Moms are snatching the style spotlight, claiming magazine covers, fronting lingerie brands and centering sexy lingerie ads.
Kim Kardashian’s new SKIMS promotion for the brand's “Fits Everybody” Collection features Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Candice Swanepoel and Alessandra Ambrosio, who besides being iconic supermodels, are moms who share a combined nine kids.
“I feel sexiest and most powerful in my professional pursuits and businesses like SKIMS, and personal relationships, most importantly being a mother,” Kardashian told People about the collaboration earlier this month.
Motherhood is a great equalizer.
Elaine Paravati Harrigan, assistant professor of psychology
And Victoria’s Secret just unveiled their second Mother’s Day campaign dedicated to “hard-working, never-stopping, do-it-all moms.” The video and photo series, which is part of the company’s modern rebrand, features actresses Brooke Shields and Hari Nef, and model Chanel Iman (among others) posing or in conversation with their children. “As a brand, Victoria’s Secret is committed to welcoming, celebrating and being there for all women throughout their lives,” a Victoria’s Secret spokesperson tells TODAY Parents, adding that the company launched a new nursing bra last June.
Meanwhile, Rihanna, who is in her third trimester of pregnancy, rocked her belly on the May cover of “Vogue” in a red jumpsuit and a matching bold attitude. "There’s no way I’m going to go shopping in no maternity aisle,” she told the publication. In other shots, the singer posed topless wearing a Marc Jacobs coat and separately, in a Rick Owens jacket, left open to reveal her bra.
“I’m hoping that we were able to redefine what’s considered ‘decent’ for pregnant women,” said Rihanna. “My body is doing incredible things right now, and I’m not going to be ashamed of that. This time should feel celebratory. Because why should you be hiding your pregnancy?”
Exactly — especially after mothers absorbed big financial and professional losses during the pandemic, while risking their wellbeing, as job opportunities shrank and domestic responsibilities ballooned. A March 2021 study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that mothers were likelier than fathers to report worse mental health compared to before the pandemic, but were also less likely to have received treatment. With more than 77 percent of the U.S. population fully vaccinated, slackened national mask mandates, and peak levels of pandemic fatigue, mothers have earned their moment.
“Right now, people are generally burned out on pandemic talk, but they’re still driven to connect with others and look for commonalities — and motherhood is one example of that,” Elaine Paravati Harrigan, visiting assistant professor of psychology at Hamilton College, tells TODAY Parents. “Motherhood is a great equalizer, symbolizing a shared experience for many and its celebration could restore meaning to moms who lacked empowering feedback.”
Glamorous images of motherhood could mirror how moms feel about self-care, a practice mental health experts have loudly encouraged for parents. And as Harrigan speculates, moms may take pleasure in a confidence boost that comes with more representation in fashion.
There’s sweeping symbolism in the idea of fashion rejuvenation, says Harrigan. “It’s as though moms are saying, ‘Bam we’re back!’”