Archive | fashion RSS feed for this section

Seeking Fashion Inspiration

16 Sep

beverlyA couple of years ago, I got really excited about the prospects for the fashion industry. Models like Joan Smalls and Jourdan Dunn were killing it on the runways. Designers like Rick Owens were eschewing the standard of rail-thin models and the traditional catwalk for a more in-your-face strut by models of varying sizes. The clothes were great, the shows were inspiring and it left me hopeful for a future with more diversity on the runway.

Sadly, that was just a drop in the can. There hasn’t been much progress made since then. Rail-thin models are still the standard to trot down runways wearing samples that don’t consider different body types. Not only are designers ignoring the different ways women are shaped, they’re shaming women for wanting to wear their clothes. Earlier this summer, a former Hervé Leger executive said curvy women and lesbians have no place wearing the brand’s iconic bandage dress.

‘If you’re a committed lesbian and you are wearing trousers all your life, you won’t want to buy a Leger dress. Lesbians would want to be rather butch and leisurely,” he told the Daily Mail earlier this summer.

The bandage dress was everywhere in the late aughts. From rail thin to super curvy, just about every celebrity was wearing it or some knockoff version. I tried on a cheaper variety once or twice and, to be honest, it isn’t a very forgiving dress. Body shapers, Spanx and prayer are needed to look right. I liken the dress to a good twist out: it may work for you one day, but it will take you forever to replicate the magic of that one day.

But for the glitterati, the bandage dress was a badge of pride. If you could rock it, by all means rock the hell out of it. It’s disheartening when a designer who creates clothes can’t see real people wearing them. Majority of clothed women aren’t shaped like supermodels. If designers don’t want different body types wearing their clothes, they should just create them in one size and one body type.

Luckily, model legend Beverly Johnson disagreed as she rocked the frock at the Hervé Leger show over the weekend. “I’m a curvy woman, so I embrace it. I think that they make dresses for curvy women,” she said. She did follow it up by saying the dress wouldn’t look right on a “stick-thin” woman, but I don’t totally agree. It really depends on the body.

chromatWhich is another reason I saw some small ray of hope with another fashion show during New York Fashion Week. The Chromat collection, meant to be a “structural experiment for the human body,” took more bodies into mind when the pieces were presented. A mix between athletic and couture, the Chromat designs had a futuristic bondage theme and were all exquisitely tailored to the models’ forms. There were pear shapes, thick thighs, large boobs, flat chests, skinny legs, etc. on display. And they all rocked out.

It’s amazing what can happen when designers remember to step out of their comfort zone and try to design for a different shape. The challenge helps acknowledge women who appreciate the aesthetic and artistry of fashion while not excluding them from the process.

That’s all we want: acknowledgement and inclusion in the things we enjoy.

Advertisements

Sizing Up the Fashion Industry

12 Nov

A post shared by MYLA DALBESIO (@myladalbesio) on

I majored in magazine journalism in college. I thought I’d either be a writer or a designer. Even though I now work in newspapers, I still love magazines. I have been a longtime subscriber to Elle, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Esquire.

As you can tell, I like my fashion magazines. I’m aware of the fashion industry’s lack of representation for all types: height, shape, size, skin color, etc. Last year during Paris Fashion Week, a designer broke the mold and used regular women, not professional models in his show. They were a glorious rainbow of shades, shapes and sizes. They stomped down the runway and all anyone could talk about the next day was how brave Rick Owens was for breaking the mold. Again, that was a year ago.

Last month, Calvin Klein launched its new “Perfectly Fit” underwear campaign featuring six models, seen above. Looking at the photos, you wouldn’t be able to tell that the female model in the bottom-right corner, Myla Dalbesio, is the larger of the five women at a size 10. She looks beautiful, just like everyone else.

It wasn’t until recently when Elle published an interview with Dalbesio in which she was called plus size that social media went into a tizzy.

To be fair, it wasn’t Calvin Klein or even Dalbesio calling herself plus size. It was Elle. The magazine’s site updated their story and even changed the headline to read “The Rise of the In-Between Model,” but the url is still “plus size.”

DalBesio went on the Today show to discuss the hubbub about her ad, saying, “Life doesn’t work in only extremes.” Most fashion campaigns and runway shows feature models who are very thin. Then there’s the other end of the spectrum where a designer will create pieces specifically for a much larger frame or even go on to shock the world with a fashion show featuring and abundance of sizes.

I applaud Calvin Klein for using a model of average size and not making a big thing about it. It’s a step in the right direction to show that women of all sizes need to be represented. My waist is a size 8, but my hips and thighs will at times put me in a 10. I don’t see myself as plus sized. I’ve been plus sized. I used to shopped at stores that catered specifically to plus sized women when I was an 18 flirting with a size 20. Nowhere in the racks did I see a size 10. For Elle to fall back on the trope of plus sized just because DalBesio wasn’t their norm is offensive and short sighted.

