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I’m M. of An Epic Battle in High Heels, where I mostly blog about trying to professionalize my later stage of PhD wardrobe while slaying demons (i.e. my dissertation, applications, and other such projects). Congrats, S. and family!
This guest post is not going to make any sense if I don’t begin with what seems like an incredibly personal admission for the Internets: A while ago my husband I tried for a few–actually, more than a few–months to conceive and didn’t. Don’t worry. This is not going to be a sad post. We’re okay with it.
When we were in the midst of trying, a number of fashion bloggers on my blog roll, including S., announced their pregnancies and began writing about elasticized maternity trousers and strategies for dressing the gestating body in academic and office situations. Thinking I would soon be dealing with the same issues, I paid close attention. This had an effect on me that I didn’t expect: I reassessed my wardrobe’s pregnancy friendliness and had a hard time of purging my wardrobe of things that had to go but could be incorporated into a maternity wardrobe. I’m also in the late stages of a PhD program and need to work on professionalizing my wardrobe more, but I didn’t want to purchase a pair of dark trouser jeans and a fitted blazer on my limited budget if I could only wear them for another month or so and then would have to buy maternity pants soon after. Furthermore, I had no idea what my body would be like a year later. This put me into a state of wardrobe limbo and it was on my mind a lot when I was blogging at the now suspended Fashionable Academics, but in general women don’t announce “I’m trying to get pregnant and that’s why I’m still holding on to this awful shirt that already makes me look pregnant!”
It feels less strange to talk about it in hindsight, however, so if you’ll indulge me, I will now narrate what was going on in my head while dressing myself last year and trying to conceive. This may be especially interesting to former readers of Fashionable Academics who will have some of my repeat offenses explained:
MVP Red Dress
I had always wished that I had purchased a Small instead of a Medium for a better fit, but my thoughts towards this dress (which I love) changed the day that S. of Academichic and Simply Bike wrote about how a skirt of hers in a size too big was good maternity wear in the second trimester. I began to value this dress for its potential flexibility with an expanding belly.
Before “use it or lose it” became a thing to do on fashion blogs, I decided to shame myself into getting rid of pieces that I either didn’t wear, hated wearing, or needed never to wear again. I’m so glad I got rid of these because I can only imagine what my 5 feet nothing stature would have looked like while in an in-between stage of showing during pregnancy. But I hesitated to get rid of these because of the roomy shirts and elastic waist skirt.
December – March Limbo
When I didn’t have a meeting and wasn’t teaching, which was after December of last year, I stopped varying the bottom half of my body as much as I used to because I needed some new pieces, but didn’t want to invest in any because they might be wearable soon after. My solution was a frequent bottom-half uniform: black jersey knit skirt, black leggings, and black boots (mostly wellies). These would be paired with some sort of sweater/cardi combination. I figured this was fine, since it was probably how I would soon be dressing out of necessity anyway.
The Discoball Skirt
This skirt marked the end of limbo dressing. I had eyed this skirt for a few weeks, but had been saving a GAP giftcard for maternity jeans. When another month passed without a positive pregnancy test, I bought it. It also marked a shift in my thinking on trying to conceive–I kept taking vitamins and limiting my caffeine intake, but I decided that the state of limbo needed to stop. And seriously, it’s not that much more sustainable than 5 months anyway. Until it actually happened, I needed to dress for the present and look presentable and professional instead of looking like I was constantly leaving dance class. And the present also allowed for some frivolity.
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