Everyone wants to look trim and fit. But who decides about what is trim? For years the fashion industry looked for models who were a size six. All of the demo clothes, and shoes, were designed and sewn to fit a size six model. So, when did size six stop being the standard for a model?
Then in 1966, a super skinny model came along who became the standard for a supermodel. It wasn’t Barbie. She of the impossibly slim waistline has been around longer. Her influence on young girls has been greatly exaggerated. We, or at least I, understood that her waist was that small to keep her skirts and pants from falling off. Even Ken had questionable hips for a man with no genitals. Besides that skinny waist exaggerated her hips and the size of her breasts; the doll had curves unlike the rail thin models of today.
The success of British model Twiggy signaled the beginning of the end for models who were healthy role models. Women who fell short of her impossibly thin specs went out of their way to reshape themselves. They indulged in unhealthy activities to get slimmer figures. One of the means was the use of heroin as a diet aid; fortunately heroin chic is out of fashion as well as illegal. Developing an eating disorder, anorexia or bulimia, was often the result of trying to drop pounds and inches. (Note: I do not hold Twiggy responsible for this. She was not the one who made being super-skinny the norm.)
Designers need to stop treating models like plastic dress-up dolls and need to accept that sometimes their client won’t be beanpole thin. There are fortunately several up and coming designers who want to design clothes that their mom can wear and we should make a point of supporting them. It’s nice to see clothes appearing on the racks that fit the average woman (size 14). It would be equally nice to see some of these women showing them on the catwalk.