I stumbled across an article written by Sarah C Lolley, Fashion and Travel Journalist, contributor to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The article was about New York Fashion Week 2010, but what I loved was the story woven into the article – her experience as a pregnant journalist at New York Fashion Week 2010. I love love loved it. Though her life is far more glamorous than mine, I could totally relate to her thoughts and feelings. I sent her an email to give her a digital high-five and she wrote back! I am a total fan of hers now. Down to earth, worldly and overall amazing, Sarah C. Lolley.
1. Wow, you were at fashion week this year in NYC. As a pregnant woman, what was that like?
It was like high school and I was the dowdy nun waddling around the playground.
Truthfully, it was an adventure. Every day I was unsure what I was going to encounter. I was having contractions every time someone brushed up against my belly. Sometimes people got so rude I wanted to pass gas to part the throngs of people waving tickets at the security. This was the same security that held me aside to debate whether or not I was really pregnant or just trying to get a seat. However, most often there were always seats that no one claimed that were offered to me.
Since this is a website dedicated to mommies I will be honest with you… I was in a lot of pain. I had a fissure in my butt, which is far more painful than a hemorrhoid. The week before I had gone to Miami, which was like being a chaperone during Spring Break, and it was about the same time the little boy in my belly really started to play kick ball with my innards. You might say he already broke something.
I was very thankful we booked a hotel a block from Bryant Park. I needed a break between shows to cry.
2. Are you under pressure to constantly dress fashion forward?
Most of the time I dress fashion backwards. I use to cover music and nightlife before I became pregnant in 2007 with my little girl Lyra. The hipster community migrates toward vintage and edgier get-ups. Therefore, my closet looks like a costume department. I still have my junior prom dress, which Marc Jacobs would have loved last year when the 80s came back to haunt us.
The answer is yes and no. I end up buying a lot of the pieces I write about, but I never wear them because my daughter will ruin them when she snuggles into me – or I realize that the look is uncomfortable. I will say that the leggings and over-sized top trend is perfect for this mom. Now if they only offered more variety in pregnancy leggings.
3. What are your favorite maternity pieces?
I never, ever, ever wore sweatpants unless I was sick in bed. Never even to the grocery store. However, when I first became pregnant I discovered black yoga pants. Majamas are my favorite and I have bought them for every friend that has gotten pregnant over the years (I receive no endorsements). To pair with them I go for cotton empire waist dresses that are short enough to look good with leggings or my Majamas.
However, that look was very last pregnancy circa 2008. In the upcoming seasons shirt dresses are the casual go-to look. And since the empire waist is really out (Note: you can find them on the clearance rack at stores purging their inventory), I have gravitated toward silk blend peasant shirt styles that are more comfortable than the stiffer cotton versions. I invested in a few soft wrap-around Obi belts from Taxi CDC (www.taxicdc.com) that I tie just below where my bra hits. It’s the only place left that resembles my waist anyway.
4. As you know, Project Runway winner Christian Siriano designs a line for Moody Mamas maternity brand. Others are following suit. What trends did you see at fashion week do you think will translate into maternity?
I love Christian. He made sure I had a chair with my name on it at his show. I held onto it for dear life while the pretty people talked amongst themselves.
Designers are going back to thinking about the practical need for new clothes, and it makes sense that children and pregnant women NEED new clothes. I have never spent so much money at one time as I did when I first busted out of my skirts at four months pregnant. Another trend affecting the racks is that many working women have a need for clothes that don’t look like pajamas.
The nice thing about the spring and fall season is that the trends are in the sleeves and silhouettes. I am not down with the one-sleeved frocks out there, mainly because I got two fat arms, not one. However, the butterfly ruffles and flounces are feminine details that appear in tunics that can easily translate to mama’s new form. Tye-dye is also in again and Green Dragon has made a maternity line for Pea in a Pod that I discovered during research for a story.
The waistlines have either gone back to the 1940s or have dropped back to the hips with a draping torso like the 1920s. Most of the garments I tried on left me looking like a cave woman because tribal and distressed abstract patterns are also in for spring.
