From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Who's Wearing Maternity Shirts?

Baby-doll tops don't appeal to this baby boomer.



One morning when I was in third grade, my brother told me that we didn't have to go to school for the next two weeks. "The teacher had her baby," he announced.

"Baby?" I wondered. "What are you talking about?"

My brother was amazed at my stupidity. "Didn't you know she was expecting? Why did you think she was wearing big shirts?"

"Nobody told me," I protested. And that was the day that I learned. If a lady wore big shirts, it could mean she was pregnant.

What do pregnant ladies wear, 50 years later? Well, some don't hide under baggy shirts. Their garb makes it clear that they are quite pregnant. Even little third-grade country girls could probably figure it out.

Traditional maternity styles are still available for those who prefer them, as well as tailored styles for business women, and much more. Fashion-wise, it's a great time to be pregnant.

And what do fashion designers offer for us ladies who aren't pregnant? Take a look at the style of this shirt and this one. No, they're not maternity shirts. They're "baby-dolls" (not to be confused with baby-doll maternity wear, of course.)

Baby-dolls are probably very comfortable, but you won't find me wearing one. I don't care if they are fashionable, retro, hippy, or what-have-you. I wore enough shirts like that when I really was pregnant.

4 comments:

Angielikes2cook said...

I so agree with you. If I'm not pregnant I'm not wearing a shirt to make me look like I am! I have 5 children and hated those big shirts but couldn't wear the ones that let my belly just hang out either! More descrete I suppose!

Genevieve said...

Hi, Angie. I can't imagine myself wearing one of those stretchy maternity shirts either.

My mother said she always sewed a few dresses a size or two bigger to wear for the first four or five months, and then after the baby came. That was in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Mennonite ladies don't seem to change their style of dress much when they're pregnant. They just raise the waistlines somehow, in the later months of pregnancy. Their aprons are still in place, just pinned higher.

Collagemama said...

There are lots of young mommies-to-be wearing very stretchy, clingy tops that emphasize their condition and show off their inverted navels. My mom's generation "hid" their condition in those big tops, and looked like Lucy Riccardo. My generation of mommies was a bit more relaxed about being obviously pregnant. It seems to me maternity attire really changed with Princess Di's pregnancies.

Genevieve said...

I think you're right about Princess Di, Collagemama.

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