Fashion and Motherhood: A Special Issue of The Fashion Studies Journal

Lauren Peters's picture
Call for Papers
April 30, 2020
United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Sociology, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Becoming a mother,* whether through biological or other means, is not a rare experience. Wearing clothes, mother or not, is universal. But the nature and reality of dressing as a mother enjoys no particular consensus among those who do it; except, that is, that it’s different than it was before kids. And maybe a suspicion that it’s different now than it was for moms in previous generations. 


What factors shape the experience of dressing as a mom? Media (social and otherwise)? Religion, consumption, sexuality, privilege, group belonging? The sometimes shocking realities of a new body? The word MILF? There’s so much! The confounding expectations! The shame! The fear! The mommy boot camp! The tabloid covers! The hospital-issued mesh underwear of it all! 


The Fashion Studies Journal (FSJ) is seeking contributions, in the form of complete drafts, to a special series on Fashion and Motherhood to be published on our site. Our content ranges from thoroughly researched scholarly essays to media criticism to personal narratives to photo collections and poetry. This series will ideally do the same, reflecting the infinity of ways that motherhood acts upon the fashioned self. Theoretical, historical, ethnographic, personal narrative, and creative perspectives are all welcome.


Some ideas to get you thinking: Personal reflections on individual garments that have defined the transition to motherhood; examinations of the role of consumerism and entrepreneurship in the contemporary mom-wear landscape; historical examples of the expectations placed on mothers’ dressed bodies; analyses of the politics of dressing while parenting; critiques of media representation of the appearances of prominent mothers; ethnographies of particular mom tribes (are ‘soccer moms’ still a thing? If so, how do they dress?); lamenting the failure to make ‘mombod’ happen (just me?); retail studies of mall maternity stores; discourse analyses of terms like MILF and yummy mummy; personal stories or sartorial biographies of non-gender conforming, trans, or non-binary mothers/parents.


Length: Max. 5000 words.

Deadline: April 30, 2020


Please email complete drafts to by the date above. If you would like to discuss an idea for a submission beforehand, please feel free to email your thoughts before March 1, to give us enough time to develop the idea with you before drafts are due.


*The term ‘mother’ is not meant to exclude those parents who identify as trans, non-binary, or in other gender-non-conforming ways. It’s just an easier catch-all term than ‘parent who isn’t a cis male.’ In fact, perspectives on dressing as a parent who identifies in one of the above ways would be incredibly exciting to read! We are also open to being convinced that there is something equally interesting to say about dressing as a dad. If you believe you’re the one to convince us, please try.

Contact Info: 

Laura Snelgrove, Editor-at-Large, The Fashion Studies Journal (FSJ)