You may have noticed that the popular media has been very butt-focused lately. Nicki Minaj at the VMA’s, Meghan Trainor’s catchy hit All About the Bass, Kim Kardashian’s racy magazine cover, and pop stars like Beyonce’ and Jennifer Lopez have all been at the forefront of what People Magazine is calling “The Year of The Butt”. It’s pretty much been in your face.
Like every popular fad, this is great news for some, but not for others. And, such fads can influence how people want to change their bodies, which is where plastic surgery and people like myself come in. But before you decide to add to your assets, here are some things to consider.
Many women, I fear, are focused on chasing what is – at a single point in time – the ideal shape. Some people call them “slaves to fashion”. While we can certainly come up with some universal ideals about what is beautiful, the pop-culture fashion world is forever changing. For if it didn’t who would buy new clothes? But women’s fashion, much more so than men’s is in a constant state of flux to create a new ideal look and drive sales in the industry. While fashion may be fleeting, true beauty is timeless.
Let me start by saying how much easier men have it than women, and I’m talking fashion here. I have suits that I have worn for almost two decades, and ties that I was given 40 years ago. They still are “in”, so to speak, and look good. My biggest fashion swing, which has been underway for the last two or three years, is to switch from pleated pants to plain front pants. (I know, truly earth-shaking.) But the reason that I can wear all my decades-old suits is that they had a “classic” look and remain in.
So too can be said of many classic women’s looks. Last weekend I was with my mother in advance of her 88th birthday. We complimented her on the woolen jacket and beautiful scarf she wore to church. The jacket, she told us, was 40 years old, and the scarf was her mother’s! But I digress.
The “ideal” body type does not stay the same.
If one looks at fashion trends over the last 100 years, there have been significant swings in what is considered the ideal body type or figure.
In the 1900’s there was the “Gibson Girl” with a corseted waist that barely allowed respiration. In the roaring 20’s the flapper look was in with a very straight waistline and almost no curves. Gradually changes happened in the 30’s and 40’s and by the 50’s the hour glass figure of Elizabeth Taylor (allegedly a 36-21-36) was what everyone wanted to be. Then with 60’s Twiggy was the ideal with a thin, straight waiflike figure. In the early 2000’s, an athletic figure was in and now we have the butt. The only constant here is change.
What changes and what does not.
Certainly fashion changes, but what about body shapes, which is to say the figure. Well, the major determinant of how you will look is your genetics (sorry about that Givenchy). Certainly we can work on our weight and level of fitness, but our skeletal structure which is the framework on which our bodies are built is determined by our genetics. Try being taller than your genes will allow. Or having a narrower chest if your genes are programmed to give you a broad chest. Some waist lines a straight with narrow hips, others are more shapely with a broader flare to the hips emphasizing the waist line. But this has all to do with the bone and body structure your DNA created.
There are some things we can change. And one such thing, which is a good overall trend in fashion, is that of being fit. Well-proportioned figures with decent levels of fitness and appropriate levels of weight are attractive. This has been emerging over the last decade or so and I hope will continue. While this does not necessarily mean ripped, six-pack abs, it does mean fit. And proper weight control does not mean anorexia!
Perhaps the real danger here is in trying to change a part of your body to meet the current fashion demands. As I mentioned, right now fashion is very “booty” conscious. It seems that Kim Kardashian’s butt is making a big splash (and I don’t even know if she swims). This butt awareness is pushing buttock augmentation with fat injection and implants. But will this always be what is in? Nope.
Where plastic surgery comes in.
On the other hand, other changes in a woman’s body can be very beneficial and lasting. Take a fit women who has had several pregnancies which have taken a toll on her body. A tummy tuck which can restore the natural look of her figure can be great. A woman whose breasts are so large as to be uncomfortable and will not allow her to wear and tops that would otherwise fit, may do very well with a breast reduction. And, a woman whose breasts are too small to fit normal clothing can receive great benefit from a breast enlargement.
Breast size is certainly a focus of fashion. And there have been swings in what is considered the right breast size. However, the women who are recognized as being beautiful across the generations, generally have breasts that are neither too big or too small. And while this is not a specific cup size, it is a range that fits their overall body shape. If the fashion of tomorrow dictated that all women wear a FF cup size, I would suggest that you let this fashion die a natural death and get breast implants that would fit your figure.
One of the reasons that fashion has gravitated towards certain styles, is that the style has fit the body for which the fashion was designed. And some designer decided that body type was in that year. The dresses that look good on Twiggy do so because they are designed for her body shape. They may or may not be right for you depending upon your body shape. Same, too, for fashions that would have fit Elizabeth Taylor. But what looked great on Liz, would look ridiculous on Twiggy.
The bottom line.
So what’s a girl to do? Probably the best advice here is to be careful about chasing the ever changing fashion trends particularly if you are planning to surgically alter your body. Remember body ideals are trends and trends will inevitably change. Beauty, however, will not. But, changes that make sense and that will stand the test of time can be very good. And as far as fashion goes, wear what looks good on your body. This may not be what the pop stars do or what the model wears as she struts down the runway, but it is what will look fabulous on you as you walk down the pathway of your life.
David B. Reath, MDPlastic Surgery
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