What if I just carry a cat around and hold it in front of my stomach?
June 12, 2012 2:55 AM   Subscribe

Can I get help finding clothes (that I can order online) to hide this pregnancy I'm trying to keep unannounced as long as possible?

I'm about nine weeks pregnant with my second, but for all of the usual reasons am not announcing until twelve weeks, or at minimum, after a CVS which I get in two weeks.

I have to hide it every day, but in particular I have a dinner with grandma and grandpa next Monday and I don't want to get them all jacked up if, as Tina Fey says, what I'm actually pregnant with is a ball of fingers (I'm 42.) I also suspect they are on pregnancy high alert as I think that's their natural state.

I'm 5'4, short waisted, with boobs that are normally pretty big but are now in a size competition with my head. My stomach doesn't show much in the AM, but by the time five o'clock rolls around and I've eaten breakfast and lunch it is clear I'm either pregnant or sitting out in the backyard every night with a weekender of Bud.

Can you help? I need non-obviously maternity clothing or regular clothing that is empire waisted or some such, and made of some reasonably substantial material -- not the wispy drapey stuff everything seems made of now, unless it's some kind of complicated stomach-hiding wrap waist.

Needs to be something I can order off The Internet. I work in a casual office and typically dress in decent fitted t-shirts, jeans, and heels. I like gauzy/lacey sweaters.

(If I wind up having a miscarriage or something we'll just pretend we never had this talk, okay?)
posted by A Terrible Llama to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (28 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite



On phone, congrats & good luck.
posted by tilde at 3:06 AM on June 12, 2012

A good friend of mine tried to hide her pregnancy at work into the fifth month (because her contract was coming up for renewal and her boss had a habit of not renewing contracts of pregnant women, so as to avoid paying maternity leave.) She basically wore spanx, and it worked pretty well.

In my never-been-pregnant experience, empire waists are designed to make even non-pregnant people look pregnant. My mother always asks when I wear something like that, and my belly is not really at al pregnant looking otherwise.

It really depends on whether you are trying to avoid them asking in the first place, which I assume is the case, or whether you are able/willing to lie outright if they do ask. I think an empire waist has a high chance of them asking, whereas spanx or something else that just pulls it in for the night might let you get away with it without them wondering at all.
posted by lollusc at 3:13 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

In my never-been-pregnant experience, empire waists are designed to make even non-pregnant people look pregnant.

I think some empire waists are fine, but I agree with this if you're going to be with people who are looking for you to be pregnant. Another option might be a ruffled top like this - these are everywhere at the moment - and a loose, drapey cardigan like this. That's a lot of distraction going on around the front of you, a lot of fabric that moves, and they're trendy now, so it wouldn't look like you were necessarily wearing anything too different. Also if you have good legs, you could wear a skirt or tighter pants to draw attention there instead.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 3:36 AM on June 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

How about a drape cardigan? They hang in the front and the extra material will help hide bulk. If it's in a heavier knitted material it will particularly hide your shape. It needs to be generously cut so that you have enough material in the front. Something with a pattern like this will be even more distracting. This one is cute too. Don't get one with a belt, that will just draw attention to your waist. If you get one in good quality you can wear it forever and it will be a staple wardrobe piece. I'd wear it with a very plain black shirt.

I agree with lollusc that "empire" anything just screams "pregnant" to me. It will make your boobs look even bigger as well.

Also, how about sparkly earrings/necklace to keep the focus on your face? Keep the rest of your outfit comparatively blah.

Also - In the past I've noticed that pregnant women tend to sit differently as well as hover their hands on their tummy/lower lap area. This is how I twinged quite a few of my co-workers were pregnant weeks before they announced. Honestly, I think they do it without noticing so try to keep your posture upright and your hands on the table :)

And congratulations & best of luck.
posted by like_neon at 3:50 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Skinny jeans or smart looking leggings and baggier jumpers?

Something like this and this if you can get away with it!
posted by emilyw at 4:04 AM on June 12, 2012

How to hide a tummy
posted by leigh1 at 4:05 AM on June 12, 2012

Jumping in to agree with like_neon about being aware of where your hands are. I figured out that one of my teammates was expecting earlier this year because of her (subconscious) Hands Across My-womb-ica, weeks before she actually told me.

