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Old 12th October 2005   #1
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default Applied femininity

One thing I love about the New Femininity is how its influence is even making older, more androgynous styles more appealing.

I'll use Nordstrom images for this, both because they're nicely photographed, and because I respect the company so much for using size 14+ models. Here's Ashley Graham in two shots:

For the outfit on the left, the product description says, "Velvety flocked flowers give a tweed blazer a very feminine finish." And it's true. I think this is the first tweed blazer I've ever actually considered buying in my life, because it's pretty rather than mannish.

But what really "makes it" is the ultrafeminine lacey camisole underneath. The Torrid ad with Christina Schmidt in a beautifully close-fitting ruched top and jacket is still my favourite example of this approach, but this is a nice combo too. The snug fit of the jacket is essential, I think. A loose fit would just look boxy and clunky. The tight fit gives a jacket -- which isn't a shapely piece per se -- a touch of...well...shape.

And the sweater on the right is called a "fluttery cardigan" that is "trimmed with ruffles." Again, there's nothing intrinsically pretty about a cardigan. But at least the ruffles add something. And in both cases, you can see how much it helps to have a curvy figure to wear these styles. Without a fuller shape and decolletage, they would just hang straight down, empty.

Still, the all-out femininity is my favourite, so here's a new picture of Barbara in a lace camisole. I still remember that great article that was posted here, about how camisoles are increasingly becoming the item of choice for plus-size fashion. On a figure like Barbara's (I'm so jealous), it's easy to see why. It's such a gorgeous look.

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Old 12th October 2005   #2
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Applied femininity

The fact that this jacket, and the one that Christina modelled, are shorter also helps avoid the clumsiness of similar styles in the past.

And it's hardly surprising that the camisole is becoming so popular among curvy vixens, and that it adorns Mrs. Brickner so well. By way of its close predecessors, the camisole is one of those timeless styles that is tailor-made to set off the charms of the naturally-proportioned figure.

Note the following image of Lillian Russell, from the late 1800s:

Her camisole-like outfit perfectly frames her sensually full arms and soft neckline (sans visible clavicle), and is generous at the waist. Except for the unappealing fringes, this style could be from 2005, as easily as from 1885.

Who would have thought that it would take a century after Lillian's time for society to rediscover the aesthetic principle that was common knowledge in her day--i.e., that "curvy girls have an advantage"?

And speaking of Lillian Russell, we can't miss this opportunity to share a wonderful quotation from a recently-published book about early Broadway stars, titled Ladies of the Footlights (2005). In a chapter about the heyday of Miss Russell, author De Witt Bodeen writes:

There is a cartoon of the time, labeled When Lillian Lost Her Dog, showing Russell, distraught but looking hopefully on a room crowded to the hallway with all types of men eagerly proffering every type of dog from mongrel to pedigreed. It is not especially exaggerated. Lillian Russell had only to make known her smallest wish, and it was simultaneously granted by a hundred different men. She was incomparable . . . Photographic reproductions of her fabulous beauty adorned a myriad posters, cigar labels, magazine advertisements, and candy boxes.

Her bosom was ample, her hips board . . . Her curves were both unescapable and magnificent. There was nothing boyish or athletic about Lillian Russell; she was voluptuous femininity at its healthiest. She would have scorned the present-day beauty diet of orange juice and rye crisp . . . Hers was an era of beefsteaks, and champagne, and apple pie.

Kudos to the author for differentiating between the "athletic" and "healthy" appearance. For a true goddess, possessing a healthy appearance has nothing to do with athleticism, but rather, everything to do with simply not starving.

* * *

The steady increase in sales of full-figure apparel in recent seasons is perfectly comprehensible, when one considers how much the New Femininity is changing contemporary fashion. The result is that plus-size women finally have . . . a fashion of their own.

Last edited by HSG : 12th October 2005 at 19:44.
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Old 16th October 2005   #3
M. Lopez
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Join Date: August 2005
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Default Re: Applied femininity

Here's another lovely camisole from Nordstrom, in a beautifully organic-looking print. With the necklace decorating the figure like paint on a canvas, and with the wind in Barbara's hair, the effect of the image is very goddess-like.

The popularity of the cami really proves how the fuller figure is being embraced. Everything about the design is meant to show off the beauty of soft curves, and in a sensual way, but very tastefully as well. It's something in-between a dress and a blouse, and you can't help but feel relaxed and beautiful in this style. It doesn't bother you if you get curvier. If anything, you feel better, because as the images of Barbara and Lillian Russell in these styles prove, they really do look more becoming on a womanly figure

Initially these styles were very simple, but I love the more romantic prints, and lace trim (and sometimes ruffles) that are embellishing the current interpretations. There's something appealingly dreamlike about them. And I agree with what someone (it may have been Kirsten) said in another thread - it shows how much women want to feel feminine again, after decades of being told they had to be mannish.
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Old 20th October 2005   #4
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Default Re: Applied femininity

It's uncanny to see Lillian Russell wearing a cami (or something very similar), which is a style I adore. I really like the green silk one that Barbara is wearing in the first post.

She is pure goddess. And Nordstrom has such great product descriptions:

"Layer on the luxury. Scalloped lace softens a gorgeous charmeuse cami, beaded and seamed for feminine accent. Form-fitting; a body-hugging, close fit."

A phrase like "layer on the luxury" sounds beautiful, in many ways.

Browsing through the Nordstrom site, I saw an item that I would really like to see more of, in plus - the lace blouse. Nordstrom has a few great examples, although I think they would look better with skirts -

I know, I know - you have to try and imagine them on models with actual full figures. They would look so much better. This is as close to fairy-tale attire as you can wear in most circumstances today.

Kiyonna has one style of lace blouse -

which is very nice, and Melissa presents it so beautifully, but I really miss the more ornate details and embellishments. In a style like this, the extra intricacy only adds to the charm, I think.
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Old 21st October 2005   #5
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Applied femininity

Speaking of lace blouses and tops, Lane Bryant is currently promoting one variation on this theme in its brand-new Holiday 2005 flyer (linked below). Here we see Crystal Renn in one of her best Lane Bryant images since the unsurpassable Spring campaign of last spring.

(You may click on the image to view it at a larger size.)

The booklet is altogether a fine production, with a cover showing Crystal against a backdrop of library tomes, and several images of her and other Lane Bryant models in various camisoles--all demonstrating how much better these styles adorn fuller figures that straight-size frames. The cityscape backgrounds in so many Lane Bryant always seem to be odd choices, but Crystal's images, shot in a more decorative indoor setting, are rather more compelling.

- Click here to view the new Lane Bryant flyer

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