Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Totally Tubular

Yesterday, Jezebel linked to an article about a really interesting study: apparently, women today aspire to have a "tubular" silhouette, rather than the hourglass silhouette of the 50s. Here's a choice quote: “The increase in ideal waist size and decrease in ideal hip size reflects a change in the ideal female figure from the hourglass figure coveted in the 1950s to today’s tubular, more androgynous ideal, with little differentiation between the waist and hips.” Isn't that fascinating? (I must say, I can't imagine wanting to have my figure described as "tubular.")

It seems very possible that this shift in desired silhouette is simply a natural cycle in fashion's fickle concept of the ideal body type. The above image shows the difference in silhouette between the first decade of the 1910s and the 1920s. As you can see, the desired shape changes radically from the "S-curve" of the 1910s: the bust is flattened and the waist is wider, creating what is essentially a "tubular" effect.

Which all begs the question: are we currently in a twenties renaissance? I'm not sure. Personally, I would describe the current fashion silhouette as an inverted cone. Mad Men may be all the rage on tv, but the Lohan look still rules on the street. Flowing, billowy tunics on top, skinny jeans or leggings on the bottom, all culminating in diminutive flats on the feet (demonstrated below by two celebrities with very different figures). While this silhouette may not be exactly tubular, it's certainly more androgynous and a definite foil to the hourglass.

While it's easy to brush all this off as a harmless whim of fashion, it seems that the preferred silhouette of an era and body image are intertwined. According to the study, "In 1954, the women on average aspired to lose just under 3lbs, while today’s woman wanted to shed more than 10lbs. 1950s women aspired to ideal hips measuring just over 35 inches, while modern women wanted hips of less than 31 inches but larger waists than the 1950s women."

Do tubular silhouettes inspire poor body image? Like so many things, I'm sure this is specific to the woman. I've tried on exactly one pair of skinny jeans in my life, and it was traumatic. I can't say that I've ever felt worse about my body. On the other end of the spectrum, I feel at my most confident in hourglass silhouettes. So, I personally opt to eschew the current "inverted cone" trend. I think this is easy to do when you're 30 years old, comfortable in your style, and not as swayed by trends. But if I were in high school and everyone around me were sporting skinny jeans, I think I would have a harder time treading my own path. And lord knows, high school is hard enough as it is.

What do you think? Do you agree that women today aspire to a more androgynous silhouette? And how do you think that relates to body image?


  1. I've always thought of my body as "columnar" (quite a bit bigger than a tube) or described my condition as "NDW Syndrome" - No Discernible Waistline. It's good to know I've been ahead of my time all these years.

  2. I think that it's a pretty unhealthy look that the general populace aspires to these days with all of the skinny. (I could be biased, having been eating disordered myself some 15 years ago, but I digress.) My husband has called it the "She needs a sandwich" look or alternately, the "14 year old boy locked in the basement without food" look. (He's obviously not a fan.)

    My goal is to have the Joan Holloway (Phooey on her husband, Mr. Harris!) look, but I will need to shed some pounds or reshape myself a bit. However, I consider her look "ideal" in my mind, and my husband fortunately agrees! ;)

  3. I have a figure a lot closer to the tubular ideal that the hourglass, though that is partly the result of being flat chested - I actually have a pretty large waist/hip difference (nearly ten inches), although I guess it's telling that the fat I would most like to lose is that which supplies those extra hip inches.

    But the thought I have about this hourglass/tubular issue is that it's quite easy to excoriate the 'skinny' trend as being all about body fascism, invented by chain-smoking anorexics on the New York fashion scene and cruelly and unrealistically sold to average women who then feel obliged to shoehorn their normal healthy bodies into this ridiculous ideal. But the tubular trend in the 20s was nothing like that - it coincided with a rapid increase in social freedom for women after the first world war, and the more athletic ideal body type and the less restrictive clothing of that period probably reflect that. I wouldn't necessarily argue that we're seeing any comparable increase in women's freedom right now - that's not the reason for the resurgence of tubular. But there has been a massive increase in a cultural preoccupation with health and fitness, and the tubular body type is the one produced by being very very fit - just look at female athletes or ballet dancers. So the tubular thing is probably as much part of an interest in fitness (which is a marker of wealth and social status in today's Western societies) as an aspiration to teenage-boy skinniness.

