Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Have We Really Become More Open-Minded About Body Image?

Back in the 1990s, when I was a wee little schoolgirl, Kate Moss was starting to become world-famous.  There was a lot of controversy surrounding her weight, but it only seemed to increase her popularity.  More and more models with waif-like figures dominated the fashion scene.  One common argument was simply that skinnier women looked better in clothes than thicker women.

The 2nd decade of the new millenium ushered in a new school of thought on the image of the ideal body, thanks in part to the rise of models Lara Stone and Kate Upton, and as the best example, Kim Kardashian. This new thought declared that a curvier and more womanly type of figure, one with wider hips and larger breasts, should be celebrated.

However, fashion magazines and luxury fashion houses refuse to celebrate this curvier body.  Sure, singer Adele and Kate Upton have landed on the cover of Vogue, but all the models and even the actresses in the fashion spreads of Vogue and similar magazines continue to be very thin.  Even spreads that feature clothing that supposedly flatters curvier women star waiflike models.

On tpf, there's a thread dedicated to the Isabel Marant pour H&M collection, and I got caught up in sharing the excitement with my fellow tpfers by posting info about stock in stores and a couple of modeling pics in it.  So did a few others.  Well, this topic came to mind because I noticed there were 2 tpfers who got a lot more compliments on their pics than I did.  I noticed a difference: their bodies were much slimmer than mine.  I'm not fat by any means, but yes, I do have hips, a butt, and boobs.  No matter how much I work out or diet, these aren't going anywhere.  It took me a long while, but I've accepted them and actually work out to keep these things in the best shape I can.

So maybe we haven't become THAT much more open-minded then.  We, as a society, still value the thin body above others, at least in terms of fashion.  Maybe we've made a little progress by putting curvier models in the magazines, but keep in mind that even though Kim, Kate, and Lara are still curviER than the other models, they're still thinner than the AVERAGE woman.  I'm simply quoting someone else, but I read a female designer once said that there were misogynistic male designers who didn't want women with womanly bodies wearing their clothes, so they purposely made only clothes that flattered boyish figures.  Unfortunately, the female designer stated that these male designers were in the majority.

I have to accept that most of the luxury fashion world looks down on women with my body type.  So does that mean I don't get to participate in it?  No, but the trick is to find the pieces that flatter me and to find the designers who do love women.  And bags and shoes don't discriminate against dress size ;)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

Normally, I buy my birthday present to myself way in advance and have to wait weeks, even months, to open it.  It didn't happen that way this year.

After reading a brief mention about Celine bags in Vanity Fair this summer, I decided to buy a Celine bag.  I didn't know any of the style names, but I'd heard the name "Phantom", so I just moseyed on over to Barneys and asked the 1st sales associate who approached me for a "Phantom".  The SA showed me a gorgeous slouchy black leather top-handle bag.  It was the beautiful bag that matched the picture in Vanity Fair.  Then the SA showed me another bag that looked very similar to the Phantom.  I told her I thought it was the same bag, but she shook her head and showed me the inside.  It turned out that the 2nd bag was a Luggage.  I couldn't decided, but I liked the Phantom more, and the SA pushed for me to buy it, but I just couldn't at the time.  I had to go home and think.

The following week, I went into a Celine boutique for the 1st time.  It was a very sleek minimalist space.  A very nice red-haired SA offered to help and showed me the slouchy black Phantom.  I wanted it, but I couldn't bring myself to buy it.  I went back another 2 times, and the SA was so gracious and helpful every time, even getting other SAs to help other customers who approached her.  I gravitated toward the black smooth-leather Phantom each time, but just couldn't bring myself to buy it again and again.  I then came across a tabloid with a picture of Reese Witherspoon with an orage (grayish blue) Luggage tote and thought it was the bag for me.  I went back to Celine and bought one, happy to do so so that the SA would finally get the sale she deserved.

I took it home and was...underwhelmed.  I thought it would wow me and make me scream, but it didn't.  I took it back to the store 3 days later and got a store credit.  I asked for the black Phantom, but was told they were currently sold out and would call when more stock arrived.  Lesson learned.  Buy only if you're over the moon, especially a Celine bag, cuz those ain't cheap!

So here I was with a $2800+ Celine credit sitting in my wallet for over a month.  After work on Saturday, I headed back to the Rodeo Drive boutique to see if I could finally find something to spend my credit on.  It was on a shelf...there was my birthday present!  My SA came out of the back and immediately brought her to me.  I also asked to see the regular black smooth-leather Phantom, the same one I'd looked at before.  It turned out that there was a recent price increase, so it was $400 more this time.  I nearly kicked myself.  Why, oh why did I pass it up just 2 months earlier?  But I needn't have fretted.  I decided to go with the 1st bag I saw in the store on Saturday that took my breath away.  I needed to see it only once to know she had to be mine.  So...without further ado...here is...my medium black croc-stamped Phantom!

And since: a) I was in the area; b) there was a limited-edition salty caramel cupcake they'd stop selling at the end of this month; c) their cupcakes are just yummy, period; and d) I was celebrating my birthday, I stopped by Sprinkles after my shopping trip.  Like I needed a sugar high!  I was already on cloud 9!

And finally, here's a modeling pic.  I'm wearing it with my burgundy "Smile" sweatshirt from the Isabel Marant pour H&M kids collection.  I love this collection, and this sweatshirt is so perfect cuz it allows me to still express my "California casual" style but still not look ratty:

I apologize for the dirty bathroom mirror.  I didn't even notice it until after I saw the pictures uploaded lol