You know the ones. They hoist up the girls, cinch in your middle and cover your crotch but still manage to look sexy. When Marilyn Monroe (or your grandmother for that matter) wore these one piece bathing beauties, you didn’t notice that they were carrying around 15 extra pounds. You didn’t notice their chunky thighs. All you noticed was an hourglass figure.
What would it be like if we got back to celebrating the way women are shaped, instead of trying to make ourselves look like 12-year-old boys? You can find retro swimsuits on Pinterest, but you’ll soon discover it’s difficult to find this look for under $100. Give us a break. There isn’t that much more material than a two-piece. Hello Target, are you listening?
Think of the wardrobe from The Other Boleyn Girl. Why these dresses ever went out of style is beyond us. The bodice of those gowns makes everyone look like they have an amazing chest. Those gorgeous gowns made every girl’s waist look tiny. And yes, we recognize some cinching was going on under those gowns, but with the fabrics we have available today, that wouldn’t be necessary. Built-in Lycra could replace punitive girdles. The absolute best feature of these gowns is what goes on from the waist down. Pass the cheesecake. And we’ll take a double helping of Ben and Jerry’s. You could host a circus under the skirts of these gowns and no one would be the wiser. Are your thighs so dimpled they look like they’ve been attacked by a sack full of nickels? No matter. Did you get Mom’s Frankenstein knees? Who cares? Has your trunk got so much junk you could open a pawn shop? Under one of these skirts, that can be your not-so-little secret. We want these gowns back and we wanted them back yesterday.
OK, we hate to keep bringing up Marilyn Monroe, but she was not a “skinny” woman. And yet she lives on all these years later as a legendary sex symbol. Why? Because she carried around enough weight to fill out her bra and the butt of her jeans. She had a seductive attitude. She had amazing hair (which men love). Most importantly, she dressed around her curves. We’ve been led to believe that we should all be wearing the latest trends and fashions, with little regard for our personal body type.
Think about the picture of Marilyn Monroe in the infamous white dress. The dress accentuates her shoulders, chest and waist and hides everything else until we see her legs. Brilliant. Here’s one other thing Marilyn did with her size 12 frame. She dressed for men, not to impress other women. Read that line again. By all accounts, men want women to look like women, curvy and feminine. So designers, if you are listening, we’d like you to pick up a Montgomery Ward catalog from the '50s and get to work.
If you’ve ever rooted through your grandma’s closet, you may have stumbled onto a beautiful collection of negligees. It seems some of our foremothers paid as much attention to their pajamas as they did their daytime wardrobe. These gowns were beautiful, comfortable and once again hid all the day’s evils.
If the average size woman in America is 14, how many women do you think look good or feel good in Victoria's Secret lingerie? Does that keep us from spending tons of money on it and wearing it anyway? No. Again, nighttime fashion doesn’t have to be an either/or choice, where you are either rocking the latest lingerie trend or falling asleep in some over-sized moo-moo. If Grandma’s nightwear made it back into the mainstream, men and women everywhere would be sleeping a lot better at night.
This is such a regal way to disguise bad hair and/or a hangover! We want this look to re-enter the mainstream because accessories are a girl’s favorite way to broadcast her personality to the world. With this look, you can be conservative or crazy, depending on your choice of scarf and eyewear. How grand would it be to skip our monotonous morning routine one or two days a week? A headscarf and sunglasses is the closest we’ll ever get to a guy’s beauty regimen, which takes all of about five minutes.
Michael Costello breaks down what makes up retro style.
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