This think piece will be quite controversial but I'm open to hearing your thoughts on the matter, however different they may be.
Quite a few years ago, every magazine and fashion outlet presented a heavily-detailed guide on body types and we finally learned what fruit each of us resembled. There is the "apple", the "pear", the "hourglass", the "athletic" and so on. And with the addressing of the body type came a very thorough rule textbook on what is appropriate to wear based on your body shape and what isn't.
The underlying notion is of course one: to look slimmer and more proportionate. To hide the bad and accentuate the good.
But in 2017, dressing for your body type is an issue that's rather awkwardly navigated by mainstream media. For one, "body type" is kind of a dirty word for the new-era feminist. In a world that constantly bashes women for their looks, pushing them to achieve an untouchable beauty ideal, the mere suggestion that one body type is right while others aren't is at least politically incorrect.
Women nowadays don't feel like they need to be told what they should wear by some underpaid fashion critic in a magazine whose philosophy is stuck in 2007. With the whole body positivity movement gaining more and more territory, it's safe to say that the idea that being of a certain size or having a certain body type prevents you from expressing yourself via dressing in some way is offensive and dated.
But then comes the other need, one that goes beyond political correctness. The need to be accepted by society and to be considered beautiful. Are beauty standards really media-imposed or are they just what we, as human beings, are naturally drawn to and consider beautiful? The massive approval of one's looks is not something that can be forced. You can educate the masses to respect, to use kinder language, to be unprejudiced, but the thing is, I don't think you can teach them what looks good. Some might say: isn't this what fashion is essentially though? Convincing people that something looks good? That's a question I don't have an answer for yet . Maybe what I would say is that the fashion industry understands the underlying trends in society, listens and then produces things they know people will want. But the commercial appeal of goods and the human body are two different things.
Yes, in the past there were many different beauty ideals regarding the human body. But today and for a long time now it's safe to say that the body type that's almost universally praised is the slim one. And not just the slim one but one whose proportions are harmonious and symmetrical. Why? Because the human eye loves symmetry. Everything in nature is perfectly symmetrical. From the flowers to the cycle of life.
And what does that have to do with dressing for one's body type? Because, again, we can't force what looks good. Because we will always want to accentuate the qualities and hide the flaws (or what is deemed as such by society at each point in time), because we want to be accepted and admired. Not all of us, maybe, but a good chunk of us. That's why you will always come across women who seek fashion advice.
There are people who simply don't care how they look. And that's totally fine. But these people were never going to be interested in fashion anyway. Those who are interested in fashion are essentially interested in being accepted by society for the way they look and are obeying some certain beauty standards. I really don't wish to be the kind of person who tells someone not to wear something that they really want to wear but in my opinion, if you accept fashion as a concept, you also accept the idea that certain things look good and others don't and the set of rules that comes with that concept.
And to shut down anyone's fears that by "dressing for your body type" you're being being anti-body positive, you're not. You can love yourself and still wanna look good and hear words of admiration. There is nothing wrong with that. Only you choose how you feel about yourself.
I'm excited to hear your perspective as well.