Is fashion conspiring against hourglass figures?
The world of fashion is an extremely elite community which necessarily based its existence on the concepts of novelty, creativity, exclusivity and sometimes shock factor. The very nature of the profession is to push boundaries, express ideas and concepts through the means of garments, and to always press forward to newer territories. It can be extremely influential in the transmission of cultural values and ideology, too, with it’s messages being passively absorbed by men and women everywhere without people even realizing.
It probably goes without saying that making women look their most attractive is not the sole aim of the fashion industry any more. I mistakenly thought for many years that the only possible aim of fashion could be to dress women well – and I’m not saying that isn’t one of its goals. But the highly professionalized version of the industry that we see today couldn’t stay true to its values of novelty, pushing boundaries and always being at the edge without departing from the main goal of making women look beautiful.
Instead, designers are commonly using the runway as an exhibition of their artistic talents, and even of their humanistic philosophies (e.g, ideology surrounding gender, beauty values, sexuality).
There is actually a proactive move by some (?most) designers to explore deliberately ugly fashion, as explained in a Daily Telegraph article quoting Miuccia Prada in 2013.
“Ugly is attractive, ugly is exciting. Maybe because it is newer. The investigation of ugliness is, to me. More interesting than the bourgeois idea of beauty. And why? Because ugly is human.” – Miuccia Prada
The concept is that conventionally attractive fashion, the sort of thing that flatters normal looking bodies, has been achieved already, is somewhat passé and not challenging for cutting-edge designers. Plus, given the shape of women’s bodies, there are a limited number of clothing shapes and cuts that can flatter that shape.
I enjoyed reading the August 2015 article by Erin on the Elements of Style blog, who reflected my stance on clothing very accurately:
“Like I said, this is just my opinion, and maybe there are some out there who like the “ugly is cool” trend- but I just want to look nice. I don’t need to make some huge statement when I get dressed, I want my clothes to compliment me as a person, not take over.” – Erin Gates
The takeaway message for the normal hourglass girl is this: stick to looking good, rather than cutting edge fashionable. Your body is already somewhat complex to flatter, as you have curves on every angle you look at! But leave the odd, deliberately ugly clothing to the six-foot skinny models (who also look dreadful in aforementioned fashion). Yes, by all means incorporate pieces of cutting edge style if that’s your thing, in fact, hopefully in this blog I’ll be creating outfits which have a healthy nod to trends whilst keeping the silhouette and foundational garment shapes looking beautiful on a curvy figure.