To test this theory, I pulled photos from three renowned style icons and dressed myself in pretty much identical outfits.
Line up all of today’s top style icons and you might notice a trend: these models, actresses, socialites and tastemakers more or less fit the same mold. Come to think of it, I can’t think of a single female celebrity revered for her style who isn’t teeny-tiny with the face of an angel. But y’know what’s weird? In looking at photos of these women, I can’t help but notice their styles are pretty average: lots of T-shirts, leggings, white sneakers, and loose fabrics. This got me thinking, in our society, is “fashionable” just another word for “thin”?
1. The photos I chose had to come from articles specifically praising each woman’s style.
2. The outfits had to be reminiscent of clothing pieces I already owned; no items were purchased for the purpose of this blog post.
3. Each photo I took had to be posed pretty identically to the woman in the original image.
But before we begin…
Let’s acknowledge a few key points. For starters, I’m not at all bashing the women whose styles I’m emulating in these photos; if anything, I’m just shedding light on our society’s reaction to these women. Furthermore, many style icons–including the three below–aren’t strangers to couture or trendsetting fashion, but let’s admit they also get praised for ensembles that are nothing special. And finally, I’d like to point out that the ability to dress how you please is a huge privilege, especially as a woman. There are many women around the world living in oppressed environments in which fashion is not an option, regardless of one’s size.
1) Gigi Hadid
What struck me about this outfit is when putting together the pieces, I found myself reaching for clothes I would wear to my retail job, where there is an all-black dress code. This outfit was certainly comfortable, (minus the exposed midriff, which is something I pretty much never do, ESPECIALLY after enjoying a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee and bagel-combo, yikes) but also felt like something I’d throw together if I was in a rush and didn’t have time to worry about matching. However, when Gigi wears it, PopSugar calls it “her signature cool.”
2) Alexa Chung
Man oh man, do I hate wearing shorts. As any pear-shaped girl knows, exposing your thighs can be the actual struggle, especially compared to Alexa’s toned legs. Once I got over that initially insecurity though, I–yet again–felt pretty average. I was just wearing denim shorts and my old Goodwill striped shirt; I would probably toss this on if I was making a quick Target trip or was going to hang out with my friends. I found this funny when I found out that Alexa’s photo came from an article all about styling shorts for summer, as though putting shorts and a shirt on your body is a new concept.
3) Kendall Jenner
I’ll admit, I would wear Gigi’s and Alexa’s outfits on a casual day. I wouldn’t call the looks trendy or stylish–though as we’ve found out, many fashion blogs would–but I’d at least throw them on to run some errands. However, Kendall’s outfit is an all-around NO. I knew at soon as I pulled on the denim-on-demin travesty it wouldn’t end well, and when adding in the baseball cap, I loudly exclaimed, “I LOOK LIKE A PAINTER.” Turns out models aren’t only praised for wearing boring outfits, they’re praised for wearing ugly outfits, too.
Taking photos in identical poses, I noticed that when placed side-by-side, I didn’t find my ensembles to be spectacular by any means, certainly not what a normal person might call fashion-forward. Why? Maybe because I’m not 5’10”and 120 pounds. Furthermore, had I enlisted the help of a plus-sized woman to model these looks, the difference would be even more stark. Turns out in order to be considered breezy and effortless, you also have to belong to the thinnest 5% of the population. It’s quite a shame, really; I wish I was considered a style icon when I went to class in leggings and a tank top.