Every Body, Everywhere
I love when body parts make a "comeback." Isn't it great? Like, no one had legs until shorts became popular again a couple years ago. Forearms were firmly out of fashion until the advent of three-quarter-sleeve tops. And hands? Well, let's just say the ungainly sight of someone's fingers was enough to offend—until the digit-free gloves of the 80s took the world by storm (thanks, Madonna!).
It's actually almost reminiscent of the Victorian era. In a gentler time, even the mere suggestion of a woman's ankle was so shocking to delicate sensibilities, it was sure to send anyone in the immediate vicinity straight to the fainting couch with the vapors. However, when 1920 rolled around? Free for all! On a good day at the local speakeasy, ankles (and perhaps even a hint of shin) were on full display.
Clearly, from a historical perspective, fashion and its relationship to women's bodies has been the cause of outrage, concern and a host of unreasonable expectations as to what's appropriate and what's not, what to cover and what to show, and of course, what's in style and what's out.
Which is why it's funny to me that in an industry that has constantly and rightfully been criticized for its lack of body diversity (or any diversity, for that matter), existing within the confines of a culture that promotes a too-thin ideal already, that waists—and, in essence, curves—are trending again. I blame it on Mad Men.
The only catch is, as promotional belts haven't exactly been plentiful, how can we accommodate the trend? Items that nip in at the waist naturally, as well as those that have effects such as color blocking to define the middle, that's how.
This issue of Threads shaped up (no pun intended) to have some interesting commentary on the above-raised ideas, and it's especially fitting (I'm not doing this on purpose, I swear), since Promo Marketing's May issue just so happens to feature our annual article on women's wear. In it, I check in with Eric Rubin, president of Blue Generation by M. Rubin & Sons in Long Island City, N.Y. as well as Gina Gaudet, director of design at Medford, Massachusetts-based Charles River Apparel. They both discussed some heartening advances in the quest for wear that actually fits women. First order of business? Giving us back our waists. Both Rubin and Gaudet pointed to design constructs that work especially well for women (princess seaming, tapering, darts) and mentioned a growth in diverse fit offerings that enable one garment to flatter a variety of body types.