Creative Design: Professional

Maternal Dress

  • Melanie Carrico (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)


Maternal Dress is a 1960’s inspired dress made from layered silk organza. The bottom, gray layer of fabric has personal statements about my life as a wife and mother hand written forming stripes while the top layers have repeated statements reflecting society’s prescription for being wife and mother: traditional wedding vows on the bodice and parenting tips on the skirt. The layering order visually veils the personal statements and symbolically places the intimate thoughts against the body; the public vows and tips on the outer layer of the dress are a buffer between what is felt by the wearer and what is portrayed. Maternal Dress serves as a commentary on the complexities of one woman’s identity with layers of meaning, some public and some hidden. Focusing in interactions of past and present, the dress bridges the decades between 1960’s housewives and 21st century working mothers. 

Keywords: words, mother, layers, confession

How to Cite:

Carrico, M., (2019) “Maternal Dress”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 76(1). doi:

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Published on
15 Dec 2019