Read the tabloids while standing in line at the grocery store and you will notice that "the bump" is THE best fashion accessory these days. J-Lo has one and so does Angelina. Nicole Richie's has morphed into a full-blown bulge, but look back a few months into the People archives and you'll notices that subtle little bump curving over the top of her low-riders.
First it was heroin chic, then boho chic. Now it seems we've shifted our sartorial focus from the drug addicts and trust-funders to the nascent soccer moms.
Numerous dressing room encounters over the past few months have convinced me that I am not the only woman in America who looks 3-months pregnant in all the latest tops available at the local mall. It appears that some bizarre consortium of designers (no doubt led by the evil Mugatu) got together and decided to take their inspiration from Katherine Heigl's wardrobe in "Knocked Up" and have unleashed a torrent of empire waists and flowing mumu-esque concoctions upon the world.
Having reconciled my recent sexual past and having regained some modicum of my self-esteem, I have conclusively determined I am NOT pregnant and am now left wondering why clothing manufacturers would have me believe otherwise. Sure, it's great to give all those women who are pregnant some additional clothing options, but does our collective fertility have to be called into question as a sacrifice?
While I've never had someone ask me if I've got a bun in the oven when I don't, I can only guess it is an unpleasant and thoroughly embarassing experience. So why force many women (and the general public) into awkward social situations? Is the empire waist garment the stirrup pant or unitard of the new millenium? A cruel joke by the fashion designers to find out just how stupid women are willing to make themselves look? Or, as my cyncial tendencies would have me believe, is it just another example of society forcing women back into their bygone role of barefoot maternity?
We burned our bras in the 1970s protesting those who would try to restrain us. We asserted ourselves and literally took up more room in the 1980s with our shoulder pads, proving we could fight with the "big boys" in the boardroom. Now in the 21st Century the pendulum has swung to the other side with a parade of baby-doll dresses that help women remember the clanging biological clock that we've neglected these past years, what with our careers and ambitions.
As you head out to conquer all those Labor Day sales, be sure to stash your family planning calendar in your ginormous purse, you might need it to determine if that telltale bump is due to bad fashion or an impending bundle of joy.