The Problem with “Flattering” Fashion

iyananeWearing: Black sweater from Etsy, Aritzia turtleneck, Issey Miyake Pleats Please pants, Margiela tabi boots

“11 Fashion Tips to Flatter Any Body Type”

“The Best Dress for Your Figure”

“How to Dress 10 Pounds Thinner”

Magazines, blog posts, fashion sites, TV commercials – every corner you turn, you’ll find these sorts of headlines trumpeted at you. They all promise in colorful and cheerful letters to help you hide your flaws and dress your figure to best effect. No matter where you go, if you’re a woman, you’ll be inundated with media that tells you your body is not sufficient in some manner, and then offer you a solution to fix the problem.

This type of advice that shows you how to flatter your figure should frankly be banned. It’s toxic, unrealistic and is based off the false premise that an ideal body type even exists. First of all, women come in all shapes and sizes, and pressuring all of them to conform to whatever shape society deems ideal is unrealistic and unhealthy. Second of all, why should women restrict themselves to these shapes? There are an abundance of interesting silhouettes clothes can create beyond the slender hourglass preferred by fashion nowadays. Round, square, bottom-heavy, short and stocky, even ball-shaped – there are so many options. Yet many people become incredibly uncomfortable when women choose to dress in ways that are consciously different, and consequently label these women as weird and ugly. They are considered “undesirable” – and it is this description that is perhaps most damning of all.

This is the big problem I see with the word flattering. It implies that a woman must dress in way that society considers appealing to the opposite sex, and choosing to dress in another manner is tantamount to social suicide. Of course, I’m completely fine with women dressing in ways that are considered conventionally flattering. We just need to stop telling women that flattering is the only way to dress.

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