Over the last few months I have worked with many women of all shapes and sizes, photographing their bodies in an assortment of designer and high street clothes. In the course of these styling sessions, I have learnt a secret so obvious, and yet never publicly acknowledged. I have also come across a key body myth that ought to be dispelled, post-Olympics.
Women rely on their sizes like an intense mantra, they must try to lose that weight to be a size 12 or 10. But I have seen a size 8 not fit into a Karen Millen size 10. I’ve also seen a size 10 find that size 10 is too big for her in Monsoon, and a size 12 fit perfectly into a Topshop size 10.
The size you think you are, that makes you feel so awful or so good, is just not true.
The truth, really is, all sizes are arbitrary, all sizes are made up, all sizes are rules that don’t really work.You may have suspected this, but size, which we hold so much in store by, are only the roughest of guidelines. A hundred years ago we made our own clothes (or a tailor for the wealthier among us). This is no longer a viable option for the working woman’s wardrobe (although sewing the odd piece here and there is pretty fun). We now standardized size, but until all retailers have a huge conference where they decide on inches, waists, body shapes and re-adjust their clothes accordingly then you will never be ‘a size’. Most women, if they tell me they’re a size 10 for example, can usually fit beautifully into a loose size 8 dress and a tailored size 12 or 14 jacket.
Women must understand that size is a rough guide and not something that ought to define their identity. The body myth I wish to shed some light on is Female Arm Anxiety. You may have noticed, or you may have not, that when most women have their photograph taken, they put their arm on their hip to try to make it appear as slim as possible. I am a culprit for this kind of slim seeking behavior myself and if you check out Facebook, you will see the majority of girls’ consciously or subconsciously follow this trend. Accordingly the skinny arm is a sure symbol of a ‘healthy’ life style, of an attractive girl who is control of her eating habits. Unfortunately, in reality, the skinny arm, the truly skinny arm, is not a so-called sign of health as magazines would have us believe, but an indication of genes or fasting. Models with arms as thin as a pin are not the symbol of health. If you want to see a healthy female arm just look at the Olympic athletes. Surely the most ‘healthy’ women in the world have just competed in the Olympics, and none of them, I have checked, has thin as a pin arms. Some arms really aren’t very muscular looking either, more Titan limb than model pin.
We need to ask ourselves, who is more healthy an Olympic athlete or a size 0 model?
We need to know, women have arms and don’t belong to a size.