(And, may I add at the risk of derail, she has not stopped touching her belly since... and GOOD LORD it is distracting and slightly yucky, even for someone who has had two kids myself.)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:17 AM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Definitely a loose drape-y cardigan. I got a bunch of 'em at Target recently in a variety of colors simply because they help hide the little extra pudge I've got around the midsection without making me look like I'm trying to hide my pudge (if that makes sense). My son is 15mos old, but with the weight I gained while breastfeeding (and summarily eating for six people at every single meal), I look like I'm about twelve weeks preggo in the wrong clothes.

Empire waist is going to SCREAM preggo, as will a maxi dress. If I were in your situation, I would get some spanx and a loose tunic-y top to wear with my normal skirts/leggings. I normally wear skirts, which are a bit more forgiving in the waist department being that an elastic waisted skirt is more fashionable than its pants equivalent.

Good luck! And if they hint at anything, just claim that it's a food-baby from the giant lunch you had.
posted by sonika at 4:27 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm carrying a bit of extra weight around my tummy at the moment (not a baby, thankfully - I'm too old and cranky to go through that again), and my new favourite article of clothing is this tunic.

I usually wear it with leggings and funky eyecatching boots and a 'statement' necklace or earrings. They also offer the draped cardigan styles that other people have suggested.

I don't know if the postage would be quick enough from Malaysia to you, but it might give you some ideas.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:39 AM on June 12, 2012

I hid my pregnancies until the sixth/seventh month with the help of big boobs and cardigans. Maybe try a different bra (like a balconette) that brings your boobs up and out and in comparison your tummy will look smaller, especially hidden by a cardie or shawl. Also, get your hair did. Something a little dramatic so the focus will be on how you look different in a good way and you won't be throwing off mummy vibes.
posted by saucysault at 4:41 AM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am 27 weeks today, and I didn't show for a very long time. Things that made it less obvious: dark or black shirts. Cardigans over them were good, Loft has some short sleeve ones right now.

Thing that made rude coworkers guess I was pregnant at nine weeks, even though I didn't look pregnant at all: empire waist.
posted by smalls at 4:45 AM on June 12, 2012

I highly recommend loose fitting, patterned tops (especially in dark colors) to help disguise the belly with a statement jewelery (necklace or earrings) to keep the focus away from your belly. With a loose fitting top, skinny jeans or leggings, pencil skirt even out the look as the top is loose and the bottom isn't so you don't look big.

(Congrats!! Good luck!!)
posted by xicana63 at 4:50 AM on June 12, 2012

Definitely tighter clothing (spanx, leggings) under looser clothing.
posted by two lights above the sea at 5:11 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Go to Nordstrom and get a good, expensive bra. That will help reign in the the girls. I think that once you have that covered, some layering that everyone else has suggested will take care of the rest.

Congrats! Good Luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:26 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and agreed on the cut (maybe color, too!)
posted by tilde at 5:41 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cap-sleeved jacket dress? And a great bra.

Also, yay! Congratulations! Wishing you good health and good news.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:45 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I always look to movie star characters and how they hide their pregnancies on the show. I've noticed loose-fitting flowy tops with pattern WITH A BLAZER. The blazer hides the side-profile belly, and the loose-pattern detracts from a baby bump form.

Best of luck to you! (I love your Tina Fey quote.)
posted by shortyJBot at 6:36 AM on June 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

In terms of movie star / famous characters and how they hide pregnancies, another thing to do is to think about padded bras. It makes your chest/stomach ratio keep the same keel, so while they might think that you're gaining a bit of weight, they won't necessarily assume pregnancy.

One way to help with this is to think about ways women traditionally hide non-pregnancy stomach weight - all of these apply, including patterns, wearing darker colors, wearing skirts that show hips and make it look as though there's less waist, etc.
posted by corb at 8:05 AM on June 12, 2012

Agreeing with many of the others - get a good bra, and wear a dark top with a lighter top or sweater over it.

Or, you CAN wear an empire waist and go for the "Yeah, I guess this top makes me look pregnant! Har har!" routine to really throw them off. Like The Purloined Letter - hide that baby in plain sight.

Whatever you do, keep your hands off your belly, and be prepared with some cute pregnancy denial if you are asked outright ["I know, I AM looking a little heavier. I gained some weight this spring, etc etc"], because all the right clothes won't work if your reply is to stammer and babble.

Wishing you the best news!
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 8:56 AM on June 12, 2012

For the last 10 years, I have been unhappy with my belly fat, so I've tried to hide it. I mostly wear loose-fitting polo shirts or T-shirts (the kind that you buy in men's sizes) and Sport Knit Pants from Lands End. These are not tight-fitting around the belly. You want stuff that comes in sizes like small, medium, and large, not stuff that comes in numbered sizes, because the stuff that comes in SML sizes is less likely to be close-fitting. These clothes are very comfortable, as well.