    Those of the hourglass persuasion sometimes present themselves as being grown-up, confident, 'sassy' women in contrast to the unfortunate rake-thin wannabe teenage tubulars, but I want to say that aspiring to be tubular rather than hourglass doesn't have to mean a denial of grown-up femininity. I mean, I'm short, slim and flat-chested, but I think I can be just as grown-up, confident and sassy as a smoking hot hourglass.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that personal body image and attitude should say a lot more about you than your body type.

    NB I hope no hourglasses are offended by this - I think your shape is gorgeous, I just think you don't have the monopoly on grown-up femininity.

  4. I definitely see 20s fashion as an inspiration for today's trends. The tunic look has a real 20s feel about it and I feel sure one could wear a cocoon coat without comment. I feel there was a big change in fashion about a year or more ago where the 90s low-rise, midriff-baring styles were jettisoned wholesale and this empire-waist, straight-down tunic and skinny jeans came to the fore. Fortunately we also have the long belted cardigan and wide-legged trousers for the rest of us :-). However, look around you: dresses have not a waist seam in sight.

    I don't like the 50s girdled effect but I think every decade, although it may have a signature look, has fashions that appeal to a variety of types. My mother, who married at 18 in 1954, spent the rest of the decade (she claims) wearing combat fatigues as part of the bohemian resurgance, not in poodle skirts and pearls. The historical "image" of a decade is not completely accurate; this decade may be characterised by this skinny look but there are plenty of attractive fashions for other body types as well. Especially if you can sew :-)

  5. Hanna has a very good point (the same one that came to my mind as reading, but she said it much better than I could have lol) I also have a short slim body type, so I have always been drawn to 1960s sorts of styles. That era also had a popular body image of androgyny and being 'tubular'. Think Twiggy.

    I really believe it is just a phase, I'd bet in five or ten years the 50s silhouette will be all the rage again.

  6. Yes, Hanna, you make some great points. I should have said that one body type isn't inherently any better than another, it's just strange how arbitrary any ideal of the moment is. If I sound biased toward hourglass figures, that is merely my own viewpoint as someone with a curvy body. I think we should all aspire to make our own bodies our personal ideal.

    ejvc, your mom sounds awesome! I've often thought it strange how one look can completely represent a decade, when in fact there were many options for how to dress.

  7. Having a full bust and wide hip bones that will never be 31", I can say that if tubular is it, I am a failure. I've tried on skinny jeans and I wanted to cry...then I realized that it was the jeans, not me. I can't imagine a less feminine style. Empire waist tops/dresses make me look pregnant because I am large busted. Also not a good look.

    Thank God I can sew! The more I sew for myself, the more I realize that I am beautiful the way I am. I'm not remotely overweight but because of my proportions and my petite frame I can rarely find clothes off the rack that fit at all. It takes more time to sew a garment than hauling off to a store to buy one, but then I think about the time that I sit feeling gross about my body because I have to go through tons of clothes in the dressing room to find something that sort of fits (and what sort of fits never expresses me style-wise) and all the time I spend freaking out about how all those truckloads of clothes don't fit me and really after all of that, I think sewing saves me time and allows me to have my heart protected from all that yuck.

    In the end, we're all shaped differently and I think you just have to rock what you have.

  8. I think that today, there are so many different styles out there that every woman is able to chose what suits her best - or whatever she likes best, other than in the beginning of the century, when wearing pants was considered scandalous. the only "shape" I really don't like is the one implemented by "high fashion" designers who have no interest in making women feel good but only displaying their creations in the best possible way. quite a number of male designers do not have any personal interest in making women look female or sexy.
    I love how you always come up with such interesting questions and topics. thank you!

