6. The Maternity Wear Conundrum
When your clothes don’t fit, but maternity wear makes it look like you’re playing dress-up. That. Rosalind Sack has reached the awkward in-between stage of pregnancy, and she’s feeling frumpy.
Leggings. They’ll always remind me of my school days. Back then I was the proud owner of a drawer full of jazzy numbers – from a black-and-white patterned pair, to some 80s-tastic neon pink and green monstrosities. Paired with a Global Hypercolor T-shirt (remember those?) and a permanently out-of-control barnet of ginger frizz, you'd struggle to lose me in a crowd, that's for sure.
My dad was an avid photographer who liked to document my brother and I in our fledgling years, so, unfortunately, there remains plenty of photographic evidence of my early fashion fails. That's why I’ve shunned leggings ever since, that and the fact they’re the least forgiving item of clothing ever invented.
So I had to have a serious word in the mirror last week when I found myself buying not one, but two – two! – pairs of leggings. Not only that, but I've pretty much lived in them ever since. Talk about U-turns.
You see, I'm finding the whole maternity wear situation a bit of a challenge. Particularly in this inbetween stage, when wearing full-on maternity clothing makes me look like I'm drowning in a voluminous tent, yet attempting to button my favourite jeans means contorting into all manner of bizarre shapes.
Until my shock leggings purchases, I'd been living in the same few outfits for weeks on end – two pairs of stretchy lightweight trousers (with elasticated waistbands, thank goodness for elastic!), a couple of loose-fitting dresses and a stretchy T-shirt dress. Most of which are black – not a colour I'm particularly fond of. There's definitely a gap in the market for 'not-quite-maternity maternity wear', albeit perhaps with a catchier name.
It turns out Gok Wan, the bespectacled TV fashion guru, was right about one thing – so much of your identity and how you see yourself is tied up in the way you dress. And at the ripe old age of 35 I think I'm pretty clued up on what items of clothing I feel comfortable in (trainers and skinny jeans), what suits me (trainers and skinny jeans), what I can just about get away with (skinny jeans), and what I should never, ever, venture anywhere near (heels with an ankle strap and anything bright pink). So to find my body shape changing beyond my control has thrown all my fashion commandments out of kilter, giving my sense of identity a vigorous shake-up in the process.
I certainly haven't yet reached the stage of pregnancy where I'm supposed to feel blooming. Instead, I'm feeling generally a bit podgy and frumpy, and my uniform of dark dresses and elasticated waistbands isn’t helping.
I even tried searching 'pregnancy street style' to get some tips from the Insta-cool kids. Hmm. Apart from being around 10 years younger, they were also about two sizes smaller than me, with neat little bumps and long-limbed, size 8 bodies. And they were still clothed in skinny jeans and vertiginous heels at seven months gone. It was a harsh lesson to learn, but street style hottie I plainly ain't.
It’s now reached the stage where I can't wait to have a decent-sized bump, so I can finally invest in some proper maternity clothing and embrace my new shape, rather than just looking like I've overindulged. (Which I have been doing as well but, shhh!)
Until then, if I can't get my kicks buying nice clothes and shoes – apparently even your feet can grow during pregnancy – I'll just have to get them elsewhere. I've decided to develop a healthy obsession with bags; at least a beautiful bag will stand the test of time, whatever my size.