The +Size of Fashion Trends

Mia Lucero, Staff Writer

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Beauty standards have, and probably always will be, a prevalent part of all lifestyles. These standards are malleable, though, depending on cultural biases and societal traditions to form the ideal aesthetic that a human being is supposed to achieve. These standards range from what is considered an acceptable weight, or what makeup is or isn’t appropriate depending on age or how much should or should’t be put on. Often times, these commandments are followed blindly without any sort of question in order to avoid conflict and invite acceptance with open arms. It may seem fairly harmless, but the fact of the matter is this: Most people don’t fit the mold of the ideal man or woman.

In Korea, many girls face extreme scrutiny at a young age. A bone cracking pressure to be extremely thin. Young girls at elementary schools have competitions within classes to determine who in said class is the thinnest. As these girls mature into women, society pressures them to weigh no more than 110 pounds, no matter their height. Unhealthy mindsets such as these are prevalent in women across the globe, and every culture holds different beauty standards for men and women.

Society has changed their beauty ideals throughout history. The Victorian Era much preferred small, rosebud-like lips to the voluptuous lips that many prefer today. Writers from The Washington Post observed this when it was noted that, “The link between fashion and politics seems to establish beauty standards.” The 1950’s was a time perfumed with the fragrant smell of optimism, thus putting actresses like Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds in the beauty standard spotlight. The 1960’s was all about social reform. The fight for women’s rights. Thus, the look of androgyny took the world on by storm. But what are the standards for today’s women? The look of an overtly, “healthy woman,” is what is popular now. A full head of hair, tanned skin, lean bodies, and a white toothed smile.

A, “healthy” ideal is definitely more tame than that of other standards, but it is not scrutiny-free. What a person sees on another is rarely a good assessment of someone’s health. It’s purely circumstantial. Tanned skin can be emulated by fake tanner, while a lean body can be achieved through unhealthy dieting. Plastic surgery is prominent in urban areas, adding emphasis to an otherwise small derrière and plumpifying lips. Rather than accepting all body types, we alter and edit until we fit the cast made by someone’s idea of health. Some straight size stores (clothing boutiques that carry sizes small through large) have started to expand their sizes to extra small to 3X. This is a step forward, but often times the designers fail to recognize the bodily proportions of a plus size person. The clothes are made bigger, but women who are bigger around the midriff are rarely very tall, making the clothes disproportionate to their bodies.

Society is slowly making strides toward acceptance, but there are still major setbacks actively preventing a sense of true happiness for all. Human error will forever exist though, so any minor change can contribute to a great difference.

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The +Size of Fashion Trends