Boden launches campaign to link being a mum with being stylish
Fashion and lifestyle brand Boden is launching a campaign to reclaim the word 'mum' as a moniker of style in the English language, and re-appropriate it from its current negative associations in the media and in culture.
Featuring inspirational mothers sharing experiences of style and motherhood, it goes under the Wear It Like A Mum name and the company said it intends to lead a conversation about the experiences of women and their attitudes towards style after having children.
The campaign uses a number of high profile ambassadors including, among others, Mumsnet CEO and founder Justine Roberts; Peanut and Bumble founder Michelle Kennedy; Instagram influencer Clemmie Hooper of Mother of Daughters; blogger Zoe de Pass of Dress Like a Mum; Anna Whitehouse of Mother Pukka and Lucia Whitehouse of Grandmother Pukka; and Maz Boutorabi who is Design Director at Boden.
Boden said the list of ambassadors proves that "being a mum can be about being stylish, that mum style is timeless and relevant across generations.”
Penny Herriman, Global Brand Director at Boden, said: “We found there is a perception that Mum and style do not go together. We want to start to change these perceptions and to champion stylish mothers. Why should becoming a mum mean you have to compromise on your style?”
The idea grew out of research the firm commissioned from linguistics expert Dr Michael Farrelly into the use of the word 'mum' in relation to style in the British media, and the impact this has on women’s self esteem when it comes to how they dress. It also surveyed 1,000 UK mums to reveal current attitudes towards how mothers dress.
It found that almost half (49%) of young mums say they feel less attractive after having children and 38% feel the media has a negative impact on the self-image of mothers.
Most mothers (66%) say they change how they dress after having children. When asked what words they felt best described how they should dress, 72% respond ‘comfortable,’ with 67% also saying ‘practical.’ Just 15% associate the words ‘fashionable’ or ‘stylish’ with mums’ style and only a tiny 1% say they would think of the word ‘sexy’ when asked how mothers should dress.
The research also found that, of the thousands articles it uncovered dealing with mothers and style, the idea of looking like a mum, or appearing “mumsy,” was explicitly something to be avoided.
And it said the term ‘mum’ or ‘mother’ are more often associated with negative circumstances in the news, whereas ‘dad’ and ‘father’ are more often linked with positive events.
“A reader of UK tabloids over the past 20 years would have been exposed to a picture of ‘mums’ which exaggerates the nuclear family, tragic events and negative emotions,” Dr Farrelly said. “The UK press primarily understands ‘mums’ as carrying the emotional burden of family life, yet understands them as ‘fair game’ for chastisement should they appear to be ‘mumsy’… Linguistically, and socially, we have a shared sense that 'mumsy’ is to be avoided.”
The company said that only 7% of mums have heard the phrase “like a mum” used in a positive way, and the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “mumsy” as ‘giving an impression of dull domesticity; dowdy or unfashionable.’
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