Actress Blake Lively, who gave birth to her third child, shook up the
fashion industry’s façade — unrelenting beauty standards which stress on being slim — when she spoke about her body insecurities and the frustration of not being able to fit into designer sample sizes anymore
During the pandemic, a lot of celebrities and couples announced their lockdown pregnancy and childbirth on social media. From Anushka Sharma–Virat Kohli, Kareena Kapoor Khan–Saif Ali Khan and Gigi Hadid–Zayn Malik to Princess Eugenie–Jack Brooksbank, many more famous people are actively sharing their pregnancy and postpartum experiences with photoshoots and baby photos online.
And many are going ga-ga about Anushka Sharma getting back to her ‘super slim’ body.
However, it was actress Blake Lively, who gave birth to her third child recently, that shook up the fashion industry’s façade — unrelenting beauty standards which stress on being slim/size zero — when she spoke about her body insecurities and the frustration of not being able to fit into designer sample sizes anymore.
Before appearing on a popular TV show, she wrote on Instagram, “I put together a @lanvinofficial shirt and dress from @netaporter to make this pretty outfit. Because no one had samples that fit me after giving birth. And so many clothes from stores didn’t fit either. So. Many. It doesn’t send a great message to women when their bodies don’t fit into what brands have to offer. It’s alienating and confusing. And I wish I felt as confident then as I do now, a year later looking back. That body gave me a baby. And was producing that baby’s entire food supply. What a beautiful miracle. But instead of feeling proud, I felt insecure. Simply because I didn’t fit into clothes. How silly that is in retrospect. (sic).”
Bridging the gap
Ironically, the fashion and beauty industry adheres to a very limited audience by restricting the samples to particular body size. For instance, the old maternity clothes for nursing mothers are usually too big to wear while the new ones, too tight, so finding the right fit especially for special occasions is a challenge.
Vrinda Monga, founder of maternity wear label Bumploving, informs us about the market of post-maternity clothing. “The journey to motherhood is like none other, and one can never be prepared enough to embrace everything that accompanies it with positivity,” says Vrinda. “Just like every individual is different, everybody’s journey to wellness ought to be different. And we believe that in these times, it is most important to understand what your body needs.”
The entrepreneur goes on to point out that the inception of her brand was based on the underrated maternity style in India. “The Indian maternity wear market is flooded with brands merely focusing on basics and inferior quality products to meet price points. As a result, mums-to-be scale up their sizes, buying products from regular wear brands to keep up with their style and latest trends. While these garments have room for two they are not wearable postpartum,” adds Vrinda. “We understood this gap in the market and decided to focus on seasonal collections of fashion-focused maternity wear in luxe fabrics, which empower women to love their figure with clothing that fits and flatters their form.”
For decades, the fashion industry has defined style for every era, subconsciously controlling what people wear and how they wear it. While a lot of women out there love fashion, they struggle to find clothes that fit their bodies and work with their style. Shaan Shah, COO of Freakins, seems to understand the identity issue such approach causes. “There is a significant gap in terms of having only skinny models and making clothes that look good only on skinny women.
This makes it difficult for women of all sizes to look at pictures online and imagine how it would look on them,” he remarks. “Mothers have essentially given birth to a new life, and worrying about their sizes shouldn’t be their concern — it should be ours. Since new mothers already take time to get used to their new ‘every day’, choosing comfortable clothes that look stylish shouldn’t be an added trouble in their day’s activities. They must feel good, look good and we are trying to bridge this gap between inclusivity, trends and affordability.”
Pointing out how fashion and comfort go hand in hand, Shaan talks about brands not only producing clothes in larger sizes, but also focusing on creating quality clothes in the same array of styles, comfort and functionality, as are available to other customers. “We believe that no woman must compromise in any field, and most importantly not in fashion,” states Shaan.
The struggle to “fit in” is real for new mums. Even celebrity mothers, with their army of stylists, fitness experts and full-time grapple with the anxieties of getting back in shape after delivery.
Mahema Bhardwaj, beauty entrepreneur and mother of two, shares her experience. “While beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, it is important for new mums to enjoy the beauty of motherhood during and post-delivery despite body changes,” she says.
Given that in most societies women have been psychologically trained to feel the guilt, Mahema considers it important that mums pamper themselves once in a while. Talking about how mums must step out and get themselves pampered to feel less stressed and more inclusive, she adds, “Mums should go for relaxing massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. And they should take a break from routine to feel good and relaxed. Now, we have several treatments and oils to use for stretch marks and scars. There are even special workouts and yoga mums can do to keep fit.”
That body gave me a baby. And was producing that baby’s entire food supply. What a beautiful miracle. But instead of feeling proud, I felt insecure. Simply because I didn’t fit into clothes. How silly that is in retrospect. (sic).
— Actress Blake Lively’s post on insta
There is a significant gap in terms of having only skinny models and making clothes that look good only on skinny women. This makes it difficult for women of all sizes to look at pictures online and imagine how it would look on them
— Shaan Shah, COO of Freakins