Entries in Fashion (7)


Overweight and Chic: Plus-Size Business Is Booming

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- It could be the great weight divide. While supermodels in glossy magazines seem to be getting skinnier, "real" American women have gotten plumper and more curvy, which has launched a new and booming market for plus-size fashion.

In what many fashionistas called a bold move, Vogue featured the voluptuous singer Adele, wearing a size 16 black dress, on the cover of its March issue. The cover's release came on the heels of legendary Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld's comments about Adele's weight. In February, Lagerfeld said the singer was "a little too fat" in an issue of Paris's free newspaper, Metro, for which he was guest editor.

The 23-year-old Adele shot back, telling People magazine that she is "very proud" to "represent the majority of women."

The average American woman is 5-foot-4, weighs 164 pounds and wears a size 14 to 16. Some buxom female celebrities, including Queen Latifiah and Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy, thumbed their noses at the uber-slim supermodel standard and launched their own plus-size clothing lines.

And retailers are starting to pay attention.

A new chain of stores called "Fashion to Figure" has opened. It's like the H&M or Forever 21 of plus-size fashion. It provides stylish and glamorous clothes for women sizes 12 to 26 at reasonable prices -- with dresses typically running $28 to $36. Its message: enough with the size 2.

CEO and founder Michael Kaplan was studying for his Harvard MBA when he said he noticed that the latest trend of so-called "fast fashion," when an expensive runway look is re-created cheaply, was bypassing the plus-size market.

Kaplan's business is a family affair. His brother Nick toiled in retail for 20 years and his little sister Palley trained at Nordstorm. Not to mention that the Kaplans' great-grandmother was Lane Bryant, of the plus-size clothing empire that now includes nearly 850 stores and over $1 billion in annual revenue.

Almost 6 feet tall and nearly 200 pounds, Anna Kleinsorge is a plus-size model. She argues that having sexy clothing options doesn't enable someone to be obese -- quite the opposite.

"If I'm wearing sweat pants or a paper bag every day, I would grow to fill that paper bag -- whereas when I have something that looks awesome on me and makes me feel good, I'm out, I'm doing stuff, I'm with my friends and experiencing life," she said.

While some critics might say that the expanding plus-size fashion market is celebrating being overweight, Kaplan said they advocate people being healthy, but his company's mission is about offering a better life for those who are plus-size.

"We're not in the business of labeling people," Kaplan said. "We are trying to make people feel confident. Everybody needs great fashion. It's a mind set. And we're there for you, you know, no matter what size you are."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Kiddie Couture': Too Hot, Too Soon?

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City's famed 5th Avenue has long been home to big name designers and high-end fashion. So when a new "kid" joined the top fashion block in November, it was not just any kid but Gucci Kids, a first-of-its-kind children's boutique sporting high end items -- like a $2,900 fur coat, a $1500 sleeveless dress, and a $3800 biker jacket -- all targeted for fashionistas ages 12 and under.

Fashion insiders say the new Gucci collection, which joins Burberry, Versace, Fendi, Dior, and Lanvin in offering a kids' line, is just one part of an ambitious retail initiative aimed at an ever-younger audience.

"These clothes are not for the playground, but for special occasions," Jane Keltner de Valle of Teen Vogue told ABC’s Good Morning America.  "I can see more people splurging on a dress or a piece from these collections."

There may be a recession going on, but you would not know it by looking at the sales of kids' fashions. Last year, sales of children's clothing in the U.S. exceeded $32 billion, according to NPD Group Inc. Consumer Tracking Service -- and $800 million of that was spent on designer labels alone.

Leslie Venokur, co-founder of the national mom organization Big City Moms, says the recent success of kids' lines for high-end fashion names may be a case of parents trying to lavish on their kids what they cannot afford for themselves.

Others attribute the current fashion phenomenon to celebrity offspring like Suri Cruise, the only child of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes who has been sporting couture since she was in diapers.

GMA assembled a group of mothers and daughters to weigh in on the new "kiddie couture" collections. The girls, ages five to 12, said that while they may be small, fashion, for them, is already big.

"A lot of my friends like Steve Madden," said one of the girls, while another said her closet already includes clothes by designer Marc Jacobs, a favorite of Hollywood celebrities.

The girls' mothers, meanwhile, expressed concern that the new high-end collections are another sign of the growing pressure on both moms and the girls to look a certain way.

"When I was growing up, the kids wore kids stuff and moms wore mom stuff and now it kind of blurs," Mindy Mervis, mother of a 12-year-old girl, told GMA.

The moms said they also worry the collections make it harder than ever to teach girls values, like beauty not being determined by a fancy label or a pricey garment.

