kiddo's grandmas had offered to take me maternity shopping when I felt up to it, but I found that most of the cute stuff is online, so I thought I'd just try some stuff on and see how the sizing went and what felt good on before we sat down to shop online together. I thought I might walk out with one outfit. Well...most of y'all are just as excited about clothes and shopping as I am, so you can predict what actually happened. I walked out with a pair of jeans, some cropped jeans, some cropped khaki cargos, three shirts, and a dress! lol As I tried on all the clothes in the fitting room, I couldn't believe how awesome I felt! They look like normal clothes but fit so comfortably. Maternity tops are longer, so no unwanted "belly peek," and the pants have elastic waists that fit under my belly, but the waist is higher in the back and on the sides and lower in the front for a flattering fit. I don't have to look like I'm wearing pajamas all the time anymore! When I walked out of the fitting room where my husband was waiting, I was literally almost in tears over the relief. I really liked how my body looked in them because they're contoured to my shape. I felt like I looked pregnant and more slouchy, baggy pants or tees that squeeze. 

Here are a couple shots I took in the dressing room. Old Navy's sizes run notoriously big, and so do their dressing room mirrors, unfortunately!! So, seriously, when you try stuff on there, take your mirror image with a grain of salt. When I looked at some of the pics I'd taken, I admit I was taken down several notches temporarily in how good I felt I looked in these clothes! I won't even lie; I'm only showing you the best of them. lol 

I really love this cute sundress and how my belly looks in it. I wore it with a white cardigan the other day.
When the weather gets cooler, I think it will look cute with a cardigan and tall boots.
Ahhh, JEANS again!!! Hooray! Remember how excited I was about my elastic-waisted jeggings - yeah, they don't fit anymore,
but these are the same principle. And the ruching on the sides of this top will only be more flattering as I get bigger.
From the front, the ruffled cap sleeves are extra cute.
And here's one I took today at home in my more realistic mirror. ;) This is me at 13, almost 14 weeks.
Shirt is actually from Target and not maternity, but it's nice and long!
These are the Old Navy cargo pants...I like them because you can wear them cargo length,
or unsnap at the bottoms to make them full-length pants.
 To quote from the Woman's Day article, 

We often hang onto clothes from when we were thinner so we’ll be inspired to one day fit into them again. But Dr. Zeckhausen says, “Instead of keeping skinny clothes as ‘thinspiration,’ donate too-tight or outdated items…buy clothes that fit your body now so you are less self-conscious. You deserve to feel pretty at your current weight.”

Now, please don't tie in my pregnancy talk with the term "curvy," because you know I'm not trying to compare the two. But if you're a curvier gal, you might feel like you have to hide behind baggier clothes. But in all honesty, those clothes can often make you look (and FEEL) bigger. You don't have to wear tight clothes either; you just have to learn which clothes will flatter your particular body shape and show off your figure in all the right places. You might be afraid that if you allow yourself to buy clothes the next size up, it will mean you've given up on losing weight and that you might never go back down. Actually, I believe quite the opposite is true. If losing weight is something you want to do - preferably for health reasons alone - I think when you find clothes that flatter your body as it is RIGHT NOW, you'll feel so much more confident and comfortable, which will in turn motivate you that much more in your journey. And, hey, even if it doesn't, at least you get to look and feel better in the present, so why not?! Don't punish yourself by wearing too-tight or too-loose clothes because you hate your body. The kinder you treat your body, the kinder you will start to feel toward it, and the better it will be to you in return.

I hope you will read the whole article (, because there are some other really good tips in there on learning to love your body and increasing your self-love. But "dressing for right now" is what I wanted to focus on today. I may very well come back at a later time and zero in on the other points.

One last thing I'll leave you with. I've mentioned the blog Bright Side Dweller on here a couple times before, and that's because it's one of my favorite fashion blogs! Chelsea is an example of a beautiful gal who truly knows how to dress to flatter her gorgeous shape. I think she could totally be a pinup model. She puts together some really great outfits that work for everyday without being boring in the slightest. I absolutely love her confidence and the fact that she obviously loves her bod. She's the perfect example of dressing to flatter your personal shape. So check her out!

I mean, just look how happy she is when she poses...not to mention, that skirt is to die for!