A knockout blow to knocked up confidence
While pregnant, I remember gazing at the slim, lissome models in the posh maternity wear catalogues and wondering if they were going to give birth to a basketball instead of a baby.
Those graceful elongated elks seemed to inhabit an enchanted forest a world away from mine. They wore clothes I couldn’t afford to buy. They were tall, slim and had beautiful round compact baby bellies. I was short, squat, perspiring, and afflicted with varicose veins in unmentionable places.
But it never occurred to me that these catalogue women posing in the chocolate Toorak wrap dress ($269.99), the Point Piper aqua tee ($69.99) or the Double Bay print pant ($99.99) were not actually pregnant.
In fact, it’s a relief to discover that many of Australia’s leading maternity fashion houses commonly use non-pregnant models with a prosthetic bump stuffed up their shirts (a $129.99 Peppermint Grove cotton waffle weave of course).
As I report in today’s Herald Sun, designers say maternity models are hard to come by, despite the fact that there’s now an Australian modeling agency offering nothing but expectant models.
It’s a relief because I realise now that the pregnant women that made me feel frumpy and inferior were almost certainly faking it.
It’s a total con because the shape of even slim women change when they are pregnant.
Even if you don’t put on much weight, your boobs fill out and your hips become more curvy. (That’s if you’re lucky: most pregnant women retain more water than the average camel, get ankles the size of boab trunks, and wave goodbye to their shoelaces at the start of the fifth trimester.)
As Amanda Cox from the brilliant website realmums.com.au told me yesterday, the glam look of these models “does not reflect the mismatched, elastic-waist pyjama look that is the reality” for most pregnant women. Too right.
Women are really sick of looking at pictures of women in the media that have been digitally altered without acknowledgment, and this is no different.
Maternity houses using non-pregnant women as models should be encouraged to declare their deception for the mental health of all of their customers.
In any case, you’d think that using real pregnant women would be a good marketing strategy and basic commonsense.
If they started using real women and sold a few more clothes, they might be able to bring down the cost of the garments. This might mean they could start naming the clothing ranges after suburbs we can actually afford to live in for a change.
When you see the Broadmeadows maternity sundress ($7.99) or the Paramatta crop pant ($11.99), we’re probably getting somewhere.
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