First off, a huge thank you to everyone for the amazing support of my prior post, A Motherhood Wish List. I've gotten such thoughtful feedback, and I'm touched that the list resonated with so many of you. It's why I became a writer! Today I need to talk about something a bit less serious, though ... but perhaps a wish list just the same, and something certainly caused by motherhood: guts. Does your stomach look like the skin of a dead rooster, too?
In my experience, women's clothes are designed to be forgiving in the hips, thighs, and derriere. These are all, shall we say, "traditional" places where ladies gain weight. It's much less chic (or something) to gain weight in the stomach. J. Lo and Mad Men's Joan Holloway Harris are curvy. But I have yet to see a fashion icon with thin limbs and a four-month-preggo pooch.
In real life, though, I know tons of people who quietly bemoan their pesky guts. One friend confessed to me that she got pregnant with her third child just so she could actually say "Yes, I am pregnant!" when rude people inquired. I sympathize. I hate walking around with my stomach sucked in, I hate when people gaze suspiciously at my midriff, and I hate looking like a soft-serve ice cream cone whenever I don an ill-fitting pair of jeans. I hate daydreaming about a C-section, just so I can ask my OBGYN to scoop out a little extra fat while he's working.
And, yes, I work out. (Sometimes.)
Anyway, for you lonely gut-loathers, here's a fashion reprieve. Learn from my list and enjoy a guilt-free summer, where your stomach can roll freely beneath fashionable attire, hidden from the naked eye. You'll know the truth, but that doesn't mean the googly-eyed weirdo on the subway needs to suspect a thing.
1. Tunics from Boden. This British company designs clothing made for real women, with true-to-size fits. They also have a fantastic petite collection. I like their A-line tunics, which flatter the stomach and show off the legs. I bought this number for a couple of daytime weddings. Fun bonus: You can have items shipped to you with fun titles, like Viscountess von Guttington.
2. Pants from Ann Taylor. OK, I hate that Ann Taylor e-mails me more than my husband and that sometimes their store looks like an Easter Egg exploded inside. (So many pastels!) But the place has darn fine pants for tummy-prone ladies. Many of their styles flare at the ankle and sit just above the waist, elongating the leg and drawing attention away from the stomach. These stretch linen twills are versatile.
3. Sundresses from Target (yes, sometimes from their maternity department). They offer lovely sundresses for cheap, cut nicely on the top and flowy and forgiving on the bottom. Buy a few in fun prints, pair with a summery sweater, and adorn yourself in chunky jewelry. You'll create enough distractions to draw eyes away from your stomach. This frock is just $20. Cheaper than a gym membership, too.
4. Tankinis! Just picked this one up at Target a couple weeks ago. I'm not ready for Baywatch, but it's a fantastic tummy concealer.
5. Hula hoops!! Yes, I'm serious. You can hide your gut with clothes, but you should also probably exercise. Last weekend, I met an amazing woman who owns a Hula Hoop company called Alotta Hoopla. She runs workshops for kids and adults, and she told me that she lost 50 pounds hooping. (Check out her photos; she's fit.) I spent a half-hour shimmying with a weighted hoop, and my stomach ached in places I hadn't felt since 1995. It was also infinitely more fun than sit-ups. Buy a weighted hoop (sizes and prices vary) and practice in the privacy of your own home.
And one thing you should never, ever do...
Do not by Spanx a size too small, hoping that their armor will somehow absorb your excess flesh, trash-compactor like, and redistribute it to make you look like Marilyn Monroe. Spanx are stiff panties, not miracle workers. Buy your actual size, or else you will look like a lumpy tube of toothpaste, all while sweating profusely. Your stomach will appear no smaller, and you will get a rash. Trust me.
Someday I'd like to start a company that caters to soft-abbed women. I'd sell tankinis, hula hoops, non-maternity maternity pants, and tunics, and I'd hand out support-group flyers featuring celebrities with guts. I'd call it Gutsy Girlz or something. In the meantime, I'll see you at Target.
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