Becoming a mother has brought with it many unexpected perks. I get my own special “mummy” porn. Proctor & Gamble are proud sponsors of me. And now, as an added bonus, TV presenter, classical musician and Hear’say survivor Myleene Klass is designing clothes for me. Honestly, will the treats never end?
Introducing her new clothing range for Littlewoods, Myleene explains that it’s “designed by a mummy for mummies”. Thank heavens for that. I am so sick of forcing my mummy-shaped body into all these “normal” clothes. Finally, someone has listened to the voices of mummies everywhere and catered to our highly specific needs.
Should you not be a mummy yourself, allow me to patronise you by explaining what the specific clothing needs of mummies are: these are based entirely around the fact that we hate our tummies and feel the need to hide them. One of the main reasons why we hate our tummies and feel the need to hide them is that celebrities, advertisers and all-round style “experts” are constantly telling us that we hate our tummies and feel the need to hide them (cf. celebrities, advertisers and all-round style “experts” saying the same thing to women “of a certain age”, only this time with reference to their upper arms). Anyhow, no matter whence this self-hatred came, Myleene, “fashion ambassador”, is on hand to help us deal with it:
When it comes to styling up anything, get some good underwear because it is a foundation garment that holds you in and gives a good silhouette.
ie. buy stuff that squashes your tummy in (thereby making you feel even fatter than you did before, since you’re wearing something which is way too constricting). Oddly, though, Myleene also tells new mummies “not wear something that is too tight around the belly, if that is the area you feel conscious of”
Try something that just skims, something A-line would be most flattering.*
I don’t know how this all works – should tummies be painfully crushed inwards or hidden beneath the kind of styles that you’d have worn while still pregnant? Myleene doesn’t offer a definitive answer, but she does recommend the red polka dot dress from her new collection: “It is quite floaty so there’s always room for an extra Yorkshire pudding” (special prize to anyone who can make an innuendo out of that).
Obviously I understand that this is all marketing. Myleene’s Littlewoods persona is probably nothing like Myleene Klass in real life. And yes, she’s chosen to exploit a particularly pernicious mummy stereotype in order to make money, but an awful lot of us have professional personae which don’t match up to what we truly believe and how we truly want to be. Other women might exploit different mummy stereotypes, getting publishing deals by bigging up how comically bad they are at parenting. Even so, I have to say that right now the particular type of mummy persona that Myleene sells – overworked, long-suffering, focussed only on domestic labour and looking good – pisses me off quite a lot. It irritates me even more than the presence of my own tummy (which is, naturally, way too big, especially as today I’m not even wearing control pants or a floaty dress). There are many things which, as a mummy, I’d appreciate – cheaper childcare, less whining, a full night’s sleep – but one thing I neither want nor need is a pat on the head by someone who tells me not to worry about the fact that I’m working my arse off and looking terrible while doing so – she’s here to make me look marginally less terrible by enabling me to hide my “worst features” (which, incidentally, are not the rolls of fat on my tummy. Let’s deal with the booze, short temper and swearing first).
Maybe I’m being harsh? After all, I do worry about how I look (but once again, I’ve no idea whether I would if I wasn’t constantly told to do so). And come Christmas Day, I don’t want to ming while cooking the Brussels sprouts. Perhaps I should be grateful for gems such as this:
When you are in the kitchen on Christmas day, you are getting sweaty and running around looking after everybody, I think the main thing is firstly makeup. Just use soft makeup and don’t over powder as it will be falling off your face and that’s not a good look.
Indeed, that’s not a good look at all. Although perhaps it’s now possible to purchase special “mummy make-up” to combat this? If not, I think Kym Marsh should develop a range.
* I may not be a style ambassador but I have a sneaking suspicion that Klass got it wrong and actually mean to to say “empire line”. Isn’t A-line just for skirts? Hell, I could probably do this job.
PS This blog post was written by a mummy for mummies. You’re welcome.