Last week, Glamour magazine announced that it would be ditching its trademark handbag-size edition in favour of something bigger. Because, as publisher Condé Naste said, it recognises “that the print experience is now regarded as more luxurious and indulgent”. But it’s not just fashion magazines that are getting bigger, it’s iPhones, moons, coffee sizes and Trump’s plans for the US military.
Our post-venti landscape is reflected on the catwalk, with “the new proportion” possibly being the defining aesthetic choice of this year. Wide-legged, oversize trousers and jackets (kind of the sartorial bastard children of Stop Making Sense-era David Byrne), such as Céline’s Phoebe Philo, have dominated the autumn/winter collections and crept on to the high street. Tangentially, “lampshading” has altered the regular silhouette too.
The idea of supersize economics arrived in the 1960s, when David Wallerstein, the head of a Chicago movie theatre, realised that people would happily buy one huge box of popcorn for a small extra charge when they wouldn’t buy two smaller boxes, because that way they didn’t feel greedy. Although Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 film Super Size Me killed off McDonalds’ extra-large option, the concept still exists else in fashion, elsewhere in fast food and beyond.
This trend for bigger things could be seen as a modern version of the hemline index. During the US Great Depression of the 1930s, suits got wider (think: Al Capone’s double breasted jackets). Could the width of our clothes and the size of things be linked to the fact we are currently living in the age of uncertainty where big things are some sort of metaphorical safeguard against the unknown? It certainly feels like that.