Advanced search

Whether you’re a beauty novice or a confirmed fashionista, this topic is for consulting Mumsnetters on all things style-related. Plus, check out our Swears By page for the inside track on the next Mumsnet must-have.

Does fashion influence whether an item of clothing is viewed as 'flattering'?

(16 Posts)
TillyIpswitch Sat 16-Jul-11 20:41:27

A couple of threads, or posts on threads, have got me wondering about this...

The leggings thread, for example. The people who wear them view them as flattering to all shapes and sizes.

I also noticed a comment by somebody who wondered why anybody bought bootcut jeans anymore, since they flatter nobody.

Well, the people who don't like leggings clearly don't think they're flattering at all.

Likewise, a lot of people must have once thought bootcut jeans were flattering, since we bought them in droves 5 or 10 years ago. The wider bottom can balance out a wide hip, plus skinny jeans - which are now pretty much the default cut - are in no way universally flattering, with many a wearer ending up with parsnip legs.

Surely something either is flattering or it isn't? confused Or at the very least, surely you can't say that the cut of an item of clothing flatters no-one?

How much is our eye for this sort of thing influenced by what's currently in fashion? I guess this is part of the eternal fashion vs style debate, but just think it's quite interesting that what one person can see as flattering, slimming, kind to the figure, etc, another person won't. As I say, surely something is or it isn't!?


cyb Sat 16-Jul-11 20:45:28

I read Caitlin Morans book recently and she said something very astute about fashion. It often flatters no one. The designers(who's designs ultimately filter down into the high street) find models who fit their clothes for the catwalk and then the rest of us mere mortals waste our timetime trying to fit oursleves into the styles they have designed.

Its better to stick to what suits you, add in a few more on trend bits if they DO suit your shape and forget about the rest.

AnnoyingOrange Sat 16-Jul-11 20:54:27

Too many people are fashion victims. Leggins are very unforgiving and only look good on the very slim.

Those of us who are knocking on a bit have seen it all before

mittenkitten Sat 16-Jul-11 21:02:37

Oh hells yes. Bloody clompy "booties" with skirts and dresses. Or really almost any of the big stilt-like shoes with big straps and so forth. They make people walk awkwardly and they have to have enormous heels to compensate for the fact that they cut the line of the leg and make it look shorter. And yet they're "sexy." hmm

Helltotheno Sat 16-Jul-11 23:40:19

I think Style & Beauty is too much of a slave to fashion really. It just baffles me the amount of styles that get slated here just because they're not quite at the cutting edge of fashion right now. Bootcut jeans are a case in point. The reality is skinnies don't suit the majority. I can look ok in skinnies with boots in winter but with pumps/flats/sandals etc, they just don't look as good on me as straight cut or slightly bootcut.
And agree re lots of gladiator sandal styles and all these clumpy monstrosities with straps up to the ankle. Sorry but they're hideous on most. If you don't have legs up to your neck, why make em look shorter confused

And what's the big issue with white jeans exactly? One could do worse than looking like Liz Hurley grin

I agree with the advice to stick to what suits and add in the odd on-trend thing..

TillyIpswitch Sun 17-Jul-11 06:56:12

I mean style is obviously a subjective thing; what one person find stylish another won't and vive la difference....

But surely what is flattering is absolute. Either something makes you look trimmer, tauter, taller, more slender or it does not. That is not something that can be open to interpretation, surely?

I must admit, I don't wear bootcut jeans any more really - I do have one pair that probably veer more towards flares than boot cuts, and they do get worn from time to time, because they are very flattering on me - the make my legs look long and slim. What's not to love about that?

I just don't see how you can write off a whole trend - which was massive and all-pervading - as unflattering, simply because it is no longer fashionable. Because surely people wouldn't have gone out in droves to buy it when it was fashionable, just because it was fashionable, even if it made them look like a ten-ton heifer...? confused

TracyK Sun 17-Jul-11 10:54:42

But surely we are bombarded with images of 'the current fashion trend' - all the younger slimmer ones pick up on it and wear like a uniform - so anything that isn't similar - looks 'weird' or old fashioned.