  9. This is true. I know this because when I try to buy pants that fit me, I have to fit my hips and the waist is too big! I never thought about the tubular look, but it makes sense now!

  10. Thirty-one inch "ideal" hips! I have an hourglass figure. My WAIST is 31 inches and I am not particularly large even having had one baby. (I am currently pregnant with another, so I'm sure my waist has grown, but never mind.) At a more ideal weight (for MY frame!) my hips are still closer to 40" than 30".

  11. Also, I wonder if it is women who idealize that figure or fashion that dictates they need it.

  12. I think when Hanna says "But there has been a massive increase in a cultural preoccupation with health and fitness" she is on to something, but I think more than health and fitness there has become an obsession with an impossible to achieve ideal of beauty. Not even the models in the adverts are the real thing anymore. This constant pressure exerted by the media (magazines, TV, movies, music) to look 'beautiful' plays on the natural insecurities of women and causes them to constantly re-assess whether they are happy with their appearances. People spend too much time trying to conform with the latest ideal as opposed to going with what works for them.

    I am lucky to be naturally slim (UK 8/10) but I feel a constant pressure to stay that way (and ideally lose a few pounds), and often find myself looking at these airbrushed pictures and feeling discontented with what I have. Sometimes I wonder if it is a natural part of womanhood (women in every era have always been concerned with how they look) but one which has been inflated beyond all reasonableness in our current obsessive society...

    Anyway, rant over!

  13. Well, there is no way that my body could ever fit into the tubular ideal, nor do I want to aspire to it.
    My dd is an hourglass figure, but living in Korea the shape of young women is mostly that tubular ideal. Finding jeans that fit her was rather traumatic too even though she is quite thin. It's really a good thing that she has a good body image!

  14. Are hips below 31" even possible? Even the skinniest fashion models usually have hips of 32"-34". It seems like you'd have to be very short as well as very slender to pull a number like that off.

    But I digress. I really hate the tubular look. Not the body type, but the clothing silhouette. It's so unfeminine. Not my preferred style at all.

    And I agree with what some of the other commentators said about skinny jeans. I have a pair that I bought in a fit of pique, and never ever wear.

  15. Goodness! 31" hips - that's literally off the charts. I'm sitting here looking at my Simplicity pattern envelope, and the smallest size (4) has 31.5" hips, along with a 22" waist and 29.5" bust. I'm having a very hard time imagining a woman with any median-range bone structure actually wanting hips that small. It's such an odd trend.

  16. Tubular? Really? I didn't know that you could really change your body type. You are what you are. Sure the clothes can give the illusion of a different silhouette but then it just makes it more obvious you are not naturally that way. I've just recently come to embrace my shape and have found particular styles in many different eras that look good on me. I am a fashion trends person, but only when I like the look. If it doesn't look good on me...I move on, but that wasn't always easy for me to do.

  17. @Gertie

    'I think we should all aspire to make our own natural body shape our personal ideal.' I think that would be my definition of grown-up femininity. Thanks for expressing it!

  18. I think there's also something to be said here about the "art" of fashion. Fashion is always aspiring to reinvent itself. Bring old looks back in modern ways. The tunic/skinny jean look can easily hearken to the huge sweatshirt/legging look of the 80s, the Twiggy tunic of the 60s, the flapper look of the 20s. Things go in and out and back around again.

    I gave a pretty gray skirt to Salvation Army 10 years ago because the waist was too high. Now I look at all my hip slung skirts and wish the waist was higher. Tastes and trends change as we are exposed to new things, or at least reinventions of past trends.

    We also have innovation in fabrics, such as stretchy jeans. I recently bought pants that are basically leggings with jeans stitching. They're so comfortable and stretch around the parts that don't fit into earlier versions of skinnies. So such trends are not as restrictive as they once were, and accommodate a wider spread of body type.

