What Not to Tell Me About What to Wear

I am beyond tired with wedding literature that frames all discussion of dress styles in terms of “body flaws.”  I don’t want to hear about how to “correct” a pear-shaped body or about how diagonal lines keep the eye moving so people won’t focus on my “heavy spots.”

Seriously… why?  Like, for some lady products I get it, even if I find it objectionable.  If I am not properly terrified about the life-destroying effects of “fine lines” I will never spend $40 on a half-ounce of eye cream.1 But, I like my body, and I’m still going to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a wedding dress. I don’t think I would spend more on a wedding dress if I woke up tomorrow morning, took a look in the mirror, and finally recognize that my calves are disgustingly short, my shoulders are much too angular, and my neck is too cylindrical… or something.

In fact, I might be tempted to spend an even more ridiculous amount of money if someone was selling me a dress by marketing it as, “A dress that will put your hotness on display.” I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Memo to the folks writing all that rote “dress silhouette” copy: Want to write something new? Try these helpful phrases on for size. Instead of “bust minimizing,” let’s hear about “for ladies with a set of killer yabos.” I don’t even know what “short-waisted” means, but don’t tell me that mermaid dresses will “elongate,” tell me about how they’ll make a round booty go clap. And please don’t assume because I am tall and thin that I need to “create curves.”

And here are some words you should probably eliminate from your vocabulary: Camoflage. Forgiving. Hide. (Unless you want to write a sentence along the lines of “One downside to a full ballgown is that it will hide your getaway sticks.”) Consider: Highlight. Emphasize. Complement.

We’re not going to break off our engagement if we read some body-positivity. There is maybe one bride-to-be in the universe who is only engaged because she’s convinced her fiancĂ© is the only person who will ever love her despite her short-waistedness. We’re still going to shovel our money into the machine. We’ll just be happier people when we do it.

1Which is a good excuse to link to my favorite Target Women: Skin Care Science.

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14 responses to “What Not to Tell Me About What to Wear

  1. Hear, hear. Amen. Praise the lord and pass the ammunition.

    Er.

    Marketers think shame motivates spending. The side effect being that shame has become a normalized state.

    Honestly, the only copy I want to read that involves “hiding” anything should refer to the bulk and shape of that flask you’ve got tucked in your garter.

    • Dixie chicks. Love it.

      And yes. I want a dress with pockets that can secretly secure a flask. Our park only allows beer and wine. A bride needs her Jack. Am I right?

      • Lord, honey, are you ever right. However, we recently tried infusing Maker’s Mark with cherries. Um, yes. THIS is what’s going in my flask.

      • I HIGHLY recommend adding a few dashes of Angostura bitters to bourbon with muddled fruit. (Reminiscent of an Old Fashioned, which is my “official family cocktail.”)

  2. THANK YOU! I have always had this thought in the back of my mind while reading these ‘guides’. I thought I was the only one.
    Meanwhile, I’m off to find a mermaid dress to accomodate my substantial booty… yeow!

  3. Yes! Let’s focus on the positive. Why advertisers think that it’s better to shame women into buying their product boggles me. Just tell them they’ll look hot in it. It would work on me.

  4. Hell, yeah!

    (As to the flask, I’m referring to it as the bridal bourbon.)

  5. I LOVE THIS.

  6. I never realized this is how wedding dresses are marketed…although it shouldn’t suprise me, since it’s how so many women’s products are marketed. But ugh! Isn’t it a given that her wedding day is the day a woman wants to look the most beautiful in her life? So what they’re basically saying is, here are all the ways we can help you change your body to look the most beautiful in your life?!?

    I think you’re really onto something with your advertising campaign. I also love the idea of a bridal flask.

  7. Yes, yes, and yes!! It’s not about hiding, it’s about figuring out what to flaunt.

    I think that’s why I love my dress so much. It’s not that it hides this flaw or that flaw, it’s that it’s a great boob dress, and who doesn’t want to look like they’ve got great boobs?

  8. Amen. I can’t read any marketing crap ever. We all have bodies and we all have assets. I plan to flaunt mine (woo hoo sexy shoulders and neck!) and would appreciate if you stopped telling me to hide my flat-but-pear-shaped lower body. I can be my healthiest and most in shape ever, and my thighs are still big. I don’t see that as a “problem area.” I see that as the area-that-helped-me-be-fiercely-powerful-in-the-rugby-scrum.

    Also, he LIKES my large thighs. So suck it, marketing.

  9. wooooo! awesome post! I am so over this shit. No amount of ‘miracle suits’ (which yes I bought one) can hide my ridiculous curves and I don’t care! As for wrinkles, etc its ridiculous. I started getting ads for botox after I got engaged. I mean really!?!?! Makes me want to scream!!!!!

    Thanks again for this post. Love it.

  10. HEAR. HEAR!!!

    I’m on a flight right now and my friend brought an Us Weekly and People magazine to help pass the time. I enjoy indulging in trashy magazines once in awhile but what struck me was over and over and over the shame associated with weight disguised under being “healthy” and “taking care of yourself” and “discipline” and ugh it just makes me want to scream!! Gross.

  11. YAAAAAY!!! Can’t wait for your post which includes pics and a ‘this will show your hotness’ descriptions! Pretty please:P

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