"There's definitely pressure on what the girls want and what other girls are wearing," said one mom.

While the moms say that they want their girls to look good, they draw the line at the notion of costly fur coats like the one featured in the new Gucci collection.

"Not for $3,000!" a mom responded when asked by GMA if she would buy her daughter such a coat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Look Your Thinnest: Throw Away This Piece of Clothing Sjodin(NEW YORK) -- What’s the one item of clothing that style guru Tim Gunn thinks should be exiled from your closet? The cargo Capri pant.

“It is the single most unflattering item of apparel in fashion history,” says Gunn, who is the resident style expert on the new ABC show, The Revolution, which debuts Jan. 16. “Cargo Capri pants look like a teenage boy’s pair of shorts. These are a fashion no-no. I’d like to say get them away or take them somewhere where they can be recycled, they’re too horrible. Use them to wash your floors.”

Gunn says the Capri-style visually cuts off your legs, making you look shorter, and then the pockets add unwanted bulk, making you look wider.

Instead, Gunn says, opt for pants that come all the way down to your shoes for a longer, leaner look. Try a good pair of jeans in a dark wash or a nice dress pant, Gunn suggests.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Style Tips to Flatter All Figures

Abby Dale(NEW YORK) -- Abby Dale, a 26-year-old orthodontic assistant, had been fighting her weight all of her life until she woke up one morning and decided she needed to make a major change. Tipping the scales at 236 pounds, she enrolled in Weight Watchers two years ago and has lost nearly 100 pounds the old fashioned way, learning portion control, jogging regularly and borrowing workout videos from co-workers.

Dale’s determination impressed Weight Watchers. She won their Inspiring Stories contest, including a makeover session with the one and only Tim Gunn to dress her slimmer figure. Dale, who calls herself, “a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl,” is still getting used to her new body and recalibrating her brain to her new size. According to Gunn, that’s a process many women who have lost weight experience.

Gunn will guide other women as they undergo personal transformations of their own on ABC’s new show The Revolution, starting Jan. 16.  Here are Gunn’s top four tips to style your changing body throughout your weight loss journey.

  1. Follow three fashion fundamentals: silhouette, proportion and fit. When they are in harmony and balance, anyone can look fabulous.
  2. Invest in the essentials: wrap dresses, belts and skirt/top combinations. Each of these items can be introduced into the wardrobe at any point during weight loss and will have long lasting staying power as you continue to lose weight.
  3. Shop smartly: when people shop on a budget they are more mindful about how new items will fit into their wardrobe and lifestyle and how they will transition throughout the weight loss journey. Think strategically about your overall wardrobe and how the garments you are purchasing will fit in.
  4. Embrace your shape: even if it seems that everyone is wearing a particular style one season, be sure to evaluate how it will work with your shape before committing to purchase it yourself. Embrace your own shape -- it’s beautiful -- and adopt the trends that accentuate your best features.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Creepy or Cute? French Company Sells Lingerie for Girls 4 to 12 Years Old

Used to be "dress up" meant putting on a pair of Mommy's shoes. Ryan McVay/Thinkstock (PARIS) -- Little girls, clad only in bras and underwear, pose carelessly cool, wearing sunglasses and heavy makeup, in an online photo gallery of Jours Après Lunes' new clothing line. They're far from the age where they might need bras, but the "loungerie" line is meant for girls as young as 3 months.

While the French company's babywear consists of typical onesies for infants, click on the fille (girls) section of the site and find little girls dressed in lacy, frilly, silky undergarments with tousled beehive updos and mascaraed stares.

The Jours Après Lunes website says it is the first designer brand dedicated to "loungerie," calling it an "innovative" and "unexpected" brand in the current realm of teenage and children's fashion.

Some call it fashion. Others call it appalling.

"This kind of marketing does sexualize young girls, it does serve as a model that inspires very young girls to think that minimizing what they wear and revealing as much of their body as possible is appropriate, and 'fashionable' and 'cool,' and that this is the way that they should think of themselves," Paul Miller, associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University in Phoenix, wrote in an email to ABC News.

Jours Après Lunes' did not return calls from ABC News requesting comment.

"The cultural message goes beyond 'lingerie' but to girls' self-image, body image, and what it takes to build a 'good' image of one's self," continued Miller.

But the "loungerie" line is only the latest kiddie fashion craze to cause public outrage.

Two weeks ago, 10-year-old French model Thylane Loubry Blondeau made headlines when she graced the cover of Vogue France. Many believed her high-fashion posing put her in an exceptionally mature position that was too sexual for her age.

This week, clothing retailer American Eagle drew ire after marketing a push-up bra that promises to add two cup sizes to girls as young as 15.

