What is the "Beauty Ideal" according to society can be an emotionally loaded conversation. Like most things in life, if e look at it objectively and with a historical perspective, we really can better understand it. In that understanding, it can become less of an emotional topic.
Almost daily, I encounter women in Adored who are dissatisfied or resent parts of their bodies and believe that they cannot wear certain things because their bodies are "wonky". Sometimes, yes, there are certain styles or cuts that don't flatter us the way we deserve to be, so we should choose a different product. However, most of the time, the perspective that something is wrong with our bodies comes from the lie of the fashion industry, that tells us we should look like a runway model. As a result, we compare ourselves to them and loose our objectivity, causing us to forget that we were designed in the image of God and the we are perfect in that design.
My heart has always been to help women find that place and remember this truth as they select their garments. I've been wanting to do a blog about this issue for some time, but it wasn't until recently that the content made sense in an articulate way in both my head and heart. So, here we go.
Models are so thin. Why?
Mostly for practical reasons. It used to be that product (apparel) was tailor fit specifically to the model, but with the advent of fast fashion, it has become more about tailoring the model to the product. Models now have to fit the product, so they all have to be very similar in their size, shape and height. It's easier to fit a dress on a women if that woman has little to no curves, because then they don’t have to work around her curves.
It hasn’t always been this way. Change is slow and continuous. If you look at clips from fashion shows from the 70’s and 80’s and compare them to today, you'll easily see the difference. There used to be a much more human approach and an appreciation of the woman rather than todays focus on the clothing.
Sizing. Whats wrong with it?
We never know what size we are when we shop. It's not that our bodies are wonky, it's the industry.
Sizes are confusing for everyone today. Way back when there were no sizes and clothes were custom for your size and fit. Bust sizes were established in the 40’s, in the late 50’s range of sizes and measurements were re-established and overtime vanity sizing started and sizes went smaller and smaller, adding 4,2,0 and 00. A size 4-6 in 1995 would be a size 2 today. No two decades have really had the same sizing system.
Height makes a huge difference too, but the industry largely does not account for it anymore.
In the US, there is not a respected sizing system. In the UK, there is one internationally reliable sizing standard. Many brands have given up on the number based system and are now going with letters, XS - XL. A recommendation we have probably all heard is to let go of the number or letter and instead look for the right fit. Given this history, and our new objective lenses, it seems a recommendation well worth taking!
We can influence the beauty ideal. There is a lie that we are all victim to and fully aware of, that tells us we need to look like models. If we start with ourselves and change what we choose to believe, that change will spread to those around us. Choose to believe that you were created with curves and your design is the true image of beauty. Choose brands that are made for real women and are designed to fit like we are really designed. Stop believing social media “perfection” and be honest in your media about what you really look like. Taking these steps, we can all influence what is considered beautiful.
The products we carry at Adored are made with real women in mind. If we can help you break a lie in your life, we would love to!