Dressing and Maternity Fashion
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Up until this point in the book, I have charted how women coped with the variety of bodily changes that accompany pregnancy and how we might theorise these experiences. In this chapter, I want to begin to think about the ways in which pregnant women manage their bodies and identities through everyday experiences like dressing. In particular, I will focus on the experiential dimensions of buying and wearing maternity clothing for women in my group. This chapter extends my previous discussion about ‘fatness’ to argue that the cultural message that women’s bodies are not permitted to be ‘fat’ or ‘large’ even in pregnancy is stitched into the designs of contemporary western maternity fashion. Here, I also want to discuss the ways in which my participants’ experiences of assembling a pregnancy wardrobe were influenced by maternity retail spaces, and I will suggest some starting points for the description of and critique of the semiotics of these spaces. My discussion in this chapter is complemented by interviews with some of the most well-known and relevant maternity designers in Australia and New Zealand, as well as my own experiences and observations as a ‘shopper’ at maternity boutiques.2
KeywordsPregnant Woman Body Image Bodily Change Shopping Experience Shop Assistant
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