Tag Archives: Fashion

Why is size 4 too big for fashion? Everybody lies.

Former Ford model Katie Halchishick explains to The Gloss why fashion is so skinny. In part:

It’s an aspirational industry: The way we have it structured now a size 0 is marketing to someone who is a size 8 to a size 14. They get  marketed to by a really young size 0. And when I’m a size 10 I’m marketing to women who are really plus sized.

People don’t expect a “size 4″ to look like a size 4: When you’re working you’re talking about how you’re a size 14 when you’re clearly a 10. There are lies across the board about sizing.

(Full interview here.)

Halchishick just started a a new modeling agency with the motto “Healthy is the new Skinny.” Natural Model Management focuses on women sizes 4-10 who fall between industry standards for traditional teeny or plus-size modeling.

“Healthy” sounds like a great model. Still, if the entire industry relies on lies about size, it’s unnerving to blame teenagers’ race to zero on their naivete to fashion’s whole meta physical conceit.

Those in-between years are uncomfortable enough for young women. It’s downright disturbing to confirm that the industry takes their suffering in stride and tacitly keeps up the spin. Nice to hear one model admit it as a focus on health!

For another woman-friendly step in the right direction check out FirstOrderGoods’s take on S/S 2011 fashion from Celine:

Mature women are in. Fat women are in. Normal is supposed to be the new special. It is as if the world were divided into mature fat women and illiterate fifteen-year-old models. At Céline she is quite different, she is independent, sophisticated and terribly sexy.

Women are in again. Perhaps it’s time we reclaim healthy as the new skinny too.


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Here’s the Spanx angle on that eternal question: Do women dress for men, or do we dress for other women?

I think I know how a woman wants to undress. How she wants to undress, in front of a man. The Spank [sic] has done wonderful things for women, but every time they wear it, they say: ‘I have to go the toilet to get undressed.’ And I think that is sad. Men love curves. And if a man could help to take off a Spank, it would become even more famous. But women don’t want to be seen unpeeling out of a Spank. My dresses are for undressing. We all dress up to undress.

— Roland Mouret to the Guardian UK.

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Has Feminism Jumped the Shark?

CA Senator Barbara Boxer scolded Gen. Michael Walsh for calling her “ma’am”, and insisted that he call her “Senator” because she worked hard for the job and she earned the title.

Is this similar to when everyone in the military was called “sir,” regardless of gender?  Like looking for a gender-neutral pronoun, like referring to everyone as Plaintiff or It?  “Sir” was the military’s attempt to show female officers respect.  The obvious problem though was that the address disrespected everyone by referring to half the soldiers incorrectly.  Sir?  It would be like having someone call you “Kathy” every day.  Maybe it’s more formal than “Kat,” but it’s still simply wrong.  I understand having worked hard to earn respect.  “Ma’am” is a respectful, position-neutral title.  Even with doctors, polite reference might include both Dr. Jones, and ma’am.

I’ve been totally obsessed with gender lately, but this kind of thing, combined w/ the Letterman-Palin fiasco and the email I received from a feminist site addressing “why men don’t call,” has really…jumped the feminist shark.  We have bigger fish to fry.  The Lilly Ledbetters of the world might simply start negotiating salary.  Otherwise, turning everything into a “gender issue” invites references to Freud’s anti-hysteria device.  Get a grip, ladies, and focus in a feminine way on those issues that supersede gender.  Problems with Iran may, for instance, touch on girlie issues (at least inasmuch as how Iranian men treat women), but rather than cry feminism we should just bring a womanly touch to foreign policy.  Not in the Hilary Clinton “I married a man whose favor you should curry” way, but in a “let’s look at the long-term possibility of a sustainable relationship” way. 

Artificially making everything a “women’s issue” simply perpetuates a sort of non-rigorous sex version of the critical race theory.  Indiscriminate issue-making doesn’t solve anything, it only makes separatists of us all.  Fry the bigger fish!  Send back the catches not worth reeling in!  Focus on the disrespectful media, and do it wearing a well-cut blouse, not relying on coquettishness to charm the anchor.  But please don’t waste women’s time by asking “why he won’t call.” 

