Thursday, April 21, 2005

Buying maternity clothes from men

I finally broke down and went shopping for maternity clothes last week. Rigging the fly of my jeans with a rubber band through the button hole was just not working anymore. I’m not big on shopping, even in the US, but I was feeling like an oversized slob in all my pre-pregnancy clothes. Gathering my courage, I headed out to a women’s clothing store down our street, next to our favorite juice shop, that often has maternity clothes in their display window.

Strangely, all the workers at the small store were male. But it seemed to me that the other Arab women shopping paid no attention to this. They came out of the dressing room – there was only one – and preened in front of their friends and the onlooking salesman like normal. I was having trouble approaching the decidedly Arab male just to ask about a size.

But as it turned out, sizes didn’t matter anyway. Most of the shirts I looked at were marked as “standard.” When I finally gathered the guts to ask the salesman about it, he explained that it was basically one-size-fits-all. Hmm.

What was also interesting about the clothes is that they were all very hijab-friendly. In other words, they fit the standards of women who wear the veil. That means high necklines or collars, long, loose sleeves, a decidedly non-form-fitting torso, and plenty of fabric to cover your bottom. This was fine with me – the more modestly you dress around here, the less you get hassled by local males. But unfortunately, the hijab-friendly styles mixed with one-size-fits-all meant that some of the shirts looked more like dresses on me.

Finally, I found a few shirts that were actually sized, and very cute. And the bottom-covering feature is a big plus. It’s at least a small deterrent to the would-be oglers.

I decided that if I’m feeling really brave, I’ll get around to going shopping for a bra. There are these things that Jeremy and I call bra-mobiles that appear on the streets in the evening. They’re just large, flat carts piled with a random assortment of bras, peddled by a male. Now that will take some courage.

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