    In the movie 'Thoroughly Modern Millie', Julie Andrews laments over how large here breasts are, that her pearls don't lay right. I think as long as there are trends and art in fashion, women will be curious to try them, hoping their bodies will oblige.

  19. I've always wanted to be hour-glass, but I'm
    pear-shaped with a big bootie and a flat chest. I wouldn't mind my behind, if my chest matched. :-)For the past 20 years, it seems like the body "ideal" is buxom on top, yet skinny in the hips and thighs. (Look at all those Disney princesses, every starlet, and Barbie!)It's probably one of the least common, naturally occuring body types.

  20. A great, thought provoking post again... and I love reading everyone's comments!

    I used to be hourglass, and LOVED it. I learned to dress my figure, even at a time when it was more fashionable to look like a boy. Now, my body shape is more the "disfigured" or "janky" type, and I'm having the darndest time trying to figure out how to dress myself. And I'm pretty sure feeling feminine again is out of the question.

    However, what Hanna said with "personal body image and attitude should say a lot more about you than your body type" is inspirational! Thanks Hanna!

  21. Very interesting indeed. Women's fashion has changed a great deal over the years, but I always thought that the "widening" of the waistline was more a result of comfort and convenience. Who could be bothered to put on a corset or girdle every day!?

    However, I can't say the same for the skinny jean phenomenon; they're anything but comfortable -- but that's my personal preference. Being rather hippy and full in the thighs, I feel like a stuffed sausage in them, so I avoid. That being said, I think everyone is free to make choices about clothing that makes them feel good, even peer-pressured teens.

    The bigger issue isn't necessarily the tubular trend, but rather skeletal models. They paint an image of "ideal" that is completely unhealthy and unnatural. No matter what your natural bust-hip-thigh ratio, protruding bones should't be considered something to strive for, but I continue to see mal-nourished, Auschwitz models in ads. Gross! Hopefully, new natural beauty campaigns can counter that.

    Love the skin you're in, I say.

  22. Such an interesting point.

    I for one love the look of a smaller waist, be it the illusion or the actual thing. I really cant stand anything trendy to me it all hits in the wrong place, why put on a pair of super tight jeans that make your legs look nice and skinny but your waist look like a muffin.

    Are waist is naturally one of the smallest parts of our bodys we should be praising it and instead we are ruining with all these super low cut jeans and raunchy trends.


  23. All I can say is congratulations for choosing to not follow a trend. I have seen many girls in skinny skinny bumster jeans that I feel like they should have made the decision that that style is not for them. Fashion and looking good to me is all about finding what looks good on you and making sure your clothes fit properly regardless of the size on the tag. It is this last item that I think gets vastly ignored in today's society that and taking the tacking out of the vent in your coat or jacket.

  24. I think the boom in corsetry and corset sales following the burlesque trend would disprove the tubular body theory! I'm all for the pin-up look myself! x

  25. I've spent quite a bit of time trying to remember what my mom called that thing she was into in the 50s -- and of course, it was the Beat generation - beatniks, counterculture, etc, see:

    -- my parents were from California and lived in Berkeley in the late 50s/early 60s so they were in on the action, I guess!

  26. My issue with the Tubular look has to do with the fact that it can only be pulled off by naturally tubular people. If you think of the hour glass look of the 50's and 60's or better yet, the V shape of the 40's and 80's, there are ways of setting about the illusion of such a figure.
    For the V shape with a narrow hip, you can create the line with shoulder pads, pintucks, and poof sleeves on top, and a dark colored straight as possible bottom. The "New Look" hour glass, you have a poofy skirt to either hide or enhance your hips, and plenty of interesting necklines with gathers or more ease on top to create a fuller looking bust, or a very plain neckline if you're already busty.
    With the tube look, you can't de-emphasize everything, and since there is no curve to draw attention to, unless you naturally have a tube, all the imbalances of your figure show.

  27. I actually have what's closer to a classically hourglass shape (37 DD-29-39) but in the past I haven't really dressed for it. I think this was largely due to a desire to look like women like Lindsay Lohan, who has a larger bust (as I do)but fairly slim hips.

