Metro Mama & Metro Baby

By Catherine Wayland

“The only difference between us and the animals, is our ability to accessorize,”
Olympia Dukakis – From the film “Steel Magnolias”

Never was there a truer statement in a movie. Now don’t think me trite, there have been far more poetic truths, but this has not one syllable of debate, it is true, true, true, too true. Of the rest of what separates us from the animals, I am lost. We eat, have sex, bear young, and fight much like animals. Some of us do a lot more than that to resemble our primate cousins. But we won’t discuss some of our husband’s unmentionable habits – ha! So mamas, there is no more important time to remember our ABC’s of accessorizing, than during our pregnancies. I’ll tell you, there were a few times in my labor room where the only thing that reminded me that I wasn’t in a jungle were the claret tips of my well-manicured fingers digging into the bleeding arm of my dear beloved, gorilla errh….husband. Welcome to sizzling hot July, dear sweet and growing mamas. Not to worry. We are going to learn how to stay cool together. Let’s start at the top and work our way down.

Your Crowning Glory
Ok, ok, mamas, now here we sit on one side of the fence or the other. Those that do and those that don’t. I do. Highlight my hair during my pregnancies, I mean. I have gone over and over it with my hairdresser, and she does not let the color touch my scalp, but tucks it neatly into the protective foils. There is also a keen argument as to whether a wash does any damage either. But if you are being extra cautious (I decided to never fly in an airplane during my first pregnancy), that is your right dear mama. If you sit on my hedonistic vain side, make sure to keep your color up during these 9 months. This is not the time to let the roots show and look flat and greasy. I just went into my dear Tammy and got a highlight update with some flippy layer ends for a fresh, summer look. But if you are staying conservative on the coloring, let’s have fun with hair accessories to distract from the roots. I think the darling look right now is the bandana on the head for mamas – it’s very urban-chic. Another option is a dramatic looking black headband, the really wide kind (add little silver hoop earrings to this look). What about a dozen colorful mini-clips? Or butterfly and flower hairpins? Whatever you do, give it a sexy, playful edge. Not too little girly. I have to voice my one complaint about a certain popular maternity look that makes us pregnant women look like little girls. We’re pregnant!!! We didn’t get that way sucking on a lollipop holding our teddy bears. Seriously, we mamas are women, women who’ve been having sex! So ladies, please, dress age appropriately!

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The Cat in the Hat
Did I ever tell you that although my name is Catherine, my husband’s nickname for me is Cat? So when I’m pregnant, this Cat is always in a hat. They are fun, they are sexy, they are extremely stylish. They add color. They make those damn people stop staring at your belly saying, “Anyday now.” (When you are of course 12 weeks from your delivery date.) I understand men, but ladies – what woman says that to another woman with even the remotest sense of compassion? Come on. Let’s stick together on this one (on a side note, don’t ever tell a fellow mama she’s huge…I have honestly come close to knocking out one of my dear “friends” for this). So tip your hat ladies and let’s find your favorite look – is it a simple Gap baseball hat? An Ann Taylor straw hat? Lynn Park at 51 Wooster St., has some terrific picks. The store’s phone number is 212-965-5133 and the website, www.lynnpark.com. Or just go to Herald Square on the A-C-E line and walk around a bit – as this is the red carpet retail of the garment industry you will find hat stores on every corner. However you want to go on this one, just make sure you give yourself a variety. I myself go for the straw hat look in a variety of styles ranging from plain to multi-colored, and from wide brim to a bucket look.

