01 April 2007

skinny jean/skinny pregnancy

This is a great view from Liz Lange maternity wear. I posted about LL back in December when I was doing some research in New York. It just so happened that as I was flicking through the channels, I came upon a show about famous American business people and Liz was one of the panelists, revealing the secrets of her multi million dollar maternity fashion house. Now Liz Lange is bringing high fashion to the masses by dressing pregnant women across America in Target stores in a sort of democratisation of maternity wear. Now people that buy LL maternity wear from her stores know that high style does not come cheaply...until now. The pieces produced for Target stores (as you can see in the video) are beautifully presented, clean cut and sold at a much lower price point than in typical LL retail stores. However, in watching the video, I got the sense that although Lange is now dressing a wide range of American women, she still has the middle-upper class mother in mind. I mean Lange says 'Every baby needs to have these cashmere blankets...Hello? I can't afford cashmere for myself. How many women out there are actually splurging on luxury items for babies outside of NYC??

Also, in her ode to the 'skinny jean' at the start of the program, I kept thinking to myself, 'How many women do you see at Target buying skinny jeans even when they are not pregnant?' Surely, it's a good look for a pregnant model and if your legs don't change size because all of your weight gain is concentrated in one area. This just contributes to my theory about the cult of the skinny pregnancy (and this is especially prominent in NY and LA) where women can still be a size 0 even when they're pregnant.* Lange actually mentioned in the TV show I was watching in NY that they had to start making smaller sizes to cater to the 'petite' woman. I've actually been told of similar trends happening here in Melbourne by a few popular designers (such that certain high fashion, high fitness preggos are requiring their size 0s even during the pregnancy and are being forced to have certain items of clothing custom made as a result). Am I crazy? Does anyone think skinny jeans are just the slighest bit ridiculous when you are trying to grow another human being? Who wants to shove their body into denim (that is already uncomfortable when you're not pregnant) albeit 'skinny' leg denim after consistently putting on weight for 9 months?

It's like imprisonment for your bump. Women's bodies are forced to be contained enough just in normal life. Why corral the pregnant body into more restrictive clothing just because the rest of our culture is so freaked out by women taking up space (and that goes for overweight women as well)?

*In saying this, I'm not trying to say that all women need to gain heaps of weight in pregnancy in order to be 'real' pregnant women or to have an 'authentic' experience. Sure, there are women out there who don't gain much weight, are naturally a size 0 and have nothing to be ashamed of. That's fine, more power to them. I'm making a statement about the majority of the women in the world who are on average a size 12-14 even before they are pregnant and who haven't worn skinny jeans since the 7th grade (and even then, it wasn't really a good look).

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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.