Tag Archives: plus size models

[Never Say Diet] Does The World Really Need Another Online Dating Site?

Whitney Thompson Dating Site

It’s a valid question — but it is not the question that former America’s Next Top Model winner Whitney Thompson asked herself when she set out to create her new online dating site, “The Big and The Beautiful.” Thompson seems to have been asking, “what can I do to earn $40 per month from tons of women I’ve never met?” Or, alternatively, “how many times can I use the word ‘real’ when I describe my new project?”

The answer to the latter question is three, as in: “I created this site for real women with real curves … looking for real pleasure,” says Whitney.

As regular readers know, copious use of the misguided “real woman” concept is one of the first warning signs of bodywashing… which is a term I just made up for when celebrities or companies pretend to be all about body positivity but are really all about themselves. Like what Bare Escentuals and CoverGirl did here. I’m borrowing liberally from greenwashing and pinkwashing, obvs. Except, yes, my term sounds like a sponge bath. We can work on it.

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[Beauty Overheard] Tom Ford Wants Fat People to Take Their Clothes Off

Tummy by YarnivoreThis tummy belongs to Yarnivore, who shot this self-portrait as a way of facing up to her biggest body anxiety. Love. (Used per Flickr’s Creative Commons License.)

So, former Gucci designer/fashion mogul Tom Ford wants fat people to take their clothes off.

And actually, I agree. Sort of. Wait! I’ll tell you why in a second. First, here’s Tom (via Jezebel and Contact Music):

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[Glossed Over] Plus Size Women Are Shaped Funny.

Photo of scary clothing mannequins

Or so concludes the fashion industry, according to Plus Size Wars by Ginia Bellafante in Sunday’s Times Magazine. I give you Exhibit A:

The most formidable obstacle lies in creating a prototype. If you already have a line of clothing and a set system of sizing, you cannot simply make bigger sizes. You need whole new systems of pattern-making. “The proportions of the body change as you gain weight, but for women within a certain range of size, there is a predictability to how much, born out by research dating to the 1560s,” explained Kathleen Fasanella, who has made patterns for women’s coats and jackets for three decades. “We know pretty well what a size 6 woman will look like if she edges up to a 10; her bustline might increase an inch,” Fasanella said. “But if a woman goes from a size 16 to a 20, you just can’t say with any certainty how her dimensions will change.”

A paragraph later, Fasanella follows that up with this:

“You’ll have some people who gain weight entirely in their trunk, some people who will gain it in their hips,” Fasanella continued. “As someone getting into plus-size, you can either make clothing that is shapeless and avoid the question altogether or target a segment of the market that, let’s say, favors a woman who gets larger in the hip. You really have to narrow down your customer.” A designer must then find a fit model who represents that type and develop a pattern around her. But even within the subcategories, there are levels of differentiation. “Armholes are an issue,” Fasanella told me, by way of example. “If you have decided to go after the woman who is top-heavy, well, some gain weight in their upper arms and some do not. There are so many variables; you never win. It’s like making computers and then deciding you want to make monitors; a monitor is still a computer product, but it’s a whole new kind of engineering.”

All of which leads Bellafante to surmise: “Thin people are more like one another; heavier people are less like one another. With more weight comes more variation.”

Well, I call bullsh*t. Read more…

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[Glossed Over] The Skinny on J. Crew

photo from J. Crew Spring 2010 women's catalogue

Photo from J. Crew Spring 2010 menswear

The interweb is all abuzz about the newest J.Crew catalog. (I just moved and my catalog doesn’t seem to have followed me, so thanks to Sociological Images for the tip on this.) Were you to compare the apparent ages of these two models, you might think we pulled the first spread from a new tween line. But no. It is, in fact, from the women’s (as in grown-up) section of the catalog.

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  • COMING SOON

    The Eating Insinct: Food Culture, Body Image, and Guilt in America by Virginia Sole Smith

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