Monday, April 11, 2011

Sisterhood of the Expanding Pants

As of last week, I stopped being able to button my pants. I'm like Al Bundy, only all the time.

I've had this problem before, most notably in 2003, a year in which I put on 10 pounds thanks to post-collegiate stress disorder and a part-time job at a sweater factory with its own (free!) peanut M&Ms dispenser. That time, I dieted on vodka, cigarettes and Luna bars. This time, it's not an option. I have to wear pants to work if I want my coworkers to take me seriously, and my belly is only getting started.

I had to do something.

First, I got all Survivor Man on my pants and fastened them with a hair elastic:

Yeah, I am basically MacGyver. Try not to be jealous.
Pros: Discreet; handy for bad hair days
Cons: Fly at half-mast no matter what you do; bad hair day will cause pants to fall down

When the hair elastic got too tight, I decided to class things up a bit:

Because nothing says "business casual" like pinstripes and a rubber band.
Pros: Roomy; handy for sling shots
Cons: You're not even trying anymore. There are two buttons, you know.

As a last resort, I even tried wearing the denim leggings Jeff convinced me to buy as part of his Sartorial Humiliation Quest '10 (see also: rompers). But they cut me off mid-bump, much to my (and, I imagine, the baby's) chagrin:

Just because you're only 3 oz. doesn't mean it's too early to worry about bulge maintenance.
Pros: No pesky buttons; kind of look like jeans... from far away
Cons: Muffin top; muffin bottom

People were telling me to get the Bella Band, or some other such product that would extend my pants' life while making me looking less like someone who lived in a tent on the side of the highway, but I was all, no thanks, I've got a whole ball of rubber bands and a drawerful of ill-fitting leggings, thankyouverymuch.

That's when Jeff stepped in and bought me the Tummy Tube.

The Tummy Tube is a spandex tube that hold your pants up while making the rest of you look like it is wearing a t-shirt that has been cropped at the wrong end. (Warning: photos below--courtesy of Jeff (I have to write that so he doesn't sue)--mildly NSFW).

Why, hello, officer. Is there a law against looking this sexxxxxy? 
If you wear the Tummy Tube with a black shirt, it's hardly noticeable. But I'm not really interested in using the Tummy Tube for its God-given purpose. Instead, I celebrate it as a three-in-one maternity powerhouse. For example, who needs pants at all when you have such a bitchin' miniskirt at your disposal?

Oh, God. This is the most unflattering photo I have ever posted. Why am I the color of raw chicken?
But of course, the real intended use for the Tummy Tube is contained in its very name...

My fly may be down, but my summer wardrobe is definitely looking up.


  1. hahaha! OMG I love the makeshift expanding pants. Laughing out loud at work right now. hahahaha

  2. Sister Zoe10:40 AM

    Is that a C-cup I see? niiiice.

  3. The intended purpose is a spectacular item. Wish those were around years ago. Do yourself a favor and use as much support as possible. Gravity will take you down soon enough. Don't give it any help.

  4. That's the sexiest pregnant-woman-in-a-tube top picture I've ever encountered. Rawr!

    I was one of the ones who suggested a bella band, but I gotta say, it wouldn't have done me much good. My hips and thighs outgrew all my pants very early on, leading me to the maternity section of Target. Luckily, a local resale shop took them after the baby was out, so that offset the investment a little bit.

    You look beautiful!

  5. My favorite part about this whole questionable ride they call pregnancy is the maternity wear. Elastic waist pants? Count me in! A band you can wear which lets you leave your pants unbuttoned? I'll take three!

  6. I used the hair tie/rubberband tactic when I was pregnant. For like a good six months. It works, my mother said she did the same thing when pregnant with me. Apparently its a time tested alternative to just getting maternity pants. Although, after having the baby, I was probably in said maternity pants for a good part of her first year here on earth... Meh, they were comfy. ;)

  7. You look great, Una!

    My wife might still have her old maternity pants if you get desperate.

  8. Anonymous1:13 PM

    Very cute / sexy, and love the pale skin - you are beautiful!

  9. Ooh. The fun hairtie trick. I've graduated from that one and have winced moved on to the belly band and maternity pants. I'm in love with the belly band. It extends the life of my non-maternity clothes so I can wear my tanks and tees without looking like a hoochie. Bravo to you for having the guts (haha) to post those pics.

  10. Kristin1:47 PM

    What is really sad is when you start to need the rubber bands when you're NOT pregnant. Yeah...

