Posts tagged with "Vogue"

Faint praise: How ‘flattering’ became fashion’s ultimate F-word

August 14, 2020

Faint praise: How ‘flattering’ became fashion’s ultimate F-word If you asked someone how your outfit looked, and they said, “Fine,” how would you feel? Not so great? But what if he or she looked you up and down and said, “Flattering”?

‘I’ve got loads of dresses that I bought because someone in the changing room told me they were flattering,” Billie Bhatia, the Fashion Features editor at Stylist magazine, recently told The Guardian in an interview. “In that moment, I feel lifted. My insecurities about my body are erased.”

But Bhatia, 30, has been having second thoughts about the word. “Occasionally, it means a great color that makes your skin glow, but most of the time ‘flattering’ is just a byword for ‘slimming’,” she said “If someone delivered the same compliment, but substituted the word ‘slimming’ for ‘flattering’, would you think that was an OK way to talk to a woman? No, right? Everyone likes to hear a compliment. But ‘flattering’ is a dangerous word.”

In 2017, the perfect pair of jeans was “on-trend”. In 2018, it was “fierce”; last year it was “extra”. Right now, it is “dripping”. In fashion, every season comes with a new form of shorthand. But one compliment—“flattering”—has outlived them all, selling more jeans, more party dresses, and more swimsuits than any other word.

“Flattering” is fashion clickbait, an add-to-basket dog whistle. Except when it’s not: For Generation Z—roughly speaking, those born between 1995 and 2010 –“flattering” is becoming a new F-word.

To compliment a woman on her “flattering” dress is passive-aggressive body-policing, sneaked into our consciousness in a Trojan horse of sisterly helpfulness, The Guardian notes.  It is a euphemism for fat-shaming, a sniper attack slyly targeting our hidden vulnerabilities. “Flattering”, in other words, is cancelled.

The British model Charli Howard, 29, has been a force for change in the fashion industry since 2015, when an angry Facebook post she wrote about her then-agency saying she was too big – she was a UK size 10/12 – went viral. “The issue with the word ‘flattering’,” says Howard, now an activist for model diversity and healthy body-image, “is that we instantly associate it with looking thin and therefore looking ‘better’. It suggests your tummy looks flatter or that your waist looks smaller. I find it’s a phrase older generations use. Girls I speak to from generation Z tend not to use it. Those girls see a diversity on social media that older generations didn’t. Celebrating your flaws is considered cool these days.”

“Magazines that I grew up with never went an issue without a ‘how to fix your body issues’ article,” Emma Davidson, 33, the Fashion Features editor at Dazed Digital, told The Guardian. “It was either about how to look slimmer or about ‘adding curves to a boyish body’. The message was that whatever you looked like, it wasn’t good enough.”

Until recently, Davidson said, “there were lots of things I didn’t wear because I thought I was ‘too big’. In the last few years, I’ve begun to accept and celebrate myself. The word ‘flattering’ is part of how fashion tells women that they are taking up too much space in the world. That’s just wrong on so many levels.”

It would be cheering to report that the word “flattering” is, therefore, being retired from active duty; phased out as society casts aside the cult of skinniness and learns to celebrate beauty in diverse shapes and sizes. The truth, sadly, is rather more complicated. With a few laudable exceptions – Eckhaus Latta’s all-sizes casting at New York Fashion Week, Vogue covers for plus-size models Ashley Graham and Paloma Elsesser—fashion’s bodily ideal remains stubbornly narrow. The pantheon of supermodels has yet to admit any woman over a size 8.

Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber and Bella Hadid—the most high-profile models of the moment—are as thin as or thinner than any era of cover girls before them. Every designer, every fashion retailer and every changing-room assistant will tell you that women always start with shape when shopping for clothes. “Flattering” is very much alive, and selling clothes.

What’s more, some women are protective of “flattering” as a practical shopping aid, a friendly word rather than a toxic one. “Flattering” can describe clothes that feel like they have been made with the real female body in mind, rather than clothes that have been conceived to promote an abstract concept of design, or a trend.

At the British label Me+Em, Clare Hornby, 51, and her female-led design team are proud to give their customers flattering clothes, The Guardian notes. “We listen to our customers first and then create a functional yet chic offering that speaks to their needs, rather than us telling them what they should be wearing simply because it’s ‘on-trend’,” says Hornby.

“A perfect example is our zip-front necklines: a lot of customers with larger bust sizes commented that they avoided button-up designs, so we came up with an alternative that means you can choose your own neckline – catering to lots of different shapes – but that also adds a contemporary, sports-luxe feel that speaks to our aesthetic. Turn-up cuffs on trousers and jackets, adjustable draw-cord waists, removable belts – all these intelligent design details are important, because there is no one cookie-cutter body shape.”

So, it seems that the disquiet around the word, “flattering,” isn’t about pretending that our body hang-ups have gone away, but about a rising consciousness of where those hang-ups come from. “Insecurities don’t just go away overnight,” says Davidson. “I have had a lot of unlearning to do.”

Research contact: @GuardianUS

Going viral: Bride and groom pose for photos in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters

June 10, 2020

In the midst of the ongoing anti-racism protests around the world, one couple’s empowering wedding photos—taken at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Philadelphia—have gone viral, The Huffington Post reports.

Bride Kerry Anne and groom Michael Gordon tied the knot in an intimate ceremony at the Logan Hotel on Saturday, June 6. Hotel staff had informed the couple days earlier that a protest was set for their wedding date, but they decided to go ahead with their plans.

