Trying to dress myself in the months after I squeezed a baby out of my body was somewhat akin to forcing a water-balloon into a sock. A dated, uncool sock. Because sometime in the 9-plus months I took to bloat myself into the bastion of waddly glory I now find staring back at me in the mirror, fashion completely changed, and everything I owned pre-baby looks somehow ridiculous. Even now that I've finally hit that long-awaited pre-pregnancy weight, my body looks completely foreign to me--there are lumps and lines and hills where once there were valleys, as if the plate tectonics of my hips and ribs hit fault lines and were twisted into a new topography. I'm having problems reading the map.
Pregnancy, despite its obvious downsides, at least afforded a certain level of comfort when it came to fashion. I spent most of my baby-growing time in stretchy fabrics and glorified muumuus and since I'm happily removed from Hollywood I was spared the pressure to look particularly chic. Post-baby, however, the game changed completely and I found myself being asked by my 8-year-old neighbor, why I "still look pregnant?"
Even apart from my unfortunate lump distribution, I am struggling with how to appropriately outfit my shape in a manner befitting my new role. I am a mother. I am 31. I don't particularly want to look like a "mom," with all the negative, high-waisted jeans horror that implies; nor do I want to look as if I'm trying to be "young" or "hip." Reminiscent of the well-meaning high school history teacher who raps the Gettysburg Address to painful effect, I can't abide by the humiliation of clothes best left to the newly pubescent.
So what's a girl to do? Too young for Eddie Bauer, too old for Abercrombie, I'm skating past Forever 21 (until such time as they change their name to Forever 31) to Ann Taylor loft and H&M. I'm dipping my toes in the murky waters of leggings and skinny jeans, but I'm drawing the line at those little rompers the uber-hipsters are sporting. I'll leave the onesies to my 10-month-old.