Trend Watch: Full-Figured Beauty Celebrated

Especially for those of us not genetically programmed to be naturally thin, Vogue magazine’s evolution over the last few years to present a more inclusive view of what constitutes beauty is a sea change that allows many of us to breathe a collective sigh of relief.  


In its annual April “Shape Issue” this year, Vogue reconfirms its view that a woman need not starve herself down to a size well under double-digits to be considered beautiful.


Vogue profiles singer/actress Jill Scott, devoting over four pages to this talented, full-figured woman. Her stylist, Pamela Macklin, an instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, sees to it that most of Ms. Scott’s clothes are custom made in her size, currently around a 16, since finding fashion for a voluptuous woman who likes fashion is “a bit tricky.” Ms. Macklin reminds the readers that “[m]ost American women are size 12 and above and the [fashion] industry has yet to embrace that.” Nevertheless, Ms. Scott appears in the magazine in a gown by Carolina Herrera (pictured) and a Badgley Mischka caftan.                                                                 


The article speaks of a visit to a design gallery and store, where, after immediately scouting out handbags, Ms. Scott makes a beeline for the jewelry counter, choosing some large cocktail rings that pick up the light and can be seen “by people in the back” when she is on stage. She adds that jewelry is “useful” to her at the after-parties she holds after her concerts, when she dresses in clothing and footwear more comfortable than what she wears on stage. She looks at drop earrings and a chunky red stone necklace.


Interestingly, not a word is mentioned as to whether any adjustments are required to Ms. Scott’s jewelry selections. Perhaps the store with the cocktail rings carries larger sizes; perhaps she has slender sample size fingers; or are alterations understood? Similarly, in a montage of her chosen “frills” is pictured a sumptuous vintage costume jewelry necklace that appears to my eye to be cut on the skimpy side, even for a woman with an average-sized neck. 


I would have liked Vogue to be as candid about the “trickiness” of selecting jewelry as they are about the limited fashion selections available for the full-figured high-fashion customer.


If this talented singer, singled out for her voluptuous beauty and style, walked into your store to shop for frills, what would you have to show her?