• Charlotte Dallison

Tits vs Trends

As I’ve been sourcing for my next vintage drop it’s impossible to avoid the fact that Lady Di is in and thus so are puffy sleeves and silhouettes not conducive to curves. I’ve been finding some great pieces too - mint condition Laura Ashley dresses and the rest. I still don’t know what I think about the combination of shoulder pads AND voluminous mountains of fabric but who am I to judge? If the kids want it I shall find it, I am a businesswoman after all and I work for the customer. And no matter what my personal opinions are, the influence of these recent trends are felt in fashion retail right now - I even wore an uncharacteristically brown and frilly late 60s number on the weekend, stolen from my store in fact!

About 10 years ago was a good time for bosoms. I’m not sure whether to thank the rather obvious Kardashians or more sophisticated figures like stylist, the late Annabel Tollman, who dressed stars such as Scarlett Johansson and was voluptuous herself, or designers like the late L’Wren Scott, who made the best pencil skirts in the business, for celebrating and dressing the “female form”. But fashions have moved on since then, and now that the ultimate remaining fashion boob champions, that’s Dolce & Gabbana, have been cancelled (as they should’ve been) what are the well endowed to do?


Image from Gianfranco Ferré Alta Moda Spring/Summer 1988 runway - more is more?


Viv Albertine said in her debut memoir, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. (a seriously fantastic read, by the way, and don’t let the following statement deter you) that skinny people look better in clothes and curvy people look better nude. Is this true? Is this antiquated? Is this controversial? Is the reason we so often see editorials of curve girls at least half nude because there are no sample clothes to dress them in or is it because of our appetite to see delicious curves up close. One wonders what fashion editors really think of such figures too. Though they’re no longer the gatekeepers of fashion and culture, and their relevance remains questionable, I do distinctly remember a rather recent conversation with a prominent ex-Vogue editor who described plus sized girls as “just so fat” (and she is no stick herself). I know I personally always feel great about myself when exiting and art gallery - pale skin, soft curves, silly facial expressions, I see myself in those paintings and usually treat myself to a piece of cake or two after an exhibition outing!

Art model and muse, Agnes Sorel, had her fave gowns tailored to showcase her fave boob in the 1440s.


I attended the Melbourne Fashion Festival VAMFF last year on the cusp of covid. There had been some serious box ticking performed by the board and each model represented a tidy little corner of the diversity pool. However as the fashion show begun I was disappointed to see no true styling attention had been given to the curve girls who were all about my size (and not actually particularly representative of the curve community). They were all basically just wearing the size 12 version of the skinny girl dress which often appeared unflattering and uncomfortable. At the end of the day events like that exist to sell dresses and I wasn’t encouraged to buy a thing after that show, bar one sweet gingham frock by Romance Was Born, which was purely a positive reflection on the designer, rather the stylist or show producers.


The fact is you can make things in a bigger size or for a bigger size. Maybe more prominent designers have to have different body shapes and muses in mind as they go to create a piece, and that this is the way to cater better for everyone. There is no one-size-fits-all and that is OK, who would want that anyway when individuality is so empowering. And of course clothes suiting you goes beyond your figure - your personality, lifestyle, comfort, attitude and confidence are also key. I worked at Agent Provocateur for a couple of years and in spending hours in the changing room with all sorts of women with all sorts of bodies, I came away with three crucial observations about how women are - nobody is totally happy with their body, nobody has the “perfect” body and everybody looks fabulous in the right thing.


Me wearing vintage ruffles on the weekend - WTF!


I sell clothes for a living too but in dealing with vintage I acknowledge how limited my size offerings can be. People often forget that 70 years ago women wore all sorts of strange underwear and contraptions to create a “proper figure” as well. Whilst I strive to find larger pieces it’s bloody hard to source them when looking predominantly to the mid-20th century for stock. Really there’s only so much I can do about that fact, and I don’t feel particularly good about it either. But not all brands can offer all things to all people, in fact it’s good to be an expert when you’re doing things on a small scale, and I see myself as an expert in finding true mid-century vintage for certain people with style.

Regardless, the body positive movement is nothing but positive in my opinion, much more positive than this bloody ruffle revival. If people are encouraged to be healthy and happy, in both body and mind, and to wear things they enjoy that empower them, then that’s only a good thing. The movement has helped me accept my blatant flaws of multiple surgery scars, intermittent endometriosis bloating and wonky bones too, plus feel more normal in my size 12 frame. It won’t, however, give me the confidence to wear a late 80s frilly ensemble anytime soon, though check back with me on that in six months or so. Maybe we all just need to surrender to the fact that in terms of trends we all have our moment to showcase what we’ve got - right now if you have legs for days or Lady Di’s distractingly beautiful face then you’re lucky. And frankly if you have big tits you’re pretty lucky too.


Images via Flickr, Pinterest or author's own.

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