Breaking Personal Fashion Rules: Just Say No to the Hourglass

I have heavy thighs. No amount of exercise will shrink them. They are meaty, muscular and here to stay. For a skirt loving girl, this isn't a huge problem. Any wasp-waisted 1950s dress will cover my legs and give me an hourglass figure.

But I'm not an hourglass. I'm a pear. Directives on dressing tell me to choose necklines that widen my shoulders and draw attention to my face. I should avoid halter tops, pencil skirts, shorts and pants. But I like halters tops. I like pencil skirts. I like shorts and pants. What is so essentially wrong with letting the world know that my thighs and hips are wider than my shoulders? Why must the slight woman create the illusion of breasts? Why must the round woman squeeze herself into a nipped waist? Why should we accept our natural shapes as "flawed"?

This hourglass figure from Christian Dior
Haute Couture Fall 2007 hearkens
back to its Victorian roots.

Sociologically, an hourglass figure signifies fertility. Wide hips for breeding and large breasts for feeding. Except we live in a modern area when most people aren't desiring five children and a few spares. While a majority of men prefer this shape as "natural" (In fact, the 1950s look required extensive padding and corsetry), men still have varying concepts of beauty. Even so, the majority of women say they dress for themselves. What does it say about us if with all this freedom we choose to dress like a distant ideal instead of as our true selves?

Comme des Garcons gets hip
with ready-to-wear Fall Winter 2008.

If I choose to accentuate my wide hips and thick thighs with a trapeze dress or a pencil skirt, that doesn't make me poorly dressed. It just flies in the face of Victorian-influenced Western convention. As with most experiments in dressing, breaking free of this beauty norm will require a clear intent, purposeful puffs if you will, best achieved through dramatically cut garments. I'm keeping my eyes open for some bloomers or a tutu, which will make a triangle and make my day less mundane. Conversely, a low-slung belt will draw attention to my hips but will just make it look like I wasn't paying attention when I got dressed.

Would anyone else like to stop playing at Salma Hayek and accept they are Kelly Clarkson?

Calvin Klein sent this comfy cocoon coat
down the runway for Fall Winter 2008.


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