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M. Lopez
20th November 2005, 22:06
Here's an important new article about how fashion designers are still working with a narrow, hourglass paradigm, when women's bodies are curvy in many different ways.

The article promises that change is coming, and maybe it is, but I can't believe it's taken them so long to realize this. MODE was so far ahead of its time, because it ran features about fashions on different body types, with gorgeous models representing each variation - e.g. Liis represented the "full waist," Shannon Marie represented "pear shaped." Mode showed just how gorgeous these shapes are. And I even remember Mia Tyler was once quoted in an article as saying, "I love my womanly tummy."

I don't like the terms that the article uses, but at least the message is getting out. I'll post the link, but in case it vanishes, I'll post the majority of the text, too.

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article328328.ece

...................

The shape of things to wear: scientists identify how women's figures have changed in 50 years

By Helen McCormack

Published: 21 November 2005

The fashion industry is ignoring the changing shapes of women's bodies, a study claims today. Designers and manufacturers still insist on making clothes that fit the traditional hourglass figure, when women's shapes are more likely to be top-heavy, rectangular or pear-shaped.

The research found that although only 8 per cent of women now had the sort of hourglass figure flaunted by curvaceous 1950s film stars such as Sophia Loren, designers and manufacturers continued to make clothes to fit a slim-line version of that figure.

Of the 6,000 women's body shapes analysed, 46 per cent were described as rectangular, with the waist less than nine inches smaller than the hips or bust. Just over 20 per cent of women were bottom-heavy "spoons", or pear shapes, with hips two inches larger than busts or more, while almost 14 per cent were "inverted triangles" - women whose busts were three or more inches bigger than their hips.

The study, by the North Carolina State University, was based on data from a two-year study of American body types, SizeUSA. It was commissioned by Alva Products, a manufacturer of designers' mannequins determined to force the industry to design clothes for the majority rather than the minority of women.

Janice Wang, the firm's chief executive, said: "The majority of retailers are designing clothes for people with an hourglass figure." She added that industry standards for size measurements were out of date. "That needs to change if the industry wants to serve the markets they currently aren't reaching."

The fashion house Liz Claiborne has taken note. David Baron, a vice-president, said it would introduce "gradual changes" to eventually provide "better-fitting" clothes.

Although the study concentrated on American women, its implications were relevant for British women, Ms Wang said, because eating habits and lifestyle meant the shapes of women in the two societies "mirrored each other".

The British fashion designer Katherine Hamnett agreed that women who did not conform to a svelte size 10 continued to be neglected by fashion.

"The fashion industry ignores the true size of women at its peril," she said. "As to why they do, stupidity is the only reason I can think of. It is the result of adhering unthinkingly to a tradition."

And the idea that larger women are not the ideal to design for is a myth. "I have measured film stars who have 42 inch hips, and are still getting a lot of work."...

HSG
21st November 2005, 16:32
<br>The article certainly signals a step in the right direction. The artificially-compressed waistline is another one of those peculiar trends in women's wear, the validity of which is contradicted by the legacy of Western art. In Classical sculpture, and in painting from the Renaissance, through the Baroque, and onwards until the 20th century, goddesses were invariably depicted as being pear-shaped, or possessing full, generous midriffs. These qualities were considered emblematic of feminine beauty--and to anyone who isn't brainwashed by the modern media, they still are.

It is no coincidence that the majority of the most gorgeous and popular plus-size models have been pear-shaped (e.g., Barbara or Shannon Marie), or exhibited curvaceous midriffs. Theirs are the most distinctively feminine figures.

Thankfully, fashion is beginning to reflect the fact that women are embracing their natural shapes. The popularity of dresses, camisoles, and related blouses testifies to this, as these items are often cut to be generous at the waist. Here Barbara looks intoxicating in a violet Nordstrom blouse:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/bb/bn34.jpg"></center><p>But the current vogue for belts is something that curvy vixens should embrace as well. Belts need not be considered uncomfortably "narrowing" devices, but can accentuate the figure in an attractive way. The current Torrid cover with Crystal Renn, which Emily recently posted, shows how a belt can press softly against a midriff, and create a stunning effect.

Here is another appealing variation, shown on Ivana (a curvy size 16) at Addition-Elle, wearing a belt slightly loose, just below the midriff:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/forum/ael/ivana01.jpg"></center><p>And here, as part of her magnificent new Torrid series, Christina Schmidt shows a belt gently embracing the waist, adding an eye-catching embellishment to the casual ensemble. (Note also the similarity of the skirt to Ivana's--flared, tiered skirts are <i>always</i> gorgeous.)<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/cs/torrid10.jpg"></center><p>Once again, we see how full-figured models can wear anything their underweight rivals can--and make those items look infinitely more gorgeous, owing to their womanly curves.

Kaitlynn
25th November 2005, 16:55
I do think things are changing for the better, in this respect. I'm seeing much more confidence among the younger generation about having more womanly figures, with natural proportions and generous waists, and getting away from that ugly corseted look.

The new JCPenney flyer had an image of Ashley Graham that I thought was another example of this agreeable trend. It's too bad it's only an image in a promotional circular, as I think Ashley looks very pretty here.

http://akimages.crossmediaservices.com/dyn_li/200.0.88.0/Retailers/JCPenney/jc43b_ab33al_5.jpg

"Curves" don't just mean a shapely bust. As someone once said, "ALL curves are beautiful." I think plus-size models are helping people realize this (despite all media efforts to the contrary).