I wish more brands like Calvin Klein would take into account the women of varying shapes and sizes that want to wear they’re clothes. Some of us are tall or short, curvy or straight. Some of us have pear shapes, while others are hourglass. All of us are different hues. And we’re all looking for the “Perfect Fit.” I understand it’s not feasable to cater to every size for every piece. But just to acknowledge that we’re out there will make a world of difference.

Sizing Up the Matter

24 Oct
Without you, it's just fabric on a hanger.

Without you, it’s just fabric on a hanger.

Let’s be honest: shopping can be a pain in your newly shaped butt. And I like shopping. But when you’re “skinny now,” you tend to find yourself in between sizes.

No two bodies are the same. My waist makes me a size 8, but my hips still linger in the 10-12 range, depending on the stretch of the fabric. I prefer shopping using numerical sizes because it makes the search more consistent. But clothing makers are starting to shift their wares to alphabetical sizes (XS-XL).  It’s less clothes for them to make in different sizes and leads to fewer returns.

That’s great for them, but here’s the problem: one size does not fit all. Humblebrag, but I’ve always had a small waist compared to my hips. Buying jeans leaves me with two options: a gap at the waistband above my butt or a super tight fit around my hips and thighs. It’s a never-ending struggle, one you’ll have to contend with until you shape your body the way you want it.

We’re in the worst season known to man. Some days are too cold while others are too warm. You have to layer a ton of clothes, then find someplace to put them all when two scarves becomes too many. However, this dreaded time of year does have its benefits.

The layers help hide whatever’s going on while you’re trying to figure out what looks good on your figure. Skinny jeans and a larger top will cover the gap at your back. A big belt can cinch your newly narrow waist over some leggings. These will get you through some rough patches.

But you should also enjoy this time. You lived a size 16 for so long, and now you’re a size 10. There were clothes you never thought would look good on you out there just waiting to be given a chance to shine. You never tried an pencil skirt before? See what it looks like. Cropped tops used to give you muffin-top anxiety? Screw that! You’ve got a flatter belly now that’s just itching to see the sun.

There’s so much to do now that you can fit into a new size. It’s easy to feel defeated even though you’ve done such good work so far. You’ve lost a few pounds, but your favorite clothes don’t fit anymore. Maybe you didn’t like shopping before because it was hard finding things you liked in your size. Guess what, love? You’re not that size anymore. Take this opportunity to see what else looks good on you.

And remember that part: It’s what looks good on you, not what you look good in. The clothes are there to amplify you, not the other way around. These are pieces of fabric cut and sewn to look good on you. Without you, they’re just patterns on a hanger.

What are you itching to try on once you reach your goal weight? How do you deal with in-between sizes

photo credit: Zylenia via photopin cc

Full-Figured Fashion Week

5 Feb

uptown-rick-owens-2Diversity on the runway has always been a big issue in the fashion industry. Designers have every right to place the clothes they’ve constructed on a model that fits with their aesthetic. But what does it say about the designer when all of their models look the same?

I can go on for days about the lack of racial diversity on the runways. There are others who do it on a regular basis. What I’d like to focus on is size diversity. We all come in multitude of sizes and we all can appreciate beautiful works of art. Fashion Week, for me, is a time when stunning works of art are put on display for our critique and enjoyment.

With Mercedes Benz Fashion week in New York starting tomorrow, I’m realistically hopeful to see different sizes on the runway this year. Last fall, designer Rick Owens stunned Paris audiences with multi-cuved, multi-hued models performing a stepshow on the runway. The women stomped down the catwalk with fierce aggression showcasing some pretty unique items. There were thigh jiggles, big boobs, little boobs and hair of every texture. It awe inspiring.

When I first stumbled on the show, I couldn’t help but rewatch it. And then it hit me that I was seeing something different, but not different. I see women like that all the time—at work, on the train, on the street. They’re everywhere…except the runway.

Yes, I’m “skinny now,” but I haven’t always been this way. I’m not not that skinny. I’ve said several times on this blog, my thighs jiggle and I’ve got a pooch of a stomach. And guess what else? I wear clothes. I like fashion. I get excited for fashion week.

Can the barrier that was broken last fall in Paris carry over this week in New York? Will designers look to other boy types to market their wares?

Fashion Week began as an opportunity for designers to showcase their goods to buyers. The commercial aspect of the event didn’t grow to its current height until recent memory. Buyers are still at the shows, they’ve just been pushed back a few seats to make room for the Kardashians. That’s fine. But the Kardashians aren’t the rail-thin girls we only see walking the runway.

I don’t take issue with the current crop of models being hired to strut. Personally, my favorite model these days is Joan Smalls. There is, however, room for designers to show buyers what a woman curvier frame would buy.

The fashion industry can be exclusive, but it doesn’t have to be. I only hope designers will recognize that a diverse runway will only help them in the long run.

It was a personal exercise to consider curves and size ranges in the clothes I sell. This was a great way for us in the studio to study more ways to make clothes available to more people. It was as simple as that.
—Rick Owens in Vogue Turkey

What do you think about diversity in the fashion industry? What other types of models would you like to see draped in your favorite designer’s clothes?