Metro Mama & Metro Baby

By Catherine Wayland

Hello Mamas, happy June. I love this month, hot days and cool nights. Perfect for my idea of being pregnant. People look at me and ask me how I can stand being pregnant in the summer – I love it, that’s how! I want to be as naked as I can get, very tan with painted feet and toes and sparkly jewelry. No bulky layers, no dangerous ice thank you. How do I achieve my fashionable look you ask? The perfect balance.

It has been my own philosophy to not hide my pregnancies, but accentuate them.I couldn’t if I tried, I get huge! I am constantly fielding questions, “My, are you having twins?” My first pregnancy I felt sensual and bought lingerie and made my husband take pictures of my version of “Mama Demi.”This pregnancy has a different feeling, something more exhausted by my active toddler, more settled, more wise. Sophisticated and sexy for date nights with Papa. Practical and easily washable for all-day Jax chasing and food smears. Let’s hit the stores mamas.

First let’s start with value and the basics. Just like any good wardrobe for a New York City gal, you want to get the four musts: black pants, black skirt, black top, black jacket. Then add color around these basics. For value maternity shopping here in New York, H & M is fabulous! (http://www.hm.com) I went in to check it out, and bought great black pants, khaki pants, 2 tops, 2 tanks (1 black of course), shorts and a skirt and I think I barely spent $150. I’m not kidding.

The other great Big Apple value find is at Jane’s Exchange, a second-time-around store in the East Village. I talked to a great employee who said that mamas love the wide spectrum of labels all on one rack.The gentle price tags for a 9-month commitment are quite appealing as well. Go check it out at 207 Avenue A, near 13th St. Jane’s phone number is 212-674-6268. Finally, if you have a car, just drive right through one of the tunnels into Englewood, New Jersey where there is a Target with a budget-conscious, basics line called “in due time.”

Popular shopping for Manhattan mamas is done online or via catalogs.Let’s face it: Some mamas are working full-time. For even us part-timers, dragging a toddler, while pregnant and sick is not conducive to feeling attractive and in a “let’s try on clothes” mood. I am going to channel all your tireless surfing to two essential sites mamas: http://www.babystyle.com, and for the more corporate mama: http://www.annacris.com.1 or 2 stops, I swear. Babystyle.com has everything you need – the basics and more. In fact, they carry the terrific Belly Basics line (Bb) that has the Pregnancy Survival Kits – usually 4 items of for instance, a black pant, black top, black skirt and black dress at a great value. God bless them! I think they understand the brain frazzle that goes on the minute a woman conceives and has made these kits like “Pregnancy for Dummies” with titles like “The Short Sleeve Pregnancy Survival Kit” and “The Long Sleeve Pregnancy Survival Kit.” Babystyle has great value as well. They have an outlet button that when you click, it takes you to “maternity markdowns.” You can’t believe the prices! Check out the dresses – ooohhhh, I am so tempted to keep shopping and press “go to cart” right now!

But honestly, if I buy one more maternity item, even I will feel shame and guilt. I have the most extensive maternity wardrobe ever – it’s ridiculous. I remember when I was first pregnant with Jax and I felt resolved to stay fashionable and not go baggy and hide.I looked at my husband and said, “Listen I am a fashion delight to any man – I have been basically the same size for 20 years and I’m conservative. I add a couple items a year.” John listened attentively, waiting for my punch line delivery. “So this is the only time I want to indulge myself and feel absolutely beautiful and happy, for both of us.” He laughed and smiled. How could he refuse?

Finally New York Mamas, after getting the basics and achieving it at a reasonable cost,we must at least peek at the extravagant. We do after all live in New York where daily, celebrity mamas such as Gwyneth and Kate are photographed looking like red carpet-fertility-sex goddesses. They are shopping at “Veronique Maternity” gals. Just pop on over to their 1321 Madison Avenue location and grab a look-see. Or go online to http://www.veroniqematernity.com. But here’s the catch, do not go to “Veronique Maternity” without Papa Bear. You will most likely never spend the money yourself. You will rationalize about the costs of bottles, breast feeding pumps and wanting to send Junior to the right private kindergarten. But slip into the dressing room with a couple of their Academy Award numbers and Papa Bear is thinking, “Now that’s an outfit to ravage.” No matter how you fight him, he will race the card through the machine and race you home. Trust me on this one, trust me.

To sum it up simply mamas, you’ll probably maternity shop the way you shop normally.I always start basic and conservative and then build into what I consider my own personal version of pizzazz. Pregnancy didn’t change that. Ok, here’s a favorite story from my attic. I just can’t help myself. On my first pregnancy with Jax, I attended a 3-day wedding event on Block Island.The first day I was casual with slacks, a tank, pearls, and bangles. The day of the wedding, I did another tank, a long peasant skirt, pearls, a wrap around sweater and a fabulous straw hat. On the third, a pink shirt dress and a bold, multi-colored pink hat. The evening of the “straw hat,” a hazily drunk but very cute man, said, “God, if you weren’t married, you are the sexiest pregnant woman I’ve ever seen.” Like if I was single and pregnant, I would have jumped into the kitchen! But ladies, funny, bold or lewd, I glowed with that comment for days! And you will too, so get shopping and tell me all your great, gorgeous finds!

Love,
Mama

Originally published June 2004
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