Marsupial Pants

While reading an article on what brands of jeans have been the most popular this year, Apple Bottoms came up. Their claim is that they accentuate curves instead of trying to hide them. Since I’ve spent the past decade-plus buying pants to fit over my hips and finding the American-sizing assumption to be that someone with big hips must also be big-waisted, and I wind up sagging a little by default, I checked them out. Only to find an entire page full of perfectly normal-sized women, most of whom do NOT have big hips, or really much to speak of in hips at all. The one little nod to curviness is a couple of pictures of larger sizes, looking really unflattering. What is that pouch below the fly in the front? She could fit a roll of tube socks in there, or a couple.

I’m not going to be all size-ist and say large women should never wear tight clothes, and I’ve seen skinny girls shoved into too-small garments that make them look like sausage links; it’s all about the cut and about getting the right size that determines whether tight can work.

I’ve seen well-designed jeans on larger women, and I’ve seen a nice pair of pants make it look like someone’s lost weight without her having to hold her breath to get into them. These pants just make her butt look lower, like someone dropped a bag of sand down the back and it hasn’t slid down all the way because the skinny legs are too tight.

The muffin-top in the front implies she’s not as proud of her curves as they would have you believe and she’s attempting to wear a size smaller so she doesn’t have to admit to herself she’s a 24 or whatever the heck number is now “fat” in the random-number women’s-sizing system that puts my size range anywhere from 7 to 12.

I showed this picture to D., who said the pants looked like they were designed for the upper body and she just stuck her legs through the sleeves. Like skants, but with the neck-hole / crotch sewn shut.

Then here’s a back-shot of a skinny girl with curves only in the back. Laterally, she’s s flat as a brick. Then these pants take what is possibly a nice butt and flatten/lengthen/drop it. You can see from the right side that adds nothing that any shapeliness is strictly the willpower and determination of her butt to overcome these pants. Then the mom-pants waistband appears to be actually bigger than the hips.

Here is an example of *actual* big hips:

I want to know where this woman found tight pants with a small waist or if she got them tailored. (Or if that strategic blur says this is photoshopped–or else the effect of a gravitational pull.) Image gotten from here, though the wording of the text implies it’s some sort of spam site.

The top pair is significantly less curve-flattering than Lane Bryant. I suspect the “adds curves” notion of this brand of pants is just that any woman who is willing to wear an “I have curves” apple on her ass is probably making a statement, as described in this quote by The Last Psychiatrist: “The brunette who dyes her hair blonde isn’t  trying to look Swedish, the point is to make sure everyone knows it’s artificial because it’s a signal: I don’t want blonde hair, I want to be a <<blonde>>.”

These don’t have to be actually nice butts because they’re <<apple bottoms>>. (Though, seriously, have you really looked at the shape of an apple? Maybe there IS truth in advertising . . . )


Flipping Through a Magazine

While sitting in a waiting room today, I flipped through their copy of Redbook and found this trenchcoat with a clever feminization through the collar ruffle:


This jacket’s uneven hem works great with this length of skirt, though they probably should have told the model they were starting to shoot:


The magazine also had this ad–why is this man shaving his palms??


I couldn’t resist getting a shot of this:

This has got to be the worst selection of toys I’ve ever seen in a waiting room. It’s a torn-up basket with some toy broken furniture. I can’t tell if the coffee maker was originally designed to be a toy or whether it’s a real single-use coffee maker that hasn’t been washed and is missing part of a lid.

Cat Fashion

When I look at fashion sites or cut up old magazines, I often get ideas for some sort of pocket detail or a clever use of buttons, or just inspiration like “hey, that chiffon skirt looks great blowing in the wind . . . oh yeah, I like chiffon!” But there is also a lot of crap out there.

It just occurred to me that I have posted two complaints about fashion in fairly rapid succession. So that I don’t wind up looking like a grouch or a bully or Joan Rivers, I thought I’d go in search of some inspiring fashion.