  11. Jeff was sweet to get you such versatile pregnancy gear! You look beautiful. I can't wait to see the (definitely) hilarious, (kinda) wrong, and (occasionally) artsy photos to come. I mean, come on, a photog husband/daddy-to-be? Blog Gold!

  12. Where was this when I was pregnant? I wore Laura Ashley jumpers (this was when Laura Ashley was still de riguer--circa 1985). My husband calls this my "Little House on the Prairie Phase."

  13. I think I tried to get away with sweatpants the entire winter I was pregnant. Except you know what else happens when you're are hot. All. The. Time. So I ended up cutting them off. I was so sexy.

  14. You look so fun, cute and happy!!! Sew a ruffle on the bottom of the tube and look, a fun summer dress! I remember walking in to a maternity shop to browse...until the evil saleswoman caught me. When I pondered aloud if it was too soon (3 mos--2nd time around) to wear maternity pants, she said "well whatever I sell you will look better than what you have on". Even in less hormonal moments over the years, I still carry an evil thought for her once and awhile!

  15. Anonymous5:03 PM

    Juicy couture low-rise velour pants were my best friend during pregnancy. No need for "pregnancy" pants at all because they fit below the bump. They were my best maternity investment, and a dark velour wide leg trouser looked good dressed up or down.

    I still wear 'em!

  16. I am honestly thinking all mommies-to-be think in wavelengths... OR? The economic situation is rough because you're the third mommy I see using rubber bands with their jeans.

    Genius? Yeah. Sexy? Asssolutely! :)

    That baby is going to be smart and practical! WERK!

  17. OMG! I just stumbled onto your blog & I haven't laughed so hard in days! At least once a month I need some good rubber bands!

  18. You're looking glowy. I think it might be more than that C-cup Zoe spied.
    My favorite clothing item when pregnant was my maternity underpants. They were white cotton granny bloomers with belly panel, from Sears even. Embarrassingly nerdy and unsexy, but so comfortable. They could have doubled as airport windsocks.

  19. I ended up just moving into maternity pants because they were a lot easier and more comfy than messing with the Bella band. By the way, if you get the pants where the elastic panel comes up high, it will probably make your belly feel super itchy! Nothing more attractive than walking around scratching your belly all day. Also, you might want to look for long maternity tops. I had to buy more the last couple of months because my belly hot really big and all my shirts ended up being too short!

  20. The gas and pain caused with any constriction on the lower belly/uterine area was torture for me with both of my pregnancies! I say go for the low band maternity pants. YOu'll wonder why you held out for so long!

  21. You have an adorable little bump. Seriously, get some maternity pants - they are heaven!

  22. If you can sew (and, I guess, have access to a machine), it's really easy to convert pants (trust, you'll want this later on). Take a pair of medium to low rise jeans that fit, but that has a bit of room, as your butt and hips will likely grow some, too. Cut off the waistband. Find an old tee shirt that fits snugly around your belly, without being stretched to its limit. Cut six inches off the bottom of the shirt, and sew raw edge to raw edge along the top of the jeans.
    You'll have a comfy, tee shirt waistband, and your jeans will look like normal jeans, or you you fold the tee shirt part down, and it'll look like a layered tee at the bottom.
    Just don't do this to your favorite jeans. I made that mistake, and regretted it as soon as I dropped the baby weight. I don't know why I thought I'd be pregnant/heavy forever BOTH times. I blame pregnancy brain.

  23. Anonymous3:54 AM

    my wife tells everyone she came up with an ingenius solution to wearing pants during pregnancy - she wore mine!

  24. I haven't laughed out loud at a post in a long while! I gotta say I love the tube shirt as a skirt, VERY business casual/night out with the girls.

    I had the belly band and LOVED it. It comes in different colors to match the shirts you're wearing. But eventually you become so big you just don't care that your pants don't fit. You just don't get the whole maternity least I never did. I'd rather buy pants in a larger size WITHOUT the elastic band, thanks!!!

  25. Everything about this is amazing and hilarious--especially the Jokerman-fonted "Baby spanx!" I'm dying.

  26. You are looking super cute. Here's what I did: At Target in the maternity section, I bought 2 black and 2 white maternity tank tops. They were really long and basically "extended" the life of all my shirts. The best maternity clothes were from the Gap. Some of their jeans are actually pretty cute. Don't buy maternity shirts. They're so ugly. Just buy a size or two larger. You're gonna be so cute when your belly gets super huge.


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