In recent years, I have grown tired of the insidious pursuit of “flattering.” While there is nothing inherently problematic with wanting to wear clothes that fit well and that accentuate one’s shape, more and more I feel that the word and its antonym have been used as a weapon to denigrate and homogenize. I admit to using “flattering” and “unflattering” liberally to propagate my preferred aesthetic, but they are words I am trying to use more carefully now.
Our personal aesthetic evolves well into adulthood, but we can probably all recall a few formative experiences that shape how we choose to dress: Low-cut items still make me ill at ease, as I’ll forever hear my mom’s voice hassling me that parts of my breasts are exposed. And, as boring and strait-laced as I was growing up, I was a regular at my high school’s 6AM morning runs, a punishment for a range of minor infractions: my original sin was too-short-skirts (granted the classroom dress code was draconian). I still find myself calculating how many inches above the knee my skirts end. Growing up, I almost can’t help but associate short skirts and cleavage-baring necklines with “unflattering.”
As our various experiences shape our worldview, that anyone should care what I consider flattering is a ludicrous proposition. But still, we’ve (to varying degrees) become inured to well-meaning, if unhelpful, suggestions on how we should dress.
But I think the world would be a more colorful, interesting place if we take more fashion risks. They don’t come with many (lasting) downsides.
(Today’s rambling is inspired by the following articles: “In Defense Of ‘Unflattering’ Clothes” (Buzzfeed); “‘Skinny Privilege’ and Who Deserves Fashion” (The Cut); and “Meghan’s £200k Gown Was Identical to One of Mine, Says Designer Who Is a Favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge” (Daily Mail)”.)
And I can understand being frustrated by ubiquitous trends, but I really didn’t “get” this piece from the Hairpin titled, “Please Stop Trying To Make The High-Rise Wide-Leg Crop Happen.” Making every fashion issue one about size is not productive, and alienates those who never disagreed with the cause.
Also I just really love wide-leg crop pants, and it pains me to see them get dumpstered on.