I'm 31 weeks pregnant now, and you wouldn't necessarily know I was pregnant from looking at me when I am dressed, if I hadn't told you. I'm not deliberately hiding my pregnancy- it's just a side effect of how I dress to hide my belly fat.
posted by Anne Neville at 8:58 AM on June 12, 2012

I'm very busty and anything empire waisted (which, irritatingly due to height and boobage, a lot of dresses which are supposed to sit round the waist turn into) will make me look pregnant.

I think a trapeze shaped top would work - one that's meant to skim the bust and kind of hang off it. Here's one. They are apparently fashionable at the moment so you won't look strange. They don't suit me, but they might be more camoflaging than a tunic top/.
posted by mippy at 9:20 AM on June 12, 2012

Tight t-shirt, tight leggings or jeans, drapey cardigan. Congratulations! Hooray, more babies!
posted by thinkpiece at 9:23 AM on June 12, 2012

Be careful of suddenly changing your style of clothing to hide the bump too much. That's how I figured out my SIL was pregnant the first time, she suddenly went from tight cute little dresses to baggy tops and the like to hide the bump and her body language changed.

I had a friend hide a pregnancy up to her 4 month point as she got pregnant before her wedding and didn't want to freak out her parents. She wore a girdle pretty much the whole time (this was before spanx), spanx I imagine would work, though I probably wouldn't wear them all the time they would help for the dinner on Monday if nothing else.
posted by wwax at 9:23 AM on June 12, 2012

Both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hid their pregnancy/post-baby bellies with blazers, so I'll nth shortyJBot's answer! Also, chunky and distracting jewelry will keep eyes drawn upward to your face. Don't go for the baggy sweats - they make you look like the girl who got pregnant in high school and tried to hide it under her boyfriend's sports jerseys.

Also, just FYI to anyone who is giving advice about how they successfully hid their first pregnancies until months 7 or 8 - the second (and third, etc) pregnancy will show a LOT sooner because the mother's abdominal muscles have already split. I know women who barely looked pregnant with their first child until the 3rd trimester, but baby #2 will pop out all obvious-like around month 3!
posted by zoomorphic at 10:11 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

First off, congratulations! I'm not quite 12 weeks preg. with baby #2, and 40, 5'2, so um...I hear ya! And definitely showing in some of my outfits, if you knew me and were looking for that sort of thing. A couple weeks ago when I felt like I needed 1 outfit pulled together casual outfit for these next few weeks until I could let it all hang out, I got a shirt from Nordstrom from this brand, I don't see the exact shirt in this search, but it might still be in a local store...and some of these look promising. it was a light weight cardigan that tied in the middle, it had a very loose drapey look to it (without overwelming me), and with a cami underneath to smooth things out, a pair of capris and heels no one was any wiser. I think a tunic with a highwaisted belt might do a good disguise as well, I did that post preg last time.
posted by snowymorninblues at 3:10 PM on June 12, 2012

Is it possible to have an in-the-know person, perhaps a significant other, speak with the grandparents before Monday? "A Terrible Llama's gained a bit of weight and is self-conscious about it - please don't bring it up!" True, and you're not lying outright.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:48 PM on June 12, 2012

I'm 5'2" and a bit more curvy than I should be. I have a few dresses like this from Target and get a lot of compliments. The V neck draws the eyes to your boobs and the gathering pulls in your waist.
posted by jmd97 at 6:28 PM on June 12, 2012

This was incredibly helpful everybody. Thank you. I'm going to go to the mall today--turns out I get to travel for a meeting tomorrow with people I see rarely, so it's all the more important I figure out how to hide this without looking schlumpy.

I won't actually lie to anyone, just because I don't want it in my track record at work. If anyone asks directly we're planning to say 'Well, if she were, it would be too early to tell anyone.' And let them have at it so at least we wouldn't be beholden to tell them if something went badly.

Some of these clothes are things I wouldn't normally wear, actually, like blazers, so it's actually going to be kind of fun to go try them on. I'm not too worried about people noticing a change -- the ones who might notice aren't the ones I'm worried about putting two and two together, the ones at work I am worried about noticing are guys and don't have the world's most finely tuned pregnant lady radar. Grandma could notice, so I'll be sure to fire a fluffy shirt and drapey sweater in her direction.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:10 AM on June 13, 2012

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