As the couple was preparing to do their “first look” outside the hotel, demonstrators gathered to cheer them on, which made for a truly powerful moment. Photographer Linda McQueen captured the couple raising their fists in the heart of the downtown Philadelphia protest.

“I come running around the corner and I see Kerry standing with a circle of people around her just cheering, and she’s literally standing there looking like a Black princess. That’s all I see,” the groom told Vogue, which also is carrying the story. “These peaceful protesters, positive energy, cheering, yelling, people with their phones out taking pictures and videos.”

“And Kerry’s just standing there looking beautiful as can be,” Michael continued. “And I walked up to her and took her hand, and she was shaking. The energy and passion and moment, everything that was going on, was just blowing through her.”

Celebrating this milestone in their relationship during such a pivotal moment in history, was “empowering,” the bride—an OB-GYN who’s originally from Jamaica — told ABC News.

Not only are we feeling the movement of the people … but I’m meeting my husband, on our wedding day, as a strong Black man and a good representative of who we are as people, what our men are like, what our culture is like,” Kerry Anne Gordon said. “It was just a very, very empowering moment for us considering all of this is happening at one moment in one time.”

Initially, the couple had planned to get married in May, but had to postpone due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to their small, socially distanced ceremony this weekend, they plan to do a larger celebration with extended family and friends in 2021.

Face masks and hand sanitizer were provided to guests, who were encouraged to wear white.  To see more photos of the couple’s memorable wedding day, head over to Vogue.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Beauty shoppers spend 80% of ‘purchase experience’ looking at ads, articles, social media

July 17, 2018

A relatively self-serving study sponsored by Condé Nast—publisher of such magazines as Allure, Glamour, Self, Vogue, and W—has found that, in the beauty category, consumers spend 80% of their time in the “pre-search” or “influence” phase of shopping, with a spate of publications, social media, advertising, and celebrities affecting their final purchases.

The study, fielded by the research firm Tapestry and posted on Retail Dive on July 16, found that, similarly, fashion consumers spend 69% of their time in the pre-search stage and are most motivated by advertising; as compared to tech consumers, 65% of whom are influenced by ads “outside of their buying needs.”

Interestingly enough, both beauty and fashion buyers say a couple of brands are “top of mind”—even before they start looking. Fully 79% of respondents admitted they had brands in mind before their search—and 69% pay more attention to ads from sources they know and trust. In fact, more than half of shoppers (52%) spend their full decision time deciding between just two brands.

The outliers? Fifty-three percent of fashion consumers and 64% of 13- to 17-year-old shoppers purchase the brand they first considered.

With influential beauty and fashion publications in its inventory, Condé Nast found that its brands have three times more influence on consumer decisions than Google and Facebook, with three in four respondents saying they trust Condé Nast brands to recommend products. More than 90% trusted Glamour, GQ and Vogue for fashion recommendations; as well Glamour and Allure for cosmetics. Indeed, Consumers were 50% more likely to list a Condé Nast brand in the pre-search phase and think more highly of brands that advertise with Condé Nast, compared to Google and Facebook. Specifically, Condé Nast is 26% more likely to drive purchase intent than tech giants Facebook and Google, based on the study findings.

Other research has revealed that social media plays a major role in driving purchases, especially among younger consumers. A Yes Lifecycle Marketing report released last year found that 57% of consumers across different generations say social media influences their shopping decisions; while 80% of Gen-Zers and 74% of Millennials said social channels influence their shopping. Instagram was a key driver of fashion, beauty and style-focused purchase for 72%, a 2017 Dana Rebecca Designs survey found.

Research contact: @CondeNast

Speaker Paul Ryan to ‘retire’ by year-end

April 12, 2018

Facing a tough Democratic rival in his home Congressional District in Wisconsin, as well as accusations in nation’s capital of favoring tawdry politics over patriotism, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced on April 11 that he would retire at the end of this year and not seek reelection.

An  internal poll of 400 likely voters conducted in December by the Democratic candidate for Ryan’s seat, Randy Bryce—the ironworker who blasted onto the national political scene in June with a viral video—found that the newcomer trailed by just 6 points in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, 46% to 40%, Politico reported.

Ryan has represented the 1st district since 1999, winning reelection handily each time he’s been on the ballot—but, in 2016, he failed to win his hometown of Janesville.

Cathy Myers, a former teacher and school board member who is facing off with Bryce for the Democratic slot, told Vogue this week,” The reality on the ground is, he was running scared. I think that he knew he was going to have a huge battle ahead of him, and that the momentum is on our side. He knew that people felt unserved and that they were tired of it. He’s getting out while the getting is good.”

However Ryan and his aides put out statements that he had “had a good run,” in his 20 years in Congress and had accomplished a lot, and that now he wanted to spend time with his family.

“After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father,” said Brendan Buck, counselor to Speaker Ryan, in a statement that ran in Politico. “While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him.”

President Trump, who has had a complicated relationship with the Speaker, tweeted that Ryan “is a truly good man” adding, “he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question.”

Another spokesperson for Ryan commented that he’s going to “run through the finish line” and remain as Speaker for now. However, Representative Mark Meadows (R-11th District-North Carolina) the leader of the conservative Freedom Caucus, suggested it might not be realistic for Ryan to remain in the top leadership position, noting the race to succeed him will begin “immediately.”

“They won’t wait for nine months,” Meadows told reporters.

Research contact: @cbuddoffbrown