Pot Belly Etiquette, the sequel

I have been asked in the last 3 weeks exactly 3 times if I am expecting a baby. Which would be all fine and dandy if I were pregnant, however , nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, if you see my last post, I address the issue of my shrivelling reproduction organs.

Now, this has happened before. Everytime, it takes my on a whirlwind voyage to the dark places of self-doubt, where self-esteem is as thin as oxygen on the peak of Mount-Everest. But now that I am old and feeling all reflective, I have decided to investigate further into this matter. Something must be causing them to think I am carrying a baby, my dear Watson!

Here are the facts:
1. 35 years old
2. 5 ft 3″
3. 126 lbs (give or take a few, depending on the day)
4. Tends to carry extra weight in the middle

Here are the theories:
1.People are assholes (my favourite)
2.Boob to belly ratio is off (too small boobs make belly seem larger)
3.Fashion Faux Pas (each time I was wearing either long shirts or dresses with pants-perhaps I should avoid?- will investigate further)
4.The way I stand-I tend to stand with my belly sticking out. Have done this since childhood and have tried to stop with no success.
5. All of the above

Now, in my tiny little brain, I keep thinking there must be a solution to this conundrum. Perhaps a fashion fairy that could appear in a rustling of chiffon and sequins and tell me what to wear to avoid these comments. Or maybe there are some undergarments I need to purchase now that I am 35 and old. Granny underwear that shapes and flattens my abdomen while not squeezing my insides like a yogurt tube (actually, maybe I just need a human size iron- then I could just flatten the offending area- you know, smooth out the creases). Maybe I need to read more Oprah magazine- I was leafing through one at the doctor’s office last week and she seemed to have a solution to everything, including how to wear knit dresses when you are not flat like a pancake. However, it did involve a pretty intense piece of underwear that looked suspiciously like a body cast…

But let’s see what advice the interweb has to offer. I searched google for this phrase: “what to wear when you have a big belly” and these are the first few hits I got:

1. From the answerbag:
Q: If you have a big belly that hangs over the top of your pants should you wear a belly shirt? Especially if your not pregnant?
First A: i think they should just go on a diet…..i saw a man the other day with heaps of tummy overhanging and i seriously felt like i was gonna puke

Hmm. Interesting, but less than helpful as I am not technically overweight.

2. From Yedda.com:
Q: Covering a Big Belly

I hope this gets into the hands of someone who can help. I am 57 years old and overweight. I have a very thick waist and a large belly and large breasts. My legs a slim. I have one total knee replacement and my other knee is bone on bone. I try to exercise three times a week at the local “Y”, but I cannot tame my appetite. 5’61/2″ and 204 pounds. How can I dress to look nice and how can I curb my appetite – especially for sweets? HELP

Not quite my situation now, is it? Moving on… I modified my search at this point as the other results did not look promising. I tried the words “fashion tips big belly”. Here are the results:

1. From Essortment: Fashions that conceal a large belly.

Now that is more like it. Here is what they advise:

  • stay away from jeans that button up at the waist- choose slightly low rise jeans. But…what about the dreaded muffin top, I ask myself in a panic?
  • Choose dresses with empire waist. (are they insane? I wear anempire waist and my boss is going to be asking me when I am taking my maternity leave)
  • “Blouses and dresses that have a side wrap are great belly concealers” –Yeah, I thought so too, but then I was wearing my wrap around dress and someone asked me when I was expecting.
  • “Stay away from any type of dress or shirt that has a lot of detail in the front and center.” Okay- I already do that- I am strictly no frills, no gimmicks when it comes to fashion.

All in all, that was not so helpful. I’ll try one more then give it up and wait longingly for my fashion fairy.

2. From Beauty Cosmetic Guide:

These guys were full of tips. Here are some of them:

  • Skip wide belts, long necklaces, big pins- Check.
  • Skip tucked-in blouses, cropped tops, belted jackets-Check.
  • Vertical stripes give the illusion of slimness, but watch out – horizontal stripes do the opposite.-Hate wearing patterns so no check ever.
  • Any vertical detailing is your friend, as is anything with a knot-front which rests just over the stomach.- I have to say, don’t know what they mean so no check.
  • Wear tunic-style tops and sweaters; they’re flattering, yet spacious. Select square shape jackets, as they are roomy and cover the stomach.-This just seems wrong. Tunic style? Like Moomoos? And square shape? I am skeptical…
  • If your hips and thighs are less than svelte, skip leggings, big patterns below the belt, narrow trousers-Duh.
  • Never wear anything shiny over an area you are trying to hide.-I try to avoid shininess like the plague, so check.

The problem is, I can’t seem to visualise any of this and nobody is giving me images. I need somebody to take me shoping, tell me exactly what works and what never to buy. I need a fashion fairy. Sigh.

2 thoughts on “Pot Belly Etiquette, the sequel

  1. 1. stop thinking of it as granny underwear. They call it “spanx” now. 35 has a little to do with it, but you think those svelte figures of the 1940s and 1950s were not heavily mechanized underneath?

    2. Never wear dresses with pants. Ever. I didn’t understand this when people first started doing it in the pages of Sassy ca 1989 (a magazine that ladies of my generation apparently thought was “edgy”)and I still don’t understand it. This has nothing to do with your problem, I just think it is a very bad look for everyone.

    3. people are stupid fucks. and they should be told they are being stupid fucks. I am personally fed up with that whole “but they mean well” excuse. No. People who ask ignorant questions deserve to be told. Unfortunately, I am usually too flabbergasted or momentarily confused (did she really just say that?) to call people on their idiocy. (nothing to do with body issues lately, but there’s a whole whack of idiocy out there when it comes to suicide stuff….)

    I’ve said it before and apparently I’m saying it again, but I hope you made those idiots feel like complete and utter shit.

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