Khaki is also hot this spring and fall, so if you are like me and need a color that goes well with a food stain here and there this is the season for you. Also get yourself a pair of lace-up oxford style shoes. I need some height to my shoes, but I will endanger people around me if I get into a pair like the ones that were at every show I saw in NYC. Anthropologie has a few sculpted pairs that fit the need for balance.
5. How do you balance your jetsetting worklife with home?
This question would assume that I am actually balancing it.
My husband Patrick is from another planet so I have him fooled. Well, up until the point he hired a nanny from his native country Romania to help me.
The answer is “with help.” My father, who is a retired heart surgeon, was my ‘manny’ until recently, but when I would ask him to take Lyra out so I can get some work done he would end up at Popeye’s stuffing trans-fat fried chicken in her. The rest of my family is in Kentucky – eating KFC no doubt.
The other answer is “have a sense of humor, a really big sense of humor.” I travel with Lyra more than most sane people would ever force upon themselves. Patrick and I are haphazard travelers; however, we are learning to be less spontaneous and more prepared. My purse is HUGE and Patrick looks like he was forced into slavery with backpacks strapped to the front and back of his body while pulling two huge suitcases. I am so glad he loves me and hasn’t broken his back yet.
6. Has having children changed the way that you execute your job?
I work from home instead of going into an office. These are my baby years so my phone is my office.
As far as actual work, I can no longer wait until the last minute to do anything. I have intervals of time that I plan to work and if I putz around shopping sample sales online I will lose that window when Lyra wakes up or the nanny goes home. Pre-nanny I use to take Lyra into the office all the time. She is 22-months of curiosity now and is still fascinated with electrical sockets so that doesn’t work any more.
Since I live in a pretty friendly city I take Lyra boutique browsing to check out what the stores will be carrying and I often invite sources I use for story leads over to chat since I live in the city. This means I had to learn to cook – which may also be why my husband got a nanny.
7. You also write for a website. Tell me about it.
In my recent youth I had a blog called the “Toilet Diaries,” which I began before the word blog was in the dictionary. That morphed into a travel site dedicated to the men I met while traveling called the “Misadventures of Sarah do Lolley.” Obviously, I am a grown-up now, but I still needed an outlet for my less formulaic writing pieces.
This past summer the newspaper asked me to film a few broadcast pieces to accompany my travel stories. Most of the material ended up to be a comedy of errors since I have the worst pronunciation of foreign languages. After a summer of trips in Europe and Canada, where I try to speak Canadian, what we ended up with was a series of stories called “American Mom.” I am launching the site before the little boy in my belly arrives in May.
8. What are three travel tips that you can offer to moms?
1) Bring a strong able bodied person with you or learn to pack lighter than me.
2) Always exercise your right to board the plane first. You will need the extra time to sanitize the surrounding seats and window with disinfectant wipes, fold up your stroller, and claim your overhead space.
3) Book a hotel room with lots of space and at least a fridge. While in Miami we decided to stay at a hotel that offered more space and a kitchen for the same price as the “kid friendly” Loews resort. The fridge helps with early rising kids that need breakfast before mama can shower and demand afternoon snacks after nap.
9. When you were a child, is this the life that you thought you would have?
I wanted to be an actress since I was a child. In college I grew away from the acting profession because I had a hard time faking it. The whole idea of faking emotions turned my head to a profession that was dedicated to finding truth in reality.
I never thought I would have kids because I was afraid of corrupting them. I always blamed my parents for my dysfunctional bits. As an adult I forgave my parents, but every man I dated never saw me as the marrying type. Of course, I am so glad none of them worked out. I wouldn’t have met my husband if they had.
I have colleagues and friends that have the career I thought that I would, but I have a home which is much more than I ever imagined it would be.
10. What is next for you?
Birth. For some reason being responsible for a boy makes me nervous. I mean I could barely date them and now I have to raise one! What if he is crazy! It’s my mama’s curse!
To ease my mind I am working on a Diaper Derby Party (a cross between a baby shower and a Derby party) since I am missing it again this year. I love hats and Derby is the season to wear them so it will be hat themed. Then in the late summer I will head out again – maybe to Europe or Canada or plain ole Kentucky.
Isn’t she lovely! Make sure that you check out Sarah’s blog and column. Hopefully she will one day write a book!