I always wonder if I should wear what is 'trendy' (ish) - but may not flatter - or wear what flatters but may be perceived as 'old fashioned'.

I think I vere toward as trendy as I can without looking hideous - even if something may look more flattering. ie I think I look slimmest in flarey black trousers - high heeled boots and a large belt - holding in my waist and a long sleeved stretch top - but not very trendy - and would look 'wrong' in so many occasions.

So I wear slim fitting (not skinnies) grey jeans, converse and a top that covers the muffin top and some leather bracelet wraps. Looks nice - but prob makes me look bigger than I would in black troos.

TracyK Sun 17-Jul-11 10:55:24

Meant to say - would I prefer to known as slim but old or bigger but young!

TrillianAstra Sun 17-Jul-11 11:02:54

Leggings are neither flattering or non-flatering, they are just thick tights with no feet on and should only be worn as such.

If I were being generous I would say that maybe the people who wear skinny jeans and say that skinny jeans are flattering are the people for whom skinny jeans are flattering. And that when they say bootcut doesn't suit anyone they really just mean that bootcut doesn't flater them.

But it may just be that they have been turned against bootcut shapes by fashion and would still look better with a wider cut to the bottom of their trousers.

tulpe Sun 17-Jul-11 12:43:23

Agree with Tilly - something is either flattering to the individual or not. An item cannot suddenly become flattering simply because it is deemed "fashionable". Dress for your shape, colouring (hair and skin tone) and lifestyle. That is what true style is about. Fashion is another thing entirely and is a fickle friend wink

myalias Sun 17-Jul-11 13:06:54

Follow the fashion rules Fit, Fabric and Finish and you can't go wrong.

mittenkitten Sun 17-Jul-11 13:18:54

Bootcut IS more flattering than skinny. The first time I saw a picture of Kate Moss in skinny jeans I thought, "Oh my goodness, they make HER thighs look chunky!" That said all my jeans are currently skinny . . . fashion victim, moi?

However, I remember seeing a magazine article -- published when bootcuts were the only fashionable option -- which included a diagram "proving" that bootcut and low-rise is more flattering to everyone! Well, ugh to low-rise for those of us with longer torsos. However, it just goes to show that fashion creates its own justifications . . . though not sure how anything ever justified all those 14 year old girls wearing bumsters with wide white belts.

Bootcut or "kick flare" is definitely coming back. As for low rise -- well, now all the magazines are claiming high rise is universally flattering and creates the illusion of longer legs!

LauLauLemon Sun 17-Jul-11 13:25:25

I always stick to the principle of style over fashion. I'm 5ft10in but a size 18 with a wider bottom than top half so some styles suit me, some don't.

The trick is to find and stick with what suits you but change things to suit the fashion with things like shoes, bags and accessories and buying classic staples in fashion colours.

Bootcut jeans are a staple but I wear them with on trend shoes/boots, a nice handbag and then something like a vest with a sheer patterned billowy top cinched in at the waist with a complimetary colour wide belt. On trend but still remotely flattering.

Harem trousers, lace bodies, cage shoes, bandage dresses = out for me.
Wide leg trousers, sheer blouses, waist belts, platform heels (comfier especially with a stack heel) and the nude and tan shades = work for me.

TrillianAstra Sun 17-Jul-11 13:39:52

Of course in the longer term fashion influences whether we want our thighs to look stick-like or chunky, and whether we want to look as if we are flat-chested or buxom.

So flattering = making you look the way that it is currently fashionable to look.

mittenkitten Sun 17-Jul-11 13:48:18

Is true, Trillian. Was always told stories about how my buxom great-grandmother wore a sort of chest-binder thing to make her look fashionably flat chested in the Twenties.

TapselteerieO Sun 17-Jul-11 19:20:03

I agree vive la difference - I don't like some of the quite bitchy sniping that goes on about people's choice of clothes, I don't mind if people are being constructive, but just making women feel bad about their choice/style of clothing is horrible. Beauty, and style too, are in my opinion in the eye of the beholder, we all have different tastes, I wish some people would be more accepting of that.

I am slightly interested in fashion/style, but money, opportunity and the limited range available to a short arse all influence my fashion choices and seeing what gets written on here sometimes can be depressing!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: