What do you define as flattering? Would you say it is an outfit that compliments one’s body and facial structure making them appear attractive? Would it be an outfit that makes you look, put together and fitted? Would it be an outfit that gives the illusion of an hourglass or V shape? All ideas of a flattering look only points in one direction, an outfit that makes you look skinny. An outfit that doesn’t show the curves of your muffin top or the roundness of your belly. Choosing clothes that make you look skinny and trendy has become the norm of societal standards, dictating what is considered acceptable/flattering. The pursuit of flattering looks push a skewed perception of beauty and fashion. Instead it promotes the idea that there is a singular body shape and size that everyone should aspire to. The typical reinforcement of unrealistic standards. But it also limits fashion to a contained range of styles that are deemed as fashionable.
Society's fixation on looking flattering, will inevitably hinder the evolution of style within society. Designers are already feeling pressured to conform to limited silhouettes and designs that sell because society has deemed the expiration of different styles to be provocative and unacceptable. 2024‘s fashion shows have showcase, gorgeous runways, but stifles in boundary pushing fashion. The Fashion industry still focuses too much on the body, rather than the fabrics and materials that are going to be placed on the body.
I remember when I attended the taping of project runway season 20 finale. I was talking to some of the other attendees, those of whom were fashion designers and producers, who all experienced designers struggle with creating a design when presented with a plus size model and usually they end up with a design that drowns the body or hides the ”unwanted” parts of the body. This created uncreative boring looks that never truly showcased the designers personality in all of their other looks. It was only recently that designers learned to be capable of styling plus size models.
Shift the singular focus of “flattering” and embrace the diverse individuality. Fashion should be a means of self expression and allowing people the freedom to experiment with looks that resonate with their personalities, and not with norms and trends. By encouraging inclusivity, and embracing a broad spectrum of styles fashion can evolve from this current era of “the revival of fashions” and onto a new dynamic fashion era.
They say, imitation is the highest form of flattery, so imitate innovation and boundless fashion.