So the past winter has been all about showing off a sliver of the stomach. What body part will be fashionable next season?
Charlotte, by email
You know, of all the intriguing developments to have emerged in recent years – and, really, I think we might need a few new pads of paper to keep this list up to date – the one about women’s body parts being subject to fashion trends, well, it probably wouldn’t make the top five at the moment, but it would be in the top 15, maybe even 10. Perhaps somewhere between the return of Craig David and Ella Mills (nee Woodward) disowning the term “clean eating”. As Ronan Keating warned us years ago, life is a rollercoaster.
Anyway, we’ve had the butt. We had the sideboob. We had the thigh gap and, this winter, we’ve had the flat stomach and the bony area between (some) women’s bosoms, now that the cleavage has been deemed officially over. It’s exciting, isn’t it, ladies? Which part of our anatomy shall we put in storage in 2017?
Of course, by and very large, this is all just a jazz hands-y, roundabout way of saying, when it comes to being in fashion, anyone over a size 10 need not apply. Because with the exception of the reverence of what the scribe Sir Mix-a-Lot famously called “the buns”, all of these so-called body-part trends are – and this is so obvious I’m embarrassed at condescending to all of you by writing it – yet another way to venerate female self-deprivation.
So much has been written about why fashion loves skinny women, and some of it has been written by me, so I don’t think I need to contribute further to that landfill. A lot less, however, has been written about what, exactly, can be done to break this toxic love affair, and the reason for that is, quite frankly, because no one really knows the answer. I recently read an article in a fashion magazine advising women to wear low-cut dresses so as to show off … their clavicles. That was not where you thought that sentence was going, was it? Truly, only in fashion are bones seen as the sexiest part of a woman. Whatever next? “Hey gals, miniskirts are a great way to show your femurs! And then match yours with a cropped top so the world can admire your ribs!”
So what can we look forward to next year? Well, 2017 is already shaping up to be a doozy in the political arena, so fashion might as well go similarly apocalyptic on everyone’s asses. In that spirit, here are some advance tips: buy backless dresses, ladies, so as to flaunt your thoracic vertebrae. Bumpy vertebrae are the dernier cri in 2017! And only short sleeves, please, so as to show off that sexy hollow in your arm only those with a BMI of under 16 can pull off. And remember, if all else fails, just wear a skeleton costume. True, it might drive the fellas wild with your bony sexiness but such is the price of chic!
You said last week that the Trumps wouldn’t be as loved by the fashion industry as the Obamas. But Donald’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is very handsome and his brother dates Karlie Kloss. So surely the shallow fashion industry will come round?
Diana, by email
Excellent question, Diana. Yes, that’s right, Jared’s younger brother, Joshua, is indeed the boyfriend of supermodel Karlie Kloss. However, Joshua was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, making the Kushner brothers – what? The Miliband brothers of the US? That comparison doesn’t do justice to what is going on here. Pause for a moment, please, and allow me to indulge my fascination with the Kushner boys.
Jared and Joshua are the Orthodox Jewish sons of the absurdly wealthy real-estate developer Charles Kushner, and were raised in New Jersey. In other words, they are every boy I knew at Hebrew school in New York and summer camp in Maine in the 80s and 90s, and I can tell you that with boys like this, you either marry them immediately, or cross the room to avoid them. Joshua, who wears blue knitwear like a living J Crew advert, strikes me as being in the former camp. As for Jared – well. It was amusing a few years ago when news reports wondered how on earth a nice Jewish boy like Jared would fare with Trump as an in-law. Judging from how eagerly he exploited his grandparents’ story of surviving the Holocaust to excuse his father-in-law’s fondness for retweeting antisemitic memes, I’d say he’s doing just fine.
In 2005, Jared’s father was sentenced to two years in the slammer for tax evasion, witness tampering and making illegal campaign contributions. This, understandably, was quite the formative experience for his oldest son and he now seems to be dealing with his demons – as his therapist probably puts it – by banning anyone involved from being near Trump, including Chris Christie.
The US media is already trying to style Kushner as Trump’s Rasputin, with reports of how Trump likes to listen to his “soothing, whispery voice”. Now, I’m loathe to cast the one Jew in Trump’s circle as Rasputin. But Kushner, clearly, is one scary mofo, and if there’s one thing Trump’s election hopefully taught people, it’s that there are few demographics more capable of destructive and petty vindictiveness than uber-privileged east-coast boys. You look at Kushner, Diana, and see a handsome man. I see Trump’s mini-me.
Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.