Clothes, For Body or Mind?

In 2004, Dove launched it’s now familiar “Real Beauty” Campaign.  The campaign has since grown into the “Self-Esteem Project” which provides resources for encouraging young people’s confidence.  However the initial campaign aimed at women, had the specific idea in mind of providing an image of a variety of women varying in ages, skin colours and most of all, size.  The increase in acceptance of different looking women in the media has become a much more common affair.  The swimwear and underwear brand Aerie had it’s own campaign around body image in 2014 known as the “AerieREAL” campaign.  This idea centered around not necessarily a change of models, but in not Photoshopping any of the current models to fit a more stereotypical beauty image.

Campaign for Real Beauty
Dove Real Beauty Campaign 2004

While Aerie may not necessarily be the first or the only clothing brand to stop editing their images, there certainly has been many to follow in their footsteps.  Whilst online shopping now, it’s become a common occurrence to see stretch marks and cellulite across women’s thighs and behinds.  However, have we lost the fashion mindset of dressing certain body types in ways to enhance our best assets?
Gok Wan Fashion Consultant/TV Personality

One of TV’s most famous Fashion Consultants, Gok Wan from “Gok’s Fashion Fix” 2008-2009 and “How to Look Good Naked” 2006-2009, always helps women dress for their body shape, to enhance their natural beauty. But does this mean he disregards body positivity?

Knowing how to dress a certain body type is surely no different from knowing which colours compliment each other, and which clash. Without going into scientific explanations about colours and the colour wheel, most people do recognise which look “right” and which look “wrong”. So surely having an eye for fashion and knowing what suits a person (regardless of whether this is a society influenced opinion or human nature) can’t just be dismissed as judgmental, but rather some form of expertise.

Having knowledge or even a mere opinion on specific ways to dress people doesn’t mean you don’t support body positivity. If anything, showing an interest in enhancing someone’s best features is surely more positive than “wear anything if you like it”. Though confidence and self acceptance is definitely a big key to happiness, there is no shame in taking pride in enjoying finding what suits you or other people best.

Copyright © 2019 by Anna Turnell

Images and Information Bibliography

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