    It was really not until I started watching Mad Men that I realized how sexy my shape could be, which is silly, because my boyfriend thinks I'm "Hot, not fat" but I never wanted to listen to him.

    I do think the tubular shape desired these days can carry some health risks, just because carrying more fat around the waist is always going to be slightly more dangerous for one's health. Of course, this is not always the case.

    I wish society would get over its ideals and just celebrate women of all shapes. I'm tired of all my friends, who are blessed with gorgeous bodies, feeling that they are too (short, tall, fat, thin, curvy, pear-shaped, flat chested, busty) and feel that they *are* desirable, beautiful, and as healthy as they want to be.

  28. Interesting. I come from very tubular stock-- smallish hips for my frame, definitely large waist and small bust, but 31" hips?! Holy. Suddenly my hips are feeling lush, shapely and proud of themselves!

    I liked Hanna's post too from beginning to end. I think she probably really nailed it in terms of the uber-fit body, that makes a lot of sense. I definitely get those twinges of feminine inferiority about hourglass women she was talking about too, that they are more feminine, more WOMAN, than I am. Reading it though I'm struck that for her it's something external, because I've totally internalized that and frankly hadn't consciously thought about it in a long time. Well time!

    Have to admit though I'm grinning over thinking about my body type as *less* tubular than the current ideal! Welcome new way to think about it.

  29. what im seeing is less of a 20s androgynous look, but more of a 40s sillhouette - with strong wide shoulders and narrow hips. both sillhouettes came about because of the world wars - women had to take over from the men who went to war and so adopted a more masculine style, followed by very feminine styles in the 30s and 50s when the wars were over. the strong shoulder look is huge everywhere right now (just have a look at, and as for the widening waistline, i would put that down to the 'obesity epidemic' plus laziness plus less corsets! i would define the 60s twiggy look as being small all over, with minimal curves, not necessarily tubular though - tubular is very much a 20s sillhouette.

    however, as everyone above has said, love the skin youre in, and there are always ways to flatter your shape. :)

  30. Veeery interesting topic, Gertie! (Have I ever told you how much I love your blog? Not only is it sewing related, but you post about such interesting and thought provoking things!) I don't have a lot to add to what you've already said: I agree with everything. I think most women aspire to the more tubular silhouette nowadays, but as you said there is an odd correlation between the 20s and now. Looking through some of my old magazines from the 20s, I'm always struck by the sheer multitude of diet and weight loss ads--even over 80 years ago this was a big industry! Whereas in comparison to 40s and 50s publications, while they are still present, it doesn't seem quite as prominent. Perhaps the real reason is that when fashion dictates a slimmer, less natural female form, our ideas of self worth and body image are bullied into being intertwined with the fashion whims.

    I had to giggle at what you said about skinny jeans--because that's exactly how I feel! ;) I made the mistake of buying a pair earlier this year. I had lost my holiday/honeymoon weight (too many slices of Key Lime pie when we were honeymooning in Key West! ;), and was feeling pretty good about my bod. However, now I hate wearing them, so they just sit in the drawer. lol. I don't know what I was on that day I bought them, but they really do nothing for me! :p

  31. When I was a teenager, I was a stick quite naturally. I ate and ate and ate and just stayed super skinny. I was teased all the time for being so thin. I wasn't tubular because I wasn't completely flat chested, but I was just naturally thin. For that reason, it frustrates me at times when people say it is unhealthy looking. Sometimes that is just the way the person is! I was very healthy, I just didn't gain weight. Yes, there are definitely instances when it is unhealthy, but that isn't always the case.
    All trends pass. As you said, you finally reach an age when you are comfortable with yourself and find your own style. It is at that point that you no longer find the need to follow each trend as it comes. It is also at that point that you are probably much better dressed!!

