Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

Celebrities who are reinventing maternity style

Mood swings. Swollen joints. Pregnancy is one of the most complex and intricate processes that the human body can experience. While preparing for a new life, expecting mothers face rapid changes to their bodies that can often lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction in their own skin.

Historically, maternity wear has not been stylish or trendy. Expecting mothers usually have a choice between glorified sweats or oversized versions of out-of-date clothing items. Recently, figures in Hollywood have shown that not only can maternity wear be cute, but aesthetics do not have to be sacrificed for comfort. 

Historically, misogyny used maternity wear as a tool for shaming women

Fashion is a form of self-expression; the idea of "cliques," like the popular kids, goths and hippies has taught us how clothing is used to categorize and discriminate. Maternity wear is no different. 

During the mid-1800s, the maternity corset was introduced to expecting mothers. Pregnancy during this time was seen as a social taboo. Women were meant to be paragons of virtue; obedience and gentleness were the defining characteristics of the perfect woman. Anything that remotely pointed to a woman being anything opposite of those characteristics — especially women engaging in sexual activities — was not welcomed. 

Maternity corsets made a woman's pregnancy virtually invisible and concealed baby bumps, otherwise, which would otherwise cause people discomfort for the implications it had on a woman's sexual history. This was a dangerous ideology that led to many women suffering health complications because of tight lacing. 

Social norms in fashion have always been challenged. The restrictive wear of expecting women would be dared in the late nineteenth century. A revolution in how pregnancy and expecting mothers were viewed came; the dismantling of social and private spheres saw pregnant women no longer hiding in their homes to conceal their condition. 

In 1904, a Lithuanian immigrant woman named Lena Himmelstein Bryant Malsin opened a clothing store named "Lane Bryant" after a bank officer misspelled her name on her bank account. Malsin garnered a reputation for making stylish and comfortable maternity wear, providing maternity dresses with adjustable drawstrings to adjust to an expecting mother's growing figure. 

Page Boy came in the late 1930s to give Lane Bryant a run for its money. With the slogan "Have a pretty pregnancy," Page Boy dominated the maternity fashion market for over five decades with high-profile clients like Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor. 

It grew famous because of its famous "scooped-out" skirt, which was close-fitting around the hips without hiking up in the front. 

Even as pregnancy became more acceptable, laws protecting pregnant women from discrimination would not be made for four decades. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in 1978 and prevented employers from wrongfully firing and withholding benefits from pregnant women. With it also came the stagnancy of maternity wear.  

Pregnancy doesn't have to be a hindrance to fashion

In the past year, maternity fashion has smashed social norms. In an article for CNN, writer Leah Dolan remarked on the explosive effect Rihanna's bold wardrobe has had on the fashion expectations of pregnant women: 

"The timeline of maternity fashion evolution now exists in two parts: Before Rihanna and After Rihanna," said Dolan. "Until the superstar multi-hyphenate revealed she was expecting her first child in January 2022, bumps were often seen as unwieldy shapes to be concealed — slimmed down in all-black or obscured with busy prints."

Celebrities often conform to conservative maternity fashion norms, replacing their regular fashion styles with modest, loose-fitting garments. 

Rihanna flaunted her baby bump through both pregnancies, showing pride in her changing body. She continues to wear her everyday clothing style, showing that pregnancy doesn't have to stop you from dressing as yourself. 

The new wave of maternity fashion sparked by Rihanna has seen an emphasis on baby bumps. Rihanna's bedazzling and bejeweling of her bump and wearing of crop tops and low-rise jeans have inspired many to wear their pregnancy with pride. 

Suki Waterhouse is another expecting mother who has made waves with her maternity fashion. Waterhouse sparked headlines at the 2023 Primetime Emmy Awards with a beautiful red Valentino gown. The gown sparked attention due to its bold cutouts, exposing Waterhouse's sides and back. 

Waterhouse's style has virtually stayed the same during her pregnancy, rocking daring cuts, bright colors, bold patterns and a mirage glitter. Through her help, the white crop top and black silk midi skirt combo continue to thrive.

Many women today are proud of their bumps. R&B singer-songwriter and dancer Ciara shows the myriad of clothing options pregnant women have in a video showcasing looks from her photoshoot.

The video captioned, "I couldn't go to fashion week and turn up, so I brought fashion week to me!" has garnered over 792k views on TikTok. The video gained the attention of Vogue in which Ciara expresses her intentional showcase of her baby bump: "You really can't go around the bump—So I was like, 'Let's bump it all the way.'"

In the age of the MeToo Movement, it is only fair that we see women express their autonomy in outdated domains. Maternity fashion has evolved and seen changing expectations. Pregnancy should not compromise individuality for comfort. Celebrities are pushing back on social norms, showing that you can still embrace your individuality while pregnant. 


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH