Did you know that the ‘ideal’ body shape for a woman has drastically changed over time? From Tudor times when large women were seen as desirable, to the roaring 20’s when square and skinny was the in look. In fact, the perfect body is still changing even today, and it’s gone through a lot of different styles in the process. Today we wanted to take a look at some of the more recent fashion trends – some you might even remember living through! – to showcase just how much the times have changed.
1960 – The Twig
The swinging 60’s brought the pendulum back in the other direction. Thin is in, and Jessica Rabbit is out. This new look is fresh-faced, girlish and androgynously trim. In order to transition back to the ‘thin’ look to be desirable, this decade saw a record number of amphetamines prescribed for weight loss. In one particular ad, the tagline ‘this is no shape for a girl’ appears next to a pear. Feeling the pressure yet?
1970 – The Disco Diva
Disco! Jumpsuits! Bellbottoms! This decade was a non-stop raging party. But the party girl of the day was still pressured to maintain a slim hipped, flat stomached body. The only difference from the previous decade? Curves are slowly starting to make a comeback, if only to look good in all of that spandex.
1980 – The Supermodel
Amazonia supermodels reign supreme in the 80’s. Now, the tall, leggy women have their time to shine. But as well as long legs, the 80’s sees a huge shit towards a fitness focussed society thanks to the pioneer Jane Fonda. So now, muscles are acceptable and even desirable on women. It’s both empowering and discouraging – one more beauty standard to add to the list.
1990 – The Waif
Honey, we shrunk the supermodel. Kate Moss ushers in the era of the waif, also known as ‘heroin chic’ for the gaunt look of such super thin women. It’s the complete opposite of the previous decade, where being slim to the point of illness is what is considered attractive. Oddly, slouchy jeans, oversized sweaters and unisex fragrances were the fashion choice of the day. At the end of the decade, the modern-day corset – Spanx – was born.
2000 – The Buff Beauty
In the 2000’s, sexy is brought back in a big way. Gone is the gaunt, pale heroin chic and in comes the era of visible abs and airbrushed tans. Muscly midriffs spark the rise of crop tops and low rider jeans, and if you didn’t have the figure to pull it off, you could always opt for the latest technological advancement –spray on abs!
2010 – The Booty Babe
Finally, we come closer to the present day, and the word of the day is ‘bootylicious’. Celebrities sporting full, plump booties results in a wave of women squatting as if their lives depended on it, all in the name of a good bum. Subtlety has left the building, and having hips and bums that are the same width as your shoulders and bust is considered perfect. Towards the end of it, we’re still seeing this, but with a slight shift back towards the hourglass figure.
So, what should we take away from this? That body ideal, like everything else in pop culture, are a trend. There is no set ‘ideal’ body shape for women, and we spend far too much time chasing after a shopping list of attributes we think society desires. So this winter, embrace the body you’ve got, wear clothes that make you feel good and focus on enjoying yourself! And remember, the media’s idea of beauty is subjective and changes all the time, but confidence is always in style!