Here is a lovely grey, double-breasted pea coat, similar to what I was envisioning for D.’s winter coat when I finally get a chance to make it–though I’m debating a Nehru or Nehru-like collar and/or a hood.


Lousy Outfit

So I’m scanning the fluff fashion sites in search of something really awful or something really awesome and I come across Lucky Magazine’s “cute girl of the day.” Just as I’m expecting to find something targeting either men, lesbians, or any other inadvertent user of the Male Gaze, it switches to the title “cute *outfit* of the day.”

None of them seemed all that cute; they were largely inoffensive, but unexciting. This is the breaking fashion news? Stuff someone might put together halfway through their laundry timeline?

But this one–I’m still checking it over for some hint that she’s a troll inspired by the Man Repeller. All it needs is a skirt to make it the final shot in a monochrome-themed “Lesson in Layering.”

Terrible Designer Dress

When I’m bored or waiting for someone and have just finished reading my mail and signed out, I flip through the yahoo articles. A headline of “tacky dress” caught my eye.

The problem the author had was that her belly button ring showed. I have no problem with cutouts to display tattoos or jewelry (as long as it’s not nipple rings), but it just doesn’t flow well that there’s already a gem there, AND there’s a belly ring competing for that diamond. Plus, the bellybutton ring apparently only showed when she moved, which is sloppy and obviously accidental. One of the first rules of creative design in EVERY field is to make sure it’s apparent that it’s on purpose.

I have a novel I’m working on about which an agent said, “I can’t tell if it’s the character who is awkward and uncertain or if it’s the writing.” It’s supposed to be the character, a nerdy homebody who is drawn out of his shell just a little bit by the end of the intentionally low-curved story arc. If that’s not apparent, I’m not doing my job as a writer and it does need a rewrite.

My biggest problem with this dress, however, is that the designer used unsupported charmeuse for a bodice that needs complete stabilization. These cutouts look sloppy. They look like fashion undergrads at the Art Institute trying to demonstrate that they took and understood the pattern-making class. I freaking hate bubbling along charmeuse seams. I’m aware that it’s nearly impossible to sew on that stuff without some bubbling, but this bodice is just covered with it; it looks like projects I’ve thrown away in failure.

You’re Doing it Wrong

I came across this this morning:

An article on yahoo about people who think that their jobs make the world a worse place. (Topping the list percentage-wise was fast food workers; yes, they know.)

Who said fashion designers had to hurt people’s body image? You’re doing it wrong. Clothes, done right, should help people feel better about how they look. Yeah, I know, a lot of fashion designers don’t see it that way. Watching Project Runway challenges in which the designers have to make something nice for a “real person” (cause skinny people aren’t really people, right?), they whine in the sewing room, and half the time they come up with something that would only be flattering on a thin person and apparently decide it just doesn’t matter how someone over size 8 looks in their clothes.

It’s easier to sew for the “ideal” body shape because if you put a burlap sack on a beautiful girl, she makes the burlap sack look beautiful, too. That’s why fashion shows can get away with outfits that look straight out of Zoolander‘s Derelicte show. I knew a fashion student once who complained about how expensive it was to make the outfits for her classes; she was buying yards and yards of gorgeous $12/yd fabrics. I directed her to the discount table where things could go for $1-2/yd. “Yeah, but this is prettier.”

I always think of the line in Just Shoot Me, where the photographer is going on about how good of a job he does on the photos and David Spade’s character says, “Oh, yeah – you’re a genius. You took a picture of one of the hottest women in the world and somehow made her look beautiful. What’s your secret – are you using some kind of film?”

Just about anyone with a sewing machine can make expensive fabric look at least passable. Just about anyone with a size 8 knockout can make her look great. Fashion designers who think they’re making the world a worse place are just stuck being lazy. Go into Lane Bryant and make something that doesn’t look horrifying. Millions of women’s lives and self-images will be better for it.