Hadley Freeman: Fashion Designers Don’t Care About Breasts Because They Don’t Care About Appealing to Straight Men

By
Balmain, spring 2010. Photo: Imaxtree

In her column in the Guardian today, Hadley Freeman responds to a reader who wants to know why so many fashion trends are "impossible to wear if you have breasts larger than a B-cup size?" She argues that the fashion industry's main goal isn't to make you look attractive, it's to make you look different.

So when people complain that those £4,000 Balmain jackets don't suit anybody, they're just missing the point. Those jackets aren't about making anyone look good, they're about making you look like you're wearing Balmain. You see? Different.


She applauds the industry's disinterest in breasts.

Is there not something marvellous about an industry that has so little interest in the one part of a woman's anatomy that the rest of the world is obsessed with? One of the truly commendable things about fashion is how little interest it has in appealing to straight men, or making women look attractive to them. This, I've always maintained, is part of the reason why fashion gets such a bad rap; because it is basically a private-members' club that excludes men. "Fashion's just about appealing to gay men," one of my (straight) male friends sneered recently, as though that was a criticism. And thank God for it. As this column's life icon, Joan Rivers, said once when she saw a celebrity wearing a terrible dress allegedly chosen by her boyfriend, "Well, at least you can say that her ­boyfriend is straight." When it comes to aesthetics, straight men have no sense at all. After all, they're the ones so obsessed with mammary glands.


She's right — the straight man who can shop for himself and pick out things that look good is a rare breed indeed. Even when we've shopped with straights who thought they knew what they were doing, they wound up picking out all the wrong things. And then when you go shopping with a straight who admits he doesn't know what he's doing and has requested your assistance, you have to butter him up for hours before he agrees to buy pants that actually fit or sweaters that don't look like the gross things he already has. (Dear straights: Wearing things with nice details like seaming or an interesting collar will not, contrary to how you act, inflict the pain of fatal stab wounds.)

Anyway, we wonder if the supposed rise of plus-size models and obsession with Lara Stone, largely because of her breasts, will lead to more breasty looks. And if not, well, Victoria's Secret puts them on the runway once a year.

Why the fashion industry can't seem to design for women with breasts [Guardian UK]