La Luna Bella
Your face mamas is your greatest asset at anytime – your eyes the window to your soul. So don’t forget that during these 9 months. Ok , ok, so the little one growing in your belly has managed to reach through your neck and puff it up a bit, making the cheekbones disappear. Let’s focus on what is left. Don’t, I repeat don’t let go of the makeup routine during this time. If your eyes are your best feature – then get out and buy yourself some mom-to-be treats with Estee Lauders’ Illusionist for daywear mascara, and their Magnascopic line for your evenings with Papa Bear. If your lips are the focus – paint them cherry red. Get yourself something in a brilliant ruby shade from Elizabeth Arden’s Color Intrigue Line. Racking up charges for makeup during pregnancy has never been so easy. Papa Bears are usually in awe at this point, and you have moved into sainthood status. This eases their tight grip on the monthly statements. I have a wonderful CD to get you motivated. Olu Dara – “In the World, From Natchez to New York.” The whole CD is fabulous, but the third or fourth song on this CD is a sexy song about a woman’s lips. You will go into your makeup kit and play in the mirror like when you were a young girl and then dance around the room in a pucker. Feeling fat and tired? Of course! Is that what you want to advertise on your face? Of course not! Your face is your beautiful moon under which the world sits and howls. Light it up!

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The Audrey Hepburn Neck…..just kidding
This brings us to the gorgeous, slender Audrey Hepburn neckline and some decorating baubles. Ok, ok, you caught me again. Let’s really talk about that elephant footed-looking thing that now sits between your double chin and your new bursting breast cleavage – your pregnancy neck. It needs some pretty camouflage. So let’s dress it up with some costume jewelry. I went right to the Lord & Taylor counter on my first pregnancy and spent an hour buying red shells with tortoise, chunky silver chains, delicate flowers on chokers, etc. A lot of times you will hear fashion consultants speak about body types and how to lengthen the waist or the legs, flatter the butt, and so on. Well, the idea here is to move the viewer’s eye upward and downward, lengthening the torso vertically as much as possible as the growing belly widens us out horizontally. You will be surprised how someone will say “You look just gorgeous, just a beautiful belly, that’s all.” If those are the comments, then you have achieved the Mount Everest climb of maternity fashion, and mama, you are ready for the runway. Go check out Verve for jewelry on 353 Bleeker St., ph: 212-691-6516. There is also some fun stuff over at Geas Garden Jewels on 135 1st Avenue, ph: 212-358-1626, www.geasgardenjewels.com

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Cinderella’s Glass Slipper
Now that we have covered the top part of our vertical illusion, we must go to Le Feet. This is the time to wear colorful, personality oriented shoes. Don’t stick with the safe browns and blacks during pregnancy. Even if you must wear a sensible shoe due to back or pelvic pain, wear a bright red sneaker! For sensible but fashionable, Skechers over at 3 Times Square is where I went (www.skechers.com). But for nights out, put on that sandal with flowers banded over the strap. Or if you are a die hard, black shoe donning gal, then wear a square heel for sensibility but make it a knee-high pull up boot to go with your Belly Basics black mini. The key here again is to draw the eye up and then down – stretch things out!

You will be thrilled with the effect. The other Manhattan list for shoes should include Prada on 575 Broadway, ph: 212-334-8840 and Sacco at 324 Columbus Ave, ph: 212-799-5229.

Ok mamas, I think you are getting the picture. First of all, look the best you can at this time. It will make you feel better, I promise. And then, work it like any other time in your life, move with it, not against it. If the body is moving horizontally, just like a ship rocking back and forth, move with it that way and then rock it back vertically. Sail your body like a beautiful ship, dressing it in gorgeous sails and flags that identify your personality best. I’ll leave you with a story from the attic. The other night I was out with my husband seeing the sexy voice’d Martin Sexton at Café Lupo’s in Providence near our summer place. Before the show, we went to eat at Hemingway’s downtown. Best shrimp on the entire East Coast. If you eat it and you don’t think so – I owe you dinner. We were sitting at the raw bar sucking down a 3 lb. lobster and Petit Filet. I was wearing my Belly Basics mini-dress with black leggings, 9West wide-band shoes with bright red toes, and silver baubles wrapping my neck. The couple politely interrupted my husband and I to tell me that they were shocked to see that I was pregnant because they hadn’t noticed my belly and “hadn’t I looked just gorgeous!” Now mamas I’m huge at this point – I’m talking you could put an entire drink tray on my belly and send me around that restaurant serving cocktails with my protruding belly button. Mmmmmmhhh…it felt like Martin was singing just for me that night…Signing off here mamas. Love to all of you and the little ones.

Originally published July 2004
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