  32. With all the photo "enhancing". and eating disorders, plaguing our media, I think we all need to strive to be healthy. That will mean different things to different people. We were not all created to look the same and so I say embrace what style makes you feel the best about yourself, within reason of being appropriate of course. I also think we as a society would fair better if we would spend just a little more time trying to be better people who are kind and care about eachother, because that will make you beautiful in a way that no outfit or body style could match.

  33. First, Hanna: well spoken!
    Then I'd like to share my mums experience of growing up in the 1950's and 1960's as a slender girl with gorgeous legs, a less defined waist and lack of big bust: she hated it! She had no chance of living up to the ideals, as gorgeous as she was, when the ideal was the hourglass figure.
    I have a similar figure to my mum (but I must say she looked better than mI do, she looked - if you like - like a tubular Bigitte Bardot) and life is just so much easier for me!
    What I want to say is: no matter what body type is the ideal, there will always be BEAUTIFUL girls who don't look the "right" way, and they will feel inferior and wrong.
    So I'm all for promoting DIFFERENT body types. I'd love to be able to carry off hourglass, it's beautiful, but I look much better in skinny jeans, and I love that too. I only hope that we get a more diversified world in the future than in the past.
    Oh, and if the problem with the skinny look of the moment is that some girls develop eating-disorders then the problem with the hourglass ideal is that it makes flat-chested women go through very invasive BA-surgery to
    have any chance of acheving the ideal shape.
    And to me, the fact that women feel bad enough about themselves to think they need surgery to be ok is as troublesome as the fact that other women diet to stribe towards a body-type that is not their normal body-type.
    I just hope we all could love ourselves more the way we are!

  34. Hmmm...I was an hourglass in my teen years, a tube in early adulthood and now in middle-age my waistline has disappeared. I can look at this issue from all perspectives.
    Truthfully, there is no magic in any body type. You have what nature or your parents give you and how you choose to adorn it is a personal choice.
    Many times, I have seen very large women who look strikingly lovely, because they choose clothing that flatters. However, I have looked in the mirror on occasion and thought, "These clothes are really ugly on me...oh well, nobody really cares". Now who has the better body image?

    On another note, I have always been struck by how fashion is a product of time and place. Today, people in developed countries are physically larger because we know so much more about nutrition during pregnancy and early childhood. The clothing my mother and grandmother wore simply never fit my late-20th century body.

  35. I think most women have body types that lend more to the hour glass. I ENVY those women with curves! I am clad in the "inverted cone" most days because I am shaped more like a boy. lol! it leads me to ask should I emphasize what curves I do have? I don't know. either way I feel fine with my body. I keep telling myself even at 25 "you'll get curves when you grow up" lol! good topic!

  36. I think the writer you cite is out of touch if he/she thinks 31" hips exist for any part of the population of grown women. I have costumed high school theatrical productions and sewn for people and have NEVER, not once, measured any adult female with hips that small! This would include measuring skinny 14 and 15 year olds. For that matter I have not measured anybody with hips smaller than 34" and those 34" hipped people are usually short(5' to 5'2") and thin. This, of course, is just my personal experience. And...I am trying to get the clothes to fit, not make people happy with some ridiculous number. I think there is a lot of fudging that goes on with measurements and weights: in beauty contests, tabloid magazines etc...

    For goodness sake, there are plenty of women with 31" thighs!

    I think the beginning of the tubular look coincided with the exposed midsection look. It was a look primarily suitable to the young - "Look, I haven't had a baby yet!" Wearing the waistline just below the true waist, diminishes the waist/hip differential. It is not a look that suits everybody. I think with the recent emphasis on belts, the true waist may be coming back. All I know is that my daughters, always on the cutting edge, have pilfered all my belts from when I once had a small waist back in the 80s. Lindsay Lohan and co may be a bit behind the fashion curve.

