I’ll be honest, fashion is not my strong suit—I tend to stick to what works: jeans, tall boots, wrap dresses, red lipstick—though I do love looking at beautiful clothes. I’m constantly impressed by the way some of my friends put together creative outfits.
Last night I visited Farasha’s Pop-Up Boutique on the Lower East Side and could not get over the eclectic mix of clothing and accessories. This online retailer, run by the lovely Vanessa Di Palma Wright, features one-of-a-kind pieces from both emerging and fashion-forward global designers. Go figure I ended up taking so many pictures of the crave-worthy accessories—and cupcakes. Must have been the champagne! If you’re in New York this weekend, go check it out at at 139 Norfolk Street! Can’t make it? Visit Farasha online.
My tendency to gravitate toward accessories started pretty young, around the same age I outgrew the Limited Too. At 4’11”, I have a really hard time finding clothes that fit well, so I tend to have my fashion-related fun with jewelry, bags, and the like. Rarely will a necklace make you feel inadequate.
I always joke that vanity sizing is not my friend. Petite clothing lines seem to cater either to stick-thin ladies with no hips or butt, or they’re cut like plus-size clothes for shorter women. “Regular”-sized clothing almost always has to be altered so I can avoid looking like I’m playing dress-up in my big sister’s closet. I will admit to scouring the kids’ section for basics like tees and cardigans.
One thing I rarely delve into but am fascinated by is the impact weight trends may have on the fashion industry. Though most high-end designers still tend to run small, you’d have to be living under a rock not to notice that today’s average size 0 is actually the size 4 of yesteryear with a new name. When Marie Claire starts running a column about plus-sized fashion, you know times have really changed.
While I think it’s great to offset the “thinner is better” message prevalent in most fashion publications and to represent women of all shapes and sizes, I can’t help but consider the fact that the increased demand for plus-sized fashion tips could be a reflection of climbing obesity rates.
If researchers from Harvard are correct and obesity trends continue as they have been, 42% of the US population could become obese over the next 40 years. The United States currently has a 34% obesity rate, so we’re well on our way.
This research comes from the same group—led by Nicholas Christakis—whose 2007 report showed that an obese person’s friends are more likely to become obese themselves, and they think that the obesity epidemic could be driven by that same phenomenon. While it feels strange to call obesity “infectious” as the researchers do, it does make sense that having more obese acquaintances can skew our perception of what “normal” looks like.
I don’t feel qualified to comment on the delicate balance magazine editors must face when it comes to deciding how best to promote healthy body image without excluding readers who want to see more fashions they can wear (and who don’t want to be told to lose weight). However, I do wonder if we could see, over time, a negative effect on young women growing up seeing overweight women touted as role models because they’re “real” and “healthy”—”healthy” because they’re not underweight. The backlash against the super-skinny heroin-chic look was pretty strong—and for good reason—but could the pendulum possibly be poised to swing too far in the other direction?
I’ve loved reading about certain fashion industry events and media outlets refusing to feature underweight models, and I’m curious to hear what other people feel about the other end of the spectrum.