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Not so stylin'.

2005-08-31 - 9:43 a.m.

You know the clichť about how, when youíre pregnant, you suddenly see pregnant women everywhere? Not true. At least, not in my case.

I found I saw pregnant women everywhere during the year I was trying to get pregnant, and even before that when I was contemplating going off the Pill and trying. Now that I am pregnant, can you guess what I see everywhere? Can you?

Skinny women.

Specifically, skinny women wearing cute, flattering clothes. Stylish clothes. Clothes that ride low on hips, that hug curves, and bare maybe just half an inch of flat, tanned midriff. Clothes that I wonder where they got them and then realize that it matters not; I cannot wear them any longer and by the time I could theyíd be out of style. When going through my no-longer-fitting winter wardrobe, it was brought home to me that my style, particularly my work style, is ďpants that sit below my waist by a couple of inches and fitted/tailored shirts that end maybe an inch or two lower.Ē This is not a look for a pregnant woman. If nothing else, I need long shirts to hide those ridiculous, expanding, kangaroo-style pouches at the front of the pants Iím sure to need. And fitted shirts = shirts that will only fit for a few weeks, unless they have more give to them than my normal dress shirts with collars. Today I feel downright frumpy in handed-down maternity pants and shirt that are both way too big for me still. Something has got to be done, Iím getting desperate!

Ottawa, my friends, is a near-wasteland when it comes to places to buy maternity clothes. There is one maternity-specific chain that carries semi-stylish stuff but, not only are they slightly expensive for clothes youíll only wear for a few months, if you canít find anything there you are almost out of options. I recently tried on every pair of appropriate-for-work black pants that were there at the time, and not one of them fit properly. They looked great on the hanger but on me? Forget it. Pockets bulging oddly on the sides or so low on the back that they make my ass look 3 inches lower. Waistlines that fit but legs that were practically painted onto my thighs and flapped loosely around my knees. Oh sigh.

Iíve heard rumours of two other stores in the city that donít belong to this chain but Iíve yet to see them with my own two eyes and Iíve heard that at least one of them has stuff thatís less stylish than the aforementioned chain. I know Iíve seen great things on the internet Ė but without knowing if that brand fits my body type, Iím afraid of ordering something without trying it on and then having it not fit. Also, most of the online stores I see cool things at are American, and there are horrendous charges at the border for shipping an item into Canada Ė Iíve had a twenty-dollar item cost me more than double that because the handling company tacks on a huge processing fee in addition to the taxes and duties they charge on behalf of the Canadian government.

I go to my gym, which is in the biggest mall downtown, and pass dozens and dozens of stores which sell clothes I can no longer wear. I canít even window shop, really, because itís too frustrating. I LOVE the Belly, but I just wish it were easier to find clothes that really flatter it around here. Maybe a trip to Montreal or even Toronto is in order. I hear good things about the outlet stores just over the border too.

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