  37. What? I thought everyone new this. Fashion trends change and rotate, but they reflect the shift in ethos of a society. Currently, fashion seems to be (in a very diluted manner) copying the 20s- large, blocky shirts, turbans at UO, long necklaces, and that "inverted cone" shape pioneered by Poiret and the like- but also the 60s/70s in Twiggy figures, bangles, sandals, loose hair, babydoll dresses, whathaveyou. I think it's a reflection of our out-of-control consumerism (20s) and our desire to believe that this wasteland of buying is really some sort of utopian summer of love (70s). But that's just me. I can't help but look at fashion from anything but an art historical perspective.

  38. I'm obviously late with this commentary, but i just had a class about gender/sex differences and partner selection. Reasearchers have actually found out, that the most attractive body type is the one that has a waist to hip ratio of 0.7. And it doesn't matter what size you are, it's the proportion that matters. Just a facinating little detail:)Of course I calculated my own figure as well and got the result 0.67. So i'm pretty close:D.

  39. I'm late as well (found your blog through Sal/Already Pretty!), but echo the thoughts about cyclical fashions and cyclical "best" body types.

    I hate that some body shapes are applauded at various times while others are degraded as too curvy/not curvy enough. And I'm glad women are pushing for more size acceptance, too.

    However, I have to say that I really wish the discussions around body acceptance and body size would include a more pronounced subset on body shape and *proportions.*

    We have a lot of shorter-legged, shorter-waisted Rectangles/H shapes in my family ("tubes" I guess, as it's a case of non-defined waists). But we vary in body size and bustiness.

    From a clothes-buying and -wearing perspective, those with more meat on their bones are actually ill-served by getting caught up in the "curvy" momentum because--just like the leaner Rectangles--if they try to wear things that suit proportionate "size Whatever" Hourglasses or Triangles it's not that pretty.

    The Extended Vix Family does a lot better when we dress for our shape/proportions, then modify for size/bustiness.

    Having finally (at 40) come to understand the above--and having shopped with friends of varying sizes with a focus on the above--it really does make it easier to internalize a "it's not my body it's the clothes that suck" message.

    Obviously I can go on about this, ha!

    But I think learning how to *fake* a more balanced look is a useful skill for anyone to have (should they wish to employ it!). In addition to potentially boosting morale, it also helps one cheat and adapt trends/looks that really aren't suited for one's shape.

    [And I know it's heresy, but I think Hourglasses and Triangles with short waists who want the most flattering silhouette need to watch those belts and high waists!]

  40. I agree with your suggestion that this may be some sort of 'natural cycle' in fashion. It seems to me that most periods in which the curves of the body were 'in' were followed by periods in which curves were 'out'.

    The 1910's in which curves were emphasised with crippling corsets was followed by the 1920's in which slender, boyish figures were 'in'. The 1950's in which hourglass figures were so favourable were followed by the 1960's in which icons like Twiggy sported slim, androgynous frames. In the 1980's 'power dressing' women wore tailored suits in which a sort of hourglass shape was created by the huge shoulderpads and peplums which emphasised the hips. This period was followed by the 1990's in which the adrogynous grunge look was somewhat popular amongst many.

    I'm not entirely sure how the 1930's, 1940's and 1970's fit into this 'theory' of mine. Anyone got any ideas?

  41. Last year I did some study with the pattern maker who led the Australian RipCurl sizing survey. She said the biggest difference between women now and women 50 years ago, talking averages of course, is that waists have thickened proportionately. The tubular shape is simply more common now than it used to be.
    The reasons are unclear but are possibly related to exposure to synthetic hormones, mostly from plastics leaching into our environment.
    Kind of scary, and not just a problem for the ladies. Apparently the average sperm count in gentlemen is much, much lower than it was 50 years ago as well.
    This bothers me a lot, but I still forget to take my own grocery bags shopping.

  42. I do believe this 'aspiration' to no disernable waistline, is by default really: our modern diet: high in sugar and bad carbs, results in a large waist. I have noticed the 'spare tire around the waist' syndrom in even very young girls. Not a good look. The very low waisted pants with the 'muffin top' only enchances this 'look'.


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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