Ask dapperQ: Pregnant Style?

A reader asks:

“Do you have any plans to do a piece on what to do about one’s attire once you are pregnant? I’m in early stages of my pregnancy and starting to stress out about what I’m going to wear.

I’m very comfortable in men’s clothes and it’s a perfect fit for me. Maternity clothing, on the other hand, exists 100% within the confines of very feminine options (I’d go as far as saying that’s even more emphasized in maternity clothing).
There is no such a thing as pregnant butch wear or masculine pregnancy atire, however one would prefer to frame it. This is specially true if you are talking about any type of professional clothing (people keep telling me overalls and sweat pants, which would be fine if I fixed cars for a living, but I work at the headquarters of a multinational company where my dapper style fits right in).”
First off, on behalf of the entire dapperQ staff, CONGRATULATIONS on your pregnancy! We are thrilled to receive this submission and hope to provide some alternatives to alleviate some stress. This is a very important topic and I am happy that it is being discussed. In fact, you should also take a look at a recent post on Qwear by Taan, a transmasculine genderqueer who shared some advice about this subject.

I like this Dashiki from Etsy. Qwear agrees that non-Western shirts are a great option for androgynous style during pregnancy.

Now for my two cents. When it comes to clothing, many dapperQ readers run from anything remotely feminine looking like it’s the zombie apocalypse. And, I don’t blame them, given that many of these same dapperQs were forced to wear dresses, ridiculed for dressing “like boys” (the HUMANITY), discriminated against, bullied, and worse. What I’m going to say next is in NO way a push for you dress more like a “lady.” Quite the contrary.  But, sartorially smart, masculine presenting folks (including cis-males) who are known for being incredibly stylish understand that a key element to some of the best masculine outfits is a touch of “androgyny” or “femininity.” Don’t believe me? Just take a look at some of these cis-male runway models and style tastemakers (including Kanye West rocking a women’s Celine shirt):

So, my recommendation – use this time to play with some high fashion and work with some traditionally “off limits” feminine pieces in fashioning a really killer masculine pregnancy style. As you may know, I do not like to give recommendations on where to purchase specific items. As someone who reads a lot of fashion blogs, nothing is more frustrating than seeing something I love, clicking on the link provided to purchase, and then finding out that the item has been out of stock for two years or that it is no longer available in my size.
These three outfits I put together incorporate maternity pants (from Three Seasons, Motherhood, and A Pea in the Pod, respectively) in a masculine way. You can pair these pants with oversized men’s or women’s tops: blousy button-downs (aka, “boyfriend” button downs is the new buzz word in the women’s department); “grandpa” cardigans; and dashikis, tunics, and other non-Western tops. You can find oversized tops at a variety of retailers from designer shops (the $360 leather trim shirt on the left is from Band of Outsiders) to Ebay to thrift stores (much more affordable). Grandpa cardigans can be great for hiding the feminine details of maternity tops. Be open to shopping in plus sized women’s floors in department stores, men’s big and tall shops, and maternity boutiques; you’ll be surprised at some of the variety of items that you can combine to achieve the pregnancy style you seek. And, most importantly, remember that the Devil is in the details; get your hands on some hip masculine accessories, like bow-ties, masculine shoes, and a dapper diaper bag.

If you’re a stickler for the classics, Suits Your Belly carries professional maternity business suits that are designed for “women,” but do not have flowers and lace and all that other jazz (see feature photo above).

Anita Dolce Vita

Fashion and culture blogger featured in Newsweek's Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Curve, Autostraddle, MTV/LOGO's AfterEllen, SF Weekly, Globe & Mail, DIVA, GO Mag, Beijing Review, and Bosnia's Manjine.BA. Education/Credentials: University of New Mexico (B.A., magna cum laude); New York University (MPA, top marks); SUNY Downstate Medical Center (BSN, cum laude); NYS RN.

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