American Eagle's website has one review of the bra, claiming that "it gives so much push-up that other bras don't let me show off," reported ABC affiliate WTVD.

"Girls want to look pretty, but they do not want that icky sexual attention," Ann Soket, editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine, told ABC News. "They just want to feel good in their clothes, they just want to feel pretty, and that's what these bras are about."

But many child development experts would disagree with Soket. The American Psychological Association recently created a task force to respond to the "increasing problem" of the sexualization of girls in the media, which it found could influence a girl's well-being.

"We don't want kids to grow up too fast," Shari Miles-Cohen, senior director of women's programs for the American Psychological Association, told earlier this month. "We want them to be able to develop physically, emotionally, psychologically and socially at appropriate rates for their age."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


10-Year-Old Model's Mom Defends Racy 'Vogue' Pictures of Daughter

ABC News(PARIS) -- The mother of a 10-year-old fashion model whose racy photo shoot in French Vogue reignited the debate about the sexualization of young girls has apparently defended her daughter's work.

Veronika Loubry, a fashion designer and mother to Thylane Loubry Blondeau, told a French newspaper, "The only thing that shocks me about the photo is the necklace that she's wearing, which is worth 3 million Euros," or about $4.3 million.

She also took to her daughter's Facebook fan page page to blame a "bad personn in usa [sic]" for drawing attention to her daughter, before later posting that "something going's wrong at the moment [sic]."

ABC News could not confirm that Loubry made the comment about her daughter, whose sultry stare beyond her years on the pages of French Vogue had the fashion industry drooling but left other parents, child experts, and media outlets outraged.

Within hours, however, Loubry Blondeau's fan page had been closed.

"… thylane doesn't know about the buzz and i want to protect her from the deapest of my heart ,,, she's so young ,, so we are going to close this accompte for a while ,,i know all of you are good person who like her so i send you a big kiss,,thanks [sic]," the page read.

That parting message for friends and fans shows the toll the attention on the photos of her young daughter -- wearing makeup, high heels and haute couture in Vogue -- has taken on the family, as well as concern for how her daughter is being portrayed in the media.

A report by ABC's Good Morning America last week was the first to break the story in the United States, drawing worldwide media attention and a flood of reaction from viewers, fashion watchers and child psychology experts alike.

Some called Thylane's modeling spread "sad and repulsive," while others, agreeing with the young model's mom, said they found "nothing sexual about these pictures."

Even in childish smocks and cotton tees, Thylane's expressions in the Vogue shoot were seen as oddly adult, a product, perhaps, of living half her young life in the fashion world -- she reportedly hit the runway for Jean-Paul Gauthier at age 5. Other pictures of her appearing elsewhere were more suggestive, such as a posed picture that showed the girl topless and in jeans, with only her long hair to obscure her chest.

Some say the grown-up beauty portrayed by Thylane and other children is giving other young girls unhealthy ideas about how they should look.

"We don't want kids to grow up too fast," said Shari Miles-Cohen, senior director of women's programs for the American Psychological Association.  "We want them to be able to develop physically, emotionally, psychologically and socially at appropriate rates for their age."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pregnancy and Stilettos: Are They Safe?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- As a slave to fashion, celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe announced that she does not own a pair of flat shoes, and, even now, seven months pregnant, Zoe rocks thigh-high stilettos for an afternoon on the town.

Last weekend, the 39-year-old Zoe was photographed with her husband and friends strolling around Los Angeles. Along with her stiletto platform boots, Zoe wore a belted black shirt-dress with a knit bomber jacket. Stylish indeed, but some wonder if Zoe is risking safety of body and baby for her high fashion style.

"Stilettos in general are not dangerous," said Dr. Lauren Streicher, a staff obstetrician gynecologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. "We are fortunately long past the days when a pregnant woman had to wear a tent or a T-shirt with an arrow pointing to the belly."

Doctors say the main reason that high heels have gotten a bad rep is because a woman's body weight and shape change during pregnancy, and so does her center of gravity. Because of this, she may be more prone to falls, which could have dire consequences. But otherwise, a lot of the risk is to her own comfort.

"It's fine for a pregnant woman to wear stilettos, but she may find her balance is off, especially when she gets large," said Streicher. "If she were to fall, obviously she could break a leg, but there is no particular danger to that developing pregnancy."

Dr. Manuel Porto, professor and chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, also said that the arched back posture that is used by most pregnant women to accommodate the change leads to low back pain. Wearing high-heeled shoes and boots can exacerbate those problems, especially as feet start to swell in the later months.

"Most obstetricians recommend that patients wear flat shoes or those with less than a two-inch heel, especially in the third trimester," said Porto.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio