Last week, the internet erupted with Patrick Couderc’s homophobic and sizist comments about how the bandage dresses are not for “voluptuous women” or for “committed lesbians.” (Just like you needed to be THIS TALL to ride at Wild Cat rollercoaster at Hershey Park, according to him, you’re supposed to be the only body type high fashion designers feel like dealing with if you want ride like the devil in a bandage dress.)
That news story took us from outrage to eye rolls, and finally, dropped us right off at laughter.
But the body-clinging dresses, repurposed in every way imaginable from the ‘80s when Azzedine Alaias were all the rage, are really just spandex strips held together by thread. A wasted sorority girl could make a knockoff out of bandages stolen from some charity effort she wasn’t invested in, but somehow it’s still exclusionary “couture.”
I’m not a fan of the body con dresses. But I am a fan of its meaning — body conscious. After all, being aware of your bod doesn’t have to mean being thin enough to squeeze into an ombre condom without showing any rolls of soft stomach fat. Most people with original style are over the bodycon trendlet, but instead of shunning the term “bodycon,” fashion editors, bloggers, and designers should be recasting the word in a new light. Instead of using the word for this Kardashian-exhausted look, it should be a declaration of body pride.
Right now, when you deploy the word bodycon, it has a clubby, body-canceling ring to it, and it shouldn’t. What it should signify is owning, embracing, and turning on others and yourself with your body. I’m not only talking about Nadia Abhoulson in a bodycon nude dress, even though I would pay her taxes for wearing that. Let’s extend the word bodycon to label shoulder-forward masculine blazers, hip-accentuating pants and sheer sexy maxi dresses. I’d rather see it as an un-f*cked term for the kind of clothes that show women, and I mean really show them.
If “curvy” is the only word in the fashion media’s lexicon that implicitly demonstrates an awareness of the dignity of all women with hips, let’s start tagging our favorite looks on Tumblr #bodycon as praise for any kind of garment that flaunts assets, whatever they may be. In an industry that you bankroll when you hate your own body, taking back bodycon is one way to assert independence from people like Couderc.