You know those romantic moments in the movies, where the night after a woman stays over at a man’s house, she wakes up and throws on his shirt and sexily lounges in it while they drink coffee and fall in love? Well, it's a real thing: when I first met my husband and I was sleeping over at his house, I'd put on his T-shirts, sweatshirts, and basketball shorts when I woke up. I’m sure I looked ridiculous, but I was falling in love with him, and somehow stealing his wardrobe made me feel closer to him.
When we moved in together, the wardrobe stealing stopped. When I woke up in the morning, I had my own clothes in the drawer, so I didn’t need to wear his to feel comfy. I have a massive collection of cozy clothes — like, probably about fifteen pairs of sweatpants/pajama pants — so I had absolutely no need for comfy clothes.
Then I got pregnant, and everything changed. As I got bigger, I had to borrow my husband's clothes to accommodate my growing belly. Now, I'm still wearing my husband's clothes postpartum, but it no longer feels cute and cozy. It feels frumpy and TBH, I hate it.
When my midsection started growing, waistbands were the first thing to cause problems. I felt so restricted in terms of movement, so I started donning his mesh basketball shorts again. I was able to continue wearing my shirts, and when they threatened to expose my belly, I simply started wearing long tank tops under them. I had always loved the layered look.
Fast forward to a few months after my pregnancy. The extra baby weight lingered, and it continues to linger, 2 years after I gave birth. And I don't feel great about it.
Listen, I used to have a subscription to US Weekly. I know that our culture expects us to leave the hospital after giving birth and suddenly look un-pregnant again. I know I was expected to be at the beach in a 2-piece with a shockingly flat stomach six weeks postpartum. And even though I knew I wasn't a starlet, and that I didn't have the financial resources to afford a gym membership and surgery and a personal trainer, in the back of my mind, I sorta thought maybe this could happen to me.
But nine weeks after giving birth, it was time to return to work and I still couldn’t wear a thing. So I went to Old Navy and dropped $200 on ugly, new clothes with stretchy waistbands. Then my son’s first birthday came and I was still wearing my Old Navy clothes. Then my child turned 2, and I was still wearing them.
At Christmas this past year, my husband’s mother gave us each a pair of holiday-themed pajama pants. Mine had candy canes and my husband's had reindeer. I trembled as I tried them on. As with all new clothing post-baby, I was scared to pull them up, fearful that they wouldn’t fit. I feared the shame of telling someone I was too big, and that the pants would need to be returned.
As it turned out, mine were fine, but his were too small, so he gave them to me. It bothered me, to be perfectly honest. The fact that I was now officially owning clothing ordained for my husband freaked me out. I wouldn’t put them on. They are still sitting in my drawer, and I’m still refusing to wear them.
Wearing my husband's clothes was cute and sexy once, and maybe someday it will be again. But right now, it reminds me that I lost an entire wardrobe when I had my baby.
A few months ago, I woke up, scrambling to get dressed in the dark. I grabbed the nearest thing to me and hoped it would work for my work shift. It was a cream-colored button-down with a light plaid pattern. It was his. I slipped it over my head anyway, to see how it fit. I was so tired, and I just needed something quick. To my surprise, it fit nicely. Loose around my hips and non-constricting around my chest. Oh for God's sake, I guess I’ll wear it, I thought.
The feeling shocked me. House clothes were one thing; I had never even considered wearing one of his work shirts. Now, he comes home nightly and finds me in his T-shirts because mine feel just a little too snug.
Wearing my husband's clothes was cute and sexy once, and maybe someday it will be again. But right now, it reminds me that I lost an entire wardrobe when I had my baby. I also lost quiet time, and sleep, and most of my privacy. I don’t want to pull on his things anymore. I want my wardrobe back — but not because I want a celebrity post-baby body. I want it back for me.