Finally, I’ve written before about how annoyed I get when women act in an archetypical way and then fret about being treated in accordance w/ the decade (or century) whose archetype they’ve chosen to embody.  Perhaps I’m projecting, because I’ve lately fallen into an intellectually lazy trap of blaming gender for being occasionally shy or reluctant to – as my Crim Law prof says – Speak Up!  I’m torn among two unattractive options: Is it lazier for a woman to blame her gender, i.e., I just like color, black clothes are boring, I will wear what I want and objectifying men can go to hell?  OR is it worse to take the Iranian standpoint: Men are animals, and they can’t help themselves – if I don’t cover my arms and legs and hair then I’ve effectively invited any “impure” thoughts about me he may have.  The latter reminds me of the Salem Witch Trials – You had impure thoughts about a woman not your wife?  The object of those thoughts must be…a witch!  Burn her! 

Which option is less attractive?  To be called “ma’am” and remember that you’re different from those called “sir,” or to be called “Senator” and denounce all of those major benefits accrued by having those qualities affiliated w/ “ma’am”?  This is a great lot of neo-feminist gibberish I realize, but I really don’t know which option represents the fry pan and which the fire. 


See also this fantastic article: Sexism Against Conservative Women Is Still Sexism.

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Rebel in the Capital of Black Coats

In the Washington Post:

Rebel in the Capital of Black Coats

Sunday, November 30, 2008; Page B08

Every morning, I first check the weather.

Fifty-five today. That’s seven degrees warmer than it was yesterday. Also, thirty degrees colder than it is in Miami. “It’s warm today,” I reason. I press my hands to the window; hmmm, it can’t be that bad.

Only when I hit the Metro, 15 minutes later, is it clear that my Miami upbringing has left me unprepared for winter in Washington. My pink skirt, bare legs and scarf-in-lieu-of-jacket bob conspicuously in a sea of ascetic black coats. Washington’s women don’t wear pink in the winter, it seems.

But why?

Recently, as I traded heels for flip-flops in frigid weather, a fellow Floridian winked at me over her own flops. We Floridians learn to ignore any temperature below 70 degrees. Sixty-five, you say? That means 80 in the sun. Thirty-five? Hey, not that bad if you are thinking in Celsius!

It’s not that I enjoy being cold. I’m sacrificing my own comfort for the greater good of making a fashion statement. Dress warmly if that’s what floats your boat, but I prefer fashion over function. My question is: Why does everyone in Washington so willingly imprison themselves in black wool as soon as the calendar strikes November? The very same women who once competed for attention with loud quilted purses and critter-stamped pants in summer now trudge along clad in shapeless, colorless outerwear. Toasty, I’m sure, but how boring!

I am new in town, a first-year law student trying to make it big. Washington is fast and progressive, quite different from hot, loud Miami. I love it here. But I cannot understand the utter lack of women. Females abound, but women are few and far between. Where are the role models for a future lawyer in red lipstick?

Perhaps the Mason-Dixon Line is symbolic when it comes to fashion. Would the industrialized North have had a greater adversary if Southerners hadn’t been so busy matching fashion to season? When did creative living and creative dressing become mutually exclusive? Sure, sometimes it still feels like a man’s world. But black isn’t the key to respect. Speak softly, but carry red lipstick. It’s our power tie, ladies.

Women of Washington, we must stick together. If I am the only one conspicuously bright on cold mornings, my plight will be that much more obvious. We must allow our ideas and personalities to shine through — no matter what the season. Sublimating your identity to the point of invisibility accomplishes nothing. Why not break free of the stereotypes? What is the worth of victory if you have sacrificed strut to accomplish it?

I will not contribute to homogeneity. Ladies, when you see one of your own among the black coats, break the mold. No, red lipstick will not automatically bring you respect. But really: What has black wool done for you lately?

— Kathryn Ciano


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Pants or Skirt: What Makes You Happy?

In the WSJ today:

Confidence, not income, gives women power in a marriage. So-called feminists who focus on “power” and competing for “who wear the pants” forget that there is something important, elegant, and downright powerful about wearing a skirt. Ms. Basham correct observes (”Who Wears the Pants,” Taste, Oct. 10) that marital happiness rests, in large part, on “how happy [the] wife is.” With the future of marriage less certain today than ever before, it’s a valuable exercise to consider what really makes you―and your spouse―happy.

Women judging women is not what the feminist movement is about. We should focus on choice, since choosing, after all, makes women happy. Feminist paternalism springs from a female subordinacy complex―rooted in a tenuous grip on one’s own choice―that should long have been extinct. Thank you Ms. Basham for pointing out that so much of progress is enjoying what we have.

Kathryn Ciano

Arlington, VA

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