Reality versus the Fashion Industry

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Erin Nanasi is an avid underwater basket weaver, with a penchant for satire and the odd wombat reference.
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My friend Carol posted a photo of Robin Lawley to Facebook Friday morning. Robin Lawley is the newest Ralph Lauren model, she’s been featured on the covers of French Elle and Italian Vogue and she is gaining worldwide noteriety. Robin is also considered a plus size model. She’s 6’2″ and a size 12.

To compare, look at the following supermodels:

Gisele Bundchen is 5’11″ tall, weighs 125-130 pounds and is a size 4.

Adriana Lima is 5’10″ tall, weighs 112 pounds and is a size 4.

Allesandro Ambrosia is 5’9 1/2 ” tall, weighs 110-115 pounds and is a size 4.

Daria Werbowy is 5’11″ tall, weighs 123 pounds and is a size 4.

Candice Swanepol is 5’9″ tall, weighs 120 pounds and is a size 0-2.

I am 5’4″, weigh 124 pounds and I am a size 8. According to the fashion industry, I would be a plus size model. Now I’ve known for years that the fashion industry has a problem with reality, and that is proven to me every time I try to shop for slacks.

As a woman who is a size 8, I would love to not be forced to shop in the petite section of stores. It would be so delightful to wander into Macy’s or Nordstrom’s, yank a few pairs of regular size 8 pants off the rack and have them fit. But that never happens. The fashion industry believes that if I am a size 8, I must also be 6 feet all. No woman my height should be anything but a 2, which of course, in Beverly Hills, is the new 4, and 4 is the new 6 and if you’re a larger size than a 6, they just take you out into the parking lot of Spago and shoot you.

Robyn Lawley is absolutely drop dead gorgeous. I watched her being interviewed on a morning talk show, and I cringed when the host asked Robyn if she thought there would be more models on the runway who “look like the rest of us.” Six foot two inches tall. Robyn does not look like the rest of us, which is why she is a model. If she were 5’6″ tall and a size 12, odds are, she’d have a different sort of job. But she’d still be considered plus size woman.

If there is a plus size, there must be a minus size, right? What would a minus size be? Well, in my world, that label would be attached to women whose collar bones are so defined and sharp, you could use them to mince garlic. You can count their ribs. When they sit on Santa’s lap, Santa yells “ouch.” Or, as society calls them, the standard to which we should all hold ourselves.

I’ve been overweight. I gained over 50 pounds when I was pregnant with my son, lost most of it then my idiot psychiatrist put me on Zyprexa. Zyprexa’s claim to fame is that A) it causes rapid, and I mean rapid, weight gain and B) it’s linked to adult onset diabetes. I gained 25 pounds in less than a month. At my heaviest, I was a size 12. The same size as Robyn Lawley.

For centuries, women have tortured ourselves to meet some bizarre criteria set up by society and the fashion world. Corsets, girdles, control top pantyhose, Spanx, bras that supposedly hide back fat (whether real or imagined), jeans with tummy flattening panels and Lycra and body suits that squeeze you down a size, breathing and comfort be damned. Who are we doing all this for? Are women in America really spending billions of dollars a year on things to make us look thinner because we want to, or because we think we have to?

Exercise a little more. Eat more fruit and veggies, less white bread. Drink more water. We cannot all look like supermodels, and we cannot all be a size 4. When Vogue or Elle or Glamour or Harper’s Bazaar features women who are near 6 feet tall and weigh less than I do, that’s a dangerous message to send, especially to young girls and teens. I don’t feel the urge to lose 20 pounds every time I see a model, but I’m not 12 years old. Young girls and teens, unless they have been told by a doctor that they need to lose weight, do not need to diet. If your daughter reads fashion magazines or watches modeling shows, remind her that models are very, very rare. There are not many women in the world who look like that, and even fewer who become the next Tyra or Gisele or Linda or Kate.

I applaud Robin Lawley for her courage and her success. She’s not a plus size woman, and it makes me incredibly frustrated to hear not only the fashion industry call her that, but to hear her call herself that, too. Robyn, you’re not plus size, you’re an Amazon with a great smile and a fantastic career ahead of you. It’s up to you and women like you to change the fashion industries’ view of women’s bodies, because I seriously doubt if Tom Ford, Calvin Klein and Karl Lagerfeld have any idea what a normal woman even looks like.

Versace doesn’t either. Versace has a store in The Galleria at Tyson’s Corner, and the last time I visited, they didn’t have anything over a size 6 available off the rack. Thanks, Donatella.

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Posted by on October 27, 2012. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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One Response to Reality versus the Fashion Industry

  1. James Smith Reply

    October 27, 2012 at 6:27 am

    At 6’2″, a size 12 sounds about right. Of course body type is a factor, ectomorphs are, and should be, more thin than mesomorphs or endomorphs both of whom would look ridiculous if as then as the ectomorph.

    Your advise on eating and exercise are spot on. To maintain a desired weight loss, it is necessary to consume fewer calories than you burn. “Magic” diets do not work as I have shown in my book, “Fit For Free Forever.” You can obtain a free copy of it by sending an email to slrman@zoho.com No, this is not a commercial for the book. I stopped charging for it over a year ago.

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