By accident stumbled across an interview with Laura Wells (you can watch it here) which was followed by a lengthy discussion with my Husband about fashion and models, and clothing sizes.
I was trying to remember when this obsession with super-skinny girls had started, and I have a problem to pin-point it. Because when I first started to look at fashion the top models were Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer. Slim, I grant you that, but far cry from girls who look like they just survived a concentration camp. If you have any doubts google some historic pictures from the WWII. Resemblance is shocking. I think that it was late 90s, early 2000 when this worrying trend took hold. I know that the body image have been changing for at least 6 decades and some designers were quoted to be saying that they want walking coat hangers. I know as well that eating disorders have more to do with being control freek than just a body image per se. But as a mother of a girl I cannot welcome enough this new legislation regarding fashion industry passed by France. I just hope it will go further. I hope we will get back to showing real people in decent clothes, girls in average sizes like 14, 16 and stop calling them plus-sized. And it’s not only because we have population which goes toward obesity. Marilyn Monroe would be classed as overweight now for goodness sake. Health is not only about BMI, it’s about overall well being. Most of British Rugby team by the measures of BMI can be cast as obese. Because their weight to height ratio is very high due to muscle mass. But no one can argue against that they are fit and healthy.
So if majority of population is much larger than size 0, why do fashion industry force us to look at super-skinny models as a ideal beauty? Why Laura Wells and other so called plus-size models such an novelty. Why can’t we see those groundbreaking designs on people who look like us? It would save a lot of anxiety when we go to shops and try to fit in them only to see that cellulite is spilling out and it looks gross. Or maybe it’s too difficult for them to apply their art to actual real people.
And what about people who are real plus-size (lets say above 20 as to that much you can get stuff on the high street), what they are left with? Nothing on the high street and absolute zilch from high end designers. Oh, ok I forgot about the Wallis, but that is expensive. 30-40 years ago they would be able to go to local seamstress and get clothes made to measure for relatively small money. Clothes that would actually fit and flatter them. Now they would have to win in lottery to be able to afford that. So going to any town centre in UK you can see lots of people who are obese in tracksuit bottoms and ill fitting tops putting their rolls on shame for all to see. Mainly because they don’t have an alternative. There isn’t affordable service for big people where they could be told how to dress better. And there is this vicious circle of people being fat, feeling low about themselves, not doing anything to change it because they are already down, so they eat some more comfort food and get even bigger. And then they look at glossy magazines and see it’s hopeless, they will never achieve this look so why bother. Yesterday I seen a girl who was not much bigger than me, but she looked huge. I had to explain to my husband that if I put on this too tight t-shirt and tracksuits I would look twice the size I am. Image is a lot about how you carry yourself, what you wear, do you have a clean hair. I have learned long ago, that even the biggest arse looks smaller in mediocre tailored skirt than in best trousers. Especially if you put a little heel on. I believe that most of the people wants to look good. They just need a chance. In good quality, affordable outfits they might just get enough energy to change their eating habits and slim down.
Fashion industry is not only guilty of fueling up eating disorders in young people by promoting unhealthy “beauty” ideal, is as well guilty of neglecting huge population of people who don’t fit in their standard size minds. And we all would do well by remembering that everyone can get fat. Sometimes our bodies can go out of control (like when thyroid gives up) and we could balloon to size 26 in 2 months. Seen it first hand.