Summer 2015

If Loving Fall Makes Me Basic, Then I Guess That's What I Am

I look forward to fall every year. If I could, I would wear leggings and sweaters everyday. I really love boots (even though very rarely do they fit my legs correctly). I covet scarves and thick knitted socks and cable knit sweaters. I run a stupidly popular Fall-themed tumblr blog. I anxiously wait for Pumpkin Spice Latte season at Starbucks (but not because I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes). I just really love Fall and I always have. 

Loving fall seems to have become a bit of a "thing" recently. Perhaps it's the spread and scope of the internet, or the fact that we are all vaguely competing with each other via social media over who has the most covetable life, but it just seems that people say "I'm SO excited for Fall" way more than they used to. There are whole groups of "Fall people" who I never would have labeled as fall people previously. Having known them since high school or college, I would have thought they purely lovers to the spring or summer, sun worshippers who function best in teeny-tiny shorts and tank tops. 

My love of fall stems from two things: my utter contempt for the summer and my birthday. My birthday is October 20, so I'm firmly "team fall" when it comes to the best time of year for birthdays. And I've always hated summer. Recently, I finally decided that the reason I always hated summer was because summer time was a stretch of three months of loneliness for me as a kid. Going to private school in a different town from where I lived meant I couldn't really just pop over to my friends for a visit. This might mean that in a summer, I might see my friends once, if at all, in that long stretch of three months--which meant I started every single school year feeling like the new kid. Being lonely during the summer was part of who I was, just another part of my personality. Summer's sucked, but fall meant friendships again. 

Get Off My Internets famously has a forum where bloggers are called out for who mentions fall earliest. I actually think this is hilarious because some people start prepping for fall in, like, July. As much as I'd like to be one of those people, I just physically can't and the idea of publicly discussing my desire for fall seems to edge on the side of "too much." 

Loving fall has become one of the checkboxes of being basic. Do you love leggings, Uggs/boots, and Starbucks? Well then, you might just be basic. 

This puts fall lovers who are perhaps not basic at heart in a strange position: how can you celebrate the start of September (the meteorological start of fall) without being annoyingly basic? 

The fact is, in the age of the internet, you can't. If you love fall, there is always going to be a summer lover glaring at you as you unpack Halloween decorations on September 1st, 12:01am, and pull your sweaters out of storage. There is always going to be one person who wonders why you can't just appreciate the season that's happening. There's always going to be one Debbie Downer, or one person who hates autumn, or one person who just doesn't like seeing other people excited. It doesn't make them bad. Just like loving fall, and wearing boot socks in 90-degree September weather, doesn't make you crazy. 

There is also one important thing to remember: it's ok to like things, even if they're kind of lame. I fully admit my love for fall, for salted caramel mochas from Starbucks (yes, I know they are about 85% syrup; yes, I know they contain about a day's worth of calories; no, I do not care, they taste amazing), for off-brand Uggs, for boot socks and leggings and sweaters. I rush into fall because it's my favorite season and if that makes me basic, then I guess I'm pretty basic... but at least I'm having fun, right? 

On Pregnancy & Style

Maybe you know (and then, maybe you don't), I used to be pretty into fashion. I had a very specific style; I took outfit photos; I maintained a fashion blog. I was into it the way some people are into baking. I curated my wardrobe; I mixed and matched; I kept a notebook full of outfit ideas; I wrote down at least three outfit combinations before I bought a new item. I was dedicated. 

And then, one day, it stopped. At first, I stopped liking how I looked in outfit photos, but I kept dressing up everyday because I enjoyed it and I had the clothes. As time passed, my body changed and my carefully selected wardrobe started to not fit quite right. More time passed and everything fit even less. 

I ended up in a deep rut where my wardrobe made me deeply unhappy (but the thought of getting rid of anything literally felt painful). I put everything in boxes and replaced it with, essentially, sweaters, leggings, and flowy tops. I didn't feel stylish, but I felt I could at least come across as cute or passable most days. 

Then I got pregnant. 

Pregnancy makes you treat, and look at, your body in a completely different way. No longer is that pizza on a Friday night just sustaining you; a good portion of it is being siphoned into a tiny human being that is growing bones, a brain, and organs. No matter what you do, your body is going to change and it's going to be very obvious to other people (even if they don't know you're pregnant). 

I will never be one to be preachy about treating your body like a temple. Truly, your temple is what you chose it to be: that could mean it's a salad bar or it could mean it's a rave. Who knows? It's your body/temple/whatever. And I don't think pregnancy really changes that (except in the case of drinking and smoking). I will fully admit to demanding Taco Bell at least once a week, sometimes more. I will also fully admit that some days all I drink is Diet Pepsi (I'm so sorry about the aspartame, Forrest). To a certain extent, pregnancy is such a stressful time otherwise that to try and stop yourself from craving the things you want when you're ravenously hungry is just another building block of being miserable. No one likes the mean pregnant lady, that's for sure. 

All I'm saying is: being pregnant changes how you view your body, and yet, there is no stopping or changing it. No amount of salads or sweet potatoes or kale is going to stop your body shape from changing, your waist from thickening, your abdominal muscles from separating to accommodate your fancy, improved uterus. 

Since getting pregnant, I have thought a lot about clothes. From the very start, you know your body is going to undergo a monumental shift, but you don't really know how or when. The knowledge is there, but the important part is the details and that's what really matters. You try to prepare the best way you can. For me, this meant making a truly bizarre decision to try not to buy maternity clothes. This didn't work, obviously, because I'm wearing maternity pants right now

A little less than 3 weeks ago, all my shirts were suddenly tight in a place where they hadn't been before (that is, across the belly). My pants could no longer button (but, brilliantly, still fit everywhere else). Most important, I could wear my leggings, but the cutting in of the waistband was torture. I had to do something. 

I bought maternity jeans and maternity leggings. I bought a maternity dress. I bought a pair of somewhat dorky maternity cargo pants. I bought extra long tank tops at Target for summer.

The unifying factor of all of these decisions? I bought them, ultimately, out of desperation for something to wear that wasn't my uncomfortable leggings. I didn't buy them necessarily for max cuteness or because they fit my style. In fact, they really don't. 

But part of that desperation was the desire to look better. It's true: I could wear sweatpants and baggy t-shirts for 9 months and call it good (and considering my workplace, this is entirely possible). But I started to realize if I dressed nice everyday (maybe not stylish, maybe not perfectly) I would feel a lot better about the fact that I was slowly becoming more spherical. If nothing else, if I looked pulled together, I would feel less like people were judging me (because my baby bump only really looks like a baby bump if you know I'm pregnant). 

Personal style is a tricky subject to begin with. Some people have an effortless style that they fall into without having to do much work for it--there is no curation for them, no hours of trying on items. Some people are on the opposite spectrum, never quite achieving the look they want and never really knowing where to start. Pregnancy can make things more difficult, with different sizes and larger price tags, for both sides of that spectrum. 

I actually started a Pinterest board to give myself ideas when I feel like pulling a WFH and wearing my Batman onesie the whole day. (As an aside, I love the bloggers who start doing "How to Dress for Pregnancy!" pins at like 8 weeks with their perfectly flat stomachs. Just wait, guys. Just wait.)

Mostly though, while I work my way through pregnancy, I want to try to improve my self-image